Friday

MAY 7TH...


World champion Charleston dancer Bee Jackson.
Scanned from "Decades of Fashion" by Harriet Worsley.
Photo courtesy of Gatochy.

BIRTHDAYS


1900
Leon Abbey, Violin
b. Minneapolis, MN, USA 
d. 1975 USA 
Biography
~by Eugene Chadbourne
This Midwestern violinist and bandleader took his group on several groundbreaking tours to South America and India in the '20s and '30s, making him one of the great international ambassadors of jazz. Although he is a largely forgotten figure in the music, Leon Abbey's large jazz band was at least temporarily considered one of the best in the nation. He began leading combos in his native Minneapolis in his late teens, overcoming an obstacle that has halted many a fiddler from this part of the world: frozen rosin. In the early '20s he began touring with J. Rosamund Johnson, resulting in a relocation to New York City where the violinist again began concentrating on his own ensemble as well as working with the Savoy Bearcats.
The Savoy Ballroom's grand opening-night show in 1926 apparently featured a lineup of the hottest bands of the day, including the Charleston Bearcats led by Abbey as well as Fess Williams & His Royal Flush Orchestra. 


1900 

Leon Abbey, Violin
b. Minneapolis, MN, USA 
d. 1975 USA 
Biography 
~by Eugene Chadbourne 
This Midwestern violinist and bandleader took his group on several groundbreaking tours to South America and India in the '20s and '30s, making him one of the great international ambassadors of jazz. Although he is a largely forgotten figure in the music, Leon Abbey's large jazz band was at least temporarily considered one of the best in the nation. He began leading combos in his native Minneapolis in his late teens, overcoming an obstacle that has halted many a fiddler from this part of the world: frozen rosin. In the early '20s he began touring with J. Rosamund Johnson, resulting in a relocation to New York City where the violinist again began concentrating on his own ensemble as well as working with the Savoy Bearcats.
The Savoy Ballroom's grand opening-night show in 1926 apparently featured a lineup of the hottest bands of the day, including the Charleston Bearcats led by Abbey as well as Fess Williams & His Royal Flush Orchestra. 


Abbey's recording work as a freelancer during this period included sessions with classic blues singer Clara Smith. As a leader Abbey seemed to have a way with travel opportunities, launching a South American tour in 1927 that resulted not only in the indoctrination of many new Spanish and Portuguese speaking jazz fans, but in Abbey's musicians getting ill from eating too many bananas. "La Conga de Jaruco" is one of the Latin American flavored jazz tracks that the bandleader created from the inspirations of this tour. Abbey took the group to Europe the following year, resulting in the leisurely opposite of a "This is Tuesday; this must be Belgium" tour. He took on residencies and enjoyed extended stays in Holland, Switzerland, England, France and throughout Scandinavia. In the mid-'30s, Abbey took his group to India for two successive tours and a residency that lasted until 1939. The swank Taj Mahal Hotel was a typical venue for this group while in the land of curry. Perhaps the leader was more involved in organizing travel than music, since various musicians that were on these tours have commented on the groups' democratic structures.

1900 
Leon Abbey, Violin
b. Minneapolis, MN, USA 
d. 1975 USA 
Biography 
~by Eugene Chadbourne 
This Midwestern violinist and bandleader took his group on several groundbreaking tours to South America and India in the '20s and '30s, making him one of the great international ambassadors of jazz. Although he is a largely forgotten figure in the music, Leon Abbey's large jazz band was at least temporarily considered one of the best in the nation. He began leading combos in his native Minneapolis in his late teens, overcoming an obstacle that has halted many a fiddler from this part of the world: frozen rosin. In the early '20s he began touring with J. Rosamund Johnson, resulting in a relocation to New York City where the violinist again began concentrating on his own ensemble as well as working with the Savoy Bearcats.
The Savoy Ballroom's grand opening-night show in 1926 apparently featured a lineup of the hottest bands of the day, including the Charleston Bearcats led by Abbey as well as Fess Williams & His Royal Flush Orchestra. 


