MAY 4TH...



Shelton Brooks
b. Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada
d. Sept. 6, 1975.
In the 1930s, Shelton had a radio show on CBS, and before that, he had sung, played piano, and performed on the Vaudeville and musical comedy stages, - all in additon to his songwriting career. Among the songs that he composed are "At the Darktown Strutters' Ball", "There'll Come A Time", "Some of These Days" (Sophie Tucker's signature song), "All Night Long", "Walkin' The Dog", "Every Day","Somewhere in France", "Swing That Thing", "That Man of Mine".

Shelton Brooks was raised in Detroit and began his career as a ragtime piano player, initially entertaining the public in Detroit's cafes and nightclubs, then expanding his territory to include Chicago. It was right around 1909 that Brooks began to compose his own material. By this time he had also developed into an accomplished vaudeville entertainer. Brooks toured the United States of America, Canada and the British Isles.
His act was largely based upon a gift for mimicry; he apparently did such a convincing Bert Williams imitation that Williams himself is said to have remarked: “If I'm as funny as he is, I got nothin' to worry about." 

Shelton Brooks established himself as a songwriter in the following manner: he had been walking around captivated by a melody in a minor key that had been dancing around between his ears, but could not come up with any words to go with the tones he kept hearing.
One day, seated at a restaurant, he found himself listening in on a heated disagreement between a black woman and her male companion. Sharply warning him not to abandon her, the lady spoke these words: “...some of these days, you're gonna miss me, honey." Stunned, Brooks realized that her phrase matched his tune perfectly. The rest of the song then wrote itself through him. 

He went out and got it printed up, then took the score directly to Sophie Tucker, who, according to Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, was often remarkably helpful to aspiring Afro-American composers. Tucker got right behind the song, in fact she was already performing it the very next day! Ultimately the tune became so closely associated with her that she made it into her theme song and even copped the title when she published her autobiography. “Some Of These Days" was published in 1910 and eventually sold more than two million units on the sheet music market. It was also destined to become a jazz standard.

Barry Singer, in his biography of lyricist Andy Razaf, claims that this number was “...perhaps the landmark song of this Tin Pan Alley epoch, whereby Brooks, with sophisticated lyric colloquialism and heartfelt passion, elevated the coon song into the realm of expressive emotion." Brooks wrote “All Night Long" in 1912 and “Walkin' the Dog" in 1916. But it was “The Darktown Strutter's Ball"that constituted Brooks' next big hit. First circulated on the vaudeville circuit, this rowdy syncopated novelty just happened to get utilized by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band at their first recording session on January 30th, 1917.

This first nominal jazz record sold like hotcakes, and the sheet music sales exceeded three million. Brooks wrote a song called “Jean" in 1919, which was popularized by Isham Jones. Shelton Brooks also composed “There'll Come A Time", “Honey Gal, You Aint Talkin' To Me", and “If I Were A Bee And You Were A Red, Red Rose." It was as a performer on stage, in movies and on the radio that Brooks continued to circulate after he stopped composing great melodies. He appeared in the cast of Lew Leslie's Plantation Revue, which opened at the 48th Street Theatre on Broadway in 1922. It was the first “all-colored" production to be scored entirely by white men (J. Russell Robinson and Roy Turk). The star of this show was Florence Mills.

More from Barry Singer: “In July 1923 the Jack Mills Publishing Company...confirmed that in addition to having recently acquired the publishing rights for at least 60 ‘blues' numbers, it also had now signed to exclusive contracts a very impressive stable of black songwriters, including...Shelton Brooks." There was a progressive aspect to this entire policy; they intended to encourage younger black songwriters by organizing a well-defined business environment for.

What Singer describes as “this activism" actually caused other white publishing houses to compete in order to secure contracts with black songwriters. The effect was ultimately quite positive. Phonograph records do exist of Shelton Brooks performing as a vaudeville comedian. He seems to have recorded exclusively for the Okeh label. Titles include “Darktown Court Room", “Chicken Thieves", “You Got To Go", “That's Enough" and “Work Don't Bother Me". Shelton Brooks passed away in Los Angeles, California, September 6, 1975.
~by arwulf arwulf


The Original Moonlight Serenaders, 1919-21 
with Leo Dejan on trumpet and Harold Dejan (middle) on sax and clarinet; also Arnaul Thomas, drums; Henry Casanave, sax, and Sidney Cates, banjo
photo courtesy of the New Orleans Jazz Club Collection of the Louisiana State Museum
Leo DeJan, Trumpet
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
Leo Dejan, Traditional jazz trumpeter from New Orleans, Louisiana was born on this day in 1911. He was the brother of saxophonist, Harold, and led the 'Moonlight Serenaders' as a teenager. Later, he also led a group called the 'Black Diamond Orchestra'.

