Attention Mac Users!

Mac users have been experiencing problems in unpacking the WinRAR archives used on this blog. Two solutions have been suggested.

1. Use The Unarchiver - www.theunarchiver.com - see comments on Little Esther Bad Baad Girl post for details.

2. Use Keka - http://www.kekaosx.com/en/ - see comments on Johnny Otis Presents post.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Big Sound Tenors


Side A
1. Creamin' Boogie - Julian Dash
2. For Squares Only - Julian Dash
3. Devil's Lament - Julian Dash
4. Dance of the Mother Bird - Julian Dash
5. Long Long Ago - Al Sears
6. Searsy - Al Sears
7. Tweedle Dee - Al Sears
8. So Glad - Al Sears

Side B
1. Walkin' Home - Eddie Chamblee
2. Goin' Long - Eddie Chamblee
3. Back Up - Eddie Chamblee
4. Lazy Mood - Eddie Chamblee
5. Time Out For The Blues - Ben Webster
6. Cotton Tail - Ben Webster
7. Surf Board - Ben Webster
8. You Are Too Beautiful - Ben Webster

Thanks to Big Al (The Bloggers’ Pal) here’s a real gone treat for the folks who move their feet to the saxlicious sound of the big beat.

This is one tremendous LP of sides recorded mostly by jazz / swing veterans but aimed mostly at the R&B market. There aren’t any squealing histrionics in the Big Jay McNeely or Joe Houston style, but what we have here is the very stuff of the Be Bop Wino blog – that grey area where jazz, swing, R&B and even rock ‘n’ roll all meet together. The very first track “Creamin’ Boogie” absolutely nails it for me with the deep down and dirty tone of Julian Dash set against a chugging boogie woogie piano. Life doesn’t get any better than this.

Julian Dash was a veteran of the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra, all the way back to when the band was known as the ‘Bama State Collegians in the late 1930s. He is credited with co-composing the Hawkins signature tune (and smash hit for Glenn Miller) “Tuxedo Junction.” Dash remained in the Hawkins outfit until the mid 1950s, but coinciding with the band’s longstanding Victor contract coming to an end, he recorded under his own name with small groups for labels like Sittin’ In With, Mercury and Vee-Jay from 1950 – 1955.

The personnel of these groups was made up of fellow members of the Hawkins Orchestra (which was also doing some label hopping at the time), such as Haywood Henry, Bobby Smith, Lee Stanfield, Leroy Kirkland and Sonny Payne. A similar line up was simultaneously recording for Apollo under Bobby Smith’s name.


“For Squares Only” and “Creamin’ Boogie” were recorded in New York City in March 1951 and released on Sittin’ In With 614.

“Devil’s Lament” and “Dance of the Mother Bird” were recorded in New York City in July 1951 and released on Sittin’ In With 630.

Al Sears, or rather “Big” Al Sears, was a tenor sax player of remarkable longevity whose career spanned the early years of big band swing (he joined the Chick Webb band in 1928), the glory years of swing in the 1930s and 1940s, the rise of small group R&B, and even rock and roll. Among the bands he played for in the 1940s into the early 1950s were those of Andy Kirk, Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington (replacing Ben Webster.) In 1951 he was a member of the Johnny Hodges band and composed and soloed on their big hit on Mercury “Castle Rock.”

During the 1950s he recorded numerous tenor sax instros in New York for a succession of labels including King, Vic, Coral, Groove, Herald, Jubilee and Baton. He became a member of Alan Freed’s Rock and Roll Orchestra, playing numerous concerts and recording for Coral. Perhaps Big Al’s best recording for Freed was the aggressive stomper “Right Now, Right Now” which was featured in the film “Rock, Rock, Rock.”


“Long, Long Ago” and “Searsy” were recorded in New York City in 1945 and were first released as International 351/352.

“Tweedle Dee” was recorded in New York City in 1954 and first released on Herald 448.

“So Glad” was recorded in New York City in 1957 and first released on Jubilee 5303.

