Showing posts with label august birthdays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label august birthdays. Show all posts


Luckey Roberts standing with Willie "The Lion" Smith, in an outtake photograph by Art Kane from 1958. 
Thank you Bill Edwards for this photo & information.


Lucky Roberts & Willie "The Lion" Smith
Charles Luckeyeth "Luckey" Roberts, Piano
b. Philadelphia, PA, USA.
d. Feb. 5, 1968, New York, NY, USA.
Shortly after his birth, the family settled in New York City, and Luckey appeared on the New York stage at just age 3, acting in play 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. Between 1913 to 1923, this early Ragtime soloist also composed some Rags, perhaps the most famous of which are "Junk Man Rag", and "Pork & Beans Rag". It is little recalled now, but before and after WW1, Luckey wrote music for 14 musical comedies on the New York stage. All during the 1920s, Luckey led a band that was extremely popular with the millionaires of 'high society' and that played in such places as Newport, RI, Palm Beach, FL and New York. He then became an owner of a Harlem Bar named The Rendezvous (on St. Nicholas Ave) while still remaining quite musically active.

In 1939, he appeared in a Carnegie Hall concert, and in a 1941 Town Hall Concert.. All during the '40s, he did some composing and two of his best known tunes were "Massachusetts" and Glenn Miller's 1941 hit release "Moonlight Cocktail" (which Luckey originally called "Ripples of The Nile"). 

As a pianist, he had considerable influence on the techniques of such other men as James P. Johnson and Duke Ellington. He even helped the Duke of Windsor choose his 'Jazz' record collection. But, regretfully, Luckey left very few recordings of his own for posterity.
Lucky Roberts
Biography by Uncle Dave Lewis
Luckey Roberts
Charles Luckeyth "Luckey" Roberts

Freddie Slack, Piano/Leader
Aug. 7, 1910, b. La Crosse, WI.
d. Aug. 10, 1965, Hollywood, CA, USA.
~ Scott Yanow
Freddie Slack was a part of two hit records during the swing era, making his mark on jazz history. Originally a drummer, he switched to piano soon after moving to Chicago in 1927. Slack worked early on with Johnny Tobin. After moving to Los Angeles in 1931, he appeared with bands led by Henry Halsted, Earl Burtnett, Archie Rosate and Lennie Hayton. Slack gained some recognition for his playing with Ben Pollack (1934-36) and Jimmy Dorsey (1936-39).

As a key piano soloist with Will Bradley's Orchestra during 1939-41, Slack was well showcased on the famous recording of "Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar" which helped launch the boogie-woogie fad.

Slack was a key voice on many other Bradley recordings in the same vein; he also played quite effectively on some Big Joe Turner records. In 1942 Slack formed his own orchestra which soon scored with the very successful "Cow Cow Boogie" and "Strange Cargo." Freddie Slack's Orchestra initially featured singer Ella Mae Morse and for a short time it was one of the more popular swing big bands, appearing in several films and recording for Capitol during 1942-47. Freddie Slack was based in California in the 1950's and 60's but he faded from the spotlight with the end of the 1940's, recording a final small-group album for EmArcy in 1955.

George Van Eps, Guitar
b. Plainfield, NJ, USA.
d. Nov. 29. 1998
George Van Eps - Wikipedia

Mose Vinson, Boogie and blues pianist
b. Holly Springs, MS, USA.
~ Bill Dahl & Stephen Thomas Erlewine
A Memphis piano institution for more than half a century, Mose Vinson recorded a handful of unreleased sides for Sun in 1953 (recently liberated by Bear Family) and did scattered session work for Sam Phillips as well.
Vinson began playing piano as a child in the Mississippi Delta, initially playing in his local church. By his teens, he had begun playing jazz and blues. In 1932, he moved to Memphis, TN, where he played local juke joints and parties throughout the '30s and '40s. In the early '50s, Sam Phillips had Vinson accompany a number of Sun Records blues artists, most notably James Cotton in 1954. During that time, Phillips also had Vinson cut some tracks, but they remained unreleased until the '80s. For the next three decades, Vinson continued to perform at local Memphis clubs. However, he didn't play as frequently as he did in the previous two decades. In the early '80s, the Center for Southern Folklore hired Vinson to perform at special cultural festivals, as well as local schools. For the next two decades, he played concerts and educational and cultural festivals associated with the Center for Southern Folklore. Mose Vinson died in Memphis from diabetes on November 30, 2002.