Abbey's recording work as a freelancer during this period included sessions with classic blues singer Clara Smith. As a leader Abbey seemed to have a way with travel opportunities, launching a South American tour in 1927 that resulted not only in the indoctrination of many new Spanish and Portuguese speaking jazz fans, but in Abbey's musicians getting ill from eating too many bananas. "La Conga de Jaruco" is one of the Latin American flavored jazz tracks that the bandleader created from the inspirations of this tour. Abbey took the group to Europe the following year, resulting in the leisurely opposite of a "This is Tuesday; this must be Belgium" tour. He took on residencies and enjoyed extended stays in Holland, Switzerland, England, France and throughout Scandinavia. In the mid-'30s, Abbey took his group to India for two successive tours and a residency that lasted until 1939. The swank Taj Mahal Hotel was a typical venue for this group while in the land of curry. Perhaps the leader was more involved in organizing travel than music, since various musicians that were on these tours have commented on the groups' democratic structures.

Abbey's recording work as a freelancer during this period included sessions with classic blues singer Clara Smith. As a leader Abbey seemed to have a way with travel opportunities, launching a South American tour in 1927 that resulted not only in the indoctrination of many new Spanish and Portuguese speaking jazz fans, but in Abbey's musicians getting ill from eating too many bananas. "La Conga de Jaruco" is one of the Latin American flavored jazz tracks that the bandleader created from the inspirations of this tour. Abbey took the group to Europe the following year, resulting in the leisurely opposite of a "This is Tuesday; this must be Belgium" tour. He took on residencies and enjoyed extended stays in Holland, Switzerland, England, France and throughout Scandinavia. In the mid-'30s, Abbey took his group to India for two successive tours and a residency that lasted until 1939. The swank Taj Mahal Hotel was a typical venue for this group while in the land of curry. Perhaps the leader was more involved in organizing travel than music, since various musicians that were on these tours have commented on the groups' democratic structures.

Anarchy might be a better description, since some of these groups were said to have no written arrangements, with each section simply working out its own harmonies and rhythms. This was still classic jazz, however, with a solid swing to it -- the use of the word "anarchy" should not lead listeners to conclude this was some kind of early free jazz band. At the close of the decade the violinist came back to New York,. Abbey was following the trail of many of his sidemen who had fled home due to rumors of war, leaving behind groups of largely Indian musicians attempting to figure out the American music. By 1941, Abbey had started a new trio in New York. Through the '40s and '50s he was touring regularly, switching locations to Chicago from 1947 and 1949. His group featured pianist Barrington Perry and bassist Rail Wilson, and worked regularly in Windy City jazz spots.



1896
Gale Binkley
C&W vocals/guitar
b. Cheatham County, TN, USA.
Member: 'The Binkley Brothers Dixie Clodhoppers' 
Biography
~by Eugene Chadbourne
One of the differences between old-time music, bluegrass, and country would have to be considered an element of timing, so who better to deal with this situation than a pair of watch repairmen brothers? The Binkley Brothers' Clodhoppers were a popular and historic Nashville string band that came along in the early days of radio, perfect timing in terms of being on the steadily moving second hand of new musical developments. But many listeners might be attracted to this group not because of solid musical reasons, but because of the combo's ridiculous name, or even better, some of the totally bizarre photographs of the group that have survived.
A photograph of Binkley Brothers' Clodhoppers throws down a definite challenge. Is there a photo of a group that is as weird-looking as this bunch in all the annals of outlandish '80s punk bands or far out and fruity '60s psychedelic bands? The answer would inevitably be: nay, nay. Beginning with guitarist Tom Andrews on the far left, we have a person whose face makes Rondo Hatton look like Cary Grant.
Hatton was a low-budget horror attraction from the '40s, whose face was so horribly deformed from a disease that he saved the studio bean counters the cost of a makeup artist. Hatton never appeared wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat that looks like it had been run over by a wagon several times, however, and this just increases the gruesome effect. The Binkley brothers could be said to look like "normal hillbillies," if such an idea can be swallowed, complete with overalls, patched jeans, corncob pipes, and dusted-up chapeaus. Guitarist and frontman Jack Jackson doesn't seem to fit in at all, however. He is dressed neatly in a suit and bow tie, is seated while the others are standing, and in summation looks as if he was dropped into the picture by some kind of matter transformation device.
Jackson was actually something of a hired gun, brought in to do vocals on all of the Binkley Brothers' Clodhoppers recordings, but appearing with the group live only occasionally. He was apparently popular on his own over Nashville radio in the early '30s and was known as "the strolling yodeler," although if the Binkley Brothers were any indication of Tennessee's population of that time, it might have been a wiser idea to run, not stroll. Amos Binkley was born in 1895 in Cheatham County, TN, and his younger brother Gale Binkley came along one year later. They formed their group and began appearing on the Grand Old Opry with it in 1926. The combo caught on solidly and remained popular on several competing Nashville radio stations, the musicians dashing back and forth across town to fit the needs of broadcasting schedules.
One of the group's best records is the hilarious, pleading "Give Me Back My 15 Cents," a song that was quite popular in the late '20s and was performed by other early Opry groups as well, including both Uncle Dave Macon and the McGee Brothers. Another surviving vintage recording from the Binkley Brothers, with a vocal by Jackson once again, is "I'll Rise When the Rooster Crows," a ditty that has been known to get the most stubborn sleeper out of bed. The County label reissued some of these recordings on the series Nashville: The Early String Bands, other tracks are available on a Yazoo compilation entitled Cornshucker's Frolic, Vol. 1. 
Binkley Brothers' Clodhoppers: Information from Answers.com



