"Archibold" (né Leon T. Gross), vocals/piano
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. Jan. 8, 1973
When most people think of the song "Stagger Lee," as it's usually spelled, they think of Lloyd Price and his 1958 chart-topping single. Eight years before Price's version, however, a single on Imperial Records (spelled "Stack-a-Lee"), credited to and featuring the pounding piano of Archibald, reached the R&B Top Ten and gave the song its first unified national exposure in a single rendition. If Archibald never followed this up, it wasn't for lack of talent or a lot of years in the business of making music.
He was born Leon T. Gross in New Orleans, LA, in 1912 and took up the piano as a child, initially entertaining at parties under the name "Archie Boy," which became Archibald. His major influences included Burnell Santiago, Tuts Washington, and Eileen Dufeau, among his barrelhouse piano predecessors. Gross enjoyed a healthy career into his late thirties, despite the interruption of military service during World War II, happily playing at the bars in New Orleans and earning a living and a lot of local respect.
In 1950, he was signed to Imperial Records, part of the same wave that brought Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino onto the company's roster, and Archibald made his first recordings in March 1950. During the summer of that year, he enjoyed his only national hit with the single "Stack-a-Lee," produced by Dave Bartholomew. He never saw the national charts again with any of his sides, recording for Imperial until 1952, and his subsequent attempts at making records were undermined by poor health, union disputes, and record-company difficulties.

Ironically, though Archibald's early-'50s sides, such as "Ballin' With Archie," "Shake Baby Shake," and "Crescent City Bounce" -- all of which featured Bartholomew's brash trumpet playing, Joe Harris, and Clarence Hall, respectively, on alto- and tenor-sax, and as solid a rock & roll beat as anything on Imperial -- could have found an audience as late as 1958, they were forgotten and mostly overlooked after their initial release; and despite the fact that his playing and sound were clearly an influence on the work of such figures as Huey "Piano" Smith and Dr. John, Archibald wasn't even on the periphery of the rock & roll boom and never participated in recording even as an elder statesman in the manner of his slightly younger contemporary Professor Longhair (who cut whole albums for Paul McCartney's MPL imprint and for Alligator in the 1970s).
Archibald never had a comeback, but he enjoyed long residences at such venues as the Poodle Patio Club, the Court of Two Sisters, and the Balloy Club. He died of a heart attack at the age of 60, mostly remembered by R&B scholars for his handful of sides for Imperial, and by his audience in New Orleans.
~ Bruce Eder
Charlie Beal, Piano
b. Los Angeles, CA, USA, d. August 1991
(Charlie is the brother of pianist Eddie Beal).
The Beal brothers hailed from the West Coast, where both were established as professional musicians by the outset of the '30s. Charlie Beal was a pianist, while younger brother Eddie Beal started out on drums but also switched to the piano a few years into his gigging career. After a period of quite casual freelancing around Los Angeles, Charlie Beal became connected with the Les Hite band, and in 1932 relocated to Chicago.
Beal became known for his regular solo spot at the posh Grand Terrace, but also was a combo pianist behind leaders such as Jimmie Noone, Erskine Tate, and Frankie Jaxon. Solid swingers all, these leaders helped prepare Beal for possibly one of the ultimate jazz band jobs. In 1933, buds beginning to open on the trees outside, the pianist was hired by Louis Armstrong. Beal shows up on a large stack of Satchmo sides as a result, including quite a few of the best retrospective collections.
Beal had many other musical connections, however. He toured with Noble Sissle after leaving Armstrong, and by 1934 had hopped cities again. Now based out of New York City, Beal began to work primarily as a soloist and was associated with jazz piano bars such as Adrian's Tap Room and the Onyx. Eddie South nabbed Beal for an engagement at the French Casino, but perhaps being around so much lost money depressed him, as the pianist fled north to Canada, then wound up joining the U.S. Army. He next appears as a musician back on the West Coast, again holding down a solo pianist residency at the Jococo Room.
Charlie Beal, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong.
In 1946, he was in Armstrong's company again, appearing as part of the band in the film New Orleans. Billie Holiday also appeared in this somewhat stereotypical Hollywood portrait of jazz, and anecdotes from the filming indicate it was Beal who taught the great singer the ballad "Do You Know How It Feels to Miss New Orleans?," since she apparently had difficulties reading the music. Beal was a songwriter himself; his best-known effort is the addictive "I Can't Break the Habit of You," co-written with the industrious Andy Razaf and recorded by the hilarious Fats Waller, among others. In the late '40s, Beal joined the expatriate crowd of jazz musicians in Europe.
~ Eugene Chadbourne
Tom Delaney, piano
b. Charleston, SC, USA.
Tom Delaney was one of the more popular and prolific composers of blues songs in the '20s. He was better known for the behind the scenes activity of composing, although he did make a few appearances interpreting his own songs on record. Much Delaney material was fodder for recording artists and publishers of this era, always on the lookout for new blues material at a time when the large audience for such product had just recently been recognized. Delaney's "Down Home Blues" was a fantastic success for Ethel Waters in 1924, while the Helen Gross recording of "I Wanna Jazz Some More" became famous for his rhymes about "Miss Susan Green from New Orleans."
~ Eugene Chadbourne

