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Thursday 21 January 2016

Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra - Leapin' With Lionel

I posted "Leapin' With Lionel" on the very earliest incarnation of Be Bop Wino, but an exploding hard drive, the end of upload sites like rapidshare and megaupload, and the takedown of Be Bop Wino Version 1 caused this fine LP to be absent from the blog for about 7 years. It would be impossible to have a vintage R&B blog without Hamp, so here he is again after a long exile. I've re-ripped the LP and re-scanned the cover and labels, so even if you downloaded the tracks first time round, it would still be worth your while to download the new, improved version.

And what an LP this is! It's loaded with tracks from the 1940's when Hamp's big band was a major player in the rise of R&B. A look at the players who passed through the sax section is like reading a who's who of wild R&B honkers with a goodly selection of red hot jazzers thrown into the mix: Dexter Gordon, Illinois Jacquet, Jack McVea, Arnett Cobb, Al Sears, Johnny Griffin, Jackie Kelso, Morris Lane, Johnny Sparrow, Johnny Board, Gene Morris, and Curtis Lowe. Also aboard are Joe Morris, Irving Ashby, Joe Comfort, Charles Mingus, Albert Ammons and Wes Montgomery. If that doesn't float yer boat then I don't know what will.

Full band line ups are detailed at the end of Fred Dellar's sleevenotes. The sides were recorded between May 1942 and December 1949. The selection kicks off with the band's first big hit "Flying Home" which Hamp had written with Benny Goodman (and Charlie Christian?) when he was with Goodman's sextet in 1939. The 1942 version features the famous sax solo by Illinois Jacquet which is often credited with kicking off the trend towards the honking and screeching tenor sax playing which became such an integral part of the R&B of the 1940s and 50s. I tend to go with his maniac performance on "Blues" in the first Jazz At The Philharmonic concert a couple of years later as being the real birth of honk.

There are more big hits in the tracklist including "Hamp's Boogie Woogie", Beulah's Boogie", "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" and "Rag Mop." See accompanying notes below for what was hot and what was not.

The biggest seller was "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop." For an alternative account of the origins of this number see the post on Big Jim Wynn.  Let's just say that "Be Baba Leba" by Helen Humes had been recorded and hit the charts months before Hamp and Curley Hamner came up with the very similar "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop." Just as an aside Tina Dixon claimed the copyright on "Be Baba Leba" as she had been performing it live before Helen Humes recorded it. In January 1946 Dixon's agent sold the copyright to Charlie Barnet, just as Hamp's "Hey! Ba-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" came out. I have no idea what Barnet's thoughts were as the Hamp opus eclipsed all other versions. That's showbiz.

Side 1:
1 - Flying Home No 1
2 - Flying Home No 2
3 - Hamp's Boogie-Woogie, No 1
4 - Tempo's Boogie
5 - Beulah's Boogie
6 - Slide, Hamp, Slide
7 - Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop
8 - Rockin' In Rhythm Parts 1 and 2

Side 2:
1 - Air Mail Special Parts 1 and 2
2 - Cobb's Idea
3 - Hamp's Walkin' Boogie
4 - Red Top
5 - Midnight Sun
6 - Hamp's Boogie-Woogie No 2
7 - Beulah's Sister's Boogie
8 - Rag Mop

Download from here:

Here are the facts, Jack, on every track!

Side 1
1 - Flying Home No 1 - recorded May 26th 1942. Released on Decca 18394
Number 3 on Billboard's Harlem Hit Parade, May 15th, 1943.

2 - Flying Home No 2 - recorded March 2nd 1944. Released on Decca 23639
Billboard, September 21st 1946: "... band packs a powerhouse into the side, with Alvin (sic) Cobb's tenor sax solo keeping pace with the standard set by Illinois Jacquet in the original cutting. No mistaking the Hampton jump designs here, and spinning is on the terrific side for the jump set."

3 - Hamp's Boogie-Woogie, No 1 - recorded March 2nd 1944. Released on Decca 18613, July 1944.
Number 1 in the Harlem Hit Parade, September 9th, 1944. Louis Jordan's "G.I. Jive" was number 2.

4 - Tempo's Boogie - recorded October 16th 1944. Released on Decca 18910, July 1946.
Billboard tip, August 3rd, 1946 - "With beaucoup vibe work, phono fans will take some to 'Tempo's Boogie.'"