Eddie Chamblee belonged to a younger generation of sax players than the other three on this compilation and consequently received his grounding in the developing R&B scene of the mid to late 1940s rather than the swing era of the 1930s. Although born in Atlanta, his family relocated to Chicago where he eventually studied law at the University of Chicago. After playing for army bands during the war, he formed his own small group and signed up with Chicago indie label Miracle.

In 1948 Eddie was on one of the biggest selling R&B records of all time, playing tenor sax on Sonny Thompson’s two part instrumental “Long Gone.” The record (Miracle 126) was the 3rd biggest R&B seller of the year and shifted enough units to make Miracle the 4th biggest selling R&B label that year. None of the tracks Eddie recorded under his own name were to achieve anything like the success of “Long Gone” and his last session for Miracle was in 1949 including “Lazy Mood” which is featured here. Eddie recorded tracks for Coral in 1952 and United in 1953 – 54 before joining the Lionel Hampton band, staying until 1956. See the post “Live In Paris” to hear Eddie on a Hampton European tour.

In 1957 he married Ruth Jones, whom he had known when they both attended the same high school, and who was now enjoying enormous success as Dinah Washington. He recorded for the same label as Dinah – Mercury – with “Goin’ Long” and “Back Up” featuring here. And yes, he was still trying to revive that “Long Gone” groove on “Goin’ Long.” The post “The Rockin’ and Walkin’ Rhythm of Eddie Chamblee” is a good overview of his career.


“Lazy Mood” was recorded in Chicago in 1949 and first released on Miracle 133 and later released on Federal 12014.

“Walkin’ Home” was recorded in Chicago 1953 and released on United 160.

“Goin’ Long” and “Back Up” were recorded in Chicago in 1957 and released on Mercury 71107.

Ben Webster was a true giant of jazz tenor saxophone. Born in Kansas City in 1909, in the 1930s he worked with, among others, Benny Moten, Andy Kirk, Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington. However it is his work with Ellington in the early 1940s that is considered his most important. After leaving Ellington he worked mostly with his own small groups and also as a backing musician. R&B fans of course know that he was with Johnny Otis on Mercury in the early 1950s and he also recorded with Dinah Washington on the same label. In 1964 he moved to Europe where he was in great demand both as a live act and as a recording artist. The sides featured on this LP were recorded by Ben with Benny Carter and His All Stars for Modern.


“Cotton Tail” and “Time Out For The Blues” were recorded by Benny Carter and His All Stars in Los Angeles in May 1949 and first released on Modern 858 with dubbed on applause. “Time Out For The Blues” was retitled “Ben’s Mood” for the LP “Jazz Masquerade” (Modern 1209, Crown 5009) in 1956. It is likely that tracks credited to the “Jimmy Jackson All Stars” on singles released by RPM in 1952 are from this session.

“Surf Board” and “You Are Too Beautiful” were recorded by Benny Carter and His All Stars in Los Angeles in May 1949 and released on Modern 865.

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps.

Download from here:

http://www21.zippyshare.com/v/bKVFnCcY/file.html

1. Creamin' Boogie - Julian Dash
2. For Squares Only - Julian Dash
3. Devil's Lament - Julian Dash
4. Dance of the Mother Bird - Julian Dash
5. Long Long Ago - Al Sears
6. Searsy - Al Sears
7. Tweedle Dee - Al Sears
8. So Glad - Al Sears
9. Walkin' Home - Eddie Chamblee
10. Goin' Long - Eddie Chamblee
11. Back Up - Eddie Chamblee
12. Lazy Mood - Eddie Chamblee
13. Time Out For The Blues - Ben Webster
14. Cotton Tail - Ben Webster
15. Surf Board - Ben Webster
16. You Are Too Beautiful - Ben Webster

Thank you Big Al!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Lester Young And His Tenor Sax Volume 1 (Aladdin LP 801)

1. D.B. Blues
2. Lester Blows Again
3. These Foolish Things
4. Jumpin' At Mesner's
5. It's Only A Paper Moon
6. After You've Gone
7. Lover Come Back To Me
8. Jammin' With Lester
9. You're Driving Me Crazy
10. New Lester Leaps In
11. She's Funny That Way
12. Lester's Be Bop Boogie
13. S.M. Blues

Album released in October 1956. All tracks recorded in 1945/46 and originally released as 78 rpm singles in 1946/47.

