Friday, 28 April 2017

The El Dorados - Low Mileage - High Octane


































































Side 1:
01. A Fallen Tear
02. My Loving Baby
03. At My Front Door
04. There In The Night
05. Love Of My Own
06. Bim Bam Boom
07. Now That You've Gone
08. I Began To Realize

Side 2:
01. A Rose For My Darling
02. I'll Be Forever Loving You
03. It's No Wonder
04. One More Chance
05. Rock 'N Roll's For Me
06. Lord Knows I Tried
07. 3 Reasons Why

Download from here:

http://www74.zippyshare.com/v/5Uf57N1P/file.html

This LP was originally posted in the early days of the blog (March 2008) but for this post I have re-digitized the record and ripped new mp3s. I've also added new cover and label scans, so this download falls outwith the normal definition of "re-up."

Lately "Be Bop Wino" has been concentrating on the jazz / jump side of R&B but today we kick off a series of vocal group posts starting with Chicago group The El Dorados. They are of course best known for their big hit "At My Front Door" which reached number 17 in the pop charts in October 1955, but the rest of their work is first rate, from the bluesy "One More Chance" to the tender "A Rose For My Darling." No matter what the material, whether sentimental or rockin' and rollin', The El Dorados remain classy. Beware, there are quite a few ear worms in this collection.

As always when it comes to vocal group information the go-to place is Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks site. His article on The El Dorados is here:

http://www.uncamarvy.com/ElDorados/eldorados.html

Original release details of the tracks on "Low Mileage - High Octane":

01. A Fallen Tear - Vee-Jay 197, July 1956
02. My Loving Baby -  Vee-Jay 115, September 1954
03. At My Front Door - Vee-Jay 147, June 1955
04. There In The Night - Vee-Jay 211, August 1956
05. Love Of My Own - unreleased
06. Bim Bam Boom - Vee-Jay 211, August 1956
07. Now That You've Gone - Vee-Jay 180, March 1956
08. I Began To Realize - Vee-Jay 165, November 1955
09. A Rose For My Darling - Vee-Jay 250, July 1957
10. I'll Be Forever Loving You - Vee-Jay 165, November 1955
11. It's No Wonder - unreleased
12. One More Chance - Vee-Jay 127, February 1955
13. Rock 'N Roll's For Me - Vee-Jay 180, March 1956
14. Lord Knows I Tried - unreleased
15. 3 Reasons Why - Vee-Jay 263, January 1958

Mo' vocal group action coming your way soon!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

John Hardee - Bad Man's Blues



Side 1:
01. Tiny's Boogie Woogie - Tiny Grimes' Swingtet
02. Hardee's Partee - John Hardee's Swingtet
03. Idaho - John Hardee's Swingtet
04. Tired - John Hardee's Swingtet
05. River Edge Rock - John Hardee's Swingtet
06. Bad Man's Bounce - John Hardee Quintet
07. Baby Watch That Stuff - John Hardee Quintet

Side 2:
01. Lunatic - John Hardee Quintet
02. Can't Help Loving That Man - John Hardee Quintet
03. Profoundly Blue - Tiny Grimes Quintet
04. Boogie Woogie Barbecue - Tiny Grimes Quintet
05. That Old Black Magic - Tiny Grimes Quintet
06. Blue Harlem - Tiny Grimes Quintet

Download from here:


Our little tribute to the Saxophonograph label (Saxophony!) continues with a homemade comp of Texas tenor man John Hardee who was an important part of the New York recording scene of the mid to late 1940s. He is often referred to as the "forgotten" tenor sax man, mainly because his career as a full time professional musician was short when compared to those of many of his contemporaries. This was not due to any lack of ability. In fact as you will hear, he was an outstanding musician whose tough tenor work was often highly praised. The reason for the brevity of his recording career was that he left New York some time in the early 1950s to take up a career as a music teacher in Texas.

John Hardee was born in Corsicana, Texas, in December 1918. He came from a musical family and while still living at home he played for local group Dan Carter's Blue Moon Syncopators. He enrolled as a music student at Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, but gave up his studies temporarily to tour with one of the major Texas territory bands, the San Antonio based Don Albert Band which at one time billed itself as "America's Greatest Swing Band." John joined in 1938, replacing Jimmy Forrest as a featured tenor sax player. In the summer of 1939 John left the band to resume his studies at Bishop, graduating in 1941.

During his military service (1941 - 1944) John was stationed at Nyack, New York, on the Hudson River, and during this time started to participate in jam sessions at Minton's in Harlem and at clubs on 52nd Street. On his discharge he and his wife set up home in Harlem and John's musical career soon took off. He is always associated with guitarist Tiny Grimes, with whom he recorded for Blue Note and Atlantic in 1946 and 1947 but he played on quite a few New York recording sessions for various important artists in the years 1946 - 1950.

His first recording session may have been for the Signature label with Dickie Thompson and his Blue Five some time in late 1945 (or perhaps 1946). This was the same Dickie Thompson who later recorded the original "Thirteen Women And One Man" which Bill Haley memorably revived. The two singles which resulted from the session, "Hand In Hand Blues" / "Tailor Made Gal" and "Swing Song" / "Stardust" weren't released until August 1946 and July 1947 respectively.

