Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
b. Richmond, VA, USA.
d. 1949
Early years
Robinson was born in Richmond, Virginia to Maxwell, a machine-shop worker, and Maria Robinson, a choir singer. He was raised by his grandmother after both parents died when he was an infant—his father from chronic heart disease, and his mother from natural causes. Details of Robinson's early life are known only through legend, much of it perpetuated by Bill Robinson himself. He claims he was christened "Luther"—a name he did not like. He suggested to his younger brother Bill that they should exchange names. When Bill objected, Luther applied his fists, and the exchange was made. Some of his favorite foods were corn bread and chicken.
Adelaide Hall and Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson in the
musical comedy, Brown Buddies on Broadway, in 1930.
At the age of six, Robinson began dancing for a living appearing as a "hoofer" or song-and-dance man in local beer gardens. At six, Bill dropped out of school to pursue dancing. He invented a type of dancing called stair dancing in 1884. Two years later in Washington, DC, he toured with Mayme Remington's troupe. In 1891, at the age of 12, he joined a traveling company in The South Before the War, and in 1905 worked with George Cooper as a vaudeville team. He gained great success as a nightclub and musical comedy performer, and during the next 25 years became one of the toasts of Broadway. Not until he was 50 did he dance for white audiences, having devoted his early career exclusively to appearances on the black theater circuit.

In 1908 in Chicago, he met Marty Forkins, who became his lifelong manager. Under Forkins' tutelage, Robinson matured and began working as a solo act in nightclubs, increasing his earnings to an estimated $3500 per week.
The publicity that gradually came to surround him included the creation of his famous "stair dance" (which he claimed to have invented on the spur of the moment when he was receiving some honor—he could never remember exactly what—from the King of England. The King was standing at the top of a flight of stairs, and Bojangles' feet just danced up to be honored), his successful gambling exploits, his bow ties of multiple colors, his prodigious charity, his ability to run backward (he set a world's record of 8.2 seconds for the 75-yard backward dash) and to consume ice-cream by the quart, his argot—most notably the neologism copacetic, and such stunts as dancing down Broadway in 1939 from Columbus Circle to 44th St. in celebration of his 61st birthday.
Because his public image became preeminent, little is known of his first marriage to Fannie S. Clay in Chicago shortly after World War I, his divorce in 1943, or his marriage to Elaine Plaines on January 27, 1944, in Columbus, Ohio.

Robinson served as a rifleman in World War I with New York's 15th Infantry Regiment, National Guard. The Regiment was renamed the 369th Infantrywhile serving under France's Fourth Army and earned the nickname the "Harlem Hellfighters".

Along with serving in the trenches in WWI, Robinson was also the 369th "Hellfighters Band" drum major and led the regimental band up Fifth Avenue on the 369th's return from overseas. (added 30 July 2008, by the Director of the National Guard Educational Foundation).
Toward the end of the vaudeville era, a white impresario, Lew Leslie, produced Blackbirds of 1928, a black revue for white audiences featuring Robinson and other black stars. From then on, his public role was that of a dapper, smiling, plaid-suited ambassador to the white world, maintaining a tenuous connection with the black show-business circles through his continuing patronage of the Hoofers Club, an entertainer's haven in Harlem. Consequently, blacks and whites developed differing opinions of him. To whites, for example, his nickname "Bojangles" meant happy-go-lucky, while the black variety artist Tom Flatcher claimed it was slang for "squabbler."
Political figures and celebrities appointed him an honorary mayor of Harlem, a lifetime member of policemen's associations and fraternal orders, and a mascot of the New York Giants major league baseball team. Robinson reciprocated with open handed generosity and frequently credited the white dancer James Barton for his contribution to Robinson's dancing style.

After 1930, black revues waned in popularity, but Robinson remained in vogue with white audiences for more than a decade in some fourteen motion pictures produced by such companies as RKO, 20th Century Fox, and Paramount Pictures. Most of them had musical settings, in which he played old-fashioned roles in nostalgic romances. His most frequent role was that of an antebellum butler opposite Shirley Temple in such films as The Little Colonel, The Littlest Rebel, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farmand Just Around the Corner, or Will Rogers in In Old Kentucky.

Rarely did he depart from the stereotype imposed by Hollywood writers. In a small vignette inHooray for Love he played a mayor of Harlem modeled after his own ceremonial honor; in One Mile from Heaven, he played a romantic lead opposite African American actress Fredi Washington after Hollywood had relaxed its taboo against such roles for blacks.