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Famed bandleader Russ Morgan died
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Viola McCoy

Edna Hicks - Walking And Talking Blues

Fletcher Henderson Orchestra - Dicty Blues


Ladd's Black Aces - Any Way The Wind Blows


The Southern Serenaders (
Fletcher Henderson) Alone At Last

McKenzie's Candy Kids - Happy Children Blues

Coon Sanders Nighthawks Orchestra - Everything Is Hotsy Totsy Now - Vocal refrain by J.L. Sanders


Billie Holiday vocal release - Gloomy Sunday


He was a mountain climber,
And oh! how the boy could ski!
In cold July, he'd ski so high,
Believe me, I don't lie,
He'd almost touch the sky,
And here's the reason why:
She was a farmer's daughter,
Who lived on the highest peak,
Where she'd chase him and he'd chase her,
And they'd play hide and seek
One day he lost his sweetheart.
He looks for her in vain,
And now he's washing windows
And singing this refrain:
"I miss my Swiss. My Swiss miss misses me.
I miss the bliss that Swiss miss gives to me.
She was a working girl, down on her knees,
In her yard, working hard,
Punching holes in cheese.
Her dear papa makes watches that are Swiss.
That's why he watches me like this.
I lost her in the mountains.
In the mountains she must be.
I miss my Swiss. My Swiss miss misses me.


"Gloomy Sunday", - Billie Holiday
- Billie Holiday vocal release - Carter / s. lewis / r. seress 

Sunday is gloomy,

My hours are slumberless
Dearest the shadows
I live with are numberless
Little white flowers
Will never awaken you
Not where the black coaches
Sorrow has taken you
Angels have no thoughts
Of ever returning you
Wouldn’t they be angry
If I thought of joining you? 
Gloomy sunday
Gloomy is sunday,
With shadows I spend it all
My heart and i
Have decided to end it all
Soon there’ll be candles
And prayers that are said I know
But let them not weep
Let them know that I’m glad to go
Death is no dream
For in death I’m caressin’ you
With the last breath of my soul
I’ll be blessin’ you
Gloomy sunday
Dreaming, I was only dreaming
I wake and I find you asleep
In the deep of my heart here
Darling I hope
That my dream never haunted you
My heart is tellin’ you
How much I wanted you
Gloomy sunday 

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Arthur Fields (August 6, 1888 – March 29, 1953) was a United States singer (baritone) and songwriter.
He was born Abraham ("Abe") Finkelstein in Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, but grew up mainly in Utica, New York. He became a professional singer as a youngster. Around 1908 he toured with Guy Brother's Minstrel Show, and helped form a vaudeville act "Weston, Fields and Carroll".

His first hit as a songwriter was On The Mississippi (1912) which he wrote the music for with Harry Carroll and Ballard MacDonald supplied the lyrics. In 1914 he wrote the lyrics to Aba Daba Honeymoon, which was revived for the 1950 M.G.M. film Two Weeks With Love and thus got a renewed popularity which brought Fields large royalty incomes during his last two years.

From 1914 onward he recorded with many bands and for many labels and had a varied career in the recording industry. His 1919 recordings with bandleader Ford Dabney may be the very first recordings of a white singer backed by a black band. 

For a period Fields also formed a vocal trio with brothers Jack and Irving Kaufman, billing themselves as "The Three Kaufields". Fields also often appeared on records under pseudonyms, for example as "Mr X." on Grey Gull Records and related labels. His last records were made in the early 1940s.
Among Field's most prolific partnerships was the one with band leader and pianist Fred Hall, with whom Fields made plenty of records and co-wrote several songs, often with comic titles like The Shoes We Have Left Are All Right and I Can't Sleep In The Movies Anymore. Hall and Fields also broadcasted together as Rex Cole's Mountaineers.
Retiring to Florida in 1946 he also worked in radio on WKAT Miami. He suffered a stroke early in 1953 and was killed in a fire at Littlefield Nursing Home in Largo, Florida a little later the same year.
Selected Songs
  • "Hunting the Hun"
  • "Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning"
  • "Oui, Oui, Marie"
  • "Over There"
  • "Tom, Dick and Harry and Jack (Hurry Back)"
  • "The Shoes We Have Left Are All Right"
Willie Lee Brown, Blues guitar
b. Clarksdale, MS, USA.
~by Jason Ankeny
One of the most influential of the early Delta blues guitarists, Willie Brown was arguably the quintessential accompanist of his era, most notably backing legends including Charley Patton and Son House. Born August 6, 1900 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Brown was an affecting singer and extraordinary guitarist, but spent the vast majority of his career as a sideman, with his ability to "second" other players much celebrated among his peers.
In addition to performing alongside Robert Johnson, he appeared on many of the seminal sides cut by Patton between 1929 and 1934, including a legendary 1930 Paramount label session which also yielded two of the three existing Brown solo cuts, "M & O Blues" and "Future Blues," as well as material with barrelhouse pianist Louise Johnson. His final solo performance, "Make Me a Pallet on the Floor," originated from a 1941 Alan Lomax Library of Congress field recording; during the same session, Brown also backed Son House. (In regards to Brown's own discography, it should be noted that among blues scholars there is some debate over the origins of a 1929 track called "Rowdy Blues"; credited to one Kid Bailey, it's believed in some quarters that it is in fact Brown under an assumed name, while others contend that he merely played second guitar on the date instead.) Little to nothing is known of Brown's later years, and he died in Tunica, Mississippi on December 30, 1952.

