Sunday, 29 August 2010

Bostic LP Cover Quest - more info

I've received some more info plus a little sidelight on Earl Bostic. Our seeker after help lives not far from Cincinnati, yet can get little assistance there on the King back catalogue. So can the worldwide network of Be Bop Wino followers step up to the plate and assist our friend in her quest to trace the LP cover with a shot of her sister on the front?


My husband brought home the "C'mon and Dance" album thinking it was her, but the shot is only of her face.

As a kinda funny side note, the neighborhood Nosy Rosy spread the rumor that my sister was a hooker after seeing Mr. Bostic bring my sister home in his long black limo, as she and her husband did not own a car.

She said he was a very kind man.

I believe she was also on the cover of another Bostic album where she and 2 other models are sitting on a piano....possibly wearing flapper type dresses.

Earl Bostic LP Cover - Help Needed Urgently!!

Hi folks, this is a slightly unusual post and I'm hoping that there's an Earl Bostic fan out there who can help. An email arrived earlier today with a request for a Bostic LP cover from around 1957 - 1960. Here's the email (writer's name not included):


Ran across your site tonight and hope you can help me.

My sister was the model for the album cover of a Bostic LP recorded in Cincinnati between the years of 1957-1960 as best we can determine. Her signed album was stolen some years ago and I have yet to find it.

The front shows a white woman with dark hair but only a vertical half. She is doing a "Lauren Bacall" glance.

Believe it or not, Cincinnati has been of no help in this search.

She does not remember the name of the album.

My sister is getting kinda old and is in poor health, so any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!


I've already had a look through my Bostic albums and sites like ebay and so far I can't identify the LP. Can anyone help with identifying the correct album, or even better, send in a cover scan?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Lucky Millinder & His Orchestra - Apollo Jump


Side 1:
1. Apollo Jump
2. Ride, Red, Ride
3. That's All!
4. Shipyard Social Function
5. Hurry, Hurry!
6. Shout, Sister, Shout!
7. Mason Flyer
8. Slide, Mr Trombone
9. There's Good Blues Tonight

Side 2:
1. Let Me Off Uptown
2. Rock Me
3. Little John Special
4. Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well?
5. Trouble In Mind
6. Big Fat Mama
7. Rock Daniel
8. All The Time
9. I Want A Tall Skinny Papa

They say that the real swing that was generated in live performance by the Lucky Millinder Orchestra was never captured on their recordings and that you really had to be there in a packed ballroom to appreciate just how good they actually were. Well there are plenty of tracks throughout this superfine 1983 Affinity LP which get my toes a-tappin’ so this band must have really been something else live.

Lucky Millinder couldn’t play an instrument or even read a music sheet, if we are to believe some accounts. What made him a great bandleader was his ability to choose performers and arrangers who could bring his musical dreams to reality. A dazzling parade of future R&B and jazz stars came through the ranks of this band, especially during the years they recorded for Decca (1941 – 47), the period of the recordings on this selection.

Here’s a sample of the instrumental talent on these tracks: Bill Doggett, Panama Francis, Tab Smith, Bull Moose Jackson, Stafford Simon, Sir Charles Thompson, Dizzy Gillespie, Sam “The Man” Taylor, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Clyde Hart and Preston Love.

Vocal numbers were an important feature in Millinder’s live set and his recordings. In 1941 the band had Trevor Bacon and the remarkable Sister Rosetta Tharpe at the mic. The good Sister was a gospel singer and guitarist who for a time was not averse to performing more worldly material. She left the band in 1942 to perform at Café Society before finally giving up the sinful blues in order to devote herself to The Lord’s music. All of her tracks on this LP are superb. A mixture of the sacred and the not exactly profane. Check her out on YouTube to see some incredible performances with Lucky Millinder in the 1940’s through to television broadcasts from the 1960’s.

Trevor Bacon was a guitarist with a pleasant, if limited singing voice who could handle blues and ballads. His biggest hits with the band, “When The Lights Go On Again (All Over The World)” and “Sweet Slumber” aren’t on this collection, but “Big Fat Mama” and “Let Me Off Uptown” are fine swinging showcases for his vocal ability. In 1944 he left the Millinder outfit to hook up with a “breakaway” group led by Tab Smith. See the Be Bop Wino post “I Don’t Want To Play In The Kitchen” for more of the Tab Smith / Trevor Bacon story.