Audiences enjoyed his style, which eschewed the frenetic manner of the jitterbug. In contrast, Robinson always remained cool and reserved, rarely using his upper body and depending on his busy, inventive feet and his expressive face. He appeared in one film for black audiences, Harlem is Heaven, a financial failure that turned him away from independent production.

In 1939, he returned to the stage in The Hot Mikado, a jazz version of the
Gilbert and Sullivan operetta produced at the 1939 New York World's Fair,
and was one of the greatest hits of the fair. His next performance, in
All in Fun (1940), failed to attract audiences.

His last theatrical project was to have been Two Gentlemen from the South,
with James Barton, in which the black and white roles reverse and eventually
come together as equals, but the show did not open.

Thereafter, he confined himself to occasional performances, but he could still dance in his late sixties almost as well as he ever could, to the continual astonishment of his admirers. He explained this extraordinary versatility—he once danced for more than an hour before a dancing class without repeating a step—by insisting that his feet responded directly to the music, his head having nothing to do with it.
Despite earning more than $2 million during his lifetime, Robinson died penniless in New York City in 1949 at the age of 71 from heart failure. His funeral, which was arranged by longtime friend and television host Ed Sullivan, was held at the 369th Infantry Regiment Armory near Harlem and attended by 32,000 people. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.gave the eulogy which was broadcast over the radio.
Robinson is buried in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn, New York.

Dr. Humphrey Bate
C&W harmonica
b. Castalian Springs, TN, USA.

Member group: 'Dr. Humphrey Bate and the Possum Hunters',
This old-time string band was led by one of the great country harmonica players, who also happened to be a physician and a graduate of Nashville's Vanderbilt University. His group was known as the Augmented Orchestra when it arrived for what would be the historic first ever broadcast for the Grand Ole Opry, but disc jockey, promoter, and host George Hay insisted the group change its name to the Possum Hunters in one of his typical attempts to establish "hick" personalities for his performers.

The good Dr. Bate was told to dress in overalls when he played his harmonica, and his ukulele-strumming daughter Alcyone Bate Beasley was forced into the kind of rustic gingham dress that no self-respecting Nashville city slicker would have been caught dead in. Dead, no, but live on the Opry, yes. Whatever it was called, Bate and his group was musically first-rate, strongly influenced by the country music traditions of western Tennessee. In his middle ages before he ever started performing, the harp-blowing doctor naturally had a good knowledge of traditional material going back farther than many other performers of his era. The band's recording career consisted of 16 titles for Brunwick and Vocalion. Like many recordings of unusual groups from this era, the tracks have become important historical documents, cherished by collectors.
Alcyone did not appear on these records, which were re-released by County on the compilation Nashville Early String Bands as well as on several volumes of old-time string music on Marimac. The group's tunes are very popular airplay choices on old-time music shows, and have titles that certainly reflect Opry overlord Hay's taste in cornball rustica: "How Many Biscuits Can You Eat?," "Ham Beats All Meat," and "Throw the Cow Over the Fence" are among the selections recorded by Bates and company. Bate is also known for introducing black harmonica player DeFord Bailey to the Opry management and heavily pushing that he be included in the program, a move that ended in a sad, racially-charged controversy. Although the group did not record again it remained active as a performing unit until the death of the leader in the late '30s.
~ Eugene Chadbourne
Angel D'Agostino
Tango Composer, Pianist and leader
b: Argentina
d: Jan. 16, 1991, Argentina

His orchestra neither achieved the musical recognition that the orchestras of Aníbal Troilo, Carlos Di Sarli or Osvaldo Fresedo had, nor produced the popular phenomenon of the Juan D'Arienzo orchestra, but since 1940 up to the present, tango generations never stopped their respect and admiration towards him.

That orchestra had magic and that magic was perceived without need of grandiloquence, nor stentorian deeds. Everything was achieved through its simplicity and its good taste.

The bandoneonist, composer and arranger Ismael Spitalnik made the following remark: "In January 1940 I started with D'Agostino and when today I listen to the recordings I realize it sounded folk-like and simple. It precisely succeeded because of its simplicity, its clear and simple language, because of its singer Angel Vargas's way of expression, which allowed the audience to perfectly understand the lyrics. Furthermore he had chosen a refined repertoire, very nostalgic and much different to others'".
Another interesting opinion is that of Luis Adolfo Sierra: "D'Agostino was right with the purpose of creating a style of very simple musical conceptions, but with an expressive way of playing, carried out by a qualified nucleus of performers. But the identification with Angel Vargas determined, over the independent work of each one, the success of a team that managed to succeed at the time of the greatest presence of major tango figures.