Vic Dickenson, Trombone
b. Xenia, OH, USA.
d. Nov. 16, 1984.
Age: 78
~by Scott Yanow
A distinctive trombonist with a sly wit and the ability to sound as if he were playing underwater, Vic Dickenson was an asset to any session on which he appeared. He stated out in the 1920s and '30s playing in the Midwest. Associations with Blanche Calloway (1933-1936), Claude Hopkins (1936-1939), Benny Carter (1939), Count Basie (1940), Carter again (1941), and Frankie Newton (1941-1943) preceded a high-profile gig with Eddie Heywood's popular sextet (1943-1946); Dickenson also played and recorded with Sidney Bechet. From then on he was a freelancing soloist who spent time on the West Coast, Boston, and New York, appearing on many recordings (including some notable dates for Vanguard) and on the legendary Sound of Jazz telecast (1957).
In the 1960s, Dickenson co-led the Saints and Sinners, toured with George Wein's Newport All-Stars, and worked regularly with Wild Bill Davison and Eddie Condon. During 1968-1970, he was in a quintet with Bobby Hackett and in the 1970s, he sometimes played with the World's Greatest Jazz Band.
Harlem Bio 
Vic Dickenson - Wikipedia

Frankie Froeba, pianist
d. Feb. 18, 1981
age: 73.
A fine Swing pianist perhaps best known for his work with the Benny Goodman Orch. As Froba, Froeba, or misprinted variations such as "Freba" and "Frob," Frank Froeba's discography is impressive in both size and scope. While it may have seemed as if the change to Froba and a hiatus in Miami meant a distancing from jazz, the pianist's recording career continued to include material that discographer Tom Lord considered to be jazz, eventually numbering some 91 records done between 1924 and 1978. Those first recording sessions were done when he was only 17 -- he may have been young then, but not inexperienced as he was around 15 when he began gigging with bandleaders such as Johnny Wiggs and John Tobin. Decades later, continual upswings in swing interest have, of course, contributed vastly to the marketability of elderly players such as Froeba, who regularly takes part in projects paying tribute to former overlord Benny Goodman.
Frank Froeba - Wikipedia

Norman Granz, Producer 
b. Los Angeles, CA, USA. d. Nov, 22, 2001.
Founder of the Verve and Pablo record 
Luis Russell, Piano/Leader
b. Careening Cay (Islet nr Boca Del Toro), Panama
d. Dec. 11, 1963.
né: Luis Carl Russell.
~by Scott Yanow 
Luis Russell led one of the great early big bands, an orchestra that during 1929-1931 could hold its own with nearly all of its competitors. Unfortunately, his period in the spotlight was fairly brief and, ironically, Russell fell into obscurity just as the big band era really took hold. Russell studied guitar, violin, and piano in his native Panama. After winning 3,000 dollars in a lottery, he moved with his mother and sister to the United States where he began to make a living as a pianist in New Orleans. In 1925 Russell moved to Chicago to join Doc Cook's Orchestra and then became the pianist in King Oliver's band. He was with Oliver when the cornetist relocated to New York before leading his own band at the Nest Club in 1927.

Russell had recorded seven songs at two sessions as a leader in 1926 with his Hot Six and Heebie Jeebie Stompers. By 1929 his ten-piece band (which included several former Oliver sidemen) boasted four major soloists in trumpeter Red Allen, trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, altoist Charlie Holmes, and clarinetist Albert Nicholas; the other trumpeter, Bill Coleman, ended up leaving because of the lack of solo space. In addition, Russell, a decent but not particularly distinctive pianist, was part of one of the top rhythm sections of the era along with guitarist Will Johnson, the powerful bassist Pops Foster, and drummer Paul Barbarin.
During the next couple of years Luis Russell's band recorded a couple dozen sides that (thanks to the leader's arrangements) combined the solos and drive of New Orleans jazz with the riffs and ensembles of swing; some of these performances are now considered classics. The band also backed Louis Armstrong on a few of his early orchestra recordings. But after a few commercial sides in 1931, Luis Russell only had one more opportunity to record his band (a so-so session in 1934) before Louis Armstrong took it over altogether in 1935. 

