Archive for the 78 rpm Category

Jo Jo Adams with Tom Archia – and in person

Posted in 78 rpm, clips, Jo Jo Adams, R'n'B, Tom Archia with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by crownpropeller

Jo Jo Adams (circa 1918–February 27, 1988) was one of the most colorful persons on the R’n’B scene of post war Chicago. A short biography by Dave Penny can be found here. Adams recorded for small labels like Hy-Tone, Aristocrat, Parrot, he also worked as MC in different clubs in Chicago.

One of my favorite sessions by Jo Jo Adams is the one he did with almost forgotten Chicago tenor saxophonist Tom Archia in July 1947 (read more about Tom and this session on the Tom Archia page of the Red Saunders Research Foundation). Here’s Jo Jo singing “Drinking Blues” on a copy of Aristocrat 801:

Adams was mostly known for his flamboyant personality, his risqué songs and his colorful dresses – with long coat tails that he swung around while dancing. Here you get a chance to see Jo Jo in action as part of William Alexander’s 1949 movie “Burlesque in Harlem (sometimes dated as having been made in 1953 or 1954, but Alexander had moved to London in 1950). Unfortunately Adams is only accompagnied by a piano – and how I wish it would be Tom Archia’s Combo! And sound and video are slightly asynchroneous on my source.

But hey: Better Jo Jo Adams with a piano and asynchronous sound than no Jo Jo Adams at all!

Enjoy!

Little Jimmy Scott: I’ll Close My Eyes (1952)

Posted in 78 rpm, jazz, Little Jimmy Scott with tags , , , , on March 3, 2012 by crownpropeller

One of the greatest evenings in my life as a jazz fan was spent at a concert that singer Little Jimmy Scott (born July 17, 1925) gave at the Widderbar in Zurich, Switzerland in – I guess – spring 2001. I went there with my girlfriend Iris and with Otto Flückiger and the swiss poet Ewald Kaeser. Those of you who ever saw or heard Scott sing know, what this can do to you. When I told Otto that Scott would be performing in Zurich, he could not believe that at first, because he thought Scott passed a long time ago – he only knew Scott from the late 1949 Lionel Hampton recording of “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” – a rather big hit in 1950.

Amazingly I have no video, not a bit of sound nor even a photograph from that event. I remember somehow having the feeling of this being a very special occasion and that filming or recording it would keep me from remembering IN MY MIND how it was. Now I wish I would have at least made a photo.

But here is something else: Little Jimmy Scott singing “I’ll Close my Eyes” on an old Roost 78 rpm:

According to Tom Lord Roost 603 was recorded on March 20, 1952, and the personnel is Little Jimmy Scott (voc), Terry Gibbs (vib), Howard Biggs (p), Hy White (g) and Louis Bellson (dr).

Enjoy!

Dick Davis Combo on Gateway: John Young sings!

Posted in 78 rpm, clips, John Young with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2011 by crownpropeller

When you think of the Chicago style of playing the tenor saxophone in the 1940s and 1950s  – strongly influenced by Lester Young – you will surely think of Gene Ammons. Others that come to the mind of those in the know are Tom Archia, Claude McLin and Von Freeman.

An almost forgotten figure from that school of  blowing way behind the beat is Dick Davis (April 15, 1917 – January 19, 1954) about whom you may learn a lot from the Miracle page of the Red Saunders Research Foundation.

Dick Davis at an unknown date.
From Galen Gart’s First Pressings

Before we reach the small sensation announced in the title of this post, I offer you a clip of the Dick Davis Combo playing “Memphis Train” from Miracle 109, recorded around January 1947. The personnel: Dick Davis: ts; Sonny Thompson: p, Eddie Calhoun: b; Jimmie Hoskins: dr. The voices to be heard on this special train are by the band members.