John's spell with Tiny Grimes on Blue Note kicked off in February 1946 with a John Hardee Swingtet session (with Tiny featured on guitar) which produced two singles, "Tired" / "Blue Skies" and "Idaho" / "Hardee's Partee". The latter single was outstanding with Jesse Stone's "Idaho" being given the full treatment by the guitar / sax duo of John and Tiny. John's own composition "Hardee's Partee" was a terrific mood piece.

On May 31st the John Hardee Swingtet recorded again for Blue Note ("River Edge Rock", "What Is This Thing Called Love?" inter alia) but this time without Tiny Grimes. The two were reunited at Blue Note on August 14th 1946 at a Tiny Grimes Swingtet session which resulted in "C Jam Blues"/ "Tiny's Boogie Woogie" and a frantic two part version of "Flying Home."

In August 1946 Blue Note released an album of three John Hardee 78 rpm singles called "John Hardee Tenor Sax" (BN 101). The album consisted of "Idaho" / "Hardee's Partee," "What Is This Thing Called Love" / "Nervous From The Service," "River Edge Rock" / "Sweet And Lovely."

Cover shot from Discogs.com
In the meantime John was also featured on several Earl Bostic sessions for Gotham. In March 1946 the Bostic band, with Cousin Joe on vocals on some tracks, recorded several sides, including a powerful version of "That's The Groovy Thing." John was on further Bostic sessions with Cousin Joe in May and August with the resulting product being released either as by Cousin Joe, or in the case of several sacred sides (the August session), as by "Brother Joshua."

John played on two sessions for the "Hot Record Society", one in September 1946 as part of a group led by Billy Kyle, Billy Kyle's Big Eight which included Buddy Rich on drums, and later in the year for a group led by Russell Procope. On October 25th the Tiny Grimes Swingtet (including John Hardee) backed blues shouter Gatemouth Moore at a session for National with "Love Doctor Blues" being the outstanding track.

Another Tiny Grimes Swingtet backing session featuring Hardee, this time on Signature for shouter Walter Brown (late 1946 or early 1947), had a rather controversial outcome when a cover version of "Open The Door Richard" was withdrawn from sale by the record company because of allegedly blue lyrics. The story was reported in "Billboard" on 8th March 1947 with Signature prexy Bob Thiels being quoted as saying that he couldn't estimate the loss involved in view of the pressings already sold.

On April 2nd 1947 John played in Buck Clayton's Orchestra which backed Helen Humes on a session for Mercury. "Jet Propelled Papa," "Blue And Sentimental," "I Just Refuse To Sing The Blues" and "They Raided The Joint" were the resultant meisterwerks. In October he played on a Dan Burley and his Skiffle Boys session for Arkey - "Chicken Shack Shuffle" and "Skiffle Blues" were perhaps less than masterpieces, but John's contribution did somehow fit into the deliberately primitive (not to say archaic) goings on. We should pause briefly to note that activist, writer and entertainer Dan Burley wrote "The Harlem Hand Book Of Jive."

The John Hardee Quintet recorded a good session for Savoy in November 1947. "Baby Watch That Stuff" featured a Hardee vocal which was relaxed and pleasant. Two singles came from the session - "Baby Watch That Stuff" / "Bad Man's Bounce" (issued on Regent) and "Lunatic" / "Can't Help Loving That Man."

As 1947 drew to a close and the AFM recording ban loomed ever closer, the Tiny Grimes Quintet, complete with John Hardee, recorded four sides for new kid on the block Atlantic Records. The first single from the 29th December session was "Boogie Woogie Barbecue" backed with a revival of "Blue Harlem," the classic track that Tiny had recorded with Ike Quebec for Blue Note back in 1944. The follow up single was "Profoundly Blue" backed with a particularly rousing Hardee performance on "That Old Black Magic." Both "Blue Harlem" and "That Old Black Magic" sold reasonably well and helped Tiny Grimes to be numbered 47th best selling R&B artist in 1948.

When the Tiny Grimes Quintet returned to the studio in May 1948, John Hardee was no longer the featured tenor sax man as his place had been taken by Red Prysock. John featured in only two recording sessions in 1948. The first (in August or October) was a Clyde Bernhardt session for Savoy which produced one single - "Pretty Mama Blues" / "My Heart Belongs To Daddy." However the second session was a John Hardee Quartet session for Sittin' In With with two singles resulting - "Prelude To A Kiss" / "Bop In B Flat" (credited to The Four Bops) and "Man With A Horn" / "Cobblestones."

These were the last singles released under John Hardee's name. His recording activity was winding down and it is possible that he had moved back to Texas before the 1940s were out. In 1949 he was on one session for the Billy Taylor Quintet on Savoy. These were unusual recordings for the time as they featured both piano and organ. Recorded on November 20th 1949, the four sides remained unreleased for many years but two of them ("Misty Blues" and "Take The A Train") emerged decades later on a Savoy 2LP set, both credited to John Hardee.

