"The Top Liner Rag" -- 1916 --by Joseph F. Lamb.


Ira Gershwin, Lyricist 
b. New York, NY, USA.
d. Aug., 17, 1983, Beverly Hills, CA, USA.
nee: Israel Gershovitz.
Lorenz Hart in a 1925 letter to Ira wrote ""Such delicacies as your jingles prove that songs can be both popular and intelligent." Among other things, Ira is also recalled as singer Micheal Fienstein's mentor. One of the World's truly wonderful lyricists. Sometimes used pen name of Arthur Francis. Among his lyrics are: "They Can't Take That Away From Me," "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," "Nice Work if You Can Get It", and "Love Walked In." In 1937, George Gershwin died (from an inoperable Brain Tumor).
Ira never got over his brother's demise. He couldn't believe that his younger brother had died first. After that, he never again believed in God, and would often dream of his brother. He had a guilt complex because he out-lived his younger brother.

Billy Hall with wife Frances and son Manning,
London, 1926

Billy Hall, trombone 
b. London, England, UK
d. October 5, 1930, Hamburg, Germany.
Billy played with New Princes' Toronto Band, and others.

Armand Hug, Piano 
b. New Orleans, LA, USA. d. 1977
A superior New Orleans-style pianist, Armand Hug tended to be underrated throughout his life, but his many recordings are still quite enjoyable. Hug spent much of his life in his native New Orleans, where he began playing in public in 1923. He joined Harry Shields' band in 1926, worked a bit with the New Orleans Owls in 1928, and made his recording debut with Sharkey Bonano in 1936. Hug primarily performed as a solo pianist, having long residencies at various clubs and also hosting his own series on local television. Armand Hug recorded as a leader for New Orleans Bandwagon, Capitol, Good Time Jazz, Circle, Paramount, Southland, and Golden Crest, along with three fine albums in the 1970s for Swaggie.
~ Scott Yanow 

Manuel Klein 
b. London, England
d. June, 1, 1919, London, England

Links to sheet music for several Klein songs

Joseph Lamb, Piano 
b. Montclair, NJ, d. 1960

Joseph Francis Lamb (December 6, 1887 – September 3, 1960) was a noted American composer of ragtime music. Lamb, of Irish descent, was the only non-African American of the "Big Three" composers of classical ragtime, the other two being Scott Joplin and James Scott.

Lamb was born in Montclair, New Jersey. The youngest of four children, he taught himself to play the piano, and was very taken with the early ragtime publications of Scott Joplin. He dropped out of St. Jerome's College in 1904 to work for a dry goods company. In 1907 Lamb was purchasing the latest Joplin and James Scott sheet music in the New York City offices of John Stark & Son when he met his idol Joplin. Joplin was favorably impressed with Lamb's compositions, and recommended him to classical ragtime publisher John Stark. Stark published Lamb's music for the next decade, starting with "Sensation".
"Sensation", Joseph Lamb's first rag
published under John Stark's label.
In 1911, Lamb married Henrietta Schultz and moved to Brooklyn, New York. He worked as an arranger for the J. Fred Helf Music Publishing Company and later, starting in April 1914, as an accountant for L. F. Dommerich & Company. Henrietta died of influenza in 1920, about the same time that popular music interest shifted from ragtime to jazz. Lamb stopped publishing his music, playing and composing only as a hobby. "Bohemia Rag" was the last Lamb rag published before his death in 1960. That same year, his album, Joseph Lamb: A Study in Classic Ragtime, was released by Folkways Records.
"The Top Liner Rag", from 1916.
With the revival of interest in ragtime in the 1950s, Lamb shared his memories of Joplin and other early ragtime figures with music historians. (Many were surprised to find that not only was he still living, but that he was white.) He also composed some new rags, brought out some of his old compositions that had never been published, and made some recordings.
Lamb died in Brooklyn of a heart attack at age 72.


"Slats" Long, Clarinet 
b. Wichita, KS, d.1964

Wichita, KS, may not be famous for the musicians who happened to be born there; to the general public, the obvious musical Wichita reference would be the "Wichita Lineman" mythologized by songwriter Jimmy Webb. Slats Long was a Wichita clarinetist, hinting that few in his hometown even knew about his musical accomplishments. Indeed, to Wichita's citizenry at large, Long was just a guy who had worked in the aircraft industry for more than two decades beginning in 1943, not a musician at all, and most likely answering to the name he was born with, Don Long. With a stage name that sounds like builder's shorthand, Long had among other accomplishments been part of innovative film composer Raymond Scott's laboratory of musical associates. He had also performed and recorded with superior traditional jazz talents including vibraphonist Red Norvo and trumpeter Bobby Hackett.