1905
Amos "Bumble Bee Slim" Easton
singer-songwriter/guitar
b. Brunswick, GA, USA.
Amos moved to Chicago around 1930, and first recorded six sides by the then young Paramount label; "Stumbling Block Blues," "Yo Yo String Blues," and four others. During the mid-1930s Slim was writing, recording, and outselling many of his contemporaries. Between 1934-1937, "Bumble Bee Slim" recorded over 150 sides for Vocalion, Bluebird, and Decca. Even so, all three labels dropped Slim in 1938.
Following this setback, he left Chicago for Los Angeles and where he was musically inactive for an entire decade. In the 1950s, he again began to record for the Fidelity, Marigold, and Specialty labels. In 1962, the Pacific Jazz label recorded his last album. For the remainder of his career Slim played in small California clubs until his death in 1968. "Bumble Bee Slim" was a forgotten legend of his time.


1906
Edward Inge, Clarinet
b. Kansas City, MO, USA
d. 1988 
~Biography
by Eugene Chadbourne
One of the grand old men of the music scene in Buffalo, New York, reed player and arranger Edward Inge could boast of membership in historic jazz bands such as McKinney's Cotton Pickers. Inge's meticulous scores and arrangements were played by stars such as Louis Armstrong, Don Redman, and Jimmie Lunceford, and during his own heyday as a player, Inge had the chops on saxophone to replace Don Byas in the Andy Kirk band. Inge was yet another talent from good old Kansas City; he began playing clarinet there at the age of 12 and made his professional debut as a member of the George Reynolds Orchestra some six years later.
Ensuing gigs were had with Dewey Jackson, Artie Simms, and others, Inge also dipping into the gigging possibilities in several of the larger cities in Wisconsin . Up until 1928, the reedman played with Oscar Young, and in 1930 the opportunity to fall in line with McKinney's Cotton Pickers was accepted. Don Redman hired Inge away from that outfit in 1931, beginning one of his longest allegiances to any one band. He played with Redman nearly 'til the end of the decade, then went to work with Kirk until 1943. In this period Inge's arranging talents became more in demand. By the middle of the decade he was also stepping out as a bandleader, working from a Cleveland base.
The move to Buffalo represented not too great a geographical jump. Inge was active there as a bandleader in both the '50s and '60s. He was also part of an ensemble led by Cecil Johnson in the latter decade. In the '70s, Inge worked regularly with C.Q. Price's band, another Buffalo institution.
On recording, Inge's most famous moments are his appearances on a wide variety of vintage music including sides by the Mills Brothers, Cab Calloway, and the Boswell Sisters. 

Edward Inge - Wikipedia



1899
Pete Jacobs, Drums
b. Asbury Park, NJ, USA
d. ca. 1952 
Biography
~by Eugene Chadbourne
This obscure but snappy swing drummer spent not much more than a decade in the music business, retiring due to ill health in 1937 and living on only into the early '50s. His recording career took place mainly between 1932 and 1937, resulting in almost 20 recordings of classic jazz. Mostly he is associated with Claude Hopkins, a superb pianist whose attributes included a low-key melodic approach, consistent determination as a bandleader, and a spontaneous approach to performance and recording that, at times, offends control-freak jazz listeners.
Jacobs, not to be confused with a younger swing revival musician of the same name, came from the same home town as Bruce Springsteen, the New Jersey shore village of Asbury Park. It was not even 1900 yet when the drummer was born, however; rock & roll could not possibly have been on the minds of the Musical Aces, Jacobs' first professional band. He joined Hopkins in 1926 for the opening of what would be a series of stints. This one lasted two years, followed by a musical shoot with Charlie Skeet. Then it was back with Hopkins from 1930 until Jacobs laid down his drumsticks for good. The drummer can be seen onscreen in Barber Shop Blues, a short film from 1933 featuring the Hopkins band. 