In 1950 John was on two sessions for King Records. On September 12th he joined a small group of musicians from the Erskine Hawkins band to back singer Jimmie Mitchell. Other musicians present included Bobby Smith, Haywood Henry, Julian Dash, Rene Hall and Sonny Payne. On October 18th John took part in another King session, this time playing in the Lucky Millinder Orchestra backing Wynonie Harris. Two classic Wynonie sides resulted from the session - "Oh Babe!" and "Teardrops From My Eyes." Another product of the session was the famously risque Lucky Millinder track "Silent George" memorably hollered by Myra Johnson.

It is likely that John's last session in the 1940s / 1950s era was a reunion with Tiny Grimes for Gotham, either in late 1950 or 1951. By now the Grimes group was billed as Tiny Grimes and his Rocking Highlanders, complete with cod Highland dress - kilts, Tam O' Shanters and Prince Charlie jackets. One hopes that John Hardee was not required to appear in that get-up. Singles resulting from the session were - "Hawaiian Boogie" / "My Baby's Cool," ""Rockin' And Sockin'," / Howling Blues," and "St Louis Blues" / "1626 Blues."

And that was almost the end of John Hardee's recording career. He moved back to Texas at some point in the late '40s or early '50s and took up a teaching post in Wichita Falls. In 1955 he moved to Dallas where he taught at Oliver Wendell Holmes High School until his retirement in 1976. He continued to play locally as a reminiscence in a YouTube comment vividly describes.

In 1975 he played at the Nice Jazz Festival in France and recorded an LP, "A Little Blue" for the French Black & Blue label on the 26th July 1975 in Antibes.

John Hardee passed away in Dallas on the 18th of May, 1984.



The tracks on "Bad Man's Blues" -

"Tiny's Boogie Woogie" was recorded in New York City on August 14th, 1946. Personnel: Trummy Young (trombone); John Hardee (tenor sax); Marlowe Morris (piano); Tiny Grimes (guitar); Jimmy
Butts (bass); Eddie Nicholson (drums).

released on Blue Note 525 b/w "C Jam Blues" by Tiny Grimes' Swingtet  in November 1946.

"Hardee's Partee," "Idaho," and "Tired" were recorded in NYC on 28th February 1946. Personnel: John Hardee (tenor sax); Sammy Benskin (piano); Tiny Grimes (guitar); John Simmons (bass); Sidney Catlett (drums).

"River Edge Rock" was recorded in NYC on 31st May 1946. Personnel: John Hardee (tenor sax); Bill Bivens (vibraphone); Sammy Benskin (piano); Jimmy Shirley (guitar); Gene Ramey (bass); Sidney Catlett (drums).

"Tired" / "Blues Skies" by John Hardee's Swingtet released on Blue Note 513 in July 1946.

"Idaho" / "Hardee's Partee" by John Hardee's Swingtet released on Blue Note 514 and on Blue Note album BN-101 (John Hardee Tenor Sax) in August 1946.

"River Edge Rock" / "Sweet And Lovely" by John Hardee's Swingtet released on Blue Note 521 and on Blue Note album BN-101 (John Hardee Tenor Sax) in August 1946.

"Bad Man's Bounce," Baby Watch That Stuff," "Lunatic," and "Can't Help Loving That Man" recorded in NYC in November 1947. Personnel: Ludwig Joe Jordan (trumpet); John Hardee (tenor sax,vocal); Billy Kyle (piano); John Simmons (bass); Cozy Cole (drums).

"Baby Watch That Stuff" / "Bad Man's Bounce" by the John Hardee Quintet released on Regent 121 in July 1948.

"Lunatic" / "Can't Help Loving That Man" by the John Hardee Quintet released on Savoy 703 in August 1949.

"Profoundly Blue," "Boogie Woogie Barbecue," "That Old Black Magic," and "Blue Harlem" were recorded in NYC on the 29th December 1947. Personnel: John Hardee (tenor sax); George Kelly (piano, celeste); Tiny Grimes (guitar); Lucille Dixon (bass); Sonny Payne (drums).

"Boogie Woogie Barbecue" / "Blue Harlem" by the Tiny Grimes Quintet released on Atlantic 854 in February 1948.

"Profoundly Blue" / "That Old Black Magic" by the Tiny Grimes Quintet released on Atlantic 858 in June 1948.

Sources:

Bruyninckx Discography; Big Band Jazz - Albert McCarthy; Texas State Historical Association; Billboard magazine.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

King Porter - Special Request (re-up)


































































Side 1:
01. Russel St Hussel
02. Porter's Ball
03. Shuffling Boogie
04. Russell Street Hustle
05. King Porter Special
06. Bar Fly
07. Come On In
08. Battle Ax

Side 2:
01. Charlie The Boogie Man
02. Bumps Boogie
03. Hey Little Brownie
04. Should Have Rationed Myself
05. Chidtlin' Ball
06. Don't Let Fletcher Getcha
07. Special Request
08. I've Tried

Download from here:

http://www22.zippyshare.com/v/USk0eJuE/file.html

A re-up (with new cover and label scans) for a fine set of swingin' jump blues. Unusually, this compilation features sides by two completely different artists using the same moniker - "King Porter."