The journalist Jorge Göttling warns us: "The one who thinks that D'Agostino played the piano, neither knows about piano nor knew D'Agostino. Both were simultaneously playing, as if they were a couple in the middle of romance".

Finally,the musician defines himself, telling us: "I am milonguero(fond of dancing), I always was, in the best sense of the word. I was a good dancer and I worked accompanying the best ones, like El Mocho and La Portuguesa, and Casimiro Aín as well. But El Mocho was the best, he was a cajetilla (elegant) that had no need of a baroque choreography, he was the most authentic and polished representation of a milonguero. So I shaped my orchestras with two conceptions that I never gave up: respect for the melodic line and rhythmic emphasis to make the dancing easier.

When the singer breaks into the scene and displaces the musician from the spotlight, the orchestra was structured in such a way that music and singing did not interrupt the possibility of dancing. For that, the singer had to turn into one more instrument, a privileged instrument, but not apart".In this brief summary we can conclude that the Angel D'Agostino orchestra was known because of a delicate simplicity, a good repertory, adequate for dancing and Angel Vargas was, an instrument indissoluble of the rest of the formation. When the singer left the orchestra, the latter never was the same as before.
His full name was Angel Domingo Emilio D'Agostino. He was born in Buenos Aires in 1626 Moreno street, on May 25, 1900. Music was a daily and familiar event for him; his father and his uncles were all musicians. There was a piano at his place and it turned out to be one of his toys. At a conversation with him he remembered that Manuel Aróztegui and Adolfo Bevilacqua were frequent visitors and that the piano never stopped its playing. The Bevilacqua's tango "Independencia" was played at his place earlier than its premiere, which took place in 1910.

He studied at a conservatory and as a child he began to play in public. It was an infantile trio in which a neighbor of his, Juan D'Arienzo, was also included. They appeared at a small theater placed near the Zoological Garden (neighborhood of Palermo), and as they were not paid they started a fire that soon was put out.
He quit high school because of music. Aristocratic families hired him to play during their parties. At a night local, he also began to play different rhythms and especially ragtime, a Negro beat brought by the English pianist called Frederickson, that he replaced when the latter could not play the piano because of his drunkenness.
He organized his first orchestra in 1920, to play tango and jazz, and was hired by the cabaret Palais de Glace. Among his musicians was Agesilao Ferrazzano, whom D'Agostino himself regarded as the best violinist of tango. Even though he was invited several times, he never went out on tour and the reason of this behavior is one of the mysteries of his life. At the time of silent movies, his was one of the pioneer orchestras that played at the cinemas. Musicians that passed through its ranks were: Juan D'Arienzo, Anselmo Aieta and Ciriaco Ortiz. The first orchestra to play strictly tango was reunited in 1934, with the bandoneons of Jorge Argentino FernAndez and Aníbal Troilo, the violin of Hugo Baralis (Jr.) and the singer Alberto Echagüe.

**Orchestra Angel D'Agostino
He met Angel Vargas in 1932, he worked as a turner and the former introduced the latter in some of his performances. Only in 1940 the team was established when the orchestra was hired by the Victor label and they played on Radio El Mundo.
D'Agostino was a Buenos Aires character, and tango was not his only world. A skilled gambler and stubborn bachelor, he played poker at the Club del Progreso (a club where high society people used to go) and he had a close friendship with Enrique Cadícamo. About this relationship there is a curious story that portrays him completely. Cadícamo and D'Agostino had promised each other to never marry; they were playboys and bohemians and did not even think of being tied to a permanent link. But Cadícamo, after his fifty years of age, broke his word and married a twenty-year old girl. Since then D'Agostino never again talked to him. With the voice of Angel Vargas he recorded 93 numbers, with Tino García 18, plus a duet with Miguel Cané, with whom he recorded 9 numbers. These singers also were in his orchestra: Raúl Lavié (2 numbers), Roberto Alvar (3 numbers) and, with Ricardo Ruiz he recorded the tango "Cascabelito", that in many records it mistakenly appears as sung by Vargas.
He died on January 16, 1991, alone, as he always wanted to be, plenty of music, friends and with the memory of so many women. One of them, surely the most famous Argentine of the twentieth century, Eva Perón, gave him a clock of unique design, of which she had ordered only three pieces. Today that clock is part of the collection of the president of the Academic Board of Coleccionistas Porteños de Tango, don Héctor Lucci.

