Collector’s Corner (Free MP3s) • Some More January Jazz Additions — King Oliver, Clarence Williams, Chicago Rhythm Kings

Collector’s Corner (Free MP3s) • Some More January Jazz Additions — King Oliver, Clarence Williams, Chicago Rhythm Kings

.

January’s been been a very good month indeed, record-wise. Much more fun collecting them than writing about them! So, here are a few more new additions to the jazz collection, for your listening pleasure.

You can find approximate personnel listings in our free download of Brian Rust’s Jazz Records, 6th Edition. They’re not from the original recording files (which rarely list full personnel before the late 1930s), and Brian didn’t cite his sources, but he’s probably pretty much on the mark for these sides.

.

.

KING OLIVER & HIS DIXIE SYNCOPATORS (as Savannah Syncopators): Wa Wa Wa (EE+)

Chicago: May 29, 1926
Brunswick 3373 (Vocalion mx. E 30181)
Originally allocated mx. C 372. This pressing shows the assigned Vocalion mx. number. A Brunswick mx. number (E 20637), assigned on November 4, 1926, appears on later pressings.

.

KING OLIVER & HIS DIXIE SYNCOPATORS (as Savannah Syncopators): Deep Henderson (E– to V++)

Chicago: April 21, 1926
Brunswick 3245 (Vocalion mx. E 2892)
Originally allocated mx. C 196. This pressing shows the assigned Vocalion mx. number. A Brunswick mx. number (E19679), assigned on July 3, 1926, appears on later pressings.

.

CLARENCE WILLIAMS’ JAZZ KINGS: The Keyboard Express (EE–)

New York: August 1, 1928
Columbia 14348-D (mx. W 146825 – 3)

.

CLARENCE WILLIAMS’ JAZZ KINGS (Williams, speech and vocal): Walk That Broad (E)

New York: August 1, 1928
Columbia 14348-D (mx. W 146826 – 3)

.

CHICAGO RHYTHM KINGS: I’ve Found a New Baby (E–)

Chicago: April 6, 1928
Brunswick 4001 (mx. C 1886 – A)

.

CHICAGO RHYTHM KINGS (Red McKenzie, vocal):
There’ll Be Some Changes Made
(EE–)

Chicago: April 6, 1928
Brunswick 4001 (mx. C 1885 – A)
.

Collector’s Corner (Free MP3s) • Some January Jazz Additions — Piron’s New Orleans Orchestra, Mound City Blue Blowers, Jelly Roll Morton, Tiny Parham’s Musicians

Collector’s Corner (Free MP3s) • Some January Jazz Additions — Piron’s New Orleans Orchestra, Mound City Blue Blowers, Jelly Roll Morton, Tiny Parham’s Musicians

.

A few more additions to the jazz collection for the new year. For the discographically minded, it’s worth noting that alternate takes survive of these Morton and Parham titles (RCA eventually issued the Mortons on an original-stamper Victor 78 in the early 1940s, and the Parhams on a superbly engineered “X” Vault Originals LP in the early 1950s).

As sometimes happens with Victor jazz recordings of this period, for reasons yet to be discovered, some takes selected for original release contain noticeable performance errors — including some quite glaring ones, as you’ll hear midway through “Seattle Hunch” — that don’t occur on the corresponding alternates. At a later date, we’ll be posting some side-by-side MP3 comparisons of “mastered” vs. “held” Victor takes, in which that pattern becomes obvious. In the meantime, enjoy the original “approved” versions, the occasional warts and all.

.

.

ARMAND J. PIRON’S NEW ORLEANS ORCHESTRA:
Mamma’s Gone, Goodbye
(EE+)

New York: December 11, 1923
Victor 19233 (mx. B 29121 – 3)
Released February 4, 1924, and deleted in 1926. Personnel given in Rust’s Jazz Records and similar works are anecdotal (no source cited; not original Victor file data, other than the notation that Piron is directing).

.

MOUND CITY BLUE BLOWERS: Gettin’ Told (E–)

New York: February 9, 1925
Brunswick 2849
Three takes were recorded (mxs. 14872, 14873, and 14874), but neither the recording ledgers nor the pressing indicate which was used. Guitarist Eddie Lang (misspelled “Lange” on the label composer credits) is present.

.

TINY PARHAM & HIS MUSICIANS: The Head Hunter’s Dream (An African Fantasy) (E–)

Chicago (Victor Laboratory): July 2, 1928
Victor 21553 (mx. BVE 46037 – 2)

.

TINY PARHAM & HIS MUSICIANS: Cuckoo Blues (EE–)

Chicago (Victor Laboratory): July 2, 1928
Victor 21553 (mx. BVE 46041 – 2)
Released September 21, 1928, and deleted in 1931. Personnel given in Rust’s Jazz Records and similar works are anecdotal (no source cited; not original Victor file data).

.

JELLY ROLL MORTON: Seattle Hunch (EE-)

Camden, NJ: July 8, 1929
Victor V-38527 (mx. BVE 49449 – 1)

.

JELLY ROLL MORTON: Freakish (EE-)

Camden, NJ: July 8, 1929
Victor V-38527 (mx. BVE 49451 – 2)
Released September 6, 1929.

The Mitchell Brothers (John & Bill Mitchell) • Newspaper Highlights (1915–1939)

The Mitchell Brothers (John & Bill Mitchell)
Newspaper Highlights (1915–1939)

.