Lawrence Gellert, critic/author
b. Budapest, Hungary
Lawrence Gellert, born September 14, 1898 in Budapest, Hungary, died 1979 (actually Gellert disappeared in 1979... his death date is unknown), was a music collector who in the 1920s and 1930s documented black protest traditions in the South of the United States. He may have been one of the earliest collectors to make field recordings of this music.
He came to America when he was seven, and grew up in New York City. For health reasons, in the early 1920s he moved to Tryon, N.C.. From 1933 to 1937, Gellert traveled through North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, collecting folksongs of black Americans.
Gellert, along with his brother Hugo, was a frequent contributor to the magazine Masses (later New Masses) from 1930 to 1947, writing mainly about traditional black American music.
Part of his recordings has been released on vinyl albums in 1973, 1982 (on Rounder Records) and 1984 (on Heritage Records), then in the 1990s reissued on CD by Document Records. Folklorist and ethnomusicologist Dr.Bruce Conforth of the University of Michigan produced these two recordings and is completing a book on Gellert for the University of Illinois Press.
J. C. Johnson, Leader/piano/composer
b. Chicago, IL, USA  d. Feb. 27, 1981.
Not to be confused with stride piano master James P. Johnson, J.C. Johnson (or, occasionally, James C. Johnson) was a pianist and songwriter who achieved his greatest visibility working with Fats Waller. Johnson was born September 14, 1896, in Chicago, and made his first recordings in the early '20s after moving to New York. He backed Ethel Waters as a session pianist, penning "Sweet Man Blues" for her as well. In the mid-'20s, he moved into professional songwriting on a regular basis, working with lyricists like Henry Creamer (1926's "Alabama Stomp") and Andy Razaf.
He and Razaf teamed up on 1926's "She Belongs to Me," 1928's "Lonesome Swallow," "Guess Who's in Town," and "Do What You Did" (all three recorded by Ethel Waters), and "Louisiana," a standard featuring additional lyricist Bob Schafer and a hit for Paul Whiteman. He also began writing with Razaf's usual partner, the legendary pianist Fats Waller, though he usually worked with them separately, writing music for Razaf and lyrics for Waller; in 1928, he and Waller co-wrote the Broadway show Keep Shufflin'. ~ Steve Huey
Joe Kayser, leader
b. St. Louis, Missouri, USA d. Oct. 3, 1981, Evanston, IL, USA.
BIO [ Joe Kayser Orch. ]
Kayser's first professional job, in New York City (1917), was with the Earl Fuller Orchestra, a band that included Ted Lewis. He enlisted in the Navy during World War I and was assigned to lead a naval base band that included a violinist named Benny Kubelsky, later to be known as Jack Benny. After the war he worked for Meyer Davis, fronting one of his bands in the Carolinas.
He started his own band in St Louis in 1921 and spent the next three years touring throughout the Mid-West. In 1924 he moved to Chicago where his band would be based until 1936. Among the sidemen who worked for Kayser were Jess Stacey (p), Muggsy Spanier (c), Gene Krupa (d) and Frankie Trumbauer (as). The Kayser band was a main attraction at Chicago's Trianon, Aragaon, and Arcadia ballrooms and performed at the Chicago Worlds Fair (1933-34) -backing burlesque dancer Sally Rand. Joe Kayser broke up his band in 1936 to work as for a booking agency that handled big bands and radio programming. Recorded for: Gennett, Brunswick *These notes on Joe Kayser excerpted
from a CD and forwarded by Mr Robin Lenhart.

