musicology #453

TheManWithTheBag #3

(Butterbeans & Susie – Papa Ain’t No Santa Claus)

Top ranking slice of the Christmas pie courtesy of three swingin’ Cats, Butterbeans & Susie, (Jodie Edwards and Susie Hawthorne), a long standing and much loved Vaudeville duo who teamed up in 1916 !! and Jazz pianist Eddie Heywood….who went on to play with such luminaries as Billie Holiday, Benny ‘King’ Carter and Coleman Hawkins as wel as performing in his own right. Recorded in New York City, (ahhh…New York…what memories), on Wednesday August 13th 1930 and released on an OKeh 78.


musicology #285

twolegendsclash #8

(Louis Armstrong & His Hot 5 – Hotter Than That)

Last of the uptempo and fittingly it’s one from Father Armstrong’s final recording session with the original, groundbreaking super group known as the Hot 5. Featuring not only the talents of Armstrong but also Kid Ory on the trombone, Johnny Dodds playing clarinet, Lil Hardin on the piano, Johnny St Cyr plucking the banjo and Blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson. Might not sound ‘Avant Garde’ now but at the time it was. This group came with the ‘new style’ that was to influence much of the music that followed…

musicology #234

inmodwetrust #1

(Walter Jackson – That’s What Mama Say)

new theme on themusicologist and one that is very much a part of my musical education due to the fact that both my mum and dad were first generation mod/ernists, (1962-1966). the cuts laid down this week were all played in and around London during the above period.

first up is a piece from one of the premier ‘mod’ labels, operating out of ‘Chi’, OKeh. A label that was one of the first to focus on ‘immigrant’ music in the 1920’s recording many of the early Jazz pioneers such as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet and Mamie Smith. After some time spent lost in the musical wilderness the company’s fortunes were reignited by employing Carl Davis in 1962 as head of A&R who had the vision to employ Curtis Mayfield as associate producer in 1963 as well as three of the best arrangers Johnny Pate, Riley Hampton and Gerald Sims who is quoted to have said

“the Chicago sound came from basically one source…Curtis Mayfield”

This one from 1963 is sung by one of themusicologist’s favourite singers, Walter Jackson. Produced by the aforementioned Carl Davis, arranged by Riley Hampton and songwriten by none other than Curtis Mayfield with, (possibly), the Impressions harmonising.

musicology #220

12AngryMen #15 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(The Marquees – Wyatt Earp)

end of the 12 angry road. the not guilty count is now 11-1. last man standing is Lee J Cobb whose personal vendetta against juveniles is obviously related to how he feels about his own son which, is not enough of a reason to send a teengaer to the ‘chair’ when all the evidence has been shot down in flames.

this last piece of the musicology pie is another from the OKeh label featuring a young drummer by the name of Marvin Pentz Gay whose recording career begun on this piece. signed to the label by Bo Diddley the record was a commercial failure so Bo introduced them to Rhythm& Blues legend Harvey Fuqua who incorporated them into his New Moonglows in 1957.

around 1958/9 Fuqua moved to Detroit, married Gwen Gordy, set up a couple of his own labels and when Berry Gordy convinced him to be an influential part of Motown introduced Marvin to the fold. and the rest, as they say, is history.

musicology #217

12AngryMen #12 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Yellow Coat)

back in the 12 angry saddle after almost a month ‘lost’ to philosophical meanderings, holidays, heartbreak, earning a living and soul searching…what have I learnt?

That true friends are essential, that a life lived alone is almost not worth living, that money is valued far beyond it’s worth and has become too important in the scheme of things. I believe it was Ruskin that said

“the only wealth is health” (and he wasn’t only refering to the physical). mind fuck is almost unbearable. harder to overcome than an expanding ‘darby’, which if youre careful can be dealt with by exercise and nutrition. I don’t know about you but my ‘butterfly mind’ is in a constant whirl and no matter how much I try to tame it’s fluttering wings with discipline or ‘will’ it always eludes me. I’m not going to go any deeper right now because it’s got nothing to do with the soundtrack, (at least not consciously), I just wanted to offer a ‘reason’ for my abscence, not an excuse.

anyway…back to the soundtrack with this classic piece of dialogue. a painful piece of prejudiced bigotry the likes of which, unfortunately, can still be heard around the globe today. not sure whether you remember the scene but one by one the jurors turn their backs on him in a show of contempt. the musicology, from Rhythm & Blues legend Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, was released in, yep you’ve guessed it, 1957 on Chicago’s famed OKeh label.

musicology #23

ladiesweek .. day3

Big Maybelle – Ocean Of Tears

moving and juggling into a piece recorded for the OKeh label sometime between 1952-55 but, as far as I know, one that stayed ‘in the can’, (unreleased), until the CD revolution opened up the back catalogues in the 90’s.

for your information this tough singer recorded the original of “whole lotta shakin’ going on” in 1955, (2 years before Jerry Lee Lewis rinsed it)