Side 1 features the Detroit based King Porter who was trumpeter James Poe. The two earliest sides, "Russel St. Hussel" and "Porter's Ball" (released in June / July 1948) are rumoured to have Paul Williams present on alto sax, but his name isn't among the musicians named on the label of the release.

Wild Bill Moore is very much present on the remaining Detroit sides. "King Porter Special" / "Shuffling Boogie" (King 4267 - released in February / March 1949) and "Russel St. Hustle" / "Bar Fly" (King 4295 - probably released June / July 1949) were possibly recorded for the local JVB label but sold on to King for release. The Detroit group recorded for King in Cincinnati on June 7th 1949, with one single, "Battle Ax" / "Come On In" being released on King 4333 in January 1950.

Meanwhile in California another King Porter band, led by trumpeter Vernon, "Jake" Porter (who would found the Combo label in the early '50s) was recording for Imperial and this outfit is featured on Side 2. Among the musicians were Marshall Royal, Gene Porter, Gene Philllips, and Bumps Myers. They were part of a group of musicians who recorded for several record companies under various identities, i.e as Gene Phillips and His Rhythm Aces for Modern, and on Imperial as Lloyd Glenn and His Joymakers or King Porter.

The final two tracks in the compilation are a bit of a puzzle. "I've Tried" / "Special Request" was released on West Coast label 4 Star in October 1952, but it's uncertain which of the two combos recorded these sides, or perhaps it was a third outfit using the King Porter name.

It's all good, clean jumpin' and jivin' fun!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

After Hours (King LP 528) - re-up



































































Side 1:
01. Long Gone Part 1 - Sonny Thompson
02. Long Gone Part 2 - Sonny Thompson
03. After Hours - Ace Harris
04. Midnight To Dawn - Earl Bostic
05. What's New - Bill Jennings
06. Ooh Midnight - Pete "Guitar" Lewis

Side 2:
01. After Hours - Jimmy Nolen
02. Eventide - Bill Doggett
03. Blues For The Red Boy - Todd Rhodes
04. Mellow Blues Part 1 - Sonny Thompson
05. Mellow Blues Part 2 - Sonny Thompson
06. In The Morning - Washboard Bill

Download from here:

http://www20.zippyshare.com/v/rgnn3mvR/file.html

Originally posted on March 11th, 2008:

http://bebopwinorip.blogspot.co.uk/2008/03/after-hours-king-528_246.html

New cover scans and label shots have been added. The original back cover managed to attribute all four artist photos wrongly, so in the new version I have moved the photos around to match the names. The original back cover scan is included in the download for completists.

This LP was first issued in late 1956 with subsequent reissues appearing in the late 1950s and early 1960s as this collection was a fairly good seller for King. The copy on this post is a 1987 reissue. The music can be summed up as late night blues smooch with a hint of sleaze. Terrific stuff!

You'll find a little "Easter Egg" in the download. Happy listening!

Diggin' deeper:

"Long Gone, Parts 1 & 2" by Sonny Thompson - originally released on Miracle 126 in April 1948. Recorded in Chicago in late 1947. Personnel: Sonny Thompson with the Sharps and Flats : Eddie Chamblee (tenor sax - Part 2); Sonny Thompson (piano); Alvin Garrett (guitar); Leroy Morrison (bass); Thurman "Red Cooper (drums).

"After Hours" by Ace Harris - originally released on Hub 3019 in May 1946. B Side of "Shorty's Got To Go." Recorded in NYC on unknown date in 1946. Ace Harris (piano) and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor sax), other personnel unknown. Also included on King EP 344 "After Hours with Ace Harris."

King EP from 1955 - scan from 45worlds.com
"Midnight To Dawn" by Earl Bostic - originally released on King 4302 in June 1949 as "From Midnight To Dawn." Recorded in Cincinnati on January 12th 1949. Personnel: Roger Jones (trumpet); Earl Bostic (alto sax); Count Hastings (tenor sax); John Byard (piano); Vernon King (bass); Shep Shepherd (drums).

"What's New" by Bill Jennings - originally released on King 4735 in August 1954. The Bill Jennings Quartet - "Soft Winds" / "What's New?" Recorded in Cincinnati on July 8th 1954. Personnel - Andrew Johnson (piano); Bill Jennings (guitar); Joe Williams (bass); George De Hart (drums).

"Ooh Midnight" by Pete "Guitar" Lewis - originally released on Federal 12103 in October 1952. B Side of "Scratchin'." Recorded in Los Angeles on August 28th 1952. Personnel: Pete "Guitar" Lewis (guitar) with Don Johnson (trumpet); George Washington (trombone); James Von Streeter (tenor sax), Fred Ford (baritone sax); Johnny Otis (vibes); Devonia Williams (piano); Albert Winston (bass); Leard Bell (drums); Little Esther Phillips (orgiastic moaning).

"After Hours" by Jimmy Nolen - originally released on Federal 12252 in January 1956. B Side of "Strollin' With Nolen." Recorded in Los Angeles in November 1955. Personnel: Jimmy Nolen (guitar); Eldee Williams (tenor sax); Kenny Battle (baritone sax); Clarence "Bubber" Cyphers (piano); Johnny House (bass); Earl Hyde (drums).

