Eva Overstake and Red Foley


Emmett Berry, Trumpet
b. Macon, GA, USA.
~by Eugene Chadbourne
He's there in the classic Great Day in Harlem photograph, but it would have been hard to take many photos of happening jazz bands or Harlem scenes from the '30s and '40s without Emmett Berry's smiling face. Not that he would be smiling, actually he would probably be too busy playing trumpet. Jazz fans have enjoyed this blowing, sometimes without knowing his name. There is no doubt about the former assertion, since Berry was both a key member of the Count Basie and Fletcher Henderson big bands, as well as one of the prize sidemen and horn soloists assembled to record singer Bille Holiday's most enduring sides.
Berry came to New York City from Georgia when he was 18, and within a year was playing in the Henderson band. Not bad for a southern boy in the big city, since this was one of the most popular groups of that jazz-crazy period. The assignment of replacing Roy Eldridge must have been daunting but perhaps also natural since all the trumpet players of that era were finding their own voice through close examination of the Eldridge style, if not simply engaging in outright mimickry of the man. Berry hung with the Henderson band for three years, then changed Hendersons, joining a rival band led by brother, Horace Henderson.

As the '40s began the trumpeter was beginning to keep company of great status in the jazz world. He played with a Teddy Wilson sextet, the rowdy Lionel Hampton band, the complex composer and saxophonist Benny Carter and even with the master himself as a member of Roy Eldridge's Little Jazz Trumpet Ensemble. In the mid '40s the call came from Basie, beginning 10 years spent almost completely on that band's bus. As the rock and roll era dawned, Berry continued gigging with stellar veterans of the jazz days, including swaggering singer Jimmy Rushing, scintillating saxophonist Johnny Hodges, burbling brass bubbah Cootie Williams and boogie woogie boogieman Sammy Price. Berry recording extensively in the '50s, as he had in the first two decades of his career, creating a discography that is as lengthy as a prima donna's backstage catering list. A relocation to Los Angeles, supposedly based on a desire to kick back, led to further work on the road with classic players such as Peanuts Hucko and Wilbur De Paris.
There was never a shortage of bandleaders wanting to hire Berry, and one reason was that he was an excellent soloist, particularly in the short form. One of the great elements of the aforementioned Holiday recordings, of course, are the solo features by the likes of Berry, Lester Young, Buck Clayton and others, seasoning the songs like genius chefs with unlimited spice racks. Berry also led bands from time to time. Records under his own name include the Emmett Berry Five 1944 release with tenor honker Don Byas, later reissued on a Savoy album. The Mainstream compilation entitled Mainstream of the Blues: 1959-65, an item that sometimes shows its scratched up face in used record piles, features the Emmett Berry Sextet as well as other cooking bands led by Buster Bailey, Snub Mosley, Buddy Tate and Booty Wood. Berry retired to Cleveland in 1970, remaining a strong influence on trumpeters, even modern players such as Bill Dixon.

Nat Brandwynne, Leader
~by Eugene Chadbourne
Nat Brandwynne was one of a group of pianists who emerged as bandleaders in the '30s, attempting to replicate the success of Eddy Duchin. Brandwynne was the most legitimate, needless to say, as he and mighty Duchin had made up a double piano team feature in the Leo Reisman Orchestra, a major catalyst in this particular keyboard craze. Brandwynne did not really establish his long term career as an ivory tickler, though. He concentrated on directing a tight, professional band and went to work backing up singers from the pop world, requiring a feel for changing styles that this leader obviously felt comfortable about. An early '70s performance backing British vocal icon Petula Clark was praised highly by Variety magazine, remarking on a Brandwynne band able to "aid and abet with unstinting vigor." His most widely heard album would have to be the 1974 Live At Caeser's Palace by Dianna Ross, incredibly overblown but a hit nonetheless. By that time he was fairly comfortable in the atmosphere of Las Vegas, having signed on as musical director of Caesar's Palace Circus Maximus in 1966. Brandwynne also recorded several albums with Lena Horne. Releases by his own group include "Green Eyes" and his band theme song, "If Stars Could Talk". It seems hardly worth mentioning that his name sometimes appears with the final "e" lopped off, not when there is the more serious problem of Nat Brandywine, a credit that somehow mutated out of his own name, to be used frequently in its place in all manner of listings including record company catalogs. Some listeners might argue thatBrandywine is an altogether better name than Brandwynne.