For eight years, the nucleus of Russell's orchestra primarily functioned as background for the great trumpeter/vocalist, a role that robbed it of its personality and significance.From 1943-1948, Russell led a new band that played the Savoy and made a few obscure recordings for Apollo before quietly breaking up. 

He spent his last 15 years, before dying of cancer in 1963, largely outside of music, running at first a candy shop and then a toy store. Fortunately most of Russell's early recordings have been made available on CD by European labels.
Lem Johnson, Tenor Sax
b. Oklahoma City, OK, USA.
d. 1989
Biography ~by Eugene Chadbourne
That this saxophonist was one of the earliest rhythm and blues honkers is hardly in dispute, but how early his sounds first started getting captured by recording microphones is another matter. Various biographical information and reviews relating to a collection of his material on the Blue Moon label indicates that it was the goofball bandleader Louis Jordan who first began documenting Lem Johnson during sessions for the Decca label in the late '30s. 

He may be on some earlier recording sessions with Sidney Bechet, however, although in that case, his potential to honk is vastly overwhelmed by the leader's ability to make his soprano saxophone sound like a lovesick blue jay. At any rate, tenor sax solos such as the one Johnson plays on Jordan's "Flatface" have lost none of their majesty over the years. Johnson didn't stay put with Jordan, however, joining a group led by Skeets Tolbert in 1939.

This leader recognized the reedman's potential as a vocalist and managed to get that aspect of his talents on recording for the first time. 

Eddie Durham also featured Johnson as a vocalist on a single recording. Johnson soon had his own opportunity to record as a leader, with material that was collected on the aforementioned CD along with other recordings the saxophonist and singer made with leaders such as Sammy Price. Of the solo material, the most famous recording is Johnson's version of "Going Down Slow" by St. Louis Jimmy. This 1941 recording is the earliest version known of what developed into a blues warhorse, a perfect send-off for anyone not expected to recover. Johnson also recorded in the early '50s with fellow tenor blaster Sam "The Man" Taylor.
Lem Johnson - Wikipedia

Ernesto Lecuona, composer
b. Havana, Cuba
d. Nov. 29, 1963, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands.
~by John Bush
Arguably the most important Latin musical figure of the early 20th century, Ernesto Lecuona wrote hundreds of works during the era, including popular standards ("Malagueña," "Andalucia" aka "The Breeze and I," "Siempre en Mi Corazon," "Comparsa," "Noche Azul") as well as operettas, ballets, and an opera. Born in the Guanabacoa section of Havana in 1896, Lecuona earned fame first as a concert pianist. Taught piano by a sister (all three of his siblings were musicians), he studied at the National Conservatory in Havana and, later, with Maurice Ravel in Paris. He debuted in New York at the age of 21, and soon became a concert sensation (his piano recordings run into five volumes).

Lecuona had been composing songs even while studying piano however, and he copyrighted two of the most famed songs in the Latin repertoire -- "Malagueña" and "Andalucia" -- during the late '20s. His group, the Palau Brothers Cuban Orchestra (later renamed the Lecuona Cuban Boys), toured America during the 1930s and became a huge success. Lecuona composed the scores for four MGM films during the early '30s, and earned an Academy Award nomination for the title song to 1942's Always in My Heart. Lecuona, named the cultural attaché to the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C., in 1943, rarely performed after World War II, preferring instead to cultivate his Cuban farm. He left his native country in 1960 however, denouncing Castro's revolution and vowing never to play again until Cuba was free of communism. Apparently, he never did perform professionally again, and he died in 1963 while on vacation in the Canary Islands.
Ernesto Lecuona

Tony Parenti, clarinet/leader
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. April 17, 1972, New York, NY, USA.
~by Scott Yanow
One of the finest clarinetists to emerge from New Orleans but somewhat underrated throughout his long career, Tony Parenti had a smooth and fluid sound and a style full of subtle surprises and exciting moments. Parenti's father had been a musician in the Italian Peasant Army. Parenti started on violin but soon switched permanently to clarinet.
After studying at St. Philips School in New Orleans, he played in Joseph Taverno's Italian Band and worked with Alfred "Baby" Laine (1914), Nick LaRocca, Johnny Stein, Johnny DeDroit and many other bands around his hometown. Parenti (who led his own bands on and off starting in 1917) first recorded in New Orleans as a bandleader in 1925, not moving to New York until the late 1920's. He then worked in the studios of CBS and in the dance bands of Paul Ash, Arnold Johnson, Fred Rich, Meyer Davis, B.A. Rolfe and others. After four years with the Radio City Symphony Orchestra, in 1939 Parenti joined Ted Lewis' band, staying until 1945. He returned to jazz the following year, starting a long-time association with Eddie Condon, playing with George Brunis and leading his own dixieland band at Jimmy Ryan's.
Parenti worked in Chicago with Muggsy Spanier and Miff Mole, spent four years in Florida in the early 1950's (often playing with Preacher Rolo Laylan's Five Saints), was with the Dukes of Dixieland briefly in 1952 and then returned to New York in 1954 where he mostly led his own bands including a long spell (1963-69) at Jimmy Ryan's.