"Eventide" by Bill Doggett - originally released on King 4690 in January 1954. B Side of "And The Angels Sing." Recorded in Cincinnati on 15th December 1953. Personnel: Percy France (tenor sax); Bill Doggett (organ); Jerry Lane (guitar); Clarence Mack (bass); Shep Shepherd (drums).

"Blues For The Red Boy" by Todd Rhodes - originally released on King 4240 in August 1948. B side of "Sportree's Jump," however "Blues For The Red Boy" was the  major hit. Recorded in Chicago in October 1947. Personnel: Howard Thompson (trumpet); Hallie (Holley) Dismukes (alto sax); Louis Barnett (tenor sax); George Favors (baritone sax); Todd Rhodes (piano); Joe Williams (bass) Huestell Tally (drums).

The Todd Rhodes Band in 1947
"Mellow Blues, Parts 1 & 2" by Sonny Thompson - originally released on King 4488 in January 1952. Recorded in New York on 9th April 1951. Personnel: Robert Hadley (tenor sax); Sonny Thompson (piano); Hurley Ramey (guitar); Carl Pruitt (bass); Harold Austin (drums).

"In The Morning" by Washboard Bill - originally released on King 4983 in November 1956, b/w "River Boat Dock." Recorded in New York in 1956(?). Personnel - William E. Cooke aka "Washboard Bill" aka "Hobo Bill" (washboard, vocals); Mickey Baker (guitar); King Curtis (tenor sax); possibly also: Herman Foster (piano), Lloyd Trotman (bass), Joe Marshall or Panama Francis (drums).

Mo' jump 'n' jive re-ups comin' soon - all the way from Detroit and LA. Take me home, mama!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Sonny Thompson - Cat On The Keys (re-up)


































































Side One:
01. Cat On The Keys pt 1
02. Cat On The Keys pt 2
03. Sugar Cane
04. Clang Clang Clang
05. Mellow Blues pt 1
06. Mellow Blues pt 2
07. Single Shot
08. Cotton Ball pt 2

Side Two:
01. Let's Move
02. Real Real Fine pt 2
03. Gum Shoe
04. Blues Mambo
05. Long Gone pt 2
06. Frog Legs
07. Down In The Dumps
08. Behind The Sun pt 2

Download from here:

http://www59.zippyshare.com/v/7FYzPIbB/file.html

Follow the link below to the original post full of arcane knowledge, out of date purchase recommendations, and unfounded opinions. Read, learn off by heart, and become irresistible to members of the opposite sex:

http://bebopwinorip.blogspot.co.uk/2007/09/sonny-thompson-cat-on-keys_5464.html

This LP was originally posted in September, 2007 but the post was rewritten some years later. For this re-up I have included new cover scans as the original scans dated from a time when I hadn't quite mastered the art of scanning a 12" LP sleeve. The volume on the tracks has been boosted using MP3Gain. The re-up also includes a folder of EP cover scans and 45 rpm single label shots from Joan K.

As for the music, this is one hell of a collection of dynamite R&B instrumentals. Satisfaction guaranteed!

Click on these links for more Sonny Thompson on Be Bop Wino, courtesy of El Enmascarado and his collection of 78s:

Late Freight / Sonny's Return (featuring Eddie Chamblee)

Cotton Ball Parts 1 and 2

Backyard Affair / Dreaming Again

More rockin' re-ups coming soon, cats 'n' kittens.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Hal Singer - Disc Jockey Boogie


Side 1:
01. Corn Bread
02. A Plug For Cliff
03. Blue Monday Caravan
04. Teddy's Dream
05. Beef Stew

Side 2:
01. One For Willie
02. Swanee River
03. Happy Days
04. Jiblets
05. Disc Jockey Boogie

Note - Track 3, Side 1, "Blue Monday Caravan" by Sir Charles Thompson's All Stars. Track 4, Side 1, "Teddy's Dream" was credited to The X-Rays.

Download "Disc Jockey Boogie" from here:


This is my fourth homemade compilation of saxophone sides released on Savoy Records in the late 1940s. The first three comps featured Big Jay McNeely, Wild Bill Moore and Paul Williams and this time round we're going with Hal Singer whose "Corn Bread" was a smash hit in 1948. This comp covers Hal's first spell with Savoy from June 1948 to February 1949.

Hal has had a long and interesting career, starting off in the Territory Bands of the South West and Midwest in the 1930s, moving on to Kansas City in the early 1940s before ending up in NYC where he spent the best part of two decades not only recording and releasing records under his own name, but also playing tenor sax on many sessions mainly for Savoy and King. The list of artists with whom he recorded as a session man is long and varied, taking in Wynonie Harris, Esther Phillips, Brownie McGhee, Little Willie John, Titus Turner, Lonnie Johnson, Arbee Stidham, Big Maybelle and plenty of others!

Unusually for Be Bop Wino, I can use the present tense in some of this post, for Hal Singer is still with us, very much alive and perhaps just about the last survivor of those territory bands and one of a rapidly dwindling band of still living musicians from the R&B scene of the 1940s.