Richard “Dick” Davis was born in Jackson, Mississippi, his family moved to Chicago in 1924.  On graduating in 1938 – he was schooled by legendary Capt. Walter Dyett – Davis went to work as a professional musician. His first engagement with a  name band  was with Doc Wheeler’s Sunset Royals from 1938 on:

Doc Wheeler and his Sunset Royals in 1941: Joe Murphy: dr, Cat Anderson: tp, Jesse Brown: tp, Jimmy Harris: tp; Al Lucas: b, Dick Davis (ts), Cornelius Ringi: as, Bobbie Smith: as, Sam “The Man” Taylor: ts,
Nat Allen: tb, Doc Moran: tb. Originally published in New York
Amsterdam News, May 2, 1942. 
Taken from Franz Hoffmans Jazz Advertised

After World War II Davis was soon leading his own band , which was first billed as “Richard E. Davis & His Gold Coast Swingsters” or “Richard Davis & His Westcoast Swingsters”.

From the Chicago Defender, February 23, 1946.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s Jazz Advertised

From the Chicago Defender, July 13, 1946.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s Jazz Advertised

In summer 1946 Davis, with a combo that also featured fellow tenor saxophonists Eddie Chamblee and Tommy Jones, recorded a track called  Tenor-Mental Moods which was released on two different copies of Miracle 101 (One had Sorry We Said Goodbye as the flip, the other Blues In My HeartBenson Jump/Memphis Train from January 1947 then was the next record under Davis’ name.

In 1948, Davis’ group was the house band of  the New Savoy for a while:

From the Chicago Defender, March 6, 1948.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s Jazz Advertised

From the Chicago Defender, May 8, 1948.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s Jazz Advertised

In late spring or summer 1949 Davis recorded for Ivin Ballen’s Gotham label with a band consisting of himself, pianist John Young, who had started his career in Andy Kirk’s orchestra, Eddie Calhoun and Buddy Smith. The signing of Dick Davis was announced in Billboard, April 16, 1949. The session resulted in Gotham 182 (You Tell Me/Double Talk). Unfortunately I never heard this record (if you have a copy, please let me know!). All I could manage is to steal a screenshot from an ebay auction – notice Davis singing on this side:

The Dick Davis Combo on Gotham 182. Does anyone have a copy?

Up to now the two (and a half) Miracle Records and Gotham 182 were the only known records under Davis’ name. But two weeks ago I spotted a mysterious Dick Davis record on ebay that has not been documented in any of the standard blues, r’n’b and jazz discographies before – and I managed to acquire it. Wandering Blues/Down Home which might well have been originally recorded on the Gotham session was released on Carl Burkhardts Gateway Records apparently sometime in 1952. Up to now only two issues were known on the Gateway R’nB series: Gateway 5005 by Chuck Huguely with Johnny Smith’s Orchestra and Gateway 5002 by Chicago drummer Jump Jackson (if you have one of these two, again please let me know!).

So here is one side of the elusive Gateway 5001.

Apparently what makes this record a small sensation besides it’s rarity is, that it carries the only example of pianist John Young singing – which apparently he did not like to do, as he told ted Panken in this double interview (with Von Freeman):

John Young: The Quality Lounge was on 43rd Street. So if you know anything about 43rd Street, you know it wasn’t on the uppity-uppity-uppity-up. The Quality Lounge, I was in there with a fellow named Dick Davis who played tenor saxophone. I was the piano player, the drummer’s name was Buddy Smith, Eddie Calhoun was on bass. And I was singing.

Ted Panken: Singing, too.

John Young: But at that time I had laryngitis. When (?) asked me to sing, I suddenly developed a case of laryngitis. All three of them called it “lyingitis” — because it was a gitis that never left. But the Q was cool . . . Like I say, it was a relaxed joint. You could come in there with tennis shoes on if you wanted to. It wasn’t nothin’ uppity, you know. And it was on 43rd Street. We had a good time in there for a number of years …

From September 1951 on until his passing from lobar pneumonia in January 1954 Davis played with King Kolax’ band, accompanying Joe Williams, Johnny Sellers, Danny Overbea, the Flamingos and other Chicago singers for labels like Checker and Chance (look at the Red Saunders Research Foundation about Kolax for more information about Davis’ doings in Kolax’ band.

Some of these days I will maybe put the flipside of Gateway 5001 up on this blog well – Down Home is a slow instrumental blues featuring solos by Davis and Young as well as Calhouns prominent bass work. Until then!