Tony Parenti was active up until his death, always sticking to classic dixieland. He recorded as a leader during 1925-26 and 1928 (all of which has been reissued on a CD for the Frog label), for Jazzology (1947, 1949, 1962, 1966-67 and 1971), Southland (1954), Jazztone (1955) and Fat Cat (1971).

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

August 6, 1931.
Bix Beiderbecke
famed U.S. cornetist and composer, died.

Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke was an American jazz cornetist, pianist, and composer. Beiderbecke was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s, a cornet player noted for an inventive lyrical approach and purity of tone. 

Born: March 10, 1903, Davenport, IA
Died: August 6, 1931, Sunnyside, New York, NY
Instruments: Cornet, piano
"Memphis Minnie"
Blues vocals/guitar
died in Memphis, TN, USA. 
Age: 76.
Lizzie Douglas, known as Memphis Minnie, was a blues guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter whose recording career lasted for over three decades. She recorded around 200 songs, some of the best known being "Bumble Bee", "Nothing in Rambling", and "Me and My Chauffeur Blues". Wikipedia
Born: June 3, 1897, Algiers, New Orleans, LA
Died: August 6, 1973, Memphis, TN
Full name: Lizzie Douglas
Albums: Hoodoo Lady, Memphis Minnie Vol. 2 (1935-1936), MORE

Genres: Blues, Memphis blues
Joe Thomas, New York City, circa September 1947. Photograph by William P. Gottlieb
Joe Thomas, trumpet
died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 75.
Joe Thomas was an American swing jazz trumpeter, who was born in Webster Groves, Missouri, and died in New York City, New York. 

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Henry Burr & Helen Clark - On The Level You're A Little Devil 
Victor 18502 (1918) Henry Burr and Helen Clark sing "On The Level You're A Little Devil" on Victor 18502, recorded on August 6, 1918. The song was featured in The Passing Show of 1918. Music is by Jean Schwartz.  Lyrics are by Joe Young.

Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orchestra

Sara Martin - Blue Gum Blues

Mamie Smith - Plain Old Blues


Bennie Krueger and his Orchestra - Sesquehanna Home


Grace Hayes - I Must Have That Man


Georgia Strutters - Georgia Grind

Georgia Strutters - Everybody Mess Aroun'


Tommy Dorsey

Ted Weems and his Orchestra - Until Today

"We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye" ~The Boswell Sisters voc. release
B-12151-A We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye (Woods) 2:40 Brunswick 6360, [BSC3], [32-34]

~The Boswell Sisters voc. release

We thought that love was over, 

That we were really through, 
I said I didn't love him, 
That we'd begin anew 
And you can all believe me, 
We sure intended to, 
But we just couldn't say goodbye. 

 The chair and then the sofa, 
They broke right down and cried, 
The curtains started waving 
For me to come inside. 
I tell you confidentially, 
The tears were hard to hide, 
And we just couldn't say goodbye. 

 The clock was striking twelve o'clock It smiled on us below, 
With folded hands it seemed to say, "We'll miss you if you go." 

 So I went back and kissed him, 
And when I looked around, 
The room was singing love songs, 
And dancing up and down. 
And now we're both so happy, 
Because at last we've found. 
That we just couldn't say goodbye. 

 People in love are funny 
Theyíre mighty hard to explain 
One minute they quarrel 
Then theyíre back together again 
Take my case for instance 
We had a little fuss 
Now listen, ladies and gentlemen 
Here's what happened to us 
 I said I didn't love him, 
That we'd begin anew 
 But we just couldnít say goodbye. 

The chair and then the sofa, 
They broke right down and cried, 
 I tell you confidentially, 
The tears were hard to hide, 
And we just couldn't say goodbye. 

 So I went back and kissed him, 
And when I looked around, 
The room was singing love songs, 
And dancing up and down. 
And now we're both so happy, 
Because at last we've found. 
That we just couldn't say goodbye.

brought to you by...
Special Thanks To:
and all those who have provided content,
images and sound files for this site.