Hal Singer was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1919. He studied at the Hampton Institute in Virginia but opted for the life of a professional musician and the way of the tenor sax. His first gig was with a group led by trumpeter Terrence Holder whose previous big band of the early 1930s had included future Jazz / R&B luminaries Jesse Stone, Herschel Evans, Buddy Tate, Earl Bostic and Lloyd Glenn. 

In 1939 he was a member of Lloyd Hunter's band which had its roots in Omaha, so no surprise that the 1941 lineup of that band included Johnny Otis and Preston Love but not Hal who had joined the Ernie Fields band. In 1942 Hal joined another Omaha based band, that of Nat Towles. Around this time (perhaps in 1941, the constant movement has made me giddy) he had a spell in Kansas City, working in a small group led by Tommy Douglas. In May 1943 he was a member of the Jay McShann band which was then working at the Band Box in Chicago.

It was probably in late 1943 or early 1944 that Hal made it to the Big Apple where he settled into the burgeoning jazz scene of 52nd Street where he worked with Don Byas  and Roy Eldridge. He also participated in Sunday jam sessions in Harlem at clubs like Minton's, Monroes and the Heat Wave. It was while playing at the Heat Wave with Don Byas and Earl Bostic that he witnessed a tremendous jam session duel between Bostic and Charlie Parker.

Hal's first recordings were with the big band of Roy Eldridge in June 1944 for Decca. In October 1944 Hal was back in the studio with the Eldridge band for another Decca session. In the autumn of 1945 he recorded a couple of sides for Hub with the Don Byas group featuring Rubie Blakey on vocals.

In March 1946 Hal recorded for Savoy for the first time on a small group jazz session led by Lem Davis, but the four sides lay unissued for many years. Hal was a member of the Hot Lips Page band which was used on a number of sessions by King in Cincinnati during December 1947 in the run up to the American Federation of Musicians recording ban which was due to commence on the 1st January 1948. They backed Lonnie Johnson on December 14th, Big Maybelle (then known as Mabel Smith) on an unknown day, Marion Abernathy on December 23rd, and Wynonie Harris on December 23rd and December 28th.

Two of the tracks from that final 1947 session became big hits - "Good Rockin' Tonight" and "Lollipop Mama." Hal backed Wynonie on further sessions. A December 1948 session in which sax duties were shared by Hal and Frank "Floorshow" Culley produced four magnificent hard rocking tracks in "Grandma Plays The Numbers,"  "I Want My Fanny Brown," "She Just Won't Sell No More," and "I Feel That Old Age Coming On." All of these featured  a pounding beat, screeching tenor sax and very risque lyrics.

Hal and Wynonie were reunited on a couple of tracks for King in 1957 but by then the good times and big money days were long gone for "Mr. Blues." A last throw of the dice for Roulette in 1960 saw Hal backing Wynonie for one last time but sadly no-one was buying.

The 1948 AFM recording ban lasted until August but Savoy A&R man Teddy Reig ignored the embargo and started holding recording sessions from January 1948 onwards. Among the artists he produced in early 1948 were Howard McGhee, Leo Parker, Morris Lane, Paul Williams and Wild Bill Moore.

At an unknown date in Spring 1948 four sides were cut by bluesman Brownie McGhee with Hal Singer on tenor sax. One of these sides "My Fault" became a huge R&B hit later in the year, but Hal's tenor sax is heard to better effect on Brownie's tribute to black baseball players Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby, "Robbie - Doby Boogie."

In June 1948 Reig recorded Hal Singer, with Hal's first record "Corn Bread" / "A Plug For Cliff" being released in August. The A Side was a piledriver of an instro which was such a huge hit that Hal was ever after known as Hal "Corn Bread" Singer.

At the beginning of September "Corn Bread" was already storming up the Most Played Jukebox Race Records chart, in mid September it entered the Best Selling Retail Race Records chart, at the end of October it was number one in the Jukebox plays chart and number two in the best seller chart. It was one of a number of sax-led instrumentals that featured prominently in the charts at this time: "Long Gone" and "Late Freight" by Sonny Thompson, "Waxie Maxie" by Paul Williams, "Blues For The Red Boy" by Todd Rhodes, along with Pee Wee Crayton's guitar opus, "Blues After Hours."



Teddy Reig, a big fan of both the honkin' R&B sax and the more sophisticated bebop sound of modern jazz, made sure that Savoy was very strong in both fields as can be seen from this Cash Box ad from November 1948 below -


Hal's next Savoy session in September failed to generate any releases, with the four tracks recorded not making an appearance until they were included on the 2LP set "Honkers & Screamers." On September 21st Hal was included in a session which had jazz pianist Sir Charles Thompson as named leader. This session did generate a release "Cooking With Cookie" / "Blue Monday Caravan" with Hal's tenor sax featuring on the B Side. Two other sides from this session, "Jiblets" and "Disc Jockey Boogie" were released in 1950 under Hal's name on the new Savoy subsidiary Acorn.

A December 1948 session produced several tracks for release, including "I'll Always Be In Love With You" / "Teddy's Dream" which was credited to vocal group The X-Rays, although "Teddy's Dream" was a Hal Singer instrumental. Also recorded at this session were "Beef Stew" and "One For Willie" which formed Hal's next release on Savoy. In February 1949 Hal had his last recording session in his first spell with Savoy. The only track which saw release was "Happy Days" which was paired with "Swanee River" from his first session for a June 1949 release.