A post for those who worship at the Altar of the Pork Pie Hat. As promised a mere 9 months ago here is the fourth tenor sax player in the Aladdin series of LPs “…And His Tenor Sax” – Lester Young. Back in October 2009 I posted versions of the other 3 LPs in this series by Lynn Hope, Illinois Jacquet and Maxwell Davis. I put out a plea for help in locating suitable artwork and received quite a few replies. So a special thank you goes out to R, Sleepy Cactus Slim, jaybird 69, bigtone, and also to Joan for an EP cover scan.

All tracks in this reconstitution of the 1956 LP “Lester Young and his Tenor Sax Volume 1” have been ripped from vinyl, so although I’ve managed to eliminate the louder clicks and pops, there is still some surface noise audible. “It’s Only a Paper Moon” was ripped from a particularly well worn slab of wax but thanks to the wonders of Magix Audio Cleaning Lab I’ve managed to eliminate the worst of the crackling and hissing.

Like the other albums in this series, this LP was issued and reissued in various forms over the years. It was first issued in 1954 as "Lester Young and his Tenor Sax" - a 10 inch LP (Aladdin LP-706) with only 8 tracks. See below for front and back covers and a label scan of this issue:

In October 1956 the album presented in this post was issued as a 12 inch LP with 13 tracks (Aladdin LP-801). Volume 2 (Aladdin LP-802) which also had 13 tracks was released at the same time. See below for cover scans:

Tracks from the above two LPs were also issued on 3 EPs – Aladdin EPs 502, 503 and 513. See below for Joan’s EP 503 scan:

In 1957 the two LPs were reissued with different titles and covers on Aladdin’s jazz/pop subsidiary Intro. Volume 1 became “Swinging Lester Young” (LP-602) and Volume 2 became “The Great Lester Young” (LP-603). In 1958 they were reissued on the Aladdin budget subsidiary Score (as SLP-4028 and SLP-4029) with the same covers and titles as the Intro issues. See below for Score cover scans:

Subsequent releases of Lester Young Aladdin material on Imperial in the early 1960s were on two LPs (as two volumes of “The Great Lester Young”) with different tracks and covers.


Back in the day with Basie

Ripped from crackly vinyl at 320 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/405313666/Lester_Young_And_His_Tenor_Sax.rar.html

Or here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=YRXQNOZ4

Session Details

Los Angeles, December 1945 -
Lester Young and his Band : Vic Dickenson (tb-1, 2, 4) Lester Young (ts) Dodo Marmarosa (p) Red Callender (b) Henry Tucker (d):

1. D.B. Blues (Philo123)
2. Lester Blows Again (Philo123)
3. These Foolish Things (Philo124)
4. Jumpin' At Mesner's (Philo124)

Los Angeles, January 1946 –
Lester Young and his Band : Howard McGhee (tp- 5, 7, 8) Vic Dickenson (tb-5, 7, 8) Willie Smith (as) Lester Young (ts) Wesley Jones (p) Curtis Counce (b) Johnny Otis (d):

5. It's Only A Paper Moon (Aladdin 127)
6. After You've Gone (Aladdin 127)
7. Lover Come Back To Me (Aladdin 128)
8. Jammin' With Lester (Aladdin 128)

Los Angeles, August 1946 –
Lester Young and his Band : Lester Young (ts) Joe Albany (p) Irving Ashby (el-g) Red Callender (b) Chico Hamilton (d):

9. You're Driving Me Crazy (Aladdin 137)
10. New Lester Leaps In (Aladdin 137)
11. She's Funny That Way (Aladdin 138)
12. Lester's Be Bop Boogie (Aladdin 138)

Chicago, October 1946 –
Lester Young and his Band : Shorty McConnell (tp) Lester Young (ts) Argonne Thornton (p) Fred Lacey (g) Rodney Richardson (b) Lyndell Marshall (d):

13. S.M. Blues (Aladdin 162)

Recommended purchase:

Blue Note CDP 7243 8 32787 2 5:
The Complete Aladdin Recordings Of Lester Young -
A 2CD set with 40 tracks which include 4 sides recorded for Van with Nat “King” Cole and Red Callender in 1942 and a 6 track December 1945 session with Helen Humes. Liner notes by Leonard Feather.

