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Thursday 5 April 2012

The Honeydripper, parts 1 & 2 - Sammy Franklin and His Atomics (Black & White 101)

Recorded in Los Angeles and released in late August 1945. Personnel - Sammy Franklin (trumpet); Len Talley (vocal); remainder unknown.

This disc was one of a number of cover versions of Joe Liggins' huge hit "The Honeydripper." There were more successful covers by Jimmie Lunceford, Roosevelt Sykes and Cab Calloway but what makes this version especially interesting is Sammy Franklin's connection with Joe Liggins and with the genesis of  "The Honeydripper."

At the beginning of the 1940s Joe was a member of Sammy Franklin's band, The California Rhythm Rascals. Joe wrote "The Honeydripper" and started performing it with Sammy's band. He offered Sammy co-composer rights if he would front up $500 to cover the cost of recording the song but Sammy turned him down. Joe left and formed his own small jump band, The Honeydrippers, recorded his song for Leon Rene's Exclusive Records and the rest is, as they say, history.

"The Honeydripper" by Joe Liggins and His Honeydrippers was released towards the end of April 1945 and became one of the biggest R&B hits of all time. Five months later we find Sammy releasing a version with a small jump group with the then topical name "The Atomics." But it was too late for Sammy. The Honeydripper juggernaut had long disappeared over the horizon and was now well out of reach. There's a lesson there for us all.

With thanks to El Enmascarado for this rare 78 rpm disc. More jumpin' and jivin' on 78!

Billboard, 15th September 1945


dlwilson26 said...

That tune is reputed to be the first rock n' roll record by Joe Liggins in 1945. Sammy Franklin reminds me of Sholem Secunda the composer of "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen." Secunda tossed off the tune and didn't think much of it so he sold the rights for $50. I know he regretted that decision after the Andrews Sisters got through with it.

David Wilson

Anonymous said...

For some reason this version reminds me of Lucky Millinder a little bit. When the the "spoken" section starts at :27, it's almost prehistoric rap.

Doug Longenecker said...

I bought this record in NYC when it came out and I still have it in my collection. Great to hear it again.