Also in December 1948 Hal played on sessions for Arbee Stidham (on Victor) and Tab Smith (for Manor). In February 1949 Hal played on a Savoy session for blues shouter "Chicago Carl" aka Carl Davis.

After leaving Savoy Hal recorded a single for Mercury in 1950 (released in November of that year), then signed for Decca subsidiary Coral for which he recorded between October 1951 and April 1952. In August 1952 Hal returned to Savoy, but that story will be told in another post, if you hepcats so wish!

Session details and release details of the tracks on "Disc Jockey Boogie":

"Swanee River," "A Plug For Cliff," and "Corn Bread" were recorded in NYC between June 9th and June 23rd, 1948. Personnel: Milton Larkin (trombone); Hal Singer (tenor sax); Wynton Kelly (piano); Franklin Skeete (bass); Heywood Jackson (drums).

Corn Bread / A Plug For Cliff (Savoy 671) by the Hal Singer Sextette, released in August 1948.

Happy Days / Swanee River (Savoy 697) by the Hal Singer Sextette, released in June 1949.

"Blue Monday Caravan," "Jiblets," and "Disc Jockey Boogie" were recorded in NYC on 21st September, 1948. Personnel: Hal Singer (tenor sax); Sir Charles Thompson (piano); unknown (guitar); unknown (bass); unknown (drums).

Cooking With Cookie / Blue Monday Caravan (Savoy 679) by Sir Charles Thompson's All Stars, released in December 1948.

Jiblets / Disc Jockey Boogie (Acorn 300) by Hal Singer with Sir Charles Thompson Orch., released in October 1950. This was the first release on Acorn, a subsidiary of Savoy.

"Teddy's Dream," "Beef Stew," and "One For Willie" were recorded in NYC on 10th December, 1948. Personnel: Willie Moore (trumpet); Chippy Outcalt (trombone); Hal Singer (tenor sax); George Rhodes (piano); Walter Page (bass); Bobby Donaldson (drums); Milton Larkin (vocals); The X-Rays (vocal group).

I'll Always Be In Love With You / Teddy's Dream (Savoy 681) by The X-Rays, released in December 1948.

Beef Stew / One For Willie (Savoy 686) by the Hal Singer Sextette, released in February 1949.

"Happy Days" was recorded in NYC on the 9th February, 1949. Personnel: William Moore (trumpet); Chippy Outcalt (trombone); Hal Singer (tenor sax); Tate Houston (baritone sax); possibly George Rhodes (piano) Walter Buchanan (bass) Butch Ballard (drums). Ensemble vocal.

Happy Days / Swanee River (Savoy 697) by the Hal Singer Sextette, released in June 1949.

Savoy single releases of Hal Singer's 1948 - 1949 recordings in chronological order:

Savoy 671 Hal Singer Sextette - Corn Bread / A Plug For Cliff (August 1948)
Savoy 679 Sir Charles Thompson’s All Stars - Cooking With Cookie / Blue Monday Caravan (Dec 1948)
Savoy 681 The X Rays  – I’ll Always Be In Love With You / Teddy’s Dream (December 1948)
Savoy 686 Hal Singer Sextette - Beef Stew / One For Willie (February 1949)
Savoy 697 Hal Singer Sextette - Swanee River / Happy Days (June 1949)
Acorn 300 Hal Singer with Sir Charles Thompson Orch. - Jiblets / Disc Jockey Boogie (October 1950)

Sources: Big Band Jazz by Albert McCarthy and Soul Jazz by Bob Porter.


Monday, 3 April 2017

Paul Williams - House Rocker























Side 1:
01. The Twister
02. Boogie Mr Williams
03. Turtle Rock
04. Canadian Ace

Side 2:
01. Rompin'
02. Jelly Roll Boogie
03. House Rockin' (aka House Rocker)
04. Back Bender

Download from:

http://www49.zippyshare.com/v/okErVdfW/file.html

These eight sides are from the Savoy 2LP set "Honkers and Screamers."

Facts on the sax tracks, Jack:

"The Twister" and "Boogie Mr Williams" were recorded in Detroit on December 20th, 1947. Personnel: Phil Guilbeau (trumpet); Wild Bill Moore (tenor sax); Paul Williams (baritone, alto sax); T.J. Fowler (piano); Herman Hopkins (bass); Reetham Mallett (drums).

Both tracks unreleased on singles. Another take of "The Twister" recorded on March 2nd, 1948 was released as a two parter on Savoy 665 in April 1948.

"Turtle Rock" and "Canadian Ace" were recorded in Detroit on March 4th, 1948. Personnel: Phil Guilbeau (trumpet); Wild Bill Moore (tenor sax); Paul Williams (baritone sax); Floyd Taylor (piano); Herman Hopkins (bass); Reetham Mallett (drums).

"Canadian Ace" was a title given to a previously untitled, unissued track on Savoy 2LP SJL2234 "Honkers and Screamers."

"Turtle Rock" was released on Savoy 773 b/w "Blues At Daybreak" in December 1950.