Jimmy Hamilton
b. Dillon, SC, USA.
d. Sept. 20, 1994,
Played with Teddy Wilson, Benny Carter, then joined Duke Ellington. Winner Downbeat Bronze (New Star) award -Clarinet, 1946.

~by Scott Yanow
A longtime member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Jimmy Hamilton's cool vibrato-less tone and advanced style (which was ultimately influenced by bop) initially bothered some listeners more accustomed to Barney Bigard's warmer New Orleans sound, but Hamilton eventually won them over with his brilliant playing. As opposed to how he sounded on clarinet, Hamilton's occasional tenor playing was gutsy and emotional.

Prior to joining Ellington, he had worked with Lucky Millinder, Jimmy Mundy, and most noticeably Teddy Wilson's sextet (1940-1942) and Eddie Heywood; Hamilton also recorded with Billie Holiday. He was with Ellington for 25 years (1943-1968), and was well-featured on clarinet on "Air Conditioned Jungle," "Ad Lib on Nippon," and a countless number of other pieces. After leaving Ellington, Hamilton moved to the Virgin Islands, where he taught music in public schools. He did return to the U.S. to play with Clarinet Summit in 1981 and 1985, and gigged a bit in New York during 1989-1990, but was otherwise little heard from in his later years. Jimmy Hamilton only had a few opportunities to record as a leader, mostly dates for Urania (1954), Everest (1960), Swingville (two in 1961), and a 1985 set for Who's Who.
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, featuring Jimmy Hamilton, in "Never on Sundays ...

Patty Smith Hill, composer
d. 1924 (age 78).
Best recalled tune: "Happy Birthday To You".
Patty Hill - Wikipedia

Eddie Maxwell, Vocals.
Perhaps his best recording was
"Yes We Have No Bananas"

Buddy Petit, Trumpet
b. Whitecastle, LA, USA.
d. 1931
~by Scott Yanow
One of the great unrecorded New Orleans legends (along with Buddy Bolden, Chris Kelly and Manuel Perez), Buddy Petit (who was supposed to have had a beautiful tone) was very highly rated by his contemporaries. Petit was a professional as a teenager, playing with the Young Olympia Band and co-leading a group with Jimmie Noone.
In 1917, Petit traveled to California to play with Jelly Roll Morton but he soon returned home. During the remainder of his life, Petit primarily played in New Orleans, other Louisiana towns and occasionally Florida, often leading either the Young Olympians or his Black and Tan Orchestra. He visited California again in 1922 as a member of Frankie Dusen's group but otherwise stayed in the South. Excessive drinking led to his early demise, although he played a job the day before his death.

Ernest V. "Pop" Stoneman
(Trad. Country)
autoharp/harmonica/guitar/Jew's harp/clawhammer banjo
b. Monarat, VA, USA.
Member group: "Stoneman Family"
Ernest V. "Pop" Stoneman was born in 1893 in Carroll County, Virginia near the mining community of Iron Ridge. In 1919 he married Hattie Frost, also from a musical family. During the daytime, he worked as a carpenter, and at night played music for local dances and in the homes of friends. Over the years, "Pop" and Hattie Stoneman had 23 children, and raised them during the great economic depression years.
~by Sandra Brennan
Ernest "Pop" Stoneman was one of the first, and most popular, early country artists. He was born in Carroll Country, Virginia and raised by his father and three cousins, who taught him traditional Blue Ridge Mountain songs. He married as a young man and, when not working various odd jobs, played music for friends and neighbors.