Champion Jack Dupree, piano
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
~by Bill Dahl
A formidable contender in the ring before he shifted his focus to pounding the piano instead, Champion Jack Dupree often injected his lyrics with a rowdy sense of down-home humor. But there was nothing lighthearted about his rock-solid way with a boogie; when he shouted "Shake Baby Shake," the entire room had no choice but to acquiesce.

Dupree was notoriously vague about his beginnings, claiming in some interviews that his parents died in a fire set by the Ku Klux Klan, at other times saying that the blaze was accidental. Whatever the circumstances of the tragic conflagration, Dupree grew up in New Orleans' Colored Waifs' Home for Boys (Louis Armstrong also spent his formative years there). Learning his trade from barrelhouse 88s ace Willie "Drive 'em Down" Hall, Dupree left the Crescent City in 1930 for Chicago and then Detroit. By 1935, he was boxing professionally in Indianapolis, battling in an estimated 107 bouts.

In 1940, Dupree made his recording debut for Chicago A&R man extraordinaire Lester Melrose and OKeh Records. Dupree's 1940-1941 output for the Columbia subsidiary exhibited a strong New Orleans tinge despite the Chicago surroundings; his driving "Junker's Blues" was later cleaned up as Fats Domino's 1949 debut, "The Fat Man." After a stretch in the Navy during World War II (he was a Japanese P.O.W. for two years), Dupree decided tickling the 88s beat pugilism any old day. He spent most of his time in New York and quickly became a prolific recording artist, cutting for Continental, Joe Davis, Alert, Apollo, and Red Robin (where he cut a blasting "Shim Sham Shimmy" in 1953), often in the company of Brownie McGhee. Contracts meant little; Dupree masqueraded as Brother Blues on Abbey, Lightnin' Jr. on Empire, and the truly imaginative Meat Head Johnson for Gotham and Apex.
King Records corralled Dupree in 1953 and held onto him through 1955 (the year he enjoyed his only R&B chart hit, the relaxed "Walking the Blues.") Dupree's King output rates with his very best; the romping "Mail Order Woman," "Let the Doorbell Ring," and "Big Leg Emma's" contrasting with the rural "Me and My Mule" (Dupree's vocal on the latter emphasizing a harelip speech impediment for politically incorrect pseudo-comic effect).

After a year on RCA's Groove and Vik subsidiaries, Dupree made a masterpiece LP for Atlantic. 1958's Blues From the Gutter is a magnificent testament to Dupree's barrelhouse background, boasting marvelous readings of "Stack-O-Lee," "Junker's Blues," and "Frankie & Johnny" beside the risqué "Nasty Boogie." Dupree was one of the first bluesmen to leave his native country for a less racially polarized European existence in 1959. He lived in a variety of countries overseas, continuing to record prolifically for Storyville, British Decca (with John Mayall and Eric Clapton lending a hand at a 1966 date), and many other firms.
Perhaps sensing his own mortality, Dupree returned to New Orleans in 1990 for his first visit in 36 years. While there, he played the Jazz & Heritage Festival and laid down a zesty album for Bullseye Blues, Back Home in New Orleans. Two more albums of new material were captured by the company the next year prior to the pianist's death in January of 1992. Jack Dupree was a champ to the very end.

