Fats Waller — The Reefer Song

Thanks to Mark Cranston for the You Tube

This is perhaps an infamous song Fats wrote in 1927, his ode to marijuana. This recording took place in Hollywood, September 23, 1943. It was his final recording session before he got on the train to go back to New York City. Fats died as the train was pulling into Kansas City. He was only 39 years old.

 

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Art Tatum Talks! — Someone to Watch Over Me

Thanks again to gullivior for this rare tape

This performance was taped November 26 1955 for broadcast on Radio Sweden. The composition was Someone To Watch Over Me, was composed and written by George and Ira Gershwin. As an added bonus, Art Tatum does his own announcing. Tatum talks! It’s also an appropriate song for Easter, as this is Easter Sunday in the U.S. so Happy Easter to all Christians.

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Annette Hanshaw — Rosy Cheeks

Thanks to warholsoup100 for the You Tube

Rosy Cheeks was composed and written by Seymour Simons, Richard Whiting, and Kenn Sisson. On this recording from 1927, she is well accompanied by Irving Brodsky on Piano.

Annette Hanshaw’s singing career on sound recordings and radio lasted from 1926 to 1937. She had several high points including in 1934 when she was named the most popular female singer on the radio (Bing Crosby was named most popular male that year.) She recorded 250 sides in her career. By 1934, she had sold 4 million records. She retired in 1937 when she married recording executive Wally Rose. She soon afterwards was largely forgotten until revivals came after she passed away.

In an interview given on Canadian Public Radio in 1978, she was asked her opinions on her career. She astonished nearly every one when she said that she hated all her records, thought they were all terrible, hated show business. Well, I thought her records were very well sung. When asked about her favorite singers, she mentioned Sophie Tucker among others. But, I would suggest that Annette Hanshaw’s softer and more intimate singing style was better suited for radio and phonograph records. For more about Annette Hanshaw, see this.  Annette Hanshaw was one of a kind, and as she used to say at the end of her records, “That’s all.”

 

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Fats on Friday — I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter

Thanks to Zedupoca for the You Tube

I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter was composed by Fred E. Ahlert with Lyrics by Joe Young. It was originally written for the Broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin.’  Fats Waller recorded it in June 1935 with Herman Autrey, trumpet; Rudy Powell, reeds; Al Casey, guitar; Charles Turner, bass, Harry Dial, drums; and Fats on piano and vocal.

Fats’s piano solo on this tune is a subtle masterpiece; one of his best.  He did it without any showboating. His vocal was so good that a who’s who of vocalists in various categories of music—pop, rock, R&B,—covered it For more on that see here.The song was recorded at a very high point in Fats’s career. It’s a great record; I’ve played it before and after awhile I’ll play it again.

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Art Tatum Group — Would You Like To Take a Walk

Thanks to VintageMusicFM for the You Tube

Now, back to what we usually do here. This tune was Would You Like Take A Walk. It’s available in the U.S. from The Genius of Art Tatum, Vol. 9. The tune was composed by Mort Dixon, Billy Rose, and Harry Warren. This performance was from a session in 1952 accompanied by Slam Stewart, bass; and Everette Barksdale, guitar. Tatum took over Stewert and Barksdale as his backup group from Nat King Cole, when Cole went strictly vocal with orchestras and arrangers such as Gordon Jenkins and Nelson Riddle. Tatum listened and learned from other pianists even though he could play circles around them.  A word for Slam Stewart here…I still don’t understand how he could sing through his bass bow.  It’s amazing.  The addition of the guitar and bass worked out well for Art Tatum.

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Roger Miller — Music for Children — You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd

 

Thanks to Bø Zolner for the You Tube

Now for something quite different for this website.  It’s a change of pace.  That was You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd by Roger Miller. What brought that to mind were my recent thoughts about music for children. I think when my mother initially bought me 45 RPM records those were children’s records. The record I remember was Little Orley and the Pancake about a pancake that jumps out of a frying pan and rolls out the door and down the road. The pancake successfully challenges each of the animals along the road until he meets a pig who eats him.   For children, the more absurd the story the better. The absurd has a great place and purpose in children’s music.

If you think about it, there is a lot of negative experience in childhood. Learning is sometimes painful.  “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.” The most common word , especially, in a Mom’s vocabulary is “No!” It’s no, no no all day long. Below is a video on You Tube from a few years back, where a little Girl named Charlotte gets back at her parents by saying “No” to everything they ask.  Notice how she loves it when it’s her turn  to say that word.

Thanks to sencryr37220 for the You Tube

Of course, Moms usually say no because she has experience. And when little junior does something risky without asking Mom, and it doesn’t end well, he sometimes pays an extra price.

Roger Miller captures this paradox of childhood, the absurdity and clown comedy of childhood. That’s why children love it. The song was used in a Muppets show segment with their Jug Band in 1976.

Thanks to dorcm 1973 for the You Tube

I decided to post this topic because I was thinking about children and music.

 

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Fats Waller — Do You Have To Go

Thanks to cdbpdx

Do You Have To Go was written and composed by Anita and Fats Waller. This version was recorded by March 20, 1941. Personnel included John Hamilton, trumpet; Al Casey, Guitar; Cedric Wallace, Bass; Slick Jones, drums, Gene Sedric, Reeds; and Fats on piano and vocal. A laid back performance from Fats and the band. Nice interplay between Fats,  Sedric, and Hamilton in the middle.

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Art Tatum — Cherokee

Thanks to gullivior for the You Tube

Cherokee was written by the great Ray Noble, British born band leader and song composer and writer. Ray Noble wrote Cherokee and several other songs in a suite of songs in tribute to various North American Indian tribes. For better or worse, Cherokee was the knock out hit and the others have largely been forgotten.

Art Tatum’s version of Cherokee was recorded in 1954 and is available on the Art Tatum Complete Solo Masterpieces Disc Five track 11.

I first heard this song riding in the backseat of my parents car and I immediately loved it. Art Tatum and Ray Noble…both men in a league of their own.

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Fletcher Henderson — Sugar Foot Stomp

Thanks to Heinz Becker for the You Tube

That was the Sugar Foot Stomp with The Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. The Personnel on the record included: Fletcher Henderson And His Orchestra Rex Stewart (cornet) Russell Smith Bobby Stark (tp) Benny Morton Claude Jones (tb) Russell Procope (cl as) Harvey Boone (as) Coleman Hawkins (ts cl bar) Fletcher Henderson (p) Clarence Holiday (g) John Kirby (tuba) Walter Johnson (d) New York City, March 19, 1931.

Since I mentioned Fletcher Henderson as the arranger for Benny Goodman after his serious auto accident. I thought I would play this record, which shows Henderson at the top of his game. This record is at the crossroads between the Hot Jazz of the 1920’s and the growth of the Swing Era. It really combines some of the two.

The Sugar Foot Stomp comes straight out of the New Orleans Jazz playbook. It was composed by King Oliver and Louis Armstrong. It still has the “mistake” from the original King Oliver session where the clarinet player missed his cue and the band yelled “Oh, play that thing.” It became part of the song.

Coleman Hawkins had a part on this record many years before  his career skyrocketed with his successful solo recording of Body and Soul.  With that record, suddenly, after years of toiling in the background he became  an overnight success. (Ha. Ha.)

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Fats Waller — The More I Know You

Thanks to OnlyJazzHQ for the You Tube

The More I Know You was written by Davis and Coots. It was recorded on June 5, 1936. Personnel on the recording date: Herman Autrey, Trumpet; Gene Sedric, reeds; James Smith, guitar; Charles Turner, bass; Yank Porter Drums. Fats was making it look and sound so easy.

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