Unknown (well, almost) Don Byas

Posted in 78 rpm, jazz with tags , , , , , , on August 6, 2011 by crownpropeller

Hi, everybody

I have been away for some time and now as I am back – I am also back to work. So I am sorry if now I only add something to this blog that is also on my website. But since I guess no-one ever found it there, I decided to put his beautiful (and very rare) record up on my blog as well. Continue reading

Cecil Payne on Decca: Angel Child

Posted in 78 rpm, Cecil Payne, documents, jazz, R'n'B with tags , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by crownpropeller

After reading my entry on Cecil Payne’s Hippy Dippy, Dani Gugolz has sent me this ultra rare photo of  Brownie McGhee (left) and Cecil Payne at the club Jazzland in Vienna, Austria:

Brownie McGhee and Cecil Payne at "Jazzland", Vienna 197X

(click to enlarge)

Thanks, Dani! The photographer of this shot from an unknown date in the mid-seventies is not identified. Brownie McGhee recorded with Cecil Payne on Payne’s second session for Decca on November 25, 1949. Here McGhee was named “Henry Johnson”, a pseudonym he used at different times in his career. The full band:

Leonard Hawkins (tp), Cecil Payne (as, bar, ldr), Ray Abrams (ts), Billy Taylor (p), John Simmons (b), Joe Harris (dr), Brownie McGhee (“Henry Johnson”) (voc).

McGhee sang on two tracks, the mock sermon The Worst Is Yet To Come and the slow blues Angel Child, on which Cecil Payne plays alto sax. You can hear Angel Child here:

Cecil Payne / Brownie McGhee: Angel Child (1949)

The music is taken from an original 78 rpm copy of Decca 48127 from the Otto Flückiger Collection. Dani has also send me a better version, but it’s on my other computer right now. But this one sounds fine enough, i think. Enjoy!

Cecil Payne on Decca: Hippy Dippy

Posted in 78 rpm, Cecil Payne, clips, R'n'B with tags , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2011 by crownpropeller

Cecil Payne (dec 14, 1922 – nov 27, 2007) broke through with Dizzy Gillespie’s big band (1946–1949, see photo above). In the fifties he became one of the best known baritone saxophonists of the hard bop movement. Not nearly as famous as his work with Gillespie and his later efforts – for example with Randy Weston – are the eight sides of jazzy r’n’b Payne recorded with a septet in june and november 1949.

Here’s one of them: “Hippy Dippy” from Decca 48114 recorded june 21, 1949.

The band consists of: Cecil Payne (bars), Bruce Hinkson (ts), Irvin Stokes (t), Billy Kyle (p), Franklin Skeete (b), Heyward Jackson (dr).

This is what Billboard had to say (sept. 24, 1949):

“One of those tenor-bary sax groan-and-moan deals with a big beat and some fresh themes.”

It may be “one of those”, but I like it. Enjoy!

High Speed Harris

Posted in 78 rpm, documents, R'n'B with tags , , , , , , on January 22, 2011 by crownpropeller

Today I went through a batch of old “Jet” magazines from the collection of Otto Flückiger. Here’s a nice photo of singer Wynonie Harris from the september 4, 1958 issue, when his days of glory were long over.

To go with it, I have some music for you from Wynonie’s younger days:

This is Wynonie Harris on a rare Bullet 78 pm from my collection playing “Dig this Boogie”, recorded 1946 in Nashville. Featured on the piano is none other than Herman “Sonny” Blount, later known as extraterrestrial big band leader Sun Ra! The drummer is most probably Wynonie himself. Enjoy!

To find out more about this session, go to:

http://hubcap.clemson.edu/~campber/sunra.html

Tommy Dean: Rock Easy (1947)

Posted in 78 rpm, R'n'B with tags , , , , , on December 19, 2010 by crownpropeller

To give you something to enjoy while I am waiting to find the time to scan some more photos of unknown r’n’b and jazz bands, I present to you a 78rpm from my collection, so you can have a little dance around your computer.

The musicians on this one are: Tommy Dean (p); Gene Easton (as); Chris Woods (cl); James Taylor (ts); Buck Underwood (b); Nathaniel “Pee Wee” Jernigan (d). It was recorded in St. Louis in 1947. For more information about Tommy Dean’s band (and also this record), go to The Tommy Dean Discography at the Red Saunders Research Foundation.