Bud Freeman — You’re My Everything

Thanks to okmusik of the You Tube

This marvelous tune was You’re My Everything (1931) written by Harry Warren Music and Mort Dixon Lyric. The performance is from a recording issued on LP originally in 1955 titled “Midnight at Eddie Condon’s with Bud Freeman’s All Stars.” It took me some time and effort to track down an actual copy of the LP because it is long out of print, it was never reissued on CD, and only used copies are available, mostly in Europe. Worse yet, the credits on the LP cover are no help. The You Tube poster wisely chose not the mess with the issue.

This LP was recorded at a tavern in New York City that Eddie Condon owned and managed. Eddie Condon also played rhythm guitar, organized recording sessions including sessions with Commodore Records. His roots in music went back to the early 1920’s in Chicago. So did Bud Freeman who was one of the original “Austin Gang” who formed bands at Austin High School in Chicago, Illinois. These were loose sessions on this LP, which united old friends in an after hours setting where they could unwind. Whoever was there that night sat in with the band.

Unfortunately, the credits on the LP cover don’t reflect who played on which cut. So, I’ll just have to guess going from most to least certain. We definitely have Bud Freeman on Tenor Sax. My ears clearly tell me that we have Charlie Shavers on Trumpet and no one else is listed. Since only Vernon Brown is listed on Trombone, I’ll go with that. I lean toward Peanuts Hucko on Clarinet but it could also be Edmond Hall (who usually sounds softer than this player.) Wild Bill Davis is listed on piano but I’ve never heard him play anything but Hammond Organ. So, I’ll go with Joe Sullivan on piano who plays stride piano somewhat like Fats Waller with a dash of Earl Hines. On Drums it could be Dave Tough or George Wettling. We’ll probably never know for sure.

Now, for comparison, here is Al Bowlly’s vocal version of You’re My Everything from 1931 when the song was still new:

Al Bowlly came from Britain to the U.S. with the Ray Noble Orchestra. Bowlly had been very popular in Britain and he became popular in the United States at a time when high pitched male voices were popular. Then, beginning with damage to his vocal chords (which required risky but successful surgery) and other bad luck, he returned to Britain to resume his career there. His singing career got a much needed boost, but he continued to suffer other bad luck. Finally, he became a victim of the Battle of Britain when, after his final performance, he returned home and was killed in his sleep by a Luftwaffe bombing raid on April 17, 1941.

Thanks to Jim Hollowaty for the hat tip on the Bud Freeman version.

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Art Tatum Quartet — Deep Night

Thanks to bluesinorbit for the You Tube

Deep Night was written in 1929 music by Charles E. Henderson, lyrics by Rudy Vallee although this is an instrumental version, as were most of Tatum’s work late in his life. It was first recorded by Rudy Vallee.

This version of Deep Night was recorded in 1956 and is from from Norman Granz’s Art Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol 7 on the Pablo LP , although it might have been previously released on Verve. I have the CD version of the Tatum Group Masterpieces and it is on Disc 5 cut 8.

The group for this recording consisted of Buddy DeFranco, Clarinet; Red Callender, bass; Bill Douglass, drums; and Art Tatum on piano. In their hands, the tune sound of much later origin than 1929, Although the clarinet fell out of fashion in the post Swing or BeBop era, Buddy DeFranco was versatile enough to play in both forms. As we can hear, he more than holds his own with Art Tatum, which was no small feat.

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Fats on Friday– Zonky

Thanks to gullivior for the You Tube

According to gullivior, this Fats Waller recording of Zonky was from a radio broadcast, in 1935. One of his posters disagreed with him.  The poster claimed  that this was a series of recordings made for Associated Music Transcriptions,. I have never heard of these recordings, but apparently Teddy Wilson also made recordings for Associated Music Transcriptions. Meanwhile, According to AllMusic, these Fats Waller sessions were recorded from 1935-39, with excerpts of his songs, almost 3 and 1/2 hours of music.

I can’t find information on this Associated Music Transcriptions Company itself, but it might have been a business similar to Muzak. Muzak was a music service piped into Dentists and Doctors offices, shopping malls, and elevators in commercial buildings. It was sometimes used under license on radio stations. As I recall, Muzak was popular in the 1950’s and into the early 1960’s with the World War II generation. The selections in those days usually featured on Muzak sounded like the music of Annunzio Mantovani.

Or, these Fats Waller and Teddy Wilson recordings might have been licensed for radio only, not for sale in record stores. I am aware of a series of records Peggy Lee made that were labeled for radio broadcast only.  Since the records were not for sale in record stores, it was a way for musicians to make money without violating their exclusive record label contracts. That’s my best guess.

According to Maurice Waller, Zonky was written by Fats in 1929 with a lyric by Andy Razaf, which we don’t hear here. Zonky was a rare piano solo recording by 1935. Fats was mostly making vocal and group records. But, we hear his masterful touch and feel for the piano. Fats was smooth and fast here. Now this…. is the real Stride Piano.