5 - Beulah's Boogie - recorded May 21st 1945. Released on Decca 18719
Billboard November 8th 1945: "unlike most originals this Hampton by Hampton is really swell stuff. It's something to write home about in ledger black ink. Beulah and Hampton are both okay, even in conservative spots." Number 2 on Billboard's Most Played Juke Box Race Records chart, December 22nd, 1945. Joe Liggins' "The Honeydripper" was number 1. Number 3 on February 9th, 1946. Louis Jordan's "Buzz Me" was number 1.

6 - Slide, Hamp, Slide
7 - Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - tracks 6 and 7 recorded December 1st 1945. Both issued on Decca 18754, January 1946. "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" became a huge seller, reaching number 9 in the pop charts and dominating the race charts for over half a year. Billboard review of "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" on February 9th, 1946:
"Chalk this one up as no.1 played (best seller) race disk right now, and it should also prove big with Hamp's fans in any kind of nabe in retail sales, or any location. Tune, penned by Hamp and Curly Hamner, is a jive natch, and the Hampton band, plus a vocal by the maestro, sell it right up to the hilt. You'll be hearing plenty of cats yelling 'Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop.'"

8 - Rockin' In Rhythm Parts 1 and 2 - recorded January 29th, 1946. Released on Decca 24415, April 1948. Billboard review, May 8th 1948: "Hamp takes the Ellington oldie over the coals for two sides, with Part 1 stacking up as the juke bet with its Hamp and wild sax solos, raucous band and heavy handed rhythm."

Side 2
1 - Air Mail Special Parts 1 and 2 - recorded January 31st, 1946. Released on Decca 18880, June 1946. Billboard, June 29th, 1946: "It's a field day for the hot horns in the Hampton household. But instead of re-bopy, it's a speed jam special for Benny Goodman's familiar 'Air Mail Special' stomper. Instrumental stars play it hot and heavy for both sides with the maestro's own vibe hammerings stealing the solo spotlight. The B-side, with beaucoup vibes and hot tenoring, provides more steam for the phono spin."

2 - Cobb's Idea - recorded January 31st, 1946. Unissued on Decca. Arnett Cobb recorded a different version with a small group for Apollo Records on May 13th, 1947, which was released on Apollo 772, September 1947.

3 - Hamp's Walkin' Boogie - recorded September 17th, 1946. Released on Decca 23839, along with "Ridin' On The L & N" and released February 1947.

4 - Red Top - recorded November 7th, 1947. Released on Decca 24281 in January 1948. Billboard, 17th January 1948:"Tastiest, cleanest Hamp instrumental in some time. Good riff, solos, cleffing." B-side was "Giddy-Up."

5 - Midnight Sun - recorded November 10th, 1947. Released on Decca 24429  and also as part of the May 1948 Decca album "New Movements In Be-Bop" which consisted of 4 Hampton 78 rpm singles.

6 - Hamp's Boogie-Woogie No 2 - recorded January 28th, 1949. Released on Decca 24607 with "New Central Avenue Breakdown" on other side.

7 - Beulah's Sister's Boogie - recorded January 28th, 1949. Released on Decca 24699 in August 1949. Other side was "Wee Albert." Both sides feature Albert Ammons on piano.

8 - Rag Mop - recorded December 29, 1949. Released on Decca 24855 in January 1950. Other side was "For You My Love." Billboard February 15th, 1950 - disc is number 12 in the best selling Rhythm and Blues chart and number 5 in most juke box plays for R&B records. On May 20th disk is still in juke box chart at number 4.

Recommended purchase:

Properbox 12 - "The Lionel Hampton Story". A 4 CD set covering his small group sides recorded for Victor 1937 - 1940 (CD1) plus 3 CDs covering the Decca big band sides from 1942 - 1949. Includes terrific booklet by Joop Visser. Might be getting hard to get, so hurry, hurry!


malcee said...

thank you, what a treat, this looks FANTASTIC.

boogiewoody said...

Hope you enjoy the set, malcee.


Javy said...

Thank you for this album.

Anonymous said...

Hi mon,

thanks for your enormous loving input of wonderful, clssic roots music.. I am so happy!

Stuffy from Sweden

boogiewoody said...

Thank you for commenting!

ricardo said...

gracias !