Al Dexter
C&W violin/guitar/singer/songwriter
b. Jacksonville, Texas, USA.
d. Jan. 28, 1984, Lewisville, Texas, USA (Coronary).
né: Clarence Albert Poindexter. Some of his best known compositions are "Pistol Packin' Mama" (1942), "Rosalita" and "Honky Tonk Blues"- co-composed with James B. Paris.
Cloet Hammons
(Western Swing) guitar
Perhaps best known for working with the
"East Texas Serenaders".

Umm Kulthum
Umm Kulthum (Egyptian Arabic: أم كلثوم ʾUmm Kulṯūm; Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [um kulˈðuːm]), born Fātimah ʾIbrāhīm as-Sayyid al-Biltāǧī (فاطمة إبراهيم السيد البلتاجي [ˈfɑtˤmɑ (ʔe)bɾɑˈhiːm esˈsæjjed elbelˈtæːɡi]; see Kunya) on an uncertain date (December 31, 1898 or May 4, 1904) and who died February 3, 1975, was an internationally famous Egyptian singer, songwriter, and film actress active from the 1920s to the 1970s. 
Umm Kulthum is given the honorific title, Kawkab al-Sharq كوكب الشرق ("Star of the East") in Arabic. Known for her extraordinar high quality vocal ability and style, Umm Kulthum was one of the greatest and most influential Arab singers of the 20th century.

Umm Kulthum

Moe Purtill, Drums
b. Huntington, NY, USA.
d. March 9, 1994, USA. 
~by Scott Yanow 
Best-known as Glenn Miller's drummer, Moe Purtill was a solid accompanist, although he tended to be a bit bombastic during his solo features with Miller. He started off freelancing in New York before having a stint with Red Norvo and Mildred Bailey from 1936-37. Purtill was in Miller's first unsuccessful orchestra (1937), played with Tommy Dorsey (1938-39) and then was with Miller during his civilian band's glory years (1939-42), appearing on virtually all of Miller's hit records. He played with Kay Kyser (1943-44), served in the Navy and played briefly with Tex Beneke after the war, but mostly worked in the studios, sometimes participating in the various Miller reunion projects. Purtill, who played relatively little jazz in the 1950s and '60s, never led a recording date of his own.
Notable Events Occurring 
On This Date Include: 

Stan Kenton Orch. recorded "Tampico"
with June Christy singing. (Capitol 202)

Van Zula Carter Hunt, vocals
died in Memphis, TN, USA.
Age: 93.

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Isham Jones Orch. - "Who's Sorry Now"
  • Marcheta
  • Oh! Harold
  • Swingin' Down The Lane

Sara Martin - Yodeling Blues

The California Ramblers - Yes! We Have No Bananas


Lanin's Red HeadsFlag That Train (To Alabam')
  • I Wouldn't Be Where I Am If You Hadn't Gone Away


Bessie Smith - Baby Doll


Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders

Jules Herbuveaux' Palmer House Victorians

Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang - Doin' Things


Winegar's Pennsylvania Boys

Irving Aaronson and his Commanders
  • Evening Star (Help Me Find My Man)


Gregor and his Boys
  • Sweet Sue
  • Gregorology

Paul Whiteman and his OrchestraOh! Miss Hannah
  • Orange Blossom Time


Louis Armstrong and his OrchestraDinah
  • Exactly Like You
  • Tiger Rag


Waring's Pennsylvanians - I Found A Million-Dollar Baby (In A Five And Ten Cent Store)


Roger Wolfe Kahn and his Orchestra - Lazy Day


Adrian's Ramblers
  • I Wish I Were Twins - Vocal Chorus by Chick Bullock
  • I've Got A Warm Spot In My Heart For You - Vocal Chorus by Chick Bullock
  • The Better To Love You, My Dear - Vocal Chorus by Chick Bullock
  • Why Don't You Practice What You Preach? - Vocal Chorus by Chick Bullock

Bennie Krueger and his Orchestra - A Thousand Good Nights


File:The Darktown Strutters' Ball cover.jpg
~Music by Shelton Brooks 

Better be ready 'bout half past eight
I mean don't be late
Be there when the band starts playin'

Remember when you get there honey
Dance all over the floor
Dance all over my shoes
When the band plays the Jelly Roll blues
Set 'em all alight
At the darktown strutters ball

I'll be down to get you in a push cart honey
Better be ready 'bout half past eight
I mean don't be late
Be there when the band starts playin'

'Member when you get there honey
Shim sham wins them all
Dance all over my shoes
When the band plays the Jelly Roll's blues
Set 'em all alight
At the darktown strutters ball

copyright 1917 Leo Feist, Inc.

Some of These Days
~Music and Words by Shelton Brooks

Some of these days, You're gonna miss me honey
Some of these days, You're gonna feel so lonely
You'll miss my huggin', You'll miss my kissin'
You'll miss me honey, when you go away

I feel so lonely, Just for you only
For you know honey, you've had your way!
And when you leave me, I know twill grieve me
You'll miss your little baby

Yes, some of these days

Special Thanks To:
Scott Yanow, 
And all who have provided content for this site.