Long's shortish jazz career seems to start up in the late '20s when the clarinetist began gigging with Cass Hagan. From the mid-'30s he was in a group led by partners Ed Farley and Mike Riley. Long journeyed east, the obvious destination being New York City and opportunities with Norvo, Chauncey Morehouse, Vincent Lopez, and Bud Freeman. Hackett hired the clarinetist in late 1940; involvement with Scott began soon thereafter, the composer both familiar and impressed with Long's busy freelance recording schedule during the previous decade. Long left the music business in 1943, returning to Wichita. He died of a heart attack in 1964.
~ Eugene Chadbourne


Fulton McGrath, Piano 
b. Superior, WI, d. 1958

Why an individual gets nicknamed "Fidgy" is an uncomfortable subject at best; when the guy's first name is Fulton, perhaps desperation enters into the picture. Fulton McGrath is one of the historic jazz artists who came in out of the fudgesicle-like tundra of the midwest kingdom of Wiscoldo; by the mid '40s, the later part of his career, he had left all such climates behind and was well established as part of the studio recording scene for film soundtracks in Hollywood. As such he fiogured into a small family dynasty getting studio calls; pianist McGrath was the father-in-law of Victor Feldman, another in-demand studio player who mastered an assortment of keyboard and percussion instruments. Speaking of offspring, McGrath as songwriter gave birth to "Mandy is Two", a bit of kitsch which only Billie Holiday could make sound convincing, as well as "Shim Sham Shimmy", a novelty jive number associated with the Dorsey Brothers and trumpeter Bunny Berigan.

McGrath's professional career began in the rhythm section of the Red Nichols band in the early '30s. He soon began playing with brothers Dorsey and got in on studio sessions for both recordings and radio broadcasts. Between 1935 and 1937 McGrath worked often in a studio orchestra under the direction of the talented Lennie Hayton. The following year the pianist was in bands led by both Berigan and Chauncey Morehouse; subsequent to that he stood solidly in the NBC house band before heading west circa 1943. Quite a bit of documentation exists of his work as a band pianist including sides with Nichols and the Dorsey Brothers as well as the fine swing violinist Joe Venuti. In most cases, reissue producers have chosen to identify him as Fulton McGrath, fudging on Fidgy.
~ Eugene Chadbourne
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include: 


Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds

Bennie Krueger and his Orchestra
Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

The Cotton Pickers
Bessie Smith

Martha Copeland and her Smokey City Trio

Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders
  • Tomorrow - Vocal refrain by Joe Cassidy
Lonnie Johnson
The Rhythmic Eight
The California Ramblers

Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra
Ted Lewis and his Band

Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon 
accompanied by Punches Delegates Of Pleasure
The Seven Gallon Jug Band
Fess Williams and his Royal Flush Orchestra
Jelly Roll Morton's and his Orchestra
Coon Sanders Nighthawks Orchestra

Hoagy Carmichael

Don Redman and his Orchestra
Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds Of Joy

~Bessie Smith  
Gonna journey up the Hudson, goin' on a lonesome trail, Gonna journey up the Hudson, goin' on a lonesome trail, They can put me in the debt house, or keep me in Sing Sing jail. I wrote in, asked the warder, why they call the jail "Sing Sing", I wrote in, asked the warder, why they call the jail "Sing Sing", He said, "Stand here by this rock pile and listen to them hammering" The jury's in the courthouse, papers sellin' for fifty cents, The jury's in the courthouse, papers sellin' for fifty cents, All the jury's tryin' to jail me, my lawyer pleadin' self defence. The judge says, "Listen Bessie, tell me why you killed your man", The judge says, "Listen Bessie, tell me why you killed your man", I said, "Judge, you ain't no woman and you can't understand". You can send me up the river, or send me to that mean old jail, You can send me up the river, or send me to that mean old jail, I killed my man and I don't need no bail
brought to you by...   
Special Thanks To:
Scott Yanow, 
And all who have provided 
content for this site.