Showing posts with label Georgia Tom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Georgia Tom. Show all posts


Ma Rainey with her band in 1923. (Left to Right) Eddie Pollack, Albert Wynn, Thomas A. Dorsey, Dave Nelson, Gabriel Washington


Thomas Andrew Dorsey
aka: "Georgia Tom" "Barrelhouse Tom" "Texas Tommy"
Folk and Blues singer/guitarist b. Villa Rica, GA, USA
b. July 1st, 1899, Villa Rica Georgia.
d. Jan. 23, 1993, Chicago, Il.
Thomas Andrew Dorsey (July 1, 1899 – January 23, 1993) was known as "the father of black gospel music" and was at one time so closely associated with the field that songs written in the new style were sometimes known as "dorseys." Earlier in his life he was a leading blues pianist known as Georgia Tom. As formulated by Dorsey, gospel music combines Christian praise with the rhythms of jazz and the blues. His conception also deviates from what had been, to that time, standard hymnal practice by referring explicitly to the self, and the self's relation to faith and God, rather than the individual subsumed into the group via belief.

Dorsey, who was born in Villa Rica, Georgia, was the music director at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago from 1932 until the late 1970s. His best-known composition, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord", was performed by Mahalia Jackson and was a favorite of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.. Another composition, "Peace in the Valley", was a hit for Red Foley in 1951 and has been performed by dozens of other artists, including Queen of Gospel Albertina Walker, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Dorsey died in Chicago, aged 93. In 2002, the Library of Congress honored his album Precious Lord: New Recordings of the Great Songs of Thomas A. Dorsey (1973), by adding it to the United States National Recording Registry.

Life and career

Dorsey's father was a minister and his mother a piano teacher. He learned to play blues piano as a young man. After studying music formally in Chicago, he became an agent for Paramount Records. He put together a band for Ma Rainey called the "Wild Cats Jazz Band" in 1924. He started out playing at rent parties with the names Barrelhouse Tom and Texas Tommy, but he was most famous as Georgia Tom. As Georgia Tom, he teamed up with Tampa Red (Hudson Whittaker) with whom he recorded the raunchy 1928 hit record "Tight Like That", a sensation, eventually selling seven million copies. In all, he is credited with more than 400 blues and jazz songs. Dorsey began recording gospel music alongside blues in the mid-1920s. This led to his performing at the National Baptist Convention in 1930, and becoming the bandleader of two churches in the early 1930s.

His first wife, Nettie, who had been Rainey's wardrobe mistress, died in childbirth in 1932. Two days later the child, a son, also died. In his grief, he wrote his most famous song, one of the most famous of all gospel songs, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand". Unhappy with the treatment received at the hands of established publishers, Dorsey opened the first black gospel music publishing company, Dorsey House of Music. He also founded his own gospel choir and was a founder and first president of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses.

His influence was not limited to African American music, as white musicians also followed his lead. "Precious Lord" has been recorded by Albertina Walker, Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Clara Ward, Dorothy Norwood, Jim Reeves, Roy Rogers, and Tennessee Ernie Ford, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash among hundreds of others. It was a favorite gospel song of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and was sung at the rally the night before his assassination, and, per his request, at his funeral by Mahalia Jackson. It was also a favorite of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who requested it to be sung at his funeral. Dorsey was also a great influence on other Chicago-based gospel artists such as Albertina Walker and The Caravans and Little Joey McClork.

Dorsey wrote "Peace in the Valley" for Mahalia Jackson in 1937, which also became a gospel standard. He was the first African American elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and also the first in the Gospel Music Association's Living Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was inducted as a charter member of the Gennett Records Walk of Fame in Richmond, Indiana. His papers are preserved at Fisk University, along with those of W.C. Handy, George Gershwin, and the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Dorsey's works have proliferated beyond performance, into the hymnals of virtually all American churches and of English-speaking churches worldwide. Thomas was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He died in Chicago, Illinois, and was interred there in the Oak Woods Cemetery.
Honky Tonks, Hymns, & the Blues


Edward Anderson, Trumpet
b. Jacksonville, FL, USA.
Someone with "and" to the second power in his name might seem like he'd have alot to say, but the trumpet improvisations of "Andy" Edward Anderson were short and to the point. He grew up in Florida and began playing the horn at the age of ten. When he was 15 he began attending a college in Virginia, and was no doubt already comfortable studying with university professors, since his trumpet instructor from the beginning had been a college bandmaster. He was the principal trumpet in the St. Emma College orchestra. After graduating, he returned to Florida and began gigging with bandleader Lucky Roberts, luckily the fellow who had landed a regular gig at the Everglades Club in Palm Beach. Roberts also took the band on the road, including 1926 dates in New York City.