Available as a 2 CD set at mid-price or as an Amazon mp3 download at a very low price. I would go for the CD!


Listen to "It's Only A Paper Moon" -

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Ray-O-Vacs - Besame Mucho (Official LP 6047)


Side 1
1. Besame Mucho
2. Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle
3. If You Ever Should Leave Me
4. My Baby's Gone
5. Let's
6. What's Mine Is Mine
7. I Still Love You
8. She's a Real Lovin' Baby

Side 2
1. Start Lovin' Me
2. Outside Of Paradise
3. I Still Love You
4. All About Daddy
5. I'm The Baby Now
6. Party Time
7. Crying All Alone
8. Wine-O

I remember feeling disappointed by this LP when I bought it twenty years ago in some long vanished record shop. Having never actually heard the Ray-O-Vacs, I was expecting some rockin’ R&B vocal group action, maybe similar to the Dominoes, the Clovers, the “5” Royales, and other early 1950s groups. Instead I found myself listening to something rather different and I didn’t quite know what to make of it. So I stuck the album on the shelf and rarely listened to it again. Hell, I never even wondered about where they got the group name from, only discovering recently that they were named after a make of battery.

Now that I’ve reacquainted myself with the album as I plough my way through the conversion of the Boogie Woody vinyl vault to a digital format, I find myself appreciating the sheer genius of the music contained in the unjustly neglected grooves. The Ray-O-Vacs’ sound is rooted in that of the jive groups of the late 1930s and the 1940s and is similar to that of other self contained vocal / instrumental outfits like The Red Caps or The Four Blazes.

These sides are dominated by the smoky lead vocals of Lester Harris and Herb Milliner, with brilliantly sparse backing arrangements featuring tasty tenor sax and piano fills weaving in an out of the vocals. They are a lesson in the art of being effortlessly cool. Even such apparently unpromising material as the hokey “western” song “Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle” is transformed into a broadcast from the Planet Hep.

Information about the Ray-O-Vacs can be hard to come by. They were from New York and kicked off their recording career with Coleman Records who released 5 singles by the group in 1949. Their first side, “I’ll Always Be In Love With You,” gained some modest chart success and was re-released some years later on Sharp. Two further Coleman sides, “Happy Am I” and “Hot Dog” were re-released on the Savoy subsidiary Regent in 1951. The only Coleman side on this collection is “I’m The Baby Now” which is a slightly rawer version of the sly slinky sound which characterised their sides for Decca for whom they recorded through 1950 and 1951.

Of the Decca releases, only “Besame Mucho” (covered some years later by The Coasters and then by The Beatles) achieved noteworthy sales. The Ray-O-Vacs’ sound was rapidly becoming old fashioned as rockin' gospel-influenced vocal groups began to dominate the R&B market. The Dominoes and The “5” Royales especially were a world away from the comparatively staid Ray-O-Vacs who seemed to belong more to the world of The Charioteers or The Delta Rhythm Boys.

The Decca contract was not renewed and in 1952 The Ray-O-Vacs started recording for Jerry Blaine’s Jubilee label. Lead singer Lester Harris had already gone solo and signed a contract with RCA. He died at the tragically young age of 33 in early 1953. Herb Milliner took over lead vocal duties but the Jubilee releases of 1952 failed to bring commercial success. In 1954 the group transferred to Josie, a sister label of Jubilee. Their first release on the label, the instrumental “Riding High” backed with “Darling” stiffed and the following year the label tried a different approach, with the group backing songthrush Babe Hutton on “All About Daddy” while the B side featured a Herb Milliner vocal on “I Still Love You.”

