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Monday 20 February 2017

Cootie Williams & His Orchestra - Gator Tail

Side 1:
01. You Talk A Little Trash
02. Typhoon
03. I Love You, Yes I Do (vocal - Billy Matthews and The Balladeers)
04. Smooth Sailing
05. Gator Tail, Part 1
06. Gator Tail, Part 2
07. Let 'Em Roll (vocal - Bob Merrill)
08. Slidin' And Glidin'

Side 2:
01. Mercenary Papa (vocal - Eddie Mack)
02. You Got To Pay Those Dues (vocal - Eddie Mack)
03. Doin' The Gator Tail
04. Shotgun Boogie (vocal - Eddie Mack)
05. Divorce Me C.O.D. (vocal - Eddie Mack)
06. Steam Roller Blues (vocal - Eddie Mack)
07. Beauty Parlor Gossip (vocal - Eddie Mack)

Download from here:

As promised, here's a homemade comp which takes a look at the final recording years of the Cootie Williams Orchestra as an R&B act. I've given the cover a similar appearance to one of my favourite reissue labels, Jonas Bernholm's "Saxophonograph." The faux "Saxophony" label is also a tribute to one of my favourite CDs, "Saxophony: Jubilee Honkers & Shouters" on the Sequel label.

This late period in the recording career of the Cootie Williams Orchestra was described in the original 2010 post of "Typhoon," including a brief look at the careers of Bob Merrill and Eddie Mack. Since then I've managed to acquire some more of the tracks Willis Jackson recorded with Cootie, hence the appearance of this comp.

Towards the end of 1947 Cootie slimmed down his big band to a small group and signed on with Mercury Records for whom he recorded under his own name and also occasionally as a backing group for Dinah Washington. The first Mercury session took place on the eve of the AFM recording ban, with the band laying down 4 tracks under their own name, and also backing Dinah Washington on tracks which included "Record Ban Blues."

The next recording session wasn't until March 1949 by which time young tenor sax sensation Willis Jackson had joined the band. The two parter "Gator Tail" was a honking, squealing sensation among fans of the "muscular" approach to tenor sax playing and now makes its long awaited first appearance on the blog. The unreleased "Doin' The Gator Tail" from a September 1949 session is probably even better.

The Cootie Williams band (still featuring Willis Jackson and blues shouter Eddie Mack) signed with the Derby label at the very end of 1950 (announced in "Cashbox" on December 30th 1950). Their only recording session for the label probably took place in January 1951 and produced 4 sides, all vocal outings for Mack, which were released on 2 singles in the first half of that year. These sides mark the end of the Williams outfit as an R&B recording act, and eventually Cootie would return to the swing / jazz idiom.

Willis Jackson started recording under his own name while still a member of Cootie's band. His first sides were recorded for Apollo in January 1950. In July 1951 he recorded sides for Atlantic and went on to feature in many sessions for that label, particularly with his wife Ruth Brown and with The Clovers. Towards the end of the 1950s he started recording small group sides for Prestige in what has come to be known as the "Soul Jazz" style. His groups featured Hammond organ players such as Brother Jack McDuff, Freddie Roach and Carl Wilson, and guitarist Bill Jennings. I'm a big fan of this style of jazz or r&b or soul or whatever you want to call it, but it lies outwith the usual scope of this blog.

Willis Jackson - "Mad Man of the Saxophone"
Back to the 1940s and early '50s - here's the lowdown on the fine vibes on this comp:

Track info and release details:

Side 1, tracks 1-4, "You Talk A Little Trash," "Typhoon," "I Love You, Yes I Do," and "Smooth Sailing" were recorded in New York City on December 27th, 1947.

Personnel: Cootie Williams (trumpet) with - Bob Merrill (trumpet); Rupert Cole (alto sax, clarinet); Bill "Weasel" Parker (tenor sax); Arnold Jarvis (piano); Mundell Lowe (guitar); Leonard Swain (bass); Sylvester "Vess" Payne (drums); Billy Matthews (vocal); The Balladeers (vocal group)

I Love You, Yes I Do / Smooth Sailing - released on Mercury 8073, March 1948

You Talk A Little Trash (And I'll Spend A Little Cash) / Typhoon - released on Mercury 8083, May 1948.

Side 1, tracks 5-8, "Gator Tail, Part 1," "Gator Tail, Part 2," "Let 'Em Roll," and "Slidin' And Glidin'," were recorded in New York City on March 2nd, 1949.

Personnel: Cootie Williams (trumpet) with - Bob Merrill (trumpet, vocal); Rupert Cole (alto sax); Willis Jackson (tenor sax); Lester Fauntleroy (piano); Leonard "Heavy" Swain (bass); Gus Johnson (drums)

'Gator Tail - Pt. 1 / 'Gator Tail - Pt. 2 - released on Mercury 8131, May 1949.

Let 'Em Roll / Slidin' and Glidin' - released on Mercury 8143, August 1949.

Side 2, tracks 1-3, "Mercenary Papa," "You Got To Pay Those Dues," and "Doin' The Gator Tail" were recorded in New York City on September 20th, 1949.

Personnel: Cootie Williams (trumpet) with - Eddie Mack (vocals); Bob Merrill (trumpet); Rupert Cole (alto sax;) Willis Jackson (tenor sax); Lester Fauntleroy (piano); Leonard "Heavy" Swain (bass); Gus Johnson (drums)

Mercenary Papa / You Got To Pay Those Dues - released on Mercury 8168, March 1950.

Doin' The Gator Tail - not released.

Side 2, tracks 4-7, "Shotgun Boogie," "Divorce Me C.O.D.," "Steam Roller Blues," and "Beauty Parlor Gossip" were recorded in New York City, early 1951.

Personnel: Cootie Williams (trumpet) with - Eddie Mack (vocals); Rupert Cole (clarinet, alto sax); Willis Jackson (tenor sax); Arnold Jarvis (piano); Richard Fullbright (guitar); Ed Thigpen (drums)

The Shot Gun Boogie / Divorce Me C.O.D. Blues - released on Derby 756, January / February 1951.

Steamroller Blues / Beauty Parlor Gossip - released on Derby 784, March 1951.


malcee said...

Brilliant thanks for this

soulpapa said...

Love this! Thanks so much!!!

Bob Mac said...

Looks good. Many thanks for putting this together.

george said...

Many thanks, boogiewoody!

boogiewoody said...

Thanks for the comments folks. Sorry about the delay in getting them up on the blog.

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Thank you.

kevinesse said...

this looks so there any chance of a re=up?