Big Apple, big contacts. This was where Anderson met Clarence Williams, the classic blues composer, pianist, and publisher who plugged him into a series of recording dates. In the late '20s, the trumpeter played with Luis Russell's band as well as behind the great pianist Jelly Roll Morton, who both encouraged and featured Anderson in vocal spots. There was some similarity to the crooning of Louis Armstrong. In fact, Anderson even substituted for Armstrong at the Connie's Inn venue during a run of the Hot Chocolate Revue, a stage vehicle that featured Armstrong heavily. Anderson then worked with saxophonist, bandleader, and composer Benny Carter. Following a variety of freelance activity in the first half of the '30s, Anderson was mostly associated with the popular Mills Blue Rhythm Band. In 1935 he moved over to Charlie Turner's Arcadians, just in time to catch a wonderful period when Fats Waller fronted this group.

The challenging keyboardist Hazel Scott convened a big band in 1939, and Anderson was one of the brass players she chose for the group. The trumpeter's next big opportunity came along when trumpeter Murphy Steinberg vamoosed from the Joe Sullivan band and Anderson was called in as his replacement. Sullivan, also a keyboard player, had been strongly influenced by Earl Hines and was presenting a similar show, traditional yet progressive, revolving around the piano but also featuring a good deal of challenging section playing as well as the obligatory solo spots. It kept Anderson busy until 1941. He began playing with a ten-piece band under the leadership of Frankie Newton, but by the end of the year had given music up completely. He is often confused with the New Orleans trumpeter Andrew "Andy" Anderson, only five years his senior.
~ Eugene Chadbourne

Willie Dixon
b. Vicksburg, MS, USA.
d. Jan. 29, 1992, Burbank, CA, USA.
né: Willie James Dixon Member: "Big Three Trio".
William James "Willie" Dixon (July 1, 1915 – January 29, 1992) was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. A Grammy Award winner who was proficient on both the Upright bass and the guitar, as well as his own singing voice, Dixon is arguably best known as an acclaimed, prolific songwriter, and one of the founders of the Chicago blues sound. His songs have been recorded not only by himself, or that of the trio and other ensembles in which he participated, but an uncounted number of musicians representing many genres between them. A short list of his most famous compositions include "Little Red Rooster", "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Evil", "Spoonful", "Back Door Man", "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "I Ain't Superstitious", "My Babe", "Wang Dang Doodle", and "Bring It On Home".

Jack Penewell

John Bernard “Jack” Penewell
Born: July 1, 1897, Arendahl, Fillmore County, Minnesota, USA
Died: January 10, 1973 (aged 75), Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, USA
Jack Penewell was born July 1st, 1897 in Arendahl, Minnesota. After his graduation from high school, he became a vaudeville guitarist, composer and inventor. 
He performed initially on radio and later began playing on vaudeville stages around the country, often billed as "the guitar ace," or "wizard of the 12-string guitar." He played Hawaiian steel guitar and helped popularize Hawaiian style music.

In 1922, he began marketing his inventions such as double-necked guitars, and a 4-necked Hawaiian guitar. He served in both World Wars, living briefly in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania between the wars. After his discharge from the army in 1943, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin and taught guitar at McKinney's School of Hawaiian Guitar, Wheeler School of Music, and at his own music shop on North Hamilton Street. Penewell died in 1973 in Madison, Wisconsin
Courtesy of Nathan D. Gibson, Ethnic American Music Curator, Mills Music Library

John Bernard “Jack” Penewell

Jack Penewell collection, 1897-1973
Alvino Rey Leader/guitar
d. Feb, 24, 2004, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
(pneumonia and congestiveheart failure)
Age: 95. né: Alvin McBurney
Biography ~by Jason Ankeny

The self-styled "King of the Guitar," swing-era bandleader Alvino Rey pioneered an otherworldly pedal steel sound which later formed the foundation of the space age pop aesthetic. Born Alvin McBurney in Oakland, CA, on July 1, 1911, a decade later he and his family relocated to Cleveland, OH, where as a teen he received a banjo as a birthday gift. He made his professional debut in 1927 as a member of Ev Jones' band, and a year later signed on with the Phil Spitalny Orchestra. 

Eventually switching over to guitar, he adopted the name Alvino Rey in 1929 while performing in New York City, where Latin music was then at its peak; stints backing Russ Morgan and Freddy Martin followed, and by the mid-'30s he was in San Francisco playing with Horace Heidt.

