Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Lucky Millinder Special!


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

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Side 1
1 - Ram-Bunk-Shush
2 - Oh Babe!
3 - Please Open Your Heart
4 - Silent George
5 - I'm Waiting Just For You
6 - No One Else Could Be
7 - It's Been A Long, Long Time
8 - Please Be Careful

Side 2
1 - Loaded With Love
2 - When I Gave You My Love
3 - Heavy Sugar
4 - Old Spice
5 - I'm Here Love
6 - It's A Sad, Sad Feeling
7 - Ow!
8 - Goody Good Love

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Two more re-ups for you fans of swing and big band R&B. I've added new cover and label scans to the "Ram-Bunk-Shush" collection. This time you get the complete front cover, unlike my previous effort.

Lucius "Lucky" Millinder could neither read music nor play an instrument, yet he led one of the best of the big blues bands, invariably packed with superb musicians and vocalists. His band was one of the most enduring, making its recording debut for Decca in 1941 and outlasting most of the competition by having a final recording session (for King) as late as 1955.

"Apollo Jump" features 18 sides recorded for Decca between 1941 and 1945. The band line up for the first session (June 1941) includes Bill Doggett on piano, Panama Francis on drums, Trevor Bacon (guitar and vocals) and the great gospel singer and guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The good sister's tracks are very much highlights of this set, along with the Wynonie Harris sides. "Trouble In Mind", "Rock Daniel", "Shout, Sister, Shout!", "Rock Me", "That's All!" and "I Want A Tall Skinny Papa" are a blast, although how Lucky persuaded Sister Rosetta to record the raunchy "Tall Skinny Papa" is beyond me.

Trevor Bacon filled the male vocal slot and his light singing voice suits "Slide, Mr. Trombone", "Let Me Off Uptown" and "Big Fat Mama." Bacon left the band in 1944 along with Lucky's alto sax player Tab Smith to form a new small jump band. His replacement was the sensational Wynonie Harris whose powerhouse blues shouting couldn't have been a greater contrast in style. His stay was short, less than nine months, and he only recorded two sides with Millinder in May 1944: "Hurry, Hurry!" and the massive hit "Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well?"

Listen to "Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well":



By the end of 1944 Harris had left the band and settled in Los Angeles. His vocal duties were taken up by sax player Bullmoose Jackson who would go on to find great success as a solo, firstly being backed by players from the Millinder band and then going on to form his own group.

Other personnel to note on "Apollo Jump" are: Dizzy Gillespie who plays on the instrumental flag wavers from July 1942, "Mason Flyer" and "Little John Special"; alto sax man Preston Love and tenor sax star Sam "The Man" Taylor.

Lucky Millinder's last Decca session was in October 1947. The band recorded for RCA and its Vik subsidiary from January to November 1949. Personnel included saxophonist / vocalist Big John Greer, female vocalist Annisteen Allen and saxmen Ike Quebec and Paul Quinichette. The biggest hit for the band at this time was "D Natural Blues" which used the same riff as Charlie Parker's "Now's The Time" and Paul William's "The Hucklebuck."

The "Ram-Bunk-Shush" LP brings us to Lucky's King sides. In February 1950 the Lucky Millinder Orchestra started recording for King. There were regular sessions through 1950 and 1951 up to the middle of 1952. After a gap of nearly three years the band recorded one last session for King in March 1955. The four tracks from that session are the last four tracks on this LP.

Highlights? There's the October 1950 session with Wynonie Harris which gave us a stonkingly good cover version of "Oh Babe!" Another classic from the same session is everybody's favourite song about a peeping tom / stalker, "Silent George" memorably hollered by Myra Johnson. There are some good band instrumentals in "Ram-Bunk-Shush", "Heavy Sugar", "Old Spice" and "Ow!" The rest of the tracks are mostly pop ballads but they make for pleasant enough listening, especially Annisteen Allen's "I'm Waiting Just For You", her duet with Melvin Moore, "No-One Else Could Be" and the Corky Robbins / Johnny Bosworth rendition of "Loaded With Love."

Listen to "Silent George":



Original "Apollo Jump" (August 2010) post is here:


It includes extensive write up, photos and a recommended purchase. Worth checking out!

Original "Ram-Bunk-Shush" (September 2008) is here:


More big bands coming soon - re-ups and new stuff. We're goin' down swingin'!

3 comments:

malcee said...

woo hoo ! I love this R'n'B big band stuff. I have the Apollo jump on vinyl and it's great - looking forward to the other one. Thanks again

malcee said...

Wow, I've just listened to Ram-Bunk-shush and it really is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Boogiewoody I salute you. Keep that big band groove going.

boogiewoody said...

Cheers Malcee. I'm working on LPs by Lionel Hampton and Chick Webb plus there's a load of stuff by Cootie Williams, Buddy Johnson and Jay McShann to be re-posted. More will appear soon!

BW