Clarence Holiday, guitar
b. Baltimore, MD, NY
d. 1937.
Famed singer Billie Holiday's father. Clarence Holiday (1898 - 1937) was a jazz guitarist. Clarence Holiday is primarily remembered today as the father of Billie Holiday, but he never married Billie's mother. Before Lady Day made it big, he was not too happy about having to admit that he had a grown-up daughter.
Holiday worked locally until he became a member of the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra (1928-33). Primarily a rhythm guitarist and rarely a soloist, Clarence Holiday recorded (in addition to many records with Henderson) with Benny Carter (1934) and Bob Howard (1935) and worked with (Charlie Turner) (1935), (Louis Metcalf) (1935-36) and the (Don Redman big band) (1936-37) before his early death.
Clarence Holiday - Wikipedia

Kay Kyser, bandleader
b. Rocky Mount, NC, USA
d. July 23, 1985, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
Age: 80. né: James King Kern Kyser.

Kay Kyser was one of the most over the top, successful bandleaders of the whole swing era. During his music career he scored eleven number one records and thirty-five top tens. He kept his music/quiz/comedy radio show, Kay Kyser's College of Musical Knowledge in the top ten for its eleven year run on NBC (1938-49), and even welcomed in early television when the 'College' appeared on NBC-TV for Ford for two seasons (one year, Dec.’49-Dec.’50). 
Born James King Kern Kyser in Rocky Mount, NC on June 18th, 1905, Kyser came from an academic-minded family, several of whom had a history of teaching at the University of North Carolina, where James attended, beginning in 1923 at age eighteen. His parents were both pharmacists, and his mother had the distinction of being the first licensed woman pharmacist in North Carolina.
Though Kyser never played an instrument, he was musically intuitive, and had a good ear for what the record buying public wanted. While at UNC, he produced plays and his friend, Hal Kemp, the school's orchestra leader, provided the music. When Kemp and his band left the University for fame and fortune, he suggested Kyser take over as orchestra leader. Kyser protested, stating he wasn't a musician. Kemp replied that he (Kyser) was so popular on campus being head cheerleader, that he felt Kyser would be a success, and to let the players worry about the music. Kyser assembled his first band on the UNC campus in 1926. The band was so bad at first, Kyser had to distract the audience with humor and cheerleading antics. The band improved dramatically, as did Kyser's onstage shenanigans, and they became very popular regionally in the southern states.

Thinking the name James Kyser was a bit too plain, he used his middle initial, "K" for alliterative effect, and became Kay Kyser. Finding work wherever they could, the Kay Kyser orchestra finally hit the jackpot in 1934 at the Blackhawk restaurant in Chicago, where WGN remote broadcasts brought in the college crowd from outlying areas, and they packed the place during the Xmas holidays at the end of '34. Their theme song, ‘Thinking of You’ was played at the beginning and end of nearly every performance. 
The quiz show idea originated from an effort to improve Monday night business, and began as 'The Midnight Flyers'. It soon evolved into a quiz/music format, with comedy as well. Kyser became the 'Ol' Professor' of the now named 'College of Musical Knowledge'. Also responsible for inventing 'singing song titles' (which bandleader Sammy Kaye imitated and would claim HE invented), Kyser and the band scored a Brunswick record contract in 1935, and began having hits. 

In February of 1938, the American Tobacco Company purchased the program and it soon began airing nationally every Wednesday night for Lucky Strike cigarettes. By this time, Kyser had gained some prominent vocalists in Ginny Simms, Harry Babbitt, Sully Mason, and comedian/cornetist, Ish Kabibble (real name Merwyn Bogue). The radio show was an immediate success, aimed mainly at teens, and shortly thereafter Hollywood called, and the band made 7 feature films between 1939 and1944, and appeared in two others. Some of Kay’s costars were Lucille Ball, Boris Karloff, Mickey Rooney, and John Barrymore.