Although remembered primarily as members of Carson Robison’s synthetic-cowboy band in the 1930s, that was John and Bill Mitchell’s second act. Their first show-business career had begun much earlier, as a novelty banjo-and-vocal act. They were performing professionally by the time they were in prep school, honed their skills with the University of Washington’s “Pain Killer” Banjo Band in the late ’teens, and by the early 1920s were traveling the vaudeville circuits. By the time Robison tapped the brothers for his Bucakroos in 1932, they had retired from the stage and were running an oil-burner business, but Robison finally persuaded them to join his new band by dangling a trip to England as an incentive.

The Mitchells’ first recording session was brokered by California Ramblers manager Ed Kirkeby, who at that time was still managing other artists as well as his own band. It was held for Pathé on April 26, 1923, according to Kirkeby’s files, and the resulting sides — “Blue Hoosier Blues” and “Banjo Blues” (issued simultaneously on Pathé 021002 and Perfect 11123) — were inexplicably issued under the alias, “McGavock & Tillman” (and later, disguised as “Harper & Coralie” for a Cameo reissue).

In late 1924, the Mitchells signed with Victor and recorded several sides acoustically over a couple of months. Unfortunately, the records were released in February 1925, just as the company was upgrading to electrical recording, and they were deleted when much of the acoustic catalog was purged in 1926. They returned to Victor in October of that year for a final side.

.

.

Capsule biography of the Mitchell Brothers (Kenosha [WI] Evening News, January 26, 1927)

.

.

One of the earliest ads for the Mitchell Brothers (Hot Springs, Arkansas, April 1915), while they were still prep-school students.

.

.

John and Bill Mitchell (left) as members of the University of Washington “Pain Killer” Banjo Band, Decemeber 1919.

.

.

Playing the Liberty in Spokane, Washington, May 1921 (top) and September 1922.

.

.

Seattle, June 1921

.

.

Announcement of the Mitchell Brothers’ first record to be issued under their own name (Victor 19531), January 1925. The recordings were made in New York on November 26, 1924.

.

.

Nashville, July 1926

.

.

The Mitchell Brothers with Carson Robison’s make-believe cowboy band (variously billed as the Pioneers or the Buckaroos), March 1934. Pearl Pickens, who had attended Julliard, and was Bill Mitchell’s wife.

.

 

A 1939 Screen and Radio Weekly account of the Buckaroos’ formation. Note the reference to college graduates John and Bill Mitchell as “a couple of cowhands,” typical of the shtick that went along with synthetic country-and-western groups like Robison’s.    

________________

.

MITCHELL BROTHERS: Nobody Knows What a Redhead Mama Can Do

New York: January 9, 1925
Victor 19561 (mx. B 31599 – 2)

.

MITCHELL BROTHERS: Popular Medley (Linger While; Doo Wacka Doo; Eliza; Doodle Doo Doo)

New York: January 9, 1925
Victor 19561 (mx. B 31598 – 4)

John Mitchell (tenor vocal, banjo); Bill Mitchell (baritone vocal, banjo)

_____________________

We still have some copies of American Record Labels & Producers 1888-1950 (winner of the 2019 ARSC Award for Excellence), but stocks are running low on this special limited edition. Order soon to ensure delivery in time for Christmas!

 

Collector’s Corner • Matson’s Creole Serenaders on Edison (and Documented Personnel)

Collector’s Corner • Matson’s Creole Serenaders on Edison (and Documented Personnel)

 

Some surprising luck this week — both of the Matson’s Creole Serenaders Edisons found a new home here within a few days of each other (one in lovely shape, the other having led a little harder life, but still perfectly serviceable).

Both copies use the scarcer takes. “I Just Want a Daddy” is the rarer issue of the two, having been “red-starred” — Edison’s signal to dealers that the record was not expected to sell very well and therefore should be ordered only sparingly. A sales genius, Edison was not.

.

.

CHARLES A. MATSON’S CREOLE SERENADERS: I Just Want a Daddy (I Can Call My Own)  (V++)

New York: July 30, 1923
Edison 51224 (mx. 9105 – C)

.

CHARLES A. MATSON’S CREOLE SERENADERS: ’T’ain’t Nobody’s Biz-Ness If I Do (intro: Aching Hearted Blues)  (EE–)

New York: July 30, 1923
Edison 51222 (mx. 9104 – A)

.

This group has flummoxed collectors and discographers for decades. Various writers have suggested Freddie Keppard as the cornetist, or Armand Piron’s New Orleans Orchestra in disguise, along with more far-fetched guesses. Now, thanks to some first-class sleuthing reported on the grammophon-platten.de website, we have a credible answer as to who actually plays on these sides — and it sure isn’t Keppard, or anyone else you’re likely to have heard of, with one exception.

Based on newspaper clippings from April and June 1923, as displayed on the grammophon-platten site, this group consists of:

.

Thomas E. Hillery (cornet); Levi Bush (trombone); Carlos Daugherty (clarinet, saxophone); Charles O. Moseley (saxophone); William Escoffery (banjo); William (Bill) Benford (tuba); Curtis Moseley (percussion). (Julian Arthur was listed as a violinist, but a violin isn’t audible on these recordings.)

.

Of course, these clipping don’t tell us who actually was present in the Edison studio. But given the consistency between the April and June reports, and the proximity of the latter to the July session, they’re probably the best evidence we’re going to get — and certainly more to be trusted than the guesswork that’s surrounded this band for so many years.

Hillery — the principal person of interest in this band — was born in Baltimore, where he trained and apparently spent much of his time. Until this discovery, he was a cipher to historians and discographers, although he seems to have been highly regarded in his hometown. Bush and Daugherty were also active in Baltimore in the 1920s, and Escoffery was a native of nearby Washington, DC.