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Annette Hanshaw– Wasting My Love On You

Thanks to tmmvids for the YouTube

Here’s a extra little gem I found by accident.  In looking for a vocal version of Body and Soul, and finding Annette Hanshaw’s version, I also found this  gem by Annette Hanshaw: Wasting My Love On You (1930). What a surprise!

The tune was written music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Edgar Leslie. This recording was released on several of Columbia’s budget labels. All we know about the musicians:   the instrumental backup was a five piece band under the direction of Ben Selvin. Too bad that no other credits are available, there was some nice trumpet work.  But those were tough times and we’re lucky to have the records.

I Love it!  What a great song and the perfect singer to sing it.    And as the lady used to say at the end of her records, “That’s all.”

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Coleman Hawkins Body and Soul

Thanks to masqualero for the You Tube

Body and Soul was a popular song written in 1930 lyric by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Evans, and music by Johnny Green. Early performances with the lyrics were recorded by singers Gertrude Lawrence and Libby Holman. It quickly became popular and widely recorded by jazz and popular artists. And then it slumbered until 1939.

This version by Coleman Hawkins, was recorded October 11, 1939 at the Victor Studios in New York. It was released on the Bluebird label and also a special issue on the Record Shop of Harlem label. I have the latter 78 rpm record, which might be the most valuable 78 rpm record in my collection. But, I’m not much into the more arcane aspects of record collecting; I just wanted the record for the performance. Many jazz critics cite this Coleman Hawkins performance as among the most important recording performances in the history of Jazz. Opinions vary. I’ll just say that it’s an incredible performance and I had to have this record.

The personnel at the session were: Coleman Hawkins – Tenor Sax; Tommy Lindsay – Trumpet; Joe Guy – Trumpet; Early Hardy – Trombone; Jackie Fields – Alto Sax; Eustis Moore – Alto Sax; Gene Rogers – Piano; William Smith – Double Bass; and Arthur Herbert – Drums .(Personnel listing thanks to Christopher Jolly, commenter on the original You Tube post).

By the time he recorded Body and Soul, Coleman Hawkins was nearly an old pro with 20 years in recorded jazz music. He was a stand out player in the early to mid 1920’s Fletcher Henderson Bands. In the early 1920’s, he also recorded with the Mound City Blue Blowers, which was mostly made up of  changing groups of white musicians such as Benny Goodman, Frankie Trumbauer, Bix, and the Dorsey Brothers.


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Art Tatum Body and Soul — plus Annette Hanshaw’s vocal version.

Thanks to Okmusix for the You Tube and images.

Art Tatum’s version of Body and Soul was released on Disc 1 Cut 7 The Art Tatum Complete Solo Masterpieces on Pablo CD’s. It was recorded December 28, 1953. Every Tatum record is a journey into a tune in which he explores all the harmonics of the song, turns it inside out and back again, does runs and landings with the harmonies. Indeed, Tatum was so far beyond other Jazz pianists in technical ability that some have said Tatum killed the jazz piano. I don’t know about that. But, I acknowledge that sentiment when I’ve said that there will never be another Tatum.

One thing Tatum does is he will fit in a phrase from an old song, like “something old” at a wedding. In Body and Soul, he plays a phrase from the old slave era spiritual “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” See if you can find it.

Tomorrow I’ll play the Coleman Hawkins version of Body and Soul recorded in 1939. Both Hawkins and Tatum experimented with chord harmonies in ways that transitioned Jazz from the Swing Era to variously what came afterwards.

In case you’re wondering, Fats Waller never recorded Body and Soul. Fats was a busy man. Or, maybe the song didn’t appeal to him. Those are my guesses.

I discovered that Annette Hanshaw recorded a vocal version of Body and Soul in 1930 when it was new and fresh, along with the verse which I’ve never heard before. Annette Hanshaw was an underrated singer, especially by herself.  Here it is:

Thanks to edmundusrex for the You Tube




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Fats on Friday with Ted Lewis — Royal Garden Blues

Thanks to bsgs98 for the You Tube with great photos

This was actually a record from a session on March 5, 1931 where Fats Waller sat in with the Ted Lewis Band. Fats was coming to be known not only as an extraordinary piano player, but also an extraordinary singer, songwriter, and comedian. The tune is the now legendary Royal Garden Blues, written in 1919 by Spencer Williams and Clarence Williams (who were not related.) I’ll quibble here with Wikipedia that the song IS a 1920’s jazz standard, since it was post World War I and it doesn’t sound like Ragtime to me. The best remembered versions of it—by Bix Beiderbecke, King Oliver, and Louis Armstrong—were recorded in the 1920’s.