Pete Jacobs - Wikipedia


1904
Floyd O'Brien, Trombone
b. Chicago, IL, USA
d. 1968 
Biography
~by Scott Yanow
A fine trombonist with a warm tone and a solid improvising style (although not on the level of Jack Teagarden), Floyd O'Brien performed with many top musicians throughout his career. He started out playing in early 1920s Chicago and was an unofficial member of The Austin High School Gang. During the 1920s, O'Brien was with the bands of Earl Fuller, Floyd Town, Charles Pierce, Thelma Terry and Husk O'Hare, among others. After working in a pit band in Des Moines, Iowa (1930-31), O'Brien played with Mal Hallett and then in New York with Joe Venuti, Smith Ballew and Mike Durso (1933-34). O'Brien served with the big bands of Phil Harris (1935-39), Gene Krupa (1939-40) and Bob Crosby (1940-42).
He moved to Los Angeles in 1943 where he played with Eddie Miller's short-lived big band, recorded with Bunk Johnson and worked with Shorty Sherock, Jack Teagarden and Wingy Manone. O'Brien moved permanently back to Chicago in 1948, freelancing throughout the 1950s (including with Bud Freeman, Art Hodes and Danny Alvin). He worked in later years as a brass teacher and a piano tuner. The trombonist was on many record dates through the decades including with Bud Freeman (back in 1928), Eddie Condon (starting in 1933), Fats Waller, Mezz Mezzrow, George Wettling (1940), Bob Crosby, Charles LaVere (1944), Art Hodes, Danny Alvin, Albert Nicholas (1959) and Smokey Stover. However O'Brien only had one opportunity to lead his own record date, resulting in two titles for Jump in 1945 that have also been released under pianist Charles LaVere's name. 
Floyd O'Brien: Information from Answers.com
Floyd O'Brien - Wikipedia



1895
"Yank" Porter, Drums
b. Norfolk, VA, USA
d. 1944
Yank Allen Porter (ca. 1895, Norfolk, Virginia or New Orleans, Louisiana - March 22, 1944,New York City) was an American jazz drummer. Porter moved to New York City in 1926 and played there with Calvin Jackson until 1930. In the 1930s he worked with Charlie Matson (1932), Louis Armstrong (1933), Bud Harris (1933), James P. Johnson (1934, 1939), Fats Waller (1935-36), and Dave Martin (1936). In 1940 he played briefly with Joe Sullivan, then joinedTeddy Wilson in a small group for the remainder of the year. He also did freelance recording with Benny Carter (1940) and Art Tatum (1941).

1894
George Riley Puckett
C&W guitar/vocals
b. Alphareta, GA, USA.
Member: "The Skillet Lickers" 
Biography 
~by Steve Kurutz 
Proof that in-fighting and power plays among band members was not a practice invented by rock & roll groups, the Skillet Lickers were a prolifically talented 1920s string band that had "creative differences" through much of their career span. Originally formed as a backup band for fiddler and folksy-styled humorist Gid Tanner, the addition of fiddler Clayton McMichen took the band in another direction entirely. McMichen looked down upon Turner's backwoods humor and musical style, preferring to take a more modern approach to the music by including jazz and pop influences, and he often downplayed the role of the banjo, as well as Turner's high-pitched, comical vocals. Still, despite the creative differences, the Skillet Lickers operated on all cylinders throughout the '20s, recording for Columbia and gaining a reputation as one of the sharpest live bands of the time. After McMichen left in the early '30s to form other bands, Turner kept the name and hired a revolving cast of supporting musicians to keep the ball rolling for another few years. 
New Georgia Encyclopedia: Riley Puckett (1894-1946)
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

1950.
Bertha "Chippie" Hill, vocals
died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 45


Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


1917



Six Brown Brothers - Saxophone Sam



1918


Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orchestra
  • I Want Him Back Again (Introducing: I Want A Daddy Like You / I Just Stepped In To Get Out Of The Rain)
  • We'll Do Our Share (Introducing: I Can't Let 'Em Suffer)

1919


Jim Europe's 369th Infantry "Hellfighters" Band

1925



George McClennon's Jazz Devils
  • Anyone Want To Try My Cabbage?
  • Home Alone Again Blues



