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Saturday 10 February 2018

Tommy Dean: Deanie Boy Plays Hot Rhythm And Blues

Side 1:
01. Cool One - Groove Two - Tommy Dean & His Gloom Raiders
02. Lonely Monday - Tommy Dean & His Gloom Raiders
03. Hour Past Midnight - Tommy Dean & Orchestra
04. Scamon Boogie - Tommy Dean & Orchestra
05. Just About Right - Tommy Dean & Orchestra
06. Sweet And Lovely - Tommy Dean & Orchestra
07. Deanie Boy - Tommy Deans Orchestra

Side 2:
01. Eventime - Joe Buckner w Tommy Deans Orchestra
02. How Can I Let You Go - Joe Buckner w Tommy Deans Orchestra
03. Why Don't Chu - Tommy Deans Orchestra
04. The Gold Coast - Tommy "Deanie Boy" Dean
05. Straight And Ready - Tommy Deans Orchestra
06. Skid Row - Tommy "Deanie Boy" Dean
07. One More Mile - Joe Buckner with Tommy Deans Orchestra

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A nice collection of sides recorded in Chicago by pianist and bandleader Tommy Deans. I picked this one up second hand about five years ago, listened to it once, wasn't too impressed, digitized it nevertheless, and then filed it away in the "ah, forget it" section. However it turns out to be one of those LP's that grow on you the more you listen to it with a slew of jazzy instrumentals for finger snappin' fun plus some vocal tracks which are somewhat mixed in quality. It was a couple of those vocal tracks which put me off the album (it won't be hard to guess which, once you've heard them) but the mid 1950's vocals by Joe Buckner on Vee Jay are very good indeed.

More information on the life of Tommy Dean has come to light since this Dave Penny compiled LP  was released in 1989. The Red Saunders Research Foundation ( a marvelous source of info on Chicago R&B) has an article which is well worth perusing here -

Tommy Dean was born in Franklin, Louisiana, in 1909. His early years were spent in Beaumont, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana. It seems that until the late 1930's he was based in Beaumont although he traveled around Texas and the Midwest as a musician in carnivals and circuses. He joined the St. Louis based band of Eddie Randle, subsequently began to lead his own band which toured the Mid West, and made St. Louis his home base. In 1945 he appeared in Chicago clubs, then reappeared in the Windy City in 1947. However, his first recording session was back in home in St. Louis where he cut a pair of sides for the small Town & Country label in late 1947.

His band at this time included tenor sax man Gene Easton, alto sax player Chris Woods and drummer / vocalist Nathaniel "Pee Wee" Jernigan, all of whom were still present when Tommy started recording for the Chicago-based Miracle label in July / August 1949. Two of the three singles cut at that session are present on this collection. "Sweet And Lovely" featuring a Pee Wee Jernigan vocal is, shall we say, an acquired taste, but the other three tracks are good late '40's jump somewhat reminiscent of sides by better known label mate Sonny Thompson.

Tommy Dean's next recording session took place in Chicago in June 1952 for the States label. The same band was featured with the addition of singer Jewel Belle on two of the tracks. Only one of the singles is included here - a vocal (which is another acquired taste), Lonely Monday" paired with an excellent instrumental, "Cool One-Groove Two." A second session for States in November produced another single - a re-recording of "Scammon Boogie" and a "Pee Wee" Jernigan vocal on "How Can I Let You Go," which Dean would later re-record for Vee-Jay with Joe Buckner on vocal.

There was a brief stop at Chance records in March 1953 to record a single credited to Barrel House  Blott and the St. Louisians. Tommy's next label (and his last) was Vee-Jay for whom he recorded between December 1954 and May 1958. No material from his last two sessions (October 1956 and May 1958) for the label was issued, so his July 1955 Vee-Jay session (featured on this comp) was the last session  from which tracks were released. The Vee-Jay material is excellent. It features a new band in which Tommy plays both organ and piano and Joe Buckner provides strong vocals, particularly on the heartfelt "One More Mile." Mention should also be made of the tasteful alto sax performance of Oliver Nelson on these sides.

The strong Vee-Jay sides form the whole of Side Two of this LP, plus the last track on Side One, so along with the good instrumentals from Miracle and States, they make for a satisfying compilation overall.

Tommy Dean's band continued to play and tour into the early sixties but eventually he downsized to a solo act which appeared in St. Louis clubs. He died suddenly, probably from a heart attack, in 1965.

Remember, for the full Tommy Deans story go to:

These are the fax on the trax :

"Hour Past Midnight," "Scammon Boogie," "Just About Right" and "Sweet And Lovely" recorded in Chicago, July - August 1949.

Personnel: Chris Woods (alto sax); Edgar Hayes (tenor sax); Gene Easton (baritone sax); Tommy Dean (piano); unidentified (bass); Nathaniel "Pee Wee" Jernigan (drums, vocal).

"Just About Right" / "Sweet And Lovely" by Tommy Dean and Orchestra, released on Miracle 144, October 1949. Re-released on Federal 12031 in 1951.

"Hour Past Midnight" / "Scamon Boogie" by Tommy Dean and Orchestra released on Miracle 157, early 1950 (?) Re-released on Federal 12019.

"Lonely Monday" and "Cool One-Groove Two" recorded in Chicago on June 4th, 1952.

Personnel: Chris Woods (alto sax); Edgar Hayes (tenor sax); Gene Easton (baritone sax); Tommy Dean (piano); Eugene Thomas (bass); Nathaniel "Pee Wee" Jernigan (drums); Jewel Belle (vocals).

"Lonely Monday" / "Cool One-Groove Two" by Tommy Dean and his Gloom Raiders released on States 106 in August 1952.

"Deanie Boy," "Eventime," "How Can I Let You Go?" and "Why Don't Chu?" were recorded in Chicago on December 20th, 1954.

Personnel: Tommy Dean (piano and organ); Oliver Nelson (alto sax); Cornelius "Chuck" Tillman (tenor sax); Archie Burnside (bass); Edgar Plaes (drums); Joe Buckner (vocals).

"Deanie Boy" by Tommy Deans Orchestra / "Eventime" by Joe Buckner w Tommy Deans Orchestra was released on Vee-Jay 125 in January 1955. "Deanie Boy" was renamed "The Horse" on a 1960 release on Vee-Jay 339 (b/w "Skid Row").

"How Can I Let You Go" by Joe Buckner w Tommy Deans Orchestra / "Why Don't Chu" by Tommy Deans Orchestra released on Vee-Jay 141 in July 1955.

"The Gold Coast" was recorded in Chicago on February 17th 1955.

Personnel: Tommy Dean (piano); Oliver Nelson (alto sax); Archie Burnside (bass); Edgar Plaes (drums). Release details see below.

"Straight And Ready," "Skid Row" and "One More Mile" were recorded in Chicago on July 11th, 1955.

Personnel: Tommy Dean (piano and organ); Cornelius "Chuck" Tillman (tenor sax); Joe Whitefield (tenor sax); Archie Burnside (bass); Edgar Plaes (drums); Joe Buckner (vocals).

"One More Mile" by Joe Buckner w Tommy Deans Orchestra / "Straight And Ready" by Tommy Deans Orch. released on Vee-Jay 172 in February 1956.

"Skid Row" / "The Gold Coast" by Tommy "Deanie Boy" Dean released on Vee-Jay 218 in December 1956.