After hearing a Henry Whitter record and swearing he could do better, in 1924 he set off to New York to get a recording contract and prove it. His first single, "The Sinking of the Titanic," came out on the Okeh label later that year and became one of the biggest hits of the 1920s. At first he was accompanied only by his autoharp (his best-known instrument) and harmonica, but later switched to guitar; Stoneman was also adept at playing the Jew's harp and the clawhammer banjo. In 1926, he surrounded himself with a full string band, mostly composed of relatives and neighbors. His career reached its peak in 1927, when he became the top country artist at Victor and led the Bristol sessions, which helped the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers gain renown. Stoneman continued to record through 1929, setting down over 200 songs.
When the Great Depression hit in the early '30s, Stoneman lost everything and moved his wife and nine children to Washington, D.C. They remained there in desperate poverty while Stoneman worked odd jobs and tried to re-establish his career, finally finding work at a munitions plant. At the end of the 1940s, he and his talented clan began performing as the Stoneman Family. By 1956, he had earned the moniker "Pop" and appeared on the NBC television game show The Big Surprise, where he won $10,000. Later, his children's band, the Blue Grass Champs, became the Stonemans, which Pop himself joined after retiring from the plant in the late '50s. He continued appearing with them and singing lead vocals through the early '60s. In 1965, the Stonemans signed with MGM in Nashville and hosted a syndicated TV show. In 1967, Stoneman's health began to deteriorate; he continued recording and performing through the spring of 1968, until his death in June.
Pha Terrell, Vocal
b. Kansas City, MO, USA.
d. 1945
Vocalist for Andy Kirk's Twelve Clouds of Joy.
Elmer "Pha" Terrell (May 25, 1910, Kansas City, Missouri - October 14, 1945, Los Angeles) was an American jazz singer.
Terrell was working in nightclubs locally in Kansas City in the early 1930s as a singer, dancer, and emcee when he was discovered by Andy Kirk, who hired him to be the vocalist for his group the Twelve Clouds of Joy.
Terrell sang with Kirk for eight years, from 1933 to 1941, and recorded with him extensively for Decca Records, singing hits such as 1936's "Until the Real Thing Comes Along".
After 1941 Terrell moved to Indianapolis to play with Clarence Love's territory band, then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a soloist. Terrell died of kidney failure in 1945.

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Sonny Boy Williamson (II), harmonica
b. Aleck Ford "Rice" Miller
died in Helena, AR, USA.
Age: 65
Songs Recorded/Released
On this date include:


Original Dixieland Jass Band
Royal Garden Blues
Original Dixieland Jass Band
St. Louis Blues
Vocal Chorus - Al Bernard


Ladd's Black Aces
  • Hopeless Blues
  • Lonesome Mama Blues


Sissle and Blake - Down-Hearted Blues
  • Waiting On The Evenin' Mail(Sittin' On The Inside, Lookin' At The Outside)

Original Memphis Five - Pickles

Bennie Krueger and his Orchestra
  • Morning Will Come


Harry Reser and his Orchestra
 The Flapper Wife


Clara Smith Whip It To A Jelly
  • How'm I Doin'


Te Roy Williams and his Orchestra
Oh! Malinda
  • Lindbergh Hop

University Six - 
She's Got "It"! 
- Vocal chorus by Arthur Fields
  • Slow River


Joe Venuti and his New Yorkers
Because My Baby Don't Mean "Maybe" Now
  • I Must Be Dreaming

Just Like A Meldy Out of the Sky
  • 'Tain't So Honey, 'Tain't So

Carroll Dickerson's Orchestra
Black Maria
  • Missouri Squabble

Paul Whiteman's Original Rhythm Boys
  • That's Grandma
  • Wa-Da-Da(Ev'rybody's Doin' It Now)

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
  • Felix the Cat - (With Vocal Chorus by Skin Young)


Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra
  • Love Me Tonight
  • Some Of These Days


Chocolate Dandies Smack!


ca. 1900s --- These pretty girls from the Honeymoon Lane Company introduce the latest dance step, called the Lindbergh Hop aka Lindy Hop, in honor of Captain Charles A. Lindbergh of New York to Paris nonstop flight fame. The girls are, left to right, Marjorie Joesting, Dorothy Proudlock, Emerita Monsch, and Anita Foy.
IMAGE: © Underwood & Underwood/CORBIS/ DATE PHOTOGRAPHED: ca. 1900s/ 

Overseas Stomp (Lindbergh Hop)
~Lyrics: Jab Jones, Will Shade
~Music: Jab Jones, Will Shade

I know they're gonna run to me
When they get across the sea
Every chance to win when Washington lands in France
All safe for now sugar baby

Oh mama don't you weep and moan
Uncle Sam got your man and gone
Now they're doing the Lindy Bird across the sea

Oh mama how can it be
You went way across the sea
Just to keep from doing that Lindy Bird with me
Oh baby well I done told you now

You should have seen me with my uniform on
I could Lindy just as sure as you're born
And then I'd do that Lindy Bird with you

I asked her for a piece of banana
She said let me play the blues on your piano
And then I'll do that Lindy Bird with you
She said she had a dream about a submarine

I asked her for a glass of kaola
She said let me play the blues on your victrola
And then I'll do the Lindy Bird with you

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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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