"Rompin'" "Jelly Roll Boogie," "House Rockin' "(aka "House Rocker"), and "Back Bender" were recorded in Detroit on January 13th 1949. Personnel: James Poe (King Porter) (trumpet); Louis Barrett, Billy Mitchell (tenor saxes); Paul Williams (baritone sax); Floyd Taylor (piano); John Holiday (bass); Bill Benjamin (drums).

"Rompin'," "Jelly Roll Boogie," and "Back Bender" were not released as singles. "House Rocker" b/w "He Knows How To Hucklebuck" was released as Savoy 702 in July 1949.

Label scan from 45worlds.com

The Cash Box July 2nd 1949
It's no coincidence that two of my favourite sax players from the 1940s and 1950s are Paul Williams and Leo Parker. Both were exponents of the big, bad, low down and dirty baritone sax, although one, Leo Parker, in the jazz field (although usually with a blues sensibility) and the other, Paul "Mr Hucklebuck" Williams in the rhythm 'n' blues field.

Paul Williams was born in Lewisburg, Tennessee, on July 13th, 1915, spent part of his childhood in Bowling Green, Kentucky, before moving to Detroit with his family when he was thirteen years old. He started playing saxophone in school where he met trumpet player Lloyd Henderson. On leaving school the pair formed a small group, the Kings of Rhythm, which found a gig at a Detroit club (The Morris Cafe) which lasted five years. The group played popular hits of the day for the white patrons of the club.

The Second World War brought about the breakup of the little band and as the war wound down Paul Williams joined the Clarence Dorsey band which played for black audiences at the Sensation Club. Paul next played for the King Porter band at a club called "Sportree" and it was here that he was scouted by Savoy Records man Teddy Reig after head honcho Herman Lubinsky had received a tip from local record shop owner Joe Battle.

The King Porter outfit didn't impress Reig too much but Paul Williams did, so Paul split from the Porter band and used the T.J. Fowler band as backing at his first two Savoy sessions on September 5th and October 6th 1947. The October session yielded the big hit "Thirty-Five Thirty" (named after the address of Joe Battle's record shop) which made the top ten in the national R&B chart.

Towards the end of 1947 Paul formed his own band which included musicians from the King Porter outfit as well as tenor sax man Wild Bill Moore. The same group of musicians also produced recordings on Savoy for release under Wild Bill's name. 

Good sellers for the Williams band through 1948 included two disc jockey tributes, "Bouncing With Benson" and "Waxie Maxie," and the hard blowing two-parter "The Twister." The latter two tracks featured Wild Bill's muscular tenor sax with Williams playing hot 'n' heavy baritone. Savoy A&R man Teddy Reig is usually credited with persuading Paul to make the decisive shift to baritone sax, a development which gave the band a big sound which could send audiences wild, particularly on honk heavy numbers like "The Twister."

By the time the band recorded "The Hucklebuck" in December 1948 Wild Bill had left, thus missing out on THE R&B phenomenon of 1949. Not only was it the top selling R&B disc of the year, it inspired big selling cover versions in both the pop and R&B fields. It's a disc which deserves it's own post and one is in preparation.

The huge sales of "The Hucklebuck" brought Paul Williams very little financial reward. He was not the composer (and thereby hangs a tale ...) and performers' royalties had a way of ending up elsewhere in the Savoy organisation. He continued to record for Savoy until the end of 1951 but no other release came anywhere near the success of "The Hucklebuck." A follow up, "He Knows How to Hucklebuck" / "House Rocker" had modest success in the second half of 1949. "What's Happening" and "Rockin' Chair Blues" from 1950 and 1951 made even less noise.

Paul Williams first post-Savoy session for Jubilee / Josie in mid-1952 failed to engender any releases but a session for Mercury later in the year produced two singles. In 1953 Paul had two singles on Jax with Noble Watts now joining the band on tenor sax. In 1954 - 1956 there was a spell of label-hopping as the Williams band had releases on Groove, Capitol, Rama, Josie and Vee-Jay. A couple more releases followed in 1961-62 on Warwick / 7 Arts and Ascot. 

Throughout his recording career and beyond, Paul's band was in demand as a backing band for live appearances by R&B and rock and roll artists. He was on the bill of Alan Freed's infamous March 1952 "Moondog Coronation Ball" at the Cleveland Arena and indeed was the only act to actually perform before the police shut the event down due to overcrowding.


You can see Paul backing various well known R&B performers in those old 1950s "Showtime At The Apollo" films which crop up in various guises on TV and DVD (and YouTube). He was also a studio backing musician for Ruth Brown and a band director for Lloyd Price and James Brown.

With Amos Milburn on Showtime At The Apollo
In 1964 Paul Williams retired from playing, took up sales jobs, did well, and then founded his own booking agency in 1968. He passed away in September 2002 at the age of 87.

Sources - Peter Grendysa and Atilla Oess interviews with Paul Williams in 1980 and 1985 for the Saxophonograph LPs "The Hucklebuck" and "Spider Sent Me."

Bob Porter - Soul Jazz (Jazz In The Black Community, 1945-1975), XLibris, 2016.