Some of Kyser's biggest hits included 'Three Little Fishies', 'Jingle, Jangle, Jingle', 'Who Wouldn't Love You', 'Two Sleepy People', and many, many more. Kyser was also the first performer to broadcast from a military facility (before Bob Hope), and the distinction is noted in the National Archives. Swing legend Glenn Miller was quoted as stating the only bandleader he envied was Kay Kyser. Donating all his time to performing for WW2 personnel. Kyser racked up over 1800 military camp shows. After the war, Kyser had had enough, and needed a break. He had made enough money to retire comfortably, and attempted to do so, but was forced to satisfy contracts until the end of 1950.
Marrying one of his later vocalists, model /actress 'Gorgeous' Georgia Carroll in 1944, and eventually raising three daughters, Kyser quit abruptly once his contracts were satisfied to return to small town life in North Carolina, specifically Chapel Hill, home of UNC. He refused interviews about his big band successes, and became a public servant, raising funds for NC hospitals and other state benefits. He even helped bring Public Television to his home state. Kyser had contracted a serious arthritic condition in his lower legs during the war, and unable to get a specific diagnosis from specialists, turned to Christian Science, and was healed. He then began a life long commitment to the church of CS, and became a teacher, then lecturer. Kay eventually became President of the Worldwide Church of Christian Science. When asked about it, the Kyser humor came alive. “It’s an honorary title for past performance. I haven’t been elected Pope or anything.” Kyser believed in living in the present. When asked ‘What happened in your day?” Kyser would reply, “My day is TODAY.”
Kay Kyser died at age 80 on July 23rd, 1985 of a heart attack in his Chapel Hill office. It seemed his entire professional life echoed the title of his longtime theme song, ‘Thinking of You’
- Steven Beasley, Kay Kyser biographer.
"Curly Barefoot" Miller, piano
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
Recorded by Topcat Records.

Eva Overstake & Red Foley
Eva Overstake, C&W vocals
b. Decatur, IL, USA.
Member: "The Three Little Maids"
Paul Rice, C&W vocals/guitar
b. Gainesville, GA, USA.
Member: "The Rice Brothers", a duo of Paul and Hoke Rice (b. January 8, 1909, (near Gainesville), Hall County, GA, USA). Their father was a preacher and cobbler who repaired soles during the week and saved souls on Sundays. But, the Rice brothers inherited their musical talent from their mother, who played five-string banjo, fiddle and piano.

Dock Walsh, Folk vocals
d. 1967.
(Doctor Cable Walsh)
Member: Carolina Tar Heels.
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Jimmy Harrison, trombone
died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 31.
Worked with Bessie Smith

Prince Robinson, tenor sax/millinder
died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 58

Frank Sinatra's release of 
"Strangers in the Night"
was the his first #1 LP since 1960.

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Lucille Hegamin and her
Bang-Up Six From Georgia


Tennessee Ten - That Big Blonde Mama

Mamie Smith - Good Looking Papa


Bessie Smith - House Rent Blues
  • Work House Blues


Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five - Lonesome Blues - Vocal Chorus by Louis Armstrong

King Oliver's Dixie Syncopators


Harry Reser and his Orchestra - I'm Gonna Dance Wit De Guy Wot Brung Me


Sunny Clapp and his Band O' Sunshine


Fess Williams and his Royal Flush Orchestra
  • Ida, Sweet As Apple Cider


Lil Armstrong and her Swing Orchestra


~T Wallace.

Bessie Smith w Charlie Green (trombone) & Fletcher Henderson (piano).

rec July 23rd 1924 New York

Where's that coalman?
I want a big lump o' coal this morning!
On a cold, dark and stormy night,
On a cold, dark and stormy night,
They want to put me out, and it wasn't daylight;
And on my door they nailed a sign,
And on my door they nailed a sign,
I got to move from here if the rent man don't change his mind.
See me comin', put your woman oudoors,
See me comin', put your woman oudoors,
You know I ain't no stranger and I been here before.
Lawdy, what a feelin'!
Bin man comes a-creepin',
In my bed I sleepin',
He left me with those house rent blues

~Louis Armstrong

I had a woman
Livin' way back o' town
Yeah she treated me right
Never let me down
But I wasn't satisfied
I had to run around
Now she's gone and left me
I'm worried as can be
Oh I've searched this world all over
Wonderin' where she could be
I would ask that she forgive me
And maybe she'll come back to me
But I doubt it
I'm lonesome an blue
And I've learned a thing or two
Oh fellas here's a tip
I'm gonna pass on down to you
Never mistreat your woman
Cause it's gonna bounce right back on you

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