Saturday

SEPTEMBER 18TH

Willard Robison
Happy Birthday Willard Robison


BIRTHDAYS


1894
Willard Robison, composer/vocals/leader
b. Shellbina, MO, USA.
d. June 24, 1968, New York, NY, USA.
Among his songs are "A Cottage For Sale", "Old Folks", "Old Pidgeon Toed Joe", "Peaceful Valley", and "Taint So, Honey, Taint So". A songwriter and occasional performer of his own pastoral, semi-rural ballads, Willard Robison offered several standards to the classic American pop repertoire, including "A Cottage for Sale," "Don't Smoke in Bed," "'Tain't So, Honey, 'Tain't So," "Old Folks," and "Peaceful Valley" (the latter Paul Whiteman's theme song). Born in Missouri, Robison played piano and led a few territory bands in the Southwest during the '20s (including work with Jack Teagarden) and recorded several dozen sides in New York later in the decade as the leader of Willard Robison's Levee Loungers and the Deep River Boys.
He also made several sides as part of Busse's Buzzards, a studio group led by trumpeter Harry Busse (a star soloist for Whiteman's band). Robison's masterpieces such as "Old Folks" and "Deep Elm" were laconic -- occasionally downright narcoleptic -- portraits of life in small-town America, summoning a similarly earthy philosophy as a pair of other classic singer/songwriters: Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer.

His 1929 composition "A Cottage for Sale" (lyric by Larry Conley) became his best-known, with over 100 performances and popular recordings by Guy Lombardo (in 1930) and Billy Eckstine (in 1945). Robison's last major composition, "Don't Smoke in Bed," was a hit for Peggy Lee in 1948, and he also wrote a book, -Willard Robison's Six Studies in Syncopation, for Piano. In 1962, old friend Teagarden recorded Think Well of Me, a full album of Willard Robison songs (it was his second-to-last session), and six years later, Robison died in New York. 
~ John Bush



1918
William "Bill" Graham, bari/alto sax
b. Kansas City, MO, USA
Of all the jazzmen named Bill Graham who are not related to either the Fillmore East promoter or the minister of the same name, the reed player from Kansas City is the one with the lengthiest career and most humongous pile of sides to his credit. He is also an unwanted man to bebop snobs who detest the commercial novelty side of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's career following his split with sidekick Charlie Parker. Along with bizarre singer Joe Carroll, Bill Graham was a recognizable feature in many of these Gillespie bands. His sermons came burbling from a baritone sax; he also wrote "Oh-Sho-Be-Do-Be," a tune printed on many a Gillespie set list and something like the peak of Mount Insipid to people who don't like this sort of thing.
Graham's career should hardly be scaled down to this one ditty, however. He played with both the Duke Ellington and Count Basie bands and furthermore had an incredible career in R&B, playing short but brilliant improvisations on records by Little Willie John, Joe Williams, and the endlessly entertaining Wynonie Harris. Kansas City can claim many players of this caliber or better, but Graham actually grew up in Denver, where he led a combo of his own whose members included fellow reed player Paul Quinichette. Graham studied formally at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, joined the army in the mid-'40s and then briefly rejoined the student life at Missouri's Lincoln University.
Soon began a series of big and small reed section jobs leading up to the Gillespie relationship, Graham choosing between alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones. Among his early employers were Basie, Lucky Millinder, and Erskine Hawkins. Graham stayed with Gillespie for seven years beginning in 1946, then formed a group of his own that occupied a New York club stage for two years straight. In the late '50s Graham rejoined Basie as well as working with both Duke Ellington and Mercer Ellington. Graham's name is not one that usually drops out immediately when reed players associated with Ellington are under discussion; suffice to say his job was to play all of Johnny Hodges' parts during a period when that star soloist had gone off on his own. Likewise, Graham's relationship with the Duke's son Mercer Ellington took place during a flight from the nest, the father allowing the son access to certain sidemen only. Following retirement from life on the road Graham became a public school teacher in New York City. ~ Eugene Chadbourne



1917
Ervin Rouse C&W singer/songwriter/fiddler
b. Craven County, NC, USA.
Member: "Rouse Brothers" Orange Blossom Special was written by two young fiddlers, Ervin Rouse and Chubby Wise in 1939.
LYRICS:
Orange Blossom Special
1. Well look a-yonder comin'
Comin' on down the track
Well look a-yonder comin'
Comin' on down the track
It's the Orange Blossom Special
Bringin' my baby back
2. Well talk about her ramblin'
She's the fastest train on the line
Well talk about her travellin'
She's the fastest train on the line
She's the Orange Blossom Special
Rollin' down the seaboard line
3. Well, I'm going down to Florida
Get some sand in my shoes
Or maybe California
Get some sand in my shoes
I'll ride the Orange Blossom Special
And lose those New York blues