After the departure of Bacon, Millinder picked up Wynonie Harris as a replacement, and it’s hard to think of a greater contrast in voices. Wynonie’s powerhouse blues shouting is a world away from Bacon’s light voiced singing. “Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well?” was a number one R&B hit in 1945, by which time Wynonie had already disappeared over the horizon in search of solo glory.

His replacement came from within the ranks of the band – tenor sax man Benjamin “Bull Moose” Jackson stepping forward to take up vocal duties. Unfortunately his singing doesn’t feature on this collection. He fronted a series of recordings on the Queen and King labels which were really Millinder band performances issued under a different name to get round the Decca contract. See the Be Bop Wino post “Big Fat Mamas Are Back In Style Again” for more Bull Moose.

Annisteen Allen recorded with the Millinder band between 1945 and 1951. Her only performance on this LP is “There’s Good Blues Tonight” which is a kind of precursor to “Good Rockin’ Tonight.” Other notable recordings by this fine singer include “Let It Roll” and “In The Middle Of The Night” but you’ll have to look elsewhere to find them, my swinging friends.

There’s a fair sprinkling of good instrumental numbers in this collection. “Mason Flyer” and “Little John Special” are most often cited by jazz critics as the best Millinder recordings. Both have solos by trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, alto sax man Tab Smith and tenor sax player Stafford “Pazuzza” Simon. The propulsive “Apollo Jump” has a riff which Chuck Higgins fans will find oddly familiar.

Lucky Millinder himself was an occasional vocalist (“Shorty’s Got To Go”) with the one example here being “Ride Red Ride” which is a hangover from his days fronting the Mills Blue Rhythm Band back in the 1930’s. The Millinder Orchestra switched to RCA Victor in 1949 (“D Natural Blues”) and finally got to record officially for King between 1950 and 1952, including a reunion with Wynonie Harris for a great cover of Louis Prima’s “Oh Babe!” and a tremendous "Night Train." The break up came around that time, although Millinder did come out of musical semi retirement to front one last King session in 1955. See the Be Bop Wino post “Ram-Bunk-Shush” for Lucky Millinder’s 1950's King recordings.


Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://www84.zippyshare.com/v/tPXqnNYV/file.html

1. Apollo Jump
2. Ride, Red, Ride (vocal – Lucky Millinder)
3. That's All! ((vocal – Sister Rosetta Tharpe + band)
4. Shipyard Social Function
5. Hurry, Hurry! (vocal – Wynonie Harris)
6. Shout, Sister, Shout! (vocal – Sister Rosetta Tharpe)
7. Mason Flyer
8. Slide, Mr Trombone (vocal – Trevor Bacon)
9. There's Good Blues Tonight (vocal – Anisteen Allen)
10. Let Me Off Uptown (vocal – Trevor Bacon)
11. Rock Me (vocal – Sister Rosetta Tharpe)
12. Little John Special
13. Who Threw The Whiskey Down The Well (vocal – Wynonie Harris)
14. Trouble In Mind (vocal – Sister Rosetta Tharpe)
15. Big Fat Mama (vocal – Trevor Bacon)
16. Rock Daniel (vocal – Sister Rosetta Tharpe + band)
17. All The Time (vocal – The Lucky Seven)
18. I Want A Tall Skinny Papa (vocal – Sister Rosetta Tharpe + band)

Recommended purchase:

“Jukebox Hits 1942-1951” on the Acrobat label (has it been revived?) is available both as a CD and mp3 collection on Amazon. It has 20 tracks including 2 under Bull Moose Jackson’s name. Recordings from Decca, RCA and King, including many not on the LP posted here. Go git it! The world needs to swing more.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Jay McShann and his Orchestra - Hootie's K.C. Blues


Side 1:
1. Hootie Blues
2. Red River Blues
3. Confessin' The Blues
4. Vine Street Boogie
5. 'Fore Day Rider
6. Sepian Bounce
7. Hold 'Em Hootie
8. Swingmatism

Side 2:
1. The Jumpin' Blues
2. One Woman's Blues
3. Get Me On Your Mind
4. Dexter Blues
5. Hootie's Ignorant Oil
6. (New) Confessin' The Blues
7. Lonely Boy Blues
8. So You Won't Jump

In some of the upcoming posts I’ll be looking at the big band roots of R&B. Some of the LPs that were on the original Be Bop Wino blog will be re-posted and I’ll also be adding some new albums – and here’s the first of the new ones – the band that jumps the blues – The Jay McShann Orchestra out of Kansas City.