Ted Lewis fronted this band. Like most great entertainers, he understood human nature and needs. He always wore a top hat and carried his clarinet more as a prop. His tag line was, “Is Everybody Happy?” He was more of a personality than a musician. His singing was okay but, he was a terrible clarinet player. One critic described his clarinet playing as “… sounding like a dog dying in anguish…” Fortunately, this record featured the brilliant young Benny Goodman on Clarinet. Also on this record were Muggsy Spanier, cornet; David Klein, trumpet; George Brunies, trombone; Don Murray, various saxes; Bud Freeman, tenor sax; Sam Shapiro and Sol Klein, violin; an accordionist to be named later(?); Tony Gerardi, guitar; Harry Barth, bass; John Lucas, drums; and Fats Waller, piano and vocal. Not sure who among them were regulars with the Ted Lewis Band. Ted Lewis (1890 -1971) lived to be 81 years old.  I think once again, Fats stole the show on this record, but Ted Lewis chose well in his musicians.



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Gordon Jenkins — Goodbye–And remembering Chuck Cecil

It has now been a year since Chuck Cecil retired from radio after being on the air for 70 years. I miss him because he always found something new (to me) in this old music. He kept the Swingin’ Years alive for his generation, and for those of us who were much younger. He played old music and made it new. I hope he is enjoying his belated and much deserved retirement. Today, I’ll feature a song Chuck played frequently, Benny Goodman and Goodbye. The segment of his show called “The Swingin’ Years Is On The Air” which was  where Chuck played transcriptions of radio broadcasts. Benny Goodman had many years “On the Air” would end his broadcasts with the Gordon Jenkins composition, Goodbye.

Thanks to cenotosa1 for the You Tube

Gordon Jenkins was working for Isham Jones at the time he wrote Goodbye, But Isham Jones rejected Goodbye as being too morose. It so happened that Gordon Jenkins played tennis with Benny Goodman and he offered the song to Goodman. Later, when Jenkin’s son, Bruce,  was researching a biography on his father, he discovered from Martha Tilton, vocalist for Benny Goodman, that Goodbye was written by Gordon Jenkins in 1935, after the death of his first wife and child in childbirth. That accounts for the intensely sad lyric of the song. Here’s Frank Sinatra’s vocal version of Goodbye, arranged by Nelson Riddle and conducted by Felix Slatkin, in 1958 and issued on the LP Only The Lonely.

Thanks to Bob Berry for the You Tube

Twenty five years later, in 1983, Nelson Riddle arranged and conducted the recording of Linda Ronstadt singing Goodbye. I had seen Linda Ronstadt live in 1967, as I mentioned before, at Doug’s Troubadour in Hollywood when she sang country rock with the Stone Poneys. I sat about ten feet away from her. She was a tiny woman with a gigantic voice. While she was still active in he 1980’s, but late in her career, she sang everything from operettas to Mexican folk music. She can no longer sing due to Parkinson’s Disease.

Thanks to catman916 for the You Tube

And me?  Don’t worry.  I’ll be back next weekend.

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Art Tatum — You’re Mine, You

Thanks to Gullivior for the You Tube and painting.

You’re Mine You, was written by Johnny Green and Eddie Heyman. This is a tune with the kind of lazy tempo that gives plenty of room for Tatum to embellish the melody and experiment with the harmonies. When I hear Tatum play piano, he is always thinking way ahead, he knows where he is going to land, and he has already begun to play the next segment before the listener can ask himself, what’s next? What’s next? He’s already done it. Otherwise, it’s a song for a lazy afternoon.

No source for the painting. But, the tree in the center looks rather peculiar. Was it struck by lightning?

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Fats Waller — My Fate Is In Your Hands (vocal by Gene Austin)

Thanks to Orchard for the You Tube

My Fate Is In Your Hands is an interesting record made by Fats Waller with Gene Austin on the vocal. It was recorded November 25, 1929. Apparently, the orchestra was a Victor studio orchestra and not Fats’s Rhythm. Fats solos after the lyric.

Gene Austin (1900-1972) was born Lemuel Lucas in Gainsville Texas, but changed his name to Gene Austin for show business reasons. In addition to singing, he was a prolific songwriter (How Come You Do Me Like You Do, When My Sugar Walks Down the Street, The Lonesome Road, Ridin in the Rain, and Voice of the Southland.) He became a very wealthy man based on song royalties by other performers, from Mildred Bailey and Bing Crosby in the 1920’s to Dick Dale and Duane Eddy in the early 1960’s Rock and Roll era. However, the song on this record,  My Fate Is In Your Hands, was written, music by Fats Waller, lyric by Andy Razaf.

Austin himself sold 80 million records from 1925 to 1935. With the development of the electrostatic microphone, he was a pioneer of the soft, intimate “crooner” style of singing (compared to the bellowing stage style of singing.) His singing style influenced Bing Crosby, Russ Columbo, and later Frank Sinatra. It was Bing Crosby’s White Christmas that broke Gene Austin’s sales record for a single recording. Austin retired in the 1950’s, and he has largely been forgotten. But, for several decades, he was very big.

Fats Waller was a skilled accompanist who blended his style very well with a variety of artists.

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