Hillery’s obituary (he died in 1928, at age 28), biographical material on the other band members, and all the other supporting evidence can be viewed on the Charles Matson bio page at grammophon-platten — a beautiful piece of research, and highly recommended, as is the entire site.

 .

Collector’s Corner • Some November 2019 Additions — Lucille Hegamin, Lottie Beaman, Five Harmaniacs, Louis Armstrong with Luis Russell, Jimmie Davis, Speckled Red, Feodor Chaliapin

Collector’s Corner • Some November 2019 Additions
Lucille Hegamin, Lottie Beaman, Five Harmaniacs, Louis Armstrong with Luis Russell, Jimmie Davis, Speckled Red, Feodor Chaliapin

.

Eclectic’s the word for our November additions to the collection — Enjoy!

.

.

LUCILLE HEGAMIN & HER BLUE FLAME SYNCOPATORS: You’ll Want My Love  (EE– )

New York (probably New York Recording Laboratories): Released June 1921
Arto 9063 (no visible mx. number)

Hegamin never produced another hit to rival “Arkansas Blues,” and her sales seemed to decline with each subsequent Arto release, if the number if surviving copies is any indication. Based on aural and physical characteristics, this master was recorded by NYRL (Paramount), one of at least a half-dozen studios from which Arto commissioned its masters, per data in Ed Kirkeby’s 1921–1923 logs; for details, see American Record Company and Producers, 1888–1950.

.

LOTTIE BEAMAN: Honey Blues  (V+, with worn label)

Chicago (probably Rodeheaver Recording Laboratories): c. February 1924
Paramount 12201 (mx. 1695 – 1)
Accompanied by Miles and Milas Pruitt, as The Pruett Twins (sic).

This seems an opportune spot to debunk the old tale that Marsh Laboratories recorded Paramount’s acoustic Chicago masters (the problem being, the best Marsh researchers have never found any evidence that Marsh made acoustic recordings). Paramount house pianist and session arranger Lovie Austin recalled in a 1950 interview that these sessions actually were held in Homer Rodeheaver’s studio (a for-hire operation that at one point employed Vocalion’s former recording engineer), and aural characteristics support her recollection. See ARCP for more details.

.

FIVE HARMANIACS: What Makes My Baby Cry?  (E)

New York: February 8, 1927
Victor 20507 (mx. BVE 37750 – 2)
Walter Howard (speaking); no other personnel listed in the Victor files

.

FIVE HARMANIACS: It Takes a Good Woman (To Keep a Good Man at Home)  (EE–)

New York: February 8, 1927
Victor 20507 (mx. BVE 37750 – 2)
No personnel listed in the Victor files

Headed by Texas entertainer Claude Shugart, the Five Harmaniacs defy easy categorization. They started out singing cowboy ballads in a vaudeville act titled “Round-Up Tunes,” but in 1926 they headed off in a new direction that caught the attention of the record companies. Now billing themselves as  “A Genuine Musical Novelty,” they began featuring  jazz- and blues-inflected tunes in a style inspired by southern jug and skiffle bands (Brunswick even released two of their titles in its race-record series). But they continued to wear their cowboy outfits on national tours, and sometimes reverted to their original repertoire when playing in and around Texas.

.

LUIS RUSSELL’S ORCHESTRA with LOUIS ARMSTRONG (as LOUIS ARMSTRONG & HIS ORCHESTRA): Rockin’ Chair  (E– to V+)

New York:  December 13, 1929
Okeh 8756  (mx. W 403496 – C)
Louis Armstrong (vocal); Hoagy Carmichael (speaking)

In December 1929, Armstrong began fronting Luis Russell’s New York band. After touring the mid-Atlantic region, Armstrong and the Russell band made a triumphant return to Chicago in February 1930, where The Chicago Defender reported, “such an ovation as was given him has not been seen in these parts for a long time.” The unfortunate inclusion here of Hoagy Carmichael (uncredited on the labels, but confirmed in the recording files) was a record-company gimmick, the beginning of a drive to move Armstrong and his records into the mainstream.

.

RUFUS PERRYMAN (as SPECKLED RED): Do the Georgia  (E)

Aurora, Illinois (Leland Hotel): December 17, 1938
Bluebird B-7985 (mx. BS 030840 – 1)
Rufus Perryman (vocal, piano); Robert Lee McCoy (guitar); Willie Hatcher (mandolin)

The curious choice of Aurora, Illinois, as an RCA recording location was made in 1937, after the Chicago chapter of the American Federation of Musicians targeted the company for making substandard payments to its race-record artists. Rather than pay decently, RCA moved just beyond the reach of the Chicago local. The company slipped back into Chicago in 1939, only to be threatened with revocation of its AFM recording license if it didn’t begin paying union scale.

.

JIMMIE DAVIS: Bear Cat Mama from Horner’s Corners  (V++)

Memphis Auditorium: November 29, 1930
Montgomery Ward M-4283 (Victor mx. BVE 64760 – 2)

1934 original-stamper reissue of Victor 23517. The guitarists are unlisted in the Victor ledger. Tony Russell’s Country Music Records suggests Oscar Woods (guitar) and Ed Schaffer (steel guitar), which if correct, would make this one of the very few racially integrated country-music recordings of the period. Davis went on to make his name with a more sappy sort of country music that included his own “You Are My Sunshine,” the enormous popularity of which helped propel him to the governorship of Louisiana in 1944.

.

FEODOR CHALIAPIN & FLORENCE AUSTRAL: Faust – Church Scene (complete in two parts)  (E)

Hayes, Middlesex, England: October 26, 1925
His Master’s Voice D.B.899 (mxs. Cc 7067- 2 / Cc 7075 – 1)
Albert Coates, conductor

From Chaliapin’s first electrical recording session. This was his second issued recording of the Church Scene, the first having been made in Moscow in 1910 with soprano Maria Michailowa.