This single was credited to Flap McQueen & His Ray-O-Vacs. Jackson “Flap” McQueen was the former bass player in the Pancho Diggs Orchestra, a big band who were the kings of swing in Newark, NJ in the 1930s and early 40s. Back in the day they could draw thousands of Lindy Hoppers to the Skateland Ballroom on Montgomery Street, Newark. They would generously let a local lass join them on stage for a few vocal numbers. Someone called Sarah Vaughn. In the early 40s with a beefed-up line up which included Count Hastings and Ike Quebec, they made it to the world famous Savoy in Harlem. The war brought about the end of the band.

See below for mid 1930s photos of the Pancho Diggs Orchestra with Flap McQueen on bass. Photos and information on Flap McQueen and Pancho Diggs are from the book "Swing City: Newark Nightlife 1925-50" by Barbara J. Kukla, Rutgers University Press, 2002.

Now I have to confess that I have no idea when Flap joined the Ray-O-Vacs or how long he stayed with them. Perhaps someone out there can fill in the blanks?

In 1956 the group released “Party Time” / “Crying All Alone” on the small Kaiser label. The single was picked up and re-released by Atlantic subsidiary Atco. “Party Time” was a radical change in sound for the Ray-O-Vacs, being a raw R&B stomper with a shouted vocal by Bill Walker. There was one further release on Kaiser, “Hong Kong” / “Wine-O.” The B side was a ringer for any number of Amos Milburn booze anthems from the early 50s. A good record, though, and the last one released by the group.

Joan K has supplied a couple of label scans from Kaiser plus an issue on Sharp of “I’ll Always Be In Love With You”, which was the first Ray-O-Vacs’ recording to be issued, originally as a 78 rpm disc on Coleman in 1949. And as a final little treat from Joan there’s two m4a rips (plus mp3 conversions) from 78 rpm discs of “What’s Mine Is Mine” / “I Still Love You Baby”, originally released on Decca in 1950.

See this Doowop Nation article for some more Ray-O-Vacs information.

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/404140247/Besame_Mucho.rar.html

Or here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=LERU7HG8

1. Besame Mucho (Decca 48162), 1950
2. Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle (Decca 48197), 1950
3. If You Ever Should Leave Me (Decca, unissued?), 1950
4. My Baby's Gone (Decca 48211), 1951
5. Let's (Decca 48211), 1951
6. What's Mine Is Mine (Decca 48234), 1950
7. I Still Love You (Decca 48234), 1950
8. She's a Real Lovin' Baby (Decca 48274), 1951
9. Start Lovin' Me (Jubilee 5098), 1952
10. Outside Of Paradise (Jubilee 5124), 1952
11. I Still Love You (Josie 781), 1955
12. All About Daddy (Josie 781), 1955 vocal – Babe Hutton
13. I'm The Baby Now (Coleman 112), 1949
14. Party Time (Kaiser 384, Atco 6085), 1956
15. Crying All Alone (Kaiser 384, Atco 6085), 1956
16. Wine-O (Kaiser 389), 1957

Recommended purchases:

In the UK a CD on the Collectables label, “Outside of Paradise,” with a modest 10 tracks from Jubilee, is available via Amazon.

In the US two 22 track CDs were released on the Coleman label – “Besame Mucho” (Coleman 100) and “It’s Party Time with the Ray-O-Vacs” (Coleman 105). They’re probably just about impossible to find now.

A jive group who managed to get a hit in 1952 were The Four Blazes, with “Mary Jo” on the United label. Their sound was similar to that of The Ray-O-Vacs, with tasteful sax fills supplied by Eddie Chamblee. A 24 track Delmark CD, “Mary Jo” (DE-704) is highly recommended by your boogster pal. Oh, and by the way, I haven’t a clue who is playing sax on The Ray-O-Vacs’ sides. Can anyone help?