1923
Frank "Frankie" Socolow, tenor sax/alto sax
b. New York (Brooklyn), NY USA. d. April 30, 1981, USA.
Played with Manny Albam, Georgie Auld, Johnny Bothwell, "Big" Sid Catlett, Teddy Charles, Terry Gibbs, Chubby Jackson, Gene Krupa, Joe Morello, Charlie Parker, Cecil Payne, Johnny Richards, Boyd Raeburn, and Sal Salvador.
A fine tenor saxophonist who never rose beyond the journeyman stage despite his talents, Frank Socolow had a transitional swing-to-bop style. He first worked professionally in 1941 with Jack Melvin and then had stints with Georgie Auld, Ted Fio Rito, Roy Stevens, Van Alexander and Shep Fields. He was featured with Boyd Raeburn's Orchestra in 1944 (and later in 1948 and 1956-57), the short-lived Buddy Rich big band and Chubby Jackson, touring Scandinavia with the latter during 1947-48. Socolow was in Artie Shaw's beboppish big band during 1949-50 and in the late 50's played with Johnny Richards' Orchestra.
He recorded with Raeburn, Rich, Jackson, Shaw and Richards plus Sid Catlett, Johnny Bothwell, Buddy DeFranco, Charlie Ventura, Sal Salvador, Terry Gibbs, Cecil Payne, Manny Albam, Gene Krupa, Teddy Charles and Joe Morello (1961) among others. Frankie Socolow also led two sessions of his own: four songs in 1945 with a quintet also including trumpeter Freddy Webster (heard at his best) and pianist Bud Powell, and a full album with a sextet in 1956 for Bethlehem (reissued on CD by Fresh Sound). But despite all of this activity, he remains only a footnote in jazz history.  ~ Scott Yanow



1896
Ray Stillwell
trombone/leader/vocals
b. East Liverpool, OH, USA.
d. April of 1967, Las Vages, NV, USA.
Working variously as a trombonist, vocalist and song writer, Ray was most popular in the 1920's and '30's. At times he had his own orchestra and at other times he was with the likes of Fred Rich, Paul Whiteman, Tommy Dorsey etc. In 1932, he was a member of the Nat Brusiloff CBS orchestra that accompanied famed singer Kate Smith and her 'Swanee River Review' at the Steel Pier, in Atlantic City, NJ.



1902
John L. Thomas, Trombone
b. Louisville, KY, USA. d. 1971
Classic jazz trombonist John Thomas was associated with the Chicago jazz scene up until the time of his death in the early '70s, especially a wonderful repertory band led by Franz Jackson with which Thomas performed and recorded through the first half of the '60s. The '50s, on the other hand, may have simply depressed the trombonist with its onslaught of rock & roll, because he simply stopped playing completely -- representing the first major halt in musical action for this performer since his professional activities began in the Roaring Twenties. 
Thomas was born in Kentucky but relocated to Chicago as a child, receiving his formal education in the Windy City and sliding into on-stage trombone performances with the Clarence Miller Orchestra circa 1923. Between 1927 and 1928 he worked with Erskine Tate, allowing an entry into Louis Armstrong's legendary Hot Seven. The trombonist continued working with a wide range of classic jazz bandleaders, including trumpeter Freddie Keppard. Thomas tended to trickle in and out of groups such as that of the aforementioned Tate and Reuben Reeves, in one lineup and then out of the next. He was briefly with McKinney's Cotton Pickers for jobs in the Northeast in the '30s; in 1937 he was part of a touring revue fronted by pianist and singer Nat King Cole.
Thomas was once again with Tate as well as drummer Floyd Campbell's outfit prior to switching his trombone case for the tool kit of a defense plant worker during the second World War. That hiatus from playing took place prior to dropping out completely during the '50s, as he did gig once again in a group led by guitarist Walter Dysett in 1944. He should not be confused with many other performers with this name, including a younger trombonist who recorded with Oliver Nelson.
~Biography by Eugene Chadbourne




Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

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1917
The Honolulu Ad Club filed a patent for a musicial instrument they called the 'Ukulele.' 


1927.
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The Columbia Broadcasting System was born (its rival, NBC, had been on the air for some time). The Tiffany Network, as CBS was originally known, broadcast an opera, "The King's Henchman," as its first program. A 27-year-old William S. Paley had formed the network by purchasing a chain of 16 failing radio stations (for a cost somewhere between $250,000 and $450,000). Just one year later, he had a 2.35 million dollar profit as the network grew to over 70 stations.


1943
In America, most recording companies agreed to pay royalties into a union fund for all records released, thus ending a two-year union-led ban on instrumental recordings. (The Victor and Columbia label held out against the agreement for another year.) The American Federation of Musicians union had protested the lack of a royalty system to compensate musicians for use of their recordings on radio programs and jukeboxes.