.

Collector’s Corner (Free MP3 Downloads) • Some August–September 2019 Finds: Nat M. Wills, Fanny Brice, California Ramblers, King Oliver, Paul Howard, Bennie Moten

Collector’s Corner (Free MP3 Downloads)
Some August–September 2019 Finds: Nat M. Wills, Fanny Brice, California Ramblers, King Oliver, Paul Howard, Bennie Moten

.

.

NAT M. WILLS: If a Table at Rector’s Could Talk (from Ziegfeld’s
Follies of 1913
(E)

Camden, NJ: September 22, 1913
Victor 17461 (mx. B 13840 – 1)
Orchestra directed by Frank N. Darling (director of the Follies pit orchestra), per the Victor files. Brian Rust’s Complete [sic] Entertainment Discography erroneously lists this as a New York session under the direction Walter B. Rogers.

.

FANNY BRICE: [The] Sheik of Avenue B  (E)

Camden, NJ: July 14, 1922
Victor 45323 (mx. B 26800 – 2)
Studio orchestra directed by Rosario Bourdon, per the Victor files.

.

CALIFORNIA RAMBLERS (as Palace Garden Orchestra):
After You’re [sic] Gone
  (E)

New York: June 24, 1927
Pathé 36653 (mx. 107644 – )
Personnel per manager Ed Kirkeby’s log: Chelsea Quealey (trumpet); Bobby Davis, Sam Ruby (clarinet, saxophones); Adrian Rollini (bass saxophone, goofus); Jack Rusin (piano); Tommy Felline (banjo); Herb Weil (percussion); unlisted (whistling). Rust’s Jazz Records erroneously lists Max Farley rather than Sam Ruby.

.

KING OLIVER & HIS DIXIE SYNCOPATORS (as Savannah Syncopators): Wa Wa Wa  (E–)

Chicago: May 29, 1926
Brunswick 3373 (Vocalion mx. E 3181)
Subsequently assigned Brunswick mx. E 20637, but this pressing shows the Vocalion mx. number, in the usual truncated form. Personnel listed in Rust’s Jazz Records and similar works are undocumented (no source cited; not Brunswick-Vocalion file data).

.

BENNIE MOTEN’S KANSAS CITY ORCHESTRA: Band Box Shuffle  (E+)

Chicago: October 23, 1929
Bluebird B-6710 (mx. 57303 – 1R, transcribed from
mx. BVE 57303 – 2 on January 4, 1937)
Dubbed reissue of Victor 23007; Rust’s Jazz Records erroneously shows both sides of Bluebird B-6710 as using the original (undubbed) masters. Personnel listed in Jazz Records and similar works are undocumented (no source cited, and no personnel listed in the Victor files, other than Moten, director; and William [Count] Basie, piano).

.

PAUL HOWARD’S QUALITY SERENADERS: Quality Shout  (V++)

Culver City, CA (Hal Roach Studios): April 29, 1929
Victor V-38122 (mx. PBVE 50831 – 5)
Personnel listed in Rust’s Jazz Records and similar works are undocumented (no source cited; not Victor file data).

.

PAUL HOWARD’S QUALITY SERENADERS (Lionel Hampton, vocal): Stuff  (V++)

Culver City, CA (Hal Roach Studios): April 29, 1929
Victor V-38122 (mx. PBVE 50877 – 1)
Personnel listed in Rust’s Jazz Records and similar works are undocumented (no source cited; no personnel listed in the Victor files, other than Hampton).

___________________

Always looking to buy collector-grade 1920s and early 1930s jazz and blues 78s that we need, at fair collectors’ prices. True E– or better preferred, strong V+ may be acceptable for some scarcer items; but nothing lower, except for extreme rarities. We welcome lists of accurately, honestly graded disposables (VJM scale) with all defects, including label damage and any surface grain, noted, along with your asking prices. Act soon, before the coming recession (bet on it; the financial experts are) drives prices down, as happened during the Bush Economic Collapse — Oh, the great stuff  that came out of hiding at near fire-sale prices during those years!

.

Samantha Bumgarner: Newspaper Highlights (1924 – 1960)

Samantha Bumgarner: Newspaper Highlights
(1924 – 1960)

.

North Carolina native Samantha Bumgarner inspired Pete Seeger to take up the banjo, performed for British royalty, and (with Eva Davis) was the first female country music performer to make records.

.

.

The team of Bumgarner and Davis cut five titles in Columbia’s New York studio on April 22, 1924, three of which were released. Bumgarner returned to the studio the following day, without Davis, to record seven more titles, five of which were released.

Bumgarner’s records appear to have sold reasonably well throughout the Appalachian region; we’ve found copies as far north as the South Mountain area in Pennsylvania, and as far west as the Alleghenies in West Virginia. But Bumgarner failed to attract a national following, and Columbia did not invite her or Davis back.

However, Bumgarner would remain active in the Asheville, North Carolina, area for several decades. Beginning in 1928 she was a star attraction at the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, an annual Asheville event founded and managed by folklorist/performer Bascom Lamar Lunsford. Pete Seeger, who heard Bumgarner perform there in the mid-1930s, claimed her as his inspiration for taking up the five-string string banjo.

In June 1939, Lunsford took Bumgarner to perform for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at a White House concert staged by the WPA, which featured such diverse talent as Marian Anderson, Kate Smith, Josh White, the Golden Gate Quartet, and the Coon Creek Girls. Bumgarner continued to perform into the late 1950s.