With Heidt, Rey became a star upon adopting the pedal steel; a pioneering force behind the popularity of the amplified guitar, in early 1935 he was even recruited by the Gibson guitar manufacturing company to develop a prototype pickup. Later modifying his instrument to rechristen it the console guitar, Rey's innovative chord structures and distinctive sound earned him a major fan following, and in 1939 he formed his own band. He and his group (which included the vocal group Four King Sisters, one of whom -- Luise King-- became Rey's wife in 1937) were soon enlisted to serve as the staff orchestra at the Mutual Broadcasting radio network, in early 1942 scoring a major hit with their reading of "Deep in the Heart of Texas."

That same year Rey dramatically altered the band's makeup to bring in an enormous brass section, with no less than six saxophones. The group's lineup was extraordinary -- members included the likes of Ray Conniff, Neal Hefti, Billy May, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims -- but the 1943 musicians' union's recording ban brought about their swift demise, and within months Rey was out of music altogether, accepting a mechanic job with Lockheed Aircraft. In 1944 he joined the U.S. Navy, where he was assigned to develop radar systems; after his military stint he formed a new band, signing to Capitol and notching a handful of minor hits including "Cement Mixer." After this band broke up in 1950, Rey toured with a series of smaller combos, frequently appearing with his brother-in-law, Buddy Cole.

Rey also became one of the most influential and distinctive session men of the exotica era, lending his guitar to sessions from Esquivel,George Cates and countless others; he also teamed with Jack Constanzo and other session aces in the Martin Denny-inspired groupthe Surfmen. In the mid-1960s, Rey joined the ever-expanding King Family group on a television variety show which enjoyed a healthy run of five seasons, concurrently producing a series of LPs featuring the program's cast. Amazingly, he also continued performing well into his '80s, leading a band that played Disneyland each year from the theme park's opening onward. The swing and exotica stalwart passed away March 2, 2004 at his Salt Lake City, UT home.

Earle Ronald Warren, Alto Sax
b. Springfield, OH, USA.
d. June 4, 1994, USA. Played with Count Basie Band.
~by Scott Yanow
Earle Warren was Count Basie's longtime lead altoist and occasional pop ballad singer. He played piano, banjo, and ukulele in a family band before taking up the saxophone, eventually settling on the alto. He led bands in the Midwest during part of the 1930s before joining Basie in 1937. Until the breakup of the band at the end of 1949, Warren was a strong presence in the saxophone section even though he rarely was given a full solo. In later years he worked as manager for a variety of R&B acts, had opportunities to solo with Buck Clayton's groups, was featured in the '70s film Born to Swing, and headed the Countsmen starting in 1973.

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Claude Thornhill, Bandleader
died at the age of 55.

Frank Hicks, western swing guitarist
died in Fresno, CA, USA.
Age: 73.

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:

Ray Miller's Black And White Melody Boys
  • Can You Tell?
  • Rose Of Spain
  • Whispering

Isham Jones and his Orchestra - My Honey's Lovin' Arms
  • Tricks

Whitey Kaufman's Original Pennsylvania Serenaders
Bennie Krueger and his Orchestra - June Night

Harry Reser and his Orchestra

Ted Lewis and his Band - That's Why I Love You


Carolina Club Orchestra - Am I A Passing Fancy?

Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra - San
  • So Sweet

Ted Weems and his Orchestra - Sing (A Happy Little Thing)


Sunny Clapp and his Band O' Sunshine

Ted Lewis and his Band - I'm All Dressed Up With A Broken Heart

~Sammy H Stept (m) Bud Green (l) 1929

Oh honey, oh honey,
Why is it that you act so funny
When we should be making love?
Oh I'm willing, I'm so willing,
But nothing that you do seems thrilling!
I long for your pettin',
Where am I gettin'?
There's the moon, way up high,
Here are you, here am I,
Oh do, do do something!
I ain't been hugged, I ain't been kissed,
And I want to see just what I've missed,
So, oh do, oh do something!
I got the time and the place, the place and the time, I know;
I got a bench in the park, and a park and a bench, and all!
You know, other pairs, they're makin' haste,
But look at me, I'm going to waste!
So, oh do, oh do something!
Summer nights, stars galore,
Oh tell me, what are we waitin' for, huh?
Aw, come on honey,
Aw come on, do something!
You know, it's been told and explained
That nothing tried, nothing gained!
So, oh do, do something!
Got a hug and a kiss, and a kiss and a hug or two,
I wanna give them away, and I'm gonna give them away to you!
Sittin' around just seems so dumb,
And look at me, I'm just gettin' numb!
So, oh do, oh do something!
All alone, just we two,
And I feel so bop-bop-a-do-no!
Oh do, do do (scat)

brought to you by... ~confetta
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