In the years 1926 to 1939, thanks to the corrupt rule of city boss Tom Pendergast, Kansas City remained relatively untroubled by technicalities like prohibition and city laws limiting bar opening hours. A multiplicity of clubs, bars, dance halls and bawdy houses provided just the right raucous environment for the growth of a flourishing jazz scene. Musicians from all over the Southwest and beyond were attracted to the bright lights and low down dives of this latter day Gomorrah (okay, I’m getting carried away here, but indulge me.)

There was Piney Brown’s Sunset Club where barman Big Joe Turner shouted the blues to the accompaniment of Pete Johnson’s boogie woogie piano. The Count Basie band squeezed itself on to the cramped stage of the Reno Club while a young Charlie Parker watched from the shadows as Basie and Walter Page and Walter’s half brother “Hot Lips” Page, and Herschel Evans and most of all Lester Young swung like crazy. And there were the jam sessions when visiting musicians with reputations to maintain would come up against locally based musicians all too determined to make their own mark. In 1934 Coleman Hawkins, then the acknowledged king of the tenor sax, took on the K.C. triumverate of Ben Webster, Herschel Evans and Lester Young in a mammoth session at the Cherry Blossom. Hawkins had to concede defeat with Young generally considered to be the winner.

Although a round-the-clock live music scene flourished in this Godless city of sin (carried away again, sorry), no parallel recording industry was established and artists who wished to record and become nationally known had to move North. In 1936 the record company talent scouts swooped and the exodus of talent began. From a scene which was dominated early on by Walter Pages’ Oklahoma Blue Devils and Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra, there issued forth Count Basie (whose band developed out of the Page and Moten outfits), Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy (with brilliant pianist and arranger Mary Lou Williams and sax giant Ben Webster), the duo of boogie pianist Pete Johnson and blues shouter Big Joe Turner, Hot Lips Page, Harlan Leonard’s Rockets (they picked up drummer Johnny Otis on their travels as they headed ever westwards after failing to make it in NYC) and one of the last to leave – the Jay McShann Orchestra.

Pianist Jay McShann was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1909. The early part of his career was spent touring the Southwest and Midwest in various territory bands, but in 1937 he settled into the Kansas City scene, forming a small band which included Gene Ramey on bass and Gus Johnson on drums.

In 1939 the law finally caught up with Boss Pendergast and his cohorts who were carted off to prison on tax evasion and corruption charges, and as K.C. prepared to make the transformation from Godless to God fearing, the night time neon glare dimmed as many clubs and bars closed down, throwing a host of musicians out of work. Every cloud has a silver lining and Jay McShann, who had managed to raise the necessary financial backing, set about augmenting his septet and transforming it into a twelve piece big band. A rock steady Basie style rhythm section consisting of McShann (piano), Gus Johnson (drums), Gene Ramey (bass) and Lucky Enois (guitar) provided the basis for a powerful riff, boogie and blues based outfit.

Heading up the reeds section was young alto sax prodigy Charlie Parker. The band embarked on several gruelling tours of the South and Midwest and had its first recording session for Decca in Dallas in April 1941 (tracks 8, 1, 12, 4 and 3.)

The last addition to the band personnel before the session was blues shouter Walter Brown, for Decca producer Dave Kapp wanted the band to record the blues rather than show their jazz side. Indeed three of the sides (“Vine Street Boogie”, “Hold ‘Em Hootie” and “Confessin’ The Blues”) featured the rhythm section only, with a vocal contribution from Brown on “Hold ‘Em” and “Confessin’”. Parker was heard on “Swingmatism” and also on “Hootie Blues” which he co-wrote with McShann.

Of course it was “Confessin’ The Blues” which captured the record buying public’s imagination and it has become a blues standard, being subsequently revived by Chuck Berry, Little Walter and later by The Rolling Stones. The success of “Confessin’” led to Walter Brown’s vocals dominating the even more blues-drenched second session for Decca held in Chicago in November 1941 (tracks 2, 5, 10, 13, 14, 16.) Of the eight tracks recorded, all were Walter Brown vehicles with the exception of “So You Won’t Jump.”

The band was an extremely popular live act and proved itself to be a formidable opponent in band battles. In 1940 – 41 Earl Hines, Milt Larkin and Nat Towles were vanquished, but the McShann band had to give second best to Duke Ellington. When the band made its New York debut in early 1942 in a battle of the bands at The Savoy Ballroom against Lucky Millinder, the result was a resounding victory for Kansas City, possibly provoked by a pre-battle telegram sent by Millinder: “We’re gonna chase you hicks right back to the sticks.”