.

Asheville, North Carolina (July 1924). The caption is reversed; Bumgarner is on the right.

.

August 1940

.Bumgarner (with Bill McCanlass, top) performing at the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville (August 1942)

.

At the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival (Asheville,
September 1949)

.

Asheville (March 1960)

.

December 25, 1960

_________________

April 23, 1924, was a busy date at the Columbia studio, with Bumgarner recording in the morning, followed that afternoon by  Bessie and Clara Smith. Here are two historic sides from that day:

.

.

SAMANTHA BUMGARNER: Fly Around, My Pretty Little Miss

New York: April 23, 1924
Columbia 146-D (mx. 81716 – 1)

.

SAMANTHA BUMGARNER: Georgia Blues

New York: April 23, 1924
Columbia 166-D (mx. 81719 – 1)

 

 

Murray K. Hill: Newspaper Highlights (1901 – 1942)

Murray K. Hill: Newspaper Highlights (1901 – 1942)

 

Joseph T. Pope got his start in show business performing “blackface” routines in small-time minstrel shows. By the early 1900s, he had set out on his own, under the name of Murray K. Hill. (The spelling varied between “Murry” and “Murray” on record labels and in ads and newspaper stories; “Murray” appears to have been the more common spelling, and it was used in his obituaries.)

Although Hill continued to occasionally appear in blackface into the early 1900s, he was much better-known for his topical songs and rapid-fire comic monologues. Attired in tails and an old-fashioned top hat, he specialized in satirizing current events and mangling American history. He wrote his own material, boasting that he operated a “song and story factory.” “The Last Survivor,” a popular vaudeville act introduced in 1908, was based on his early minstrel-show experiences.

Hill traveled widely on the Sullivan & Considine vaudeville circuit in the U.S. and Canada, but his style became increasingly outdated in the ‘teens and early ‘twenties. After making his last nationally advertised tour in 1922, he settled down with his family in Chicago, but still occasionally performed in the Midwest into the 1930s.

.

Dayton, Ohio (August 1901)

.

Hill recalls his experiences during the Evansville race riots
(October 1906).

.

“The Last Survivor,” August 1908: Los Angeles (top), and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (bottom)


Butte, Montana (July 1908)

.

Los Angeles (August 1910)

.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (June 1910)

.

Wichita, Kansas (October 1911)

.

 

The San Francisco Call (January 27, 1913)

.

Fort Wayne, Indiana (January 1915)

.

Wichita, Kansas (January 1915)

.

Chicago (October 23, 1942)

 

_______________

Hill recorded prolifically from the spring of 1907 through the spring of 1911, for Columbia, Edison, Indestructible, U-S Everlasting, Victor, and Zonophone (a final Edison cylinder release, in 1914, probably was from an earlier, previously withheld master).  Here’s a small sampling:

.

MURRAY K. HILL: A Bunch of Nonsense

Camden, NJ: November 10, 1909
Victor 16446 (mx. B 8320 – )
Introducing “The Last Survivor” and “In the Good Old Steamboat Days”

.

MURRAY K. HILL: The Tale of the Cheese

Camden, NJ: November 10, 1909
Victor 35093 (mx. C8356 – 3)

.

MURRAY K. HILL: A String of Laughs

New York: Listed April 1909
Edison Amberol 101 (cylinder)
Introducing “Don’t” and “Four-Hundred Nursery Rhymes Brought Up to Date”

.

MURRAY K. HILL: Don’t Go Up in That Big Balloon, Dad

New York: Listed April 1910
Edison Gold Moulded 10375 (cylinder)

.

Collector’s Corner • Some June 2019 Finds (Free MP3 Downloads)

 

.

BESSIE SMITH: Sorrowful Blues  (V++)

New York: April 4, 1924
Columbia 14020-D (mx. 81664 – 1)
Robert Robbins (violin); John Griffin (guitar)

.

TOM DARRBY & JIMMIE TARLTON: Heavy-Hearted Blues  (E-)

Atlanta: October 31, 1928
Columbia 15330-D (mx. W 147369 – 1)

.

JELLY ROLL MORTON’S RED HOT PEPPERS: Dead Man Blues  (EE-)

Chicago (Webster Hotel): September 21, 1926
Victor 20252 (mx. BVE 36284 – 1)

.

THE COTTON PICKERS (Hoagy Carmichael & Scrappy Lambert, vocal): Rampart Street Blues  (E)

New York: March 27, 1929
Brunswick 4325 (mx. E 2953½ – A)

.

JULIA LEE with GEORGE E. LEE’S WONDER SINGING ORCHESTRA:
He’s Tall, Dark and Handsome
  (E-)

Kansas City: November 1929
Brunswick 4761 (mx. KC 602 – )
Take not shown on disc or in Brunswick files
­

.

MILLS BLUE RHYTHM BAND: Dancing Dogs (E-)

New York: December 5, 1934
Columbia 3044-D (mx. CO 16273 – 1)

.

Clarence Williams: Newspaper Highlights (1922 – 1965)

Clarence Williams: Newspaper Highlights (1922 – 1965)

.

Advertisement for Clarence Williams’ first record, on the C&S label (1922). The C&S Phonograph Record Company was a short-lived venture of Thomas Chappelle and Juanita Stinnette Chappelle, who encouraged Williams to marry singer Eva Taylor.

.

With Sara Martin, one of Okeh’s early race-series stars
(June 1923)

.

With wife Eva Taylor (July 1923)

.

“Papa De-Da-Da” was among the Blue Five sides featuring
Louis Armstrong. (July 1925)

.

