|Gatemouth Moore - before he saw the light|
After a search through the vinyl cupboard I retrieved Gatemouth’s track on my beat up copy of the double LP “The Shouters,” which was part of the “Roots of Rock ‘N’ Roll” series on Savoy Jazz. The Gatemouth Moore track which dates from 1945 is not the same song which became a modest hit for Jesse Price in 1947. The full title of the Gatemouth song is “I Ain’t Mad at You, Pretty Baby.” However there are similarities between the two, particularly around the shared refrain of “I ain’t mad at you!”
Price’s “I Ain’t Mad At You” was in its turn covered by Count Basie but that version is wildly different from the Price disc as you can now hear by clicking on the playlist. To round off our little wander along the back roads of early rhythm & blues, I’ve added an unreleased version by The Jones Boys which they recorded for Gotham at an unknown date. This frantic version is very different from anything else on the playlist, so despite the shared song title (well, almost) there are four very different performances.
Click on the playlist widget below for some Sunday afternoon rhythm’n’ bluesin’:
Track 1 – “I Ain’t Mad At You, Pretty Baby” (National 6001) by Dwight “Gatemouth” Moore with Dallas Bartley and his Small Town Boys. Recorded in Chicago on May 10th, 1945.
|Kill 'em Gatemouth!|
Track 2 – “I Ain’t Mad at You” (Capitol 348) by Jesse Price. Recorded in Los Angeles on October 17th, 1946.
This is the track that got me searching through the vinyl vault. It's a nicely relaxed performance from a small studio jump group led by drummer and singer Jesse Price who is another performer whom we must revisit on Be Bop Wino. He was part of the booming Kansas City jazz scene of the 1930s – being drummer in the Benny Moten band and, after Moten’s death, in the Count Basie led version of that aggregation.
When Basie and the boys left KC for greater things, Price opted to stay on in the wide open city and ceded the drum chair to his friend Jo Jones. In 1939 the booming KC music scene came to an end with the arrest of mayor Pendergast and Price left with Harlan Leonard’s Rockets, one of the last bands to leave the now cleaned up, reformed and God fearing former Sodom of the plains. A brief spell as drummer in the Ella Fitzgerald led Chick Webb Orchestra (Chick having shuffled off this mortal coil) brought Jesse to Los Angeles, the Gomorrah of the Coast, where he settled down to take part in countless R&B and jazz sessions across the ensuing decades.
Track 3 – “I Ain’t Mad At You” (RCA Victor 20-2314) by Count Basie and his Orchestra. Vocal by Taps Miller. Recorded in New York on May 22nd, 1947.
Track 4 – “I Ain’t Mad At You” (Gotham, unreleased) by The Jones Boys. Unknown date – possibly around 1952 - 1953.
Who let 'em loose on this? It's a howling, blasting deconstruction of the Jesse Price opus, or maybe of the Gatemouth Moore song, it’s hard to tell. I don’t know anything about the Jones Boys. There was a vocal / jive group of the same name in the 1930s and early 1940s. There was also a loose mid 1950s jazz aggregation whose members shared the surname Jones. Quincy Jones, Eddie Jones and Jo Jones were in that group.
I have no idea if either of these groups is related in any way to the performers on this track. All I know is that whoever the Gotham Jones Boys may be, they carried out a similar assault on “Night Train.”