At the Savoy in early 1942.

During 1942 Jimmy Coe (baritone sax) was added to the personnel and on tenor sax Jimmy Forrest had a stint with the band, although he wasn’t on the July 1942 Decca recording session. That session did mark the recording debut of band ballad singer Al Hibbler on “Get Me On Your Mind” which turned out to be the only track he recorded with McShann. “Lonely Boy Blues” and “The Jumpin’ Blues” were Walter Brown vocal performances and “Sepian Bounce” was an all too rare opportunity for the whole band to show its jazz chops, with two solos from Charlie Parker. “The Jumpin’ Blues” is my favourite track on the album – a superb riffer with great piano intro from McShann, a solo from Parker and solid blues shouting from Brown.

After the recording session the band was scheduled to return to Kansas City, but Parker elected to remain in New York where he immersed himself in the jam session scene at Monroe’s Uptown House and Minton’s Playhouse. Towards the end of the year he joined the Earl Hines Orchestra along with two other refugees from the McShann band – John Jackson and Bernard Anderson. The time remaining to the Jay McShann Orchestra was marked by an increasingly high turnover in personnel, with many of the original KC musicians giving way to musicians from New York and Chicago.

The final Decca session took place in December 1943 with neither Gus Johnson nor Lucky Enois in the line up, although Paul Quinichette had been recruited on tenor sax. McShann was drafted in May 1944 and the band broke up. In early 1945 McShann briefly reformed the band but later in the year he moved to Los Angeles where he remained for the rest of the 1940s, achieving considerable success with small groups fronted by blues shouters Crown Prince Waterford and Jimmy Witherspoon.

Charlie Parker and Walter Brown represented the two opposing poles of the music that would develop from big band swing. One was the bebop genius who would become one of the greatest figures in twentieth century jazz, the other was the blues shouter who enjoyed early success which he never quite recaptured after the Jay McShann Orchestra split up. However, they shared a fondness for booze and heroin, an unfortunate enthusiasm which brought about their premature deaths – Parker in March 1955 and Brown in June 1956.


Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/408671007/Hootie_s_KC_Blues.rar.html

Or here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=5NZFXKGH

1. Hootie Blues (De 8559)*
2. Red River Blues (De 8595)
3. Confessin' The Blues (De 8559)*
4. Vine Street Boogie (De 8570)
5. 'Fore Day Rider (De 8635)*
6. Sepian Bounce (De 4387)
7. Hold 'Em Hootie (De 8583)
8. Swingmatism (De 8570)
9. The Jumpin' Blues (De 4418)*
10. One Woman's Blues (De 8607)*
11. Get Me On Your Mind (De 4418)**
12. Dexter Blues (De 8583)
13. Hootie's Ignorant Oil (De 8635)*
14. (New) Confessin' The Blues (De 8595)*
15. Lonely Boy Blues (De 4387)*
16. So You Won't Jump (De 8607)

* vocal = Walter Brown
** vocal = Al Hibbler

Recommended purchase:

From the Jazz Greats series – number 34 “Jazz City – Kansas City” magazine and CD now available as a download from Jazz Greats Online. 21 tracks including Walter Page’s Blue Devils, Benny Moten, Julia Lee, Big Joe Turner, Andy Kirk, Count Basie, Jay McShann, Harlan Leonard, Charlie Parker and others.


Recommended reading:

Bird Lives! by Ross Russell.
Big Band Jazz by Albert McCarthy

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Summer Break and Confessin' The Blues

There's not been much activity around here for a few weeks. I'll try to get another post up soon, but hey, it's summer! This is no time to be spending hours hunched over a computer editing WAV files and scanning LP covers and tagging mp3s and all that stuff. So I'm sorry for keeping you cats and kittens on tenterhooks, although oddly enough I've noticed that the less I post, the more hits this blog attracts. That's just weird.

Some of you have been sending nice messages of appreciation for the work that goes into the blog, so I'd like to thank those very cool people (you know who you are) and I will reply to your emails soon.

I'm hoping to do some posts on the big band roots of R&B, so here's a taster of what's to come.

Let's all listen to the ORIGINAL "Confessin' The Blues" sung by Walter Brown accompanied by the rhythm section of the Jay McShann Orchestra way back in 1941:




Stay cool, you naughty kids! I'll be back soon with lots of riffin', boogyin' and bluesin'.