1947
C&W Country singers Ernest Tubb and Roy Acuff performed at New York City's famed Classical venue Carnegie Hall.

1966
Will Shade, harmonica/guitar
died in Memphis, TN, USA.
Age: 72. Best recalled for his work with the 'Memphis Jug Band' .
1983.
Roy Milton, drums 
died in Canoga Park, CA, USA.
Age: 75
Roy Milton: Information from Answers.com

1992.
John Handcox
vocals/songwriter died in Washington, DC, USA.
Age: 88.


1997.
Jimmy Witherspoon, Blues/R&B/Jazz vocalist 
died in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Age: 74. (died in his sleep of natural causes) 
His 1949 R&B hit "Ain't Nobody's Business" hit No.1, and stayed on the Billboard charts 34 weeks that year. It was one of the biggest records of the era. 'Spoon went on to make at least 200 more albums, and was one of the few remaining true giants of the post-war Blues boom. His collaborators ranged from Count Basie to Eric Burdon, Gerry Mulligan to Van Morrison, and T-Bone Walker to Robben Ford.


Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:



1908




Arthur Pryor's Band
  • "Yuki Two Step"
  • "Monastery Bells"

1919



Art Hickman and his Orchestra - On the Streets of Cairo
  • Dancing Honeymoon
  • Fee Fi Fo Fum


1920



Art Hickman and his Orchestra - I Could Have Had You 
1923



Martha Copeland Daddy You Done Put That Thing On Me - Piano Accompaniment by Eddie Heywood


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The Cotton Pickers - "Mama Goes Where Papa Goes"


Virginia Liston

The California Ramblers - Sittin' In A Corner


1924



I'm Satisfied Beside That Sweetie O' Mine

The Little Ramblers - Deep Blue Sea Blues


Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra


1925


Julie Moody and Dixie Wobblers
  • "Chicago Wiggle"


University Six - Desdemona

University Six The Camel Walk


Clara Smith and her Jazz Band
  • I'm Tired Of Bein' Good

1926




Ethel Waters accompanied by Will Marion Cook's Singing Orchestra - I'm Coming, Virginia


The California Ramblers - Gone Again Gal

The California Ramblers She Knows Her Onions


1928


Paul Whiteman Orchestra - Sweet Sue - Just You - Vocal Chorus by Jack Fulton, Cornet- Bix Beiderbecke, Celeste - Lennie Hayton

  • Gypsy



Vincent Lopez and his Orchestra


1929



Blue Steele and his Orchestra - "Searching"
  • "Coronado Brings Memories of You"
  • "Tennessee Memories"


Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra - How Am I To Know? - From Motion Picture "Dynamite" - Vocal Refrain by Smith Ballew

1932



Ray Kavanaugh Vanities Orchestra (voc. Frank Munn)


1934


Red Nichols 5 Pennies
  • "Three Little Words"
  • "Dardanella"


Jack Teagarden and his Orchestra

1935


Ray Noble and his Orchestra

  • "Red Sails In The Sunset" - Vocals by Al Bowlly
Ray Noble and his Orchestra -  "Roll Along, Prairie Moon" - Vocals by Al Bowlly


1936



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Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald

Guy Lombardo Royal Canadians
  • "Sweetheart, Let's Grow Old Together"

1940



Will Bradley and his Orchestra
  • "Blue September"
  • "Scrub Me Mama, with a Boogie Beat"

LYRICS:

Three little words


Three little words, oh what I'd give for that wonderful phrase,
To hear those three little words that's all I'd live for the rest of my days.
And what I feel in my heart, they tell sincerely.
No other words can tell it half so clearly.
Three little words, eight little letters
which simply mean I love you.


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ROLL ALONG, PRAIRIE MOON
(Ted Fio Rito / Harry McPherson / Al Von Tilzer)

THERE'S A WONDERFUL LIGHT IN THE SKY TONIGHT
WITH SILVER THE HILLS ARE SPRAYED. 
AND THE MOON SEEMS SO NEAR 
THAT I KNOW HE WILL HEAR EV'RY WORD OF MY LOVE SERENADE

ROLL ALONG, PRAIRIE MOON, 

ROLL ALONG WHILE I CROON, 
SHINE ABOVE LAMP OF LOVE, 
PRAIRIE MOON. 

WAY UP THERE, IN THE BLUE 

MAYBE YOU'RE LONELY TOO, 
SWINGING IN BY IN THE SKY 
PRAIRIE MOON.

I NEED YOUR TENDER LIGHT 

TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT 
YOU KNOW I'M SO ALONE TONIGHT 
FAR AWAY SHED YOUR BEAMS 
ON THE GIRL OF MY DREAMS 
TELL HER TOO, I'VE BEEN TRUE

PRAIRIE MOON.

TubaGirlFin
brought to you by
~confetta

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