A vocal release by Williams and Clarence Todd, here misspelled “Dood.” Todd, along with Eva Taylor, was a member of the Clarence Williams Trio, which broadcast regularly for several years. (July 1925)

.

Williams was Okeh’s New York studio workhorse in the mid-1920s. Here, his Blue Five accompany a young Sippie Wallace. (August 1925)

.

New York (June 1926)

.

Williams’ ill-fated Bottomland opened on June 27, 1927, and closed after only nineteen performances.

.

New York Age (January 3, 1953). Member of the Clarence Williams Trio pictured above are (left to right) are Williams, Eva Taylor, and Clarence Todd.

.

.

Working the New York clubs (1951 and 1955)

.

.     New York (November 9, 1965)

_______________

And a sampling from Williams’ tremendous recorded output:

 

CLARENCE WILLIAMS’ ORCHESTRA: Jingles

New York: October 1927
Paramount 12587 (mx. 2882 – 2)
Featuring Coleman Hawkins, on loan from Fletcher Henderson’s Orchestra

.

CLARENCE WILLIAMS & HIS BOTTOMLAND ORCHESTRA:
Slow River (export version)

New York: June 7, 1927
Brunswick (German) A-457 (mx. E 23502)
The standard version (mx. E 23500) includes vocal chorus by Evelyn Thompson (Preer).

.

CLARENCE WILLIAMS’ WASHBOARD FIVE (Williams, vocal):
Walk That Broad

New York: September 26, 1928
Okeh 8629 (mx. W 40115 – A)

.

CLARENCE WILLIAMS’ JAZZ KINGS: The Keyboard Express

New York: August 1, 1928
Columbia 14348-D (mx. W 146825 – 3)

.

CLARENCE WILLIAMS & HIS ORCHESTRA (as Memphis Jazzers): Close Fit Blues

New York: March 1929
Van Dyke 7801 (Grey Gull mx. 3394 – B)

Riley Puckett, Gid Tanner, and The Skillet Lickers: Newspaper Highlights (1915 – 1951)

Riley Puckett, Gid Tanner, and The Skillet Lickers:
Newspaper Highlights (1915 – 1951)

.

Among the first superstars of real country music (as opposed to the synthetic stuff cranked out by the likes of Vernon Dalhart), Riley Puckett and Gid Tanner worked their way up from humble beginnings in Georgia — Puckett performing for spare change on the streets of Atlanta, and Tanner competing at the “old-time fiddlers’ conventions” that were so popular at the time. Here’s a glimpse of their stories, from newspaper clippings of the period:

.

Riley Puckett appeals for aid (Atlanta Constitution,
October 22, 1915)

.

One of the earliest mentions of Gid Tanner, getting ready to perform at the spring convention of the Georgia Old-Time Fiddlers’ Association
(January 17, 1915)

.

Another early mention of Tanner (Atlanta, April 1916)

.

Hillbilly hubris (February 1919)

.

Gainesville, Georgia (July 1924). The Skillet Lickers had yet to be formed at this point, leaving the makeup of Tanner’s Famous Orchestra an intriguing mystery.

.

Columbia’s first full-page ad for Tanner and Puckett (May 1924), pre-dating formation of the Skillet Lickers

,

Montgomery, Alabama, with Puckett misidentified as a fiddler
(April 1927)

.

Greenville, South Carolina (May 1928)

.

Centreville, Alabama (July 1928)

.

Election night before the advent of television. Note the mention of Puckett also playing piano. (Alexander City, Alabama,
November 1, 1928)

.

Ashville, Alabama (November 21, 1929). Note the absence of fiddler Clayton McMichen and the substitution of Claude Davis for Riley Puckett.

.

At the movies: The Skillet Lickers share a bill with “Working Girls”
(Chillicothe, Ohio, December 1931)

.

Puckett, Tanner, and friends on Bluebird records
(November 1934)

One of the last ads for the Skillet Lickers, with only Tanner remaining from the original group (Jasper, Alabama, April 1951)

 

_________________

.

And a few favorites from their vast output:

.

 

GID TANNER & HIS SKILLET LICKERS
(Riley Puckett, lead vocal): Dixie

Atlanta: March 29, 1927
Columbia 15158-D (mx. W 143795 – 2)

.

 

GID TANNER & HIS SKILLET LICKERS (Riley Puckett, vocal):
Alabama Jubilee

Atlanta: April 17, 1926
Columbia 15104-D (mx. W 142037 – 2)

.

 

 

GID TANNER & HIS SKILLET LICKERS (Gid Tanner, vocal):
Soldier’s Joy

San Antonio (Texas Hotel): March 30, 1935
Bluebird B-5658 (mx. BVE 82722 – 1)

.

 

GID TANNER & HIS SKILLET LICKERS (Ted Hawkins, mandolin):
Hawkins’ Rag

San Antonio (Texas Hotel): March 29, 1934
Bluebird B-5435 (mx. BVE 82677 – 1)

.

 

CLAYTON McMICHEN, RILEY PUCKETT, GID TANNER, LOWE STOKES, FATE NORRIS, BOB NICHOLS & BILL BROWN:
A Corn Licker Still in Georgia — Part 4

Atlanta: April 12, 1928
Columbia 15258-D (mx. W  140322 – 2)
Bill Brown (playing the hapless visitor on this side) was a manager in Columbia’s Atlanta office. This was not a pseudonym for Harry C. Browne, as columnist Jim Walsh once claimed.

.

 

GID TANNER (vocal with own banjo): You’ve Got to Stop Drinking Shine

Atlanta: December 6, 1930
Columbia 15716-D (mx. W 151062 – 1)

.

Jabbo Smith: Newspaper Highlights (1929 – 1991)

Jabbo Smith: Newspaper Highlights (1929 – 1991)

.

The Rhythm Aces records were a musical triumph, but a
sales bust (Chicago Defender, August 1929)

.

A battle of the bands in Lansing, Michigan, August 1929. Particularly interesting is the note in the newspaper story concerning Smith’s full eleven-piece orchestra, which is not known to have recorded. The “famous quintet known as ‘Four Aces and a Joker'” mentioned in the article was the small unit that made the Brunswick recordings.

.

Jabbo Smith after his move to the Midwest, playing in Racine, Wisconsin
(top, May 1932) and Sheboygan, Wisconsin (bottom, May 1933).

.

Jabbo Smith performs to save to home (January 1977). The benefit raised only $700 of the $10,000 he needed, but the concert marked the beginning of a remarkable comeback.

.

Hobnobbing with Benny Goodman (February 1980) and
Dizzy Gillespie (November 1979)

.

Jabbo in California: Los Angeles (top, December 1980)
and San Francisco (August 1981)

.

New York (January 19, 1991)

.

And a couple of masterpieces from the Rhythm Aces series —  Personnel, as given by Jabbo Smith to researcher Dick Spottswood in 1966 (and bearing little resemblance to the undocumented, apparently fabricated listings in Rust’s Jazz Records and derivative works), are: Smith (trumpet), Willard Brown (reeds), Earl Frazer (piano), Ikey Robinson (banjo), Lawson Buford (brass bass):

.

.

.

 

JABBO SMITH & HIS RHYTHM ACES – “Four Aces and the Joker”
(Jabbo Smith, vocal): Decatur Street Tutti

Chicago: April 4, 1929
Brunswick 7078 (mx. C 3233 – A)

.

 

JABBO SMITH & HIS RHYTHM ACES – “Four Aces and the Joker”:
Band Box Stomp

Chicago: August 22, 1929
Brunswick 7111 (mx. C 4100 – A)

.

Collectors’ Corner (Free MP3’s) • April 2019 – Three Recent Fletcher Henderson Finds

Three stand-out items from a big stack of Plaza-group labels we found at a recent Colorado estate sale. “Feeling,” from the pre-Armstrong period, is a much livelier version than the Vocalion. The two Orioles are Louis Armstrong items; Oriole was strictly a mid-Atlantic label at the time and early releases rarely turn up out here, so these were a real surprise. “How Come” is still fairly easy to find on the various Plaza labels, but “Naughty Man” is scarce (especially in decent condition), having been issued only on Oriole. Columbia’s very similar version of “Naughty Man” is much easier to find, although a trifle sluggish compared with the Oriole.

.

.

.

FLETCHER HENDERSON’S DANCE ORCHESTRA: Feeling the Way I Do
(E- to V++)

New York (Independent Recording Laboratory): c. May 6, 1924
Regal 9568 (mx. 5497 – 1)

.

FLETCHER HENDERSON & HIS ORCHESTRA (as Sam Hill & his Orchestra): How Come You Do Me Like You Do?  (E-)

New York (Independent Recording Laboratory): c. November 17, 1924
Oriole 304 (mx. 5728 – 2 / Oriole ctl. 2110)

.

SORRY – We originally posted the Columbia version due to a mislabeled MP3 file. Here’s the correct Oriole version:

FLETCHER HENDERSON & HIS ORCHESTRA (as Sam Hill & his Orchestra): Naughty Man  (E-)

New York (Independent Recording Laboratory): c. November 24, 1924
Oriole 437 (mx. 5749 – 3, as 35749 on label)

Note: Oriole is the only confirmed form of original issue.

_________

There’s much more on Henderson and other early Harlem bands in the works — check back regularly!

 

Fletcher Henderson’s Satellite Bands (1924 – 1929)

Fletcher Henderson’s Satellite Bands (1924 – 1929)
By Allan Sutton

 

 

One aspect of Fletcher Henderson’s career that’s been generally overlooked by most of his biographers is his use of “satellite” bands — those second-string groups that busy bandleaders dispatched  under their names to tour the boondocks or play low-prestige events like college and civic-group dances. This was a common practice in the 1920s, known to have been engaged in by Harry A. Yerkes*, Ed Kirkeby, and other popular band leaders and managers.

The first mention of a suspected Henderson satellite band appeared in March 1925. Henderson’s Rainbow Orchestra, it was reported, was a new unit that would “bid for popular favor against Mr. Henderson’s original Roseland Orchestra.”

.

An early mention of Henderson’s Rainbow Orchestra (March 1925)

.

Whether Henderson’s Rainbow Orchestra was a separate unit, as the article suggests, or perhaps just a small group drawn from the main band, remains unclear. No recordings credited to Fletcher Henderson’s Rainbow Orchestra are known. The name (sometimes spelled “Rainbo”) appeared in newspaper ads off-and-on for a few months, mostly in connection with a touring band that played the smaller cities in Pennsylvania and central New York state.

There is far more certainty surrounding Fletcher Henderson’s Collegians. This appears to have been a group of younger musicians who were employed primarily as a touring band. The name first appeared in the autumn of 1925, with one advertisement describing the group as “A Fletcher Henderson unit of young colored boys full of ‘pep.’”

.

Altoona, Pennsylvania (October 2, 1925)

.