Israel Lopez aka: 'Cachao'
b. Havana, Cuba. Born into a very musical family. (All told, perhaps 40 musicians in the greater or extended family (mostly bassists). 'Cachao', a child prodigy, made his professional debut at just age 12, when, standing on a box, he played the Bass with the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra. Later, he and his brother Orestes Lopez, played in Charango Orquesta Arcano y Sus Maravillas. It has been reported that Orestes and Israel composed over 3000 songs during this time.
Their 1939 composition "Mambo" is credited with introducing the syncopated rhythm of the Cuban "Danzone" to a larger world, and caused the Mambo craze to spread world-wide. Many consider him to be the creator of Mambo music, but in truth he played just about every genre of Cuban Jazz including son, guaguancó rumba, boleros and danzón. He has been awarded Life Time Achievement and Grammy Awards. His fellow bassist, Jaco Pastorius was once asked whom he considered to be the greatest Bassist, and quickly answered 'Israel Lopez "Cachao". 
Trixie Smith, Early Blues Singer
b. Atlanta, GA, USA
d. Sept. 21, 1943, New York, NY. USA.
Sang with Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Blythe, Fletcher Henderson, James P. Johnson and Freddie Keppard. One of the classic blues Smith singers of the 1920s (although unrelated to Bessie, Clara and Mamie), Trixie Smith had a distinctive voice and a pleasing style of her own. She studied at Selma University, moved to New York in 1915, and performed in vaudeville and on the TOBA circuit. Smith worked in New York's theaters during the 1920s and '30s as an actress-singer and stayed active throughout her life.
She recorded prolifically during 1922-25 for Black Swan and Paramount with her best-known dates resulting in four songs in 1925 in which Louis Armstrong was in her backup group; other sidemen along the way included James P. Johnson, Phil Napoleon and members of Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra. Oddly enough Smith did not record after 1925 until 1938 when she headed an all-star jazz group (which included Sidney Bechet, Charlie Shavers and Sammy Price) on one session; in addition in 1939 she cut "No Good Man" with a band including Red Allen and Barney Bigard. But by the time she passed away at the age of 48 in 1943, Trixie Smith was largely forgotten.
~ Scott Yanow
Malcolm Yelvington
C&W vocals/guitar
b. Covington, TX, USA.
Like the second man to fly the Atlantic solo, or the second guy to orbit the Earth, Malcolm Yelvington stands somewhat in the shadow of history -- he's there, but he's eclipsed by his predecessor. He had the good fortune to be signed to Sun Records in 1954, but the bad luck to get the spot on the release roster one record after Elvis Presley's debut 45, "That's All Right."
Yelvington is one of those artists signed to Sun Records who never made it as big as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, or Carl Perkins -- but whose music and abilities were still impressive, enough that he made a decent living performing in and around Memphis for years while he couldn't chart a record. The man never made it to national television, much less the national charts, but Yelvington today is highly regarded in Memphis as a living piece of the city's musical transformation of the country.
~ Bruce Eder
Notable Events Occurring
On this date include:

Vernon Dalhart first million-selling Country music recording artist, died Bridgeport, CT, USA.

"Blind" Johnny Brown, guitar/harmonica
died in St. Petersburg, FL, USA.
Age: 70.

(Furry Lewis)

"Furry" Lewis, guitar died in Memphis, TN, USA.
Age: 88.

Perez Prado leader ('El Rey Del Mambo)
died in Mexico City, Mexico.
Age: 72.

Eddie Stoneman of the Stoneman Family, died.
Age: 81.

