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1932
     

1932

by Billy Banks
 
The real spark behind the Rhythmakers can be summed up in three words: Henry "Red" Allen. Teamed with surrealistic reedman Pee Wee Russell (who plays a lot of tenor sax in addition to his famously wry clarinet), Red stirred up the Rhythmakers in the same way that he completely transformed every band he ever worked with. In addition to the dynamic front line, these

Overview

The real spark behind the Rhythmakers can be summed up in three words: Henry "Red" Allen. Teamed with surrealistic reedman Pee Wee Russell (who plays a lot of tenor sax in addition to his famously wry clarinet), Red stirred up the Rhythmakers in the same way that he completely transformed every band he ever worked with. In addition to the dynamic front line, these snappy sides from 1932 are worthwhile mainly for the presence of pianists Joe Sullivan and Fats Waller, bassists Al Morgan and Pops Foster, and drummers Gene Krupa and Zutty Singleton. What about the nominal leader? Well, Billy Banks sounded more than a little like Cab Calloway in 1932, even singing some of the same topical hits. Billy seems to have gotten waylaid en route to the studio on April 18th. The band cooked up a steaming "Bugle Call Rag" while waiting for the singer to arrive. This is the only instrumental track on the entire album. It is followed by "Oh Peter (You're So Nice)" which has a vocal by Red Allen. Finally Banks showed and sang "Margie" in his rather shrill voice, sounding almost goofy after the wonderfully husky tