Sunday, 23 September 2007

Stompin' At The Savoy





Side 1
1. Stompin' At The Savoy (Intro)/ Erroll Garner
2. T'Ain't What You Do / Little Esther
3. My Brown Frame Baby / H-Bomb Ferguson
4. Midnight Rambler / Sam 'The Man' Taylor
5. The Milkshake Stand / The Three Barons
6. Howling Winds / Big Joe Turner
7. Brown Gold / Art Pepper Quartet
8. Romance Without Finance / Tiny Grimes with Charlie Parker
9. Cupid's Boogie / Little Esther & Mel Walker
10. I Ain't Mad At You / Gatemouth Moore
11. All Nite Long / Johnny Otis

Side 2
1. Spinal / Fats Navarro & Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis
2. Ornithology / Babs Gonzales
3. The Birdland Story / Eddie Jefferson
4. Another Hair-Do / Charlie Parker & Miles Davis
5. The Jam Man / Slim Gaillard & Bam Brown
6. Sweet Man / Miss Rhapsody with Slam Stewart
7. Rock Me To Sleep / Helen Humes
8. Write Me A Letter / The Ravens
9. Rib Joint / Sam Price

This is the first music post on Be Bop Wino and it’s a fair representation of the kind of material I hope to post. It presents a mixture of R&B and jazz from the vaults of Savoy Records of Newark, New Jersey. There are also sides from National, another early independent record company which was taken over by Savoy.

Savoy was one of the first (founded in 1942) R&B indies and pioneered not only the new R&B music but also bebop - the new progressive form of jazz. In fact Savoy was the first indie record company to have a hit record on the 'Harlem Hit Parade' as the R&B chart was known at the time - 'Don't Stop Now' by the Bunny Banks Trio in January 1943. This was at a time when the major labels, especially Decca, had a virtual monopoly on the Race Charts. A year later not only Savoy, but other new indies such as Beacon and Exclusive were placing platters on the bestseller list.

These tracks have been ripped from a cassette which was given away free (via mail order) in the New Musical Express either in 1982 or the first half of 1983. At this time Ace and Charly had started their extensive reissue programmes. The Mr R&B group of labels were also issuing obscure and long-forgotten rhythm and blues records. The cassette was a sampler for a reissue programme of LPs of Savoy sides but somehow these albums always seemed to be harder to find than the Ace and Charly stuff.

The programming on the cassette (by Roy Carr and Neil Spencer) was a revelation as it ignored the genre boundaries and boldly mixed R&B and jazz. Somehow the two related but different kinds of music seemed to fit together well, perhaps because they came from the same time period. “Stompin’ At The Savoy” certainly opened my ears to the sound of bebop and related 1940s jazz. Before I heard this cassette I had confined my purchases of vintage music to jump, rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll. After hearing these tracks, my taste in 1940s and 1950s music broadened to encompass bebop, swing and hard bop.

I've included the liner notes in the upload as they are a good evocation of a time when many people were discovering this wonderful music. The list of record shops on the cover certainly came in handy for me as in the summer of 1983 I used it to search out shops such as Doug Dobell's, Rocks Off, Rhythm Records and of course Ted Carroll's legendary Rock On.

Ripped at 320 kbps from a free cassette, so don't expect the sound to be hi in the fi.

1. Stompin' At The Savoy (Intro)/ Erroll Garner
2. T'Ain't What You Do / Little Esther
3. My Brown Frame Baby / H-Bomb Ferguson
4. Midnight Rambler / Sam 'The Man' Taylor
5. The Milkshake Stand / The Three Barons
6. Howling Winds / Big Joe Turner
7. Brown Gold / Art Pepper Quartet
8. Romance Without Finance / Tiny Grimes with Charlie Parker
9. Cupid's Boogie / Little Esther & Mel Walker
10. I Ain't Mad At You / Gatemouth Moore
11. All Nite Long / Johnny Otis
12. Spinal / Fats Navarro & Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis
13. Ornithology / Babs Gonzales
14. The Birdland Story / Eddie Jefferson
15. Another Hair-Do / Charlie Parker & Miles Davis
16. The Jam Man / Slim Gaillard & Bam Brown
17. Sweet Man / Miss Rhapsody with Slam Stewart
18. Rock Me To Sleep / Helen Humes
19. Write Me A Letter / The Ravens
20. Rib Joint / Sam Price

I hope this humble offering serves as a starting point for a journey to the Nirvana of Perfect Hepness. Start your pilgrimage along the Highway of Cool by seeking out the recommended CDs below:


Still Stompin’ At The Savoy (Giant Steps Records GIST 003)


This CD version of “Stompin’ At The Savoy” was released in 2003, twenty years after the original cassette. The number of tracks was expanded to 23, with a few of the original tracks dropping out. There are extensive notes on each track by Roy Carr. Among the “new” tracks are “And The Angels Swing” by Stan Getz, “Mambo Boogie” and “Turkey Hop” by Johnny Otis, “Now’s The Time” by Charlie Parker, “Barbados” by Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll” by Wild Bill Moore and “The Hucklebuck” by Paul Williams. From the original cassette, tracks by Sam ‘The Man’ Taylor and Sam Price were dropped along with “Another Hair-Do” by Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. This CD is still available at a budget price and also as an mp3 download.