Songs Recorded/Released
On this date include:


Arthur Pryor's Band - Teddy Bears' Picnic


Arthur Collins - Mississippi Barbeque
  • Do the Funny Foxtrot

Pietro Deiro
  • Metropolitan hits: High Cost of Loving


Imperial Quartet
  • Love's Old Sweet Song


Peerless Quartet

  • We're Going Over


Benson Orchestra of Chicago I'm Through (Shedding Tears Over You)


Ellen Coleman accompanied by Lem Fowler's Orchestra She Walked Right Up And Took My Man Away

Charles Dornberger and his Orchestra - Tell All The Folks in Kentucky - tune: Irving Berlin

Ray Miller's Melody Boys
  • You Little Sun-ov-er-gun

The Georgians - Mama Goes Where Papa Goes


~Busse's Buzzards (Paul Whiteman's orch). - Red Hot Henry Brown
Ben Black and his Orchestra

Park Lane Orchestra (Fenton Orch)

Regent Club Orchestra (Haring orch.) Tonight You Belong to Me

Martha Copeland - Black Snake Blues
The Red Heads - The Hurricane
Ethel Waters accompanied by her Ebony Four
Ethel Waters accompanied by Will Marion Cook's Singing Orchestra

Ernie Golden Hotel McAlpin Orchestra
  • There Ain't No Land Like Dixieland To Me

Gene Austin vocal and Orchestra - My Blue Heaven (1927) - (One of America's first "Million Sellers")

Gene Austin vocal and Orchestra - My Melancholy Baby
*Gene Austin was born Eugene Lucas on June 24, 1900 in Gainesville, Texas.
After studying both dentistry and law, Austin began his singing career in vaudeville acts in the early 1920’s. His recording career started in 1923. His amiable vocal and piano style launched him on radio and records as “The Voice of the Southland”. His recording of “ My Blue Heaven ” was the second biggest non-holiday record seller of the entire pre-1955 era. Austin also composed more than 100 songs without ever learning to read or notate music.


Arkansas Travelers


Mart Britt and his Orchestra - Goose Creek Stomp
  • Tell Me sweet rose

Ben Bernie and his Orchestra
  • Roses of Yesterday

Earl Burtnett's Biltmore Trio
  • Old Plantation
  • Song of the Islands

Fletcher Henderson Orchestra
Emmett Miller accompanied by his Georgia Crackers
Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
  • In the Good Old Summer Time (intro. "Little Annie Rooney", "Comrades", "Rosie O'Grady", "Yip I Addy I Ay")
  • The Sidewalks of New York


Jack Denny and his Orchestra
  • The End of the Lonesome Trail
  • Scotchie

Harry Reser's Syncopators


Bennie Krueger and his Orchestra - I Don't Know Why (I Just Do) - Vocal refrain by Smith Ballew

Bing Crosby w Victor Young Orchestra

Don Bestor and his Orchestra
  • Contented
  • I Guess It Wasn't Meant To Be - Vocal Refrain by Neil Buckley
  • Sweetheart Hour - Vocal Refrain by Neil Buckley


Adrian Rollini and his Orchestra
  • Beloved - Vocal Chorus by Herb Weil
  • I'll Be Faithful - Vocal Chorus by Herb Weil

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

Jelly Roll Morton's New Orleans Jazzmen

I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say


My Melancholy Baby

Come to me, my melancholy baby

Cuddle up and don't be blue
All your fears are foolish fancies, maybe
You know, honey, I'm in love with you
Every cloud must have a silver lining
Just wait until the sun shines through
Smile, my honey dear,
while I kiss away each tear
Or else I shall be melancholy too
Smile, my honey dear,
while I kiss away each tear
Or else I shall be melancholy too

*My Blue Heaven

Whippoorwills call, evenin is nigh
Hurry to my blue heaven
Turn to the right, theres a little white light
Will lead you to my blue heaven
You’ll see a smilin’ face, a fireplace, a cozy room
Little nest that nestles where the roses bloom
Molly and me, and the baby makes three
Were happy in my, in my blue heaven
You’re gonna see a smilin’ face, fireplace, cozy room
And a little nest nestled where the roses bloom
Just molly and me, and the baby is three
Were so happy in my blue heaven
Were happy in my blue heaven
Were happy in my blue heaven!

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