Paul Whiteman Orchestra - The Charleston



Lee Morse and her Bluegrass Boys - Yes, Sir, Thats My Baby



1926


Maggie Jones accompanied by her Jazz Band
  • I'm A Real Kind Mama



1927



Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven


1929



Mary Johnson


Blind Willie Dunn (Eddie Lang) and Lonnie Johnson - Guitar Blues


Ben Selvin and his Orchestra
  • "I'll Always Be In Love With You"



1930


Joe Venuti's Blue Four/Five/Six



Joe Venuti's Blue Four/Five/Six - Raggin' The Scale


Harry Reser and his Orchestra
  • If I Had A Girl Like You



1932


Isham Jones Orch.

1934



Mezz Mezzrow and his Orchestra

1936


Don Redman and his Orchestra - A Little Bit Later On


LYRICS:

Charleston
By: Cecil Mack and James P. Johnson
Date: 1923

[Verse]:
Carolina,
Carolina,
At Last They`Ve Got You On The Map.
With A New Tune,
A Funny Blue Tune,
With A Peculiar Snap!
You May Not Be Able
To Buck And Wing,
Fox-Trot,
Two-Step,
Or Even Sing,
If You Ain`T Got Religion
In Your Feet
You Can Do This Prance
And Do It Neat.

[Chorus]:
Charleston!
Charleston!
Made In Carolina.
Some Dance,
Some Prance,
I`Ll Say.
There`S Nothing Finer
Than The Charleston,
Charleston.
Lord, How You Can Shuffle.
Ev`Ry Step You Do
Leads To Something New,
Man, I`M Telling You
It`S A Lapazoo.
Buck Dance Wing Dance
Will Be A Back Number,
But The Charleston,
The New Charleston,
That Dance Is Surely A Comer.
Sometime You`Ll Dance It One Time,
The Dance Called The Charleston,
Made In North Caroline.
**FOOTNOTE:
The Charleston - 1923
Lyrics by Cecil Mack (R.C. McPherson) - Music by James P Johnson
This song was introduced to America by Elizabeth Welch in the all-Black musical, Runnin' Wild. James P Johnson's music for the song is said to be inspired by the music brought to New York by South Carolina dockworkers that Johnson played for almost ten years before. Cecil Mack's lyrics are seldom heard though Mack was an accomplished lyricist who had been involved with the first Black owned music publishing company, Gotham Attucks, at the beginning of the 20th Century. The Charleston dance changed America in many ways and became the anthem of the Jazz Age.



Yes, Sir, That's My Baby
~Lyrics by Gus Kahn
~Music by Walter Donaldson
1925.

Who's that coming down the street?
Who's that looking so petite?
Who's that coming down to meet me here?
Who's that you know who I mean,
Sweetest "who" you've ever seen,
I could tell her miles away from here.

Chorus 1: Yes, Sir, That's my Baby, No, Sir, Don't mean "Maybe"
Yes, Sir, That's my Baby now.
Yes ma'am, we've decided, No ma'am, we won't hide it,
Yes, ma'am, you're invited now.
By the way, By the way,
When we reach the preacher I'll say, (with feeling)
Yes Sir, That's my Baby, No, Sir, don't mean "maybe",
Yes Sir, That's my Baby now.

Who's the "who" I rave about?
Who do I feel blue without?
In the Winter, Summer, Spring and Fall?
What was I just "gonna" say,
I forget, but anyway,
Here's the most important thing of all.

Yes, Sir, That's my Baby, No, Sir, Don't mean "Maybe"
Yes, Sir, That's my Baby now.
Well well, "lookit" that baby, Do tell, don't say "maybe",
Nell's bells, won't she cause some row.
Pretty soon, Pretty soon,
We will hear that Lohengrin tune, (I'm sayin')
Who for should she be sir, No one else but me sir,
Yes sir, That's my Baby now.

Tag: Yes sir, Yes sir, I don't mean maybe,
That's my Baby now

Below is an alternate verse picked up from a minstrel album performance by Milton Berle:

Alternate Verse: I've got a gal in New Orleans,
Prettiest of the southern queens,
She's the gal that I'm just wild about, I'm wild about
When she walks down Bourbon street,
The guys all whistle to her beat,
She's in love with me there is no doubt, that's why I shout.


brought to you by... 
~confetta
Special Thanks To:
The Red Hot Jazz Archives,
The Big Band Database, Scott Yanow, 

and all those who have provided content,
images and sound files for this site.

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