Based on strong circumstantial and aural evidence, it seems virtually certain that the Collegians were a Henderson satellite band. There are confirmed instances of the group appearing in far-flung locations on the same dates that Henderson’s main band is known to have been performing, recording, or broadcasting in New York city. The Plaza Music Company released three very un-Hendersonlike sides credited to Fletcher Henderson’s Collegians, and they can come as a bitter disappointment to unwary collectors. The mundane stock arrangements and total absence of Henderson’s own readily recognizable soloists strongly suggest that these recordings were the work of a band that was his in name only:

.

FLETCHER HENDERSON’S COLLEGIANS (Andy Razaf, vocal):
Dear, On a Night Like This

New York (Independent Recording Laboratory): November 26, 1927
Regal 8441  (mx. 7622 – 3)

.

Ads for Henderson’s Collegians vanished in early 1928. In the meantime, another apparent satellite band had surfaced — Fletcher Henderson’s Stompers (not to be confused with The Dixie Stompers, an alias that Columbia used to mask the actual Henderson band, or a small unit derived from it, on its low-priced Harmony and Velvet Tone labels). Ads for the Stompers began appearing in the autumn of 1927. An article from October of that year reported that Henderson’s brother Horace was directing the group:

.

Horace Henderson as director of Fletcher Henderson’s Stompers
(Pittsburgh, October 1927)

.

The Stompers’ itinerary is well documented in newspapers of the period. Like the Collegians, they are known to have been traveling on some dates when the main Henderson band was performing or recording in New York or Chicago. Occasional ads declaring that “Fletcher Henderson himself” would appear suggest that his presence with the group might have been something out of the ordinary. The Stompers spent the autumn of 1927 and early winter of 1928 crisscrossing Pennsylvania and parts of New York state. Aside from Pittsburgh, the band played mostly smaller cities and college towns.

.

Benny Carter as director of Fletcher Henderson’s Stompers (Mansfield, Ohio, September 1928). Several months later, Horace Henderson took over the Stompers name for his own band.

.

One Bennett Carter took over direction of the Stompers in the summer of 1928. Better known to modern listeners as saxophonist and arranger Benny Carter, he began working with  Fletcher Henderson’s main band later that year, playing a key role in reshaping what had become a rather slipshod outfit following Henderson’s late-August auto accident.

Horace Henderson subsequently appropriated the Stompers name for his own band, ads for which began running in early 1929. Occasional ads for Fletcher Henderson’s Stompers continued to appear into mid-1930, intermixed with a larger number for Horace Henderson’s Stompers, mostly involving one- or two-night stands in Pittsburgh and some smaller Pennsylvania cities.

____

* Not the same individual as Hulbert A. Yerkes, a Columbia records executive who went by the initials “H. A,” causing some writers to conflate the two.

 

© 2019 by Allan R. Sutton. All rights are reserved.

Collectors’ Corner (Free MP3’s) • Some Early April Finds: Charlie Segar, L. C. Williams, Claude Casey’s Pine State Playboys, Jelly Roll Morton, Seven Hot Air-Men

Collectors’ Corner (Free MP3’s) • Some Early April Finds:
Charlie Segar, L. C. Williams, Claude Casey’s Pine
State Playboys, Jelly Roll Morton,
Seven Hot Air-Men

.

Spring is bustin’ out all over, and so are the 78s. A few favorite finds from the last several weeks, a couple of them from dealers and the rest from lucky estate-sale and junk-shop finds:

.

SEVEN HOT AIR-MEN [ED KIRKEBY]: Lowdown Rhythm (E-)

New York: May 23, 1929
Columbia 1850-D (mx. W 148618 – 2)
Ed Kirkeby’s “hot” unit, after his California Ramblers went the big-band route. Personnel from the Kirkeby log: Phil Napoleon (trumpet); Carl Loeffler (trombone); Pete Pumiglio (reeds); Chauncey Gray (piano); Tommy Felline (guitar); Ward Lay (string bass); Stan King (percussion).

.

JELLY ROLL MORTON & HIS ORCHESTRA: Courthouse Bump (EE+)

Camden, NJ: July 9, 1929
Victor V-38093 (mx. BVE 49453 – 2)
Other than Morton, the personnel listed in Rust’s Jazz Records and derivative works are anecdotal (no source cited, and not original Victor file data). Note that personnel were added to some RCA documentation long after the fact, probably in conjunction with the Bluebird reissue program in the 1940s. They appear to have been taken from the none-too-reliable Charles Delauney discography and unfortunately are often mistaken for original Victor documentation, which lists only the instrumentation (not the players).

.

CHARLIE SEGAR: [Pine Top’s] Boogie Woogie (E)

Chicago: January 11, 1935
Decca 7075 (mx. C 9646 – A)

.

CHARLIE SEGAR: Cow Cow Blues (E)

Chicago: January 11, 1935
Decca 7075 (mx. C 9645 – A)

.

CLAUDE CASEY & HIS PINE STATE PLAYBOYS:
Pine State Honky Tonk
(
EE-)

Rock Hill, SC (Andrew Jackson Hotel): September 27, 1938
Bluebird B-7883 (mx. BS 027737 – 1)

.

L. C. WILLIAMS: You Never Miss The Water (E- to V++)

Houston (Bill Quinn studio): c. June 19, 1947
Gold Star unnumbered acetate
Issued commercially on Gold Star 614. For a detailed history of Bill Quinn’s studios and labels, along with more than 1200 other entries, check out American Record Companies and Producers, 1888–1950 (limited edition, available from Mainspring Press while supplies last).

_______________________

We pay top collector prices for records of this type (must be true,  non-grainy E- or better; V+ may be acceptable for rarer items). Why settle for dealer prices for your higher-end disposables? Let us know what you have, grade honestly and accurately with all defects noted (including any label damage), and state your best price.

.