First Steps (Savoy Jazz SVY 17197)


This Billy Vera compilation of 1940s jazz sides from Savoy has only one track in common with “Still Stompin’ At The Savoy” – “And The Angels Swing” by Stan Getz. There are tracks by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Ike Quebec, Dexter Gordon, George Shearing, Leo Parker, Harold Land, etc. Issued in the US, and still available, it turned up in the UK at branches of Fopp at a ludicrously cheap price. It was just the ticket for those whose curiosity for 1940s jazz had been aroused by either the cassette or CD version of “Stompin’ At The Savoy.”

Black California Volume 2 (Savoy Jazz SV-0274)


A 1995 Japanese CD issue of one of the LPs trailed by the “Stompin’ At The Savoy” cassette. It’s probably impossible to find now, but keep searching those second hand record shops. It has 4 tracks by Slim Gaillard (including “The Jam Man”), 4 by Helen Humes (including “Rock Me To Sleep”), 4 by Kenny Clarke, “Wake Up Old Maid” by Russell Jacquet and 2 long jam session tracks – “Blow Blow Blow” by Wardell Gray and “What Is This Thing Called Love” by Wild Bill Moore and Gene Montgomery. The CD has 17 tracks whereas the original double LP set had 21 tracks.

Jumpin’ Like Mad – Cool Cats and Hip Chicks Non-Stop Dancin’ (Capitol Blues Collection)


A 2 CD set compiled by Billy Vera in 1996 with the Swing Revival very much in mind. This is a fantastic choice of Aladdin, Imperial and Capitol sides mixing jazz, jump and R&B. There’s everything from Gene Ammons to Lalo Guerrero, Lester Young to Jimmy Liggins, Cootie Williams to The King Cole Trio. Throw in Ella Mae Morse, Calvin Boze, Louis Prima, Peggy Lee, T-Bone Walker, Jesse Price, Big Jay McNeely and numerous others and we are talking god-like genius in the compilation department. Long out of print. If you get a chance to buy a copy, grab it!

Jumpin’ & Jivin’ (Ace CDCHD 654)


Billy Vera is the king of categorisation busting as he proves with another mix of R&B and jazz. On this 1997 set he juxtaposes West Coast R&B sides from Specialty with hip jazz tracks from NYC label Prestige. This CD is notable for featuring some hard rockin’ late Roy Milton sides. Among the cool cats are Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, King Pleasure, Leo Parker, Joe Carroll and my fellow Scot Annie Ross. Nice! It’s possibly out of print now, but there should be plenty of second hand copies floating around.

Let’s Jump – Swingin’ Humdingers from Modern Records (Ace CDCHD 809)


Once more Billy Vera breaks through the artificial boundaries of genre with this 2002 compilation of jump, swing, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll. The liner notes pay tribute to the Swing Scenesters of the 1990s who gave another boost to the survival of this kind of music. There’s Oscar McLollie, Ben Webster (with Benny Carter), Lucky Thompson, Gene Phillips, Big Jim Wynn, Vido Musso, Jimmy Witherspoon, The Flairs and other swingin’ cats. Still in print and most highly recommended.

7 comments:

NBboy said...

Good choice for the first post!!! thanks,NBboy

Rockinbavarian said...

Very interesting..thanks for sharing!

jothman said...

tanx for sharing

Anonymous said...

First of all - love the blog. I learn every time I'm here. Secondly - thanks for the great props to BV. I have the distinct honor of working with Billy and he truly is not only a great singer/songwriter of his own material, but a musical genius in his unparalleled knowledge of a very wide array of music.

boogiewoody said...

It's thanks to Roy Carr, Neil Spencer and Billy Vera that I started to dip my toe into the world of 40s/50s jazz. "Jumpin' Like Mad" is one of the best (if not THE best)comps I've ever heard. And Billy's notes are brilliant - they really helped to nourish my enthusiasm and curiosity about so many of the artists on the discs.

Anonymous said...

I was in my very late teens early 20's when these cassettes were released and I bought nearly all of them at the time and enjoyed them all as time passed so did the tapes so fantastic to get to it again and Yes these humble tapes really did help to widen the vision Ace and Charly were starting to lead the way in getting obscure sides out again I bought a lot at the time and enjoyed some great Rockabilly bands in that period it all sort of dipped after 83 don't you think? Still Ace and Bear Family hold the flame such wonderful music you have great taste....Thank you

boogiewoody said...

Actually I think it started to take off after 1983, with loads of reissues coming out and bands like The Big Town Playboys appearing on the scene.

Yet there was a spirit of discovery during those days of the early 1980s, when you really had to hunt around to get those sounds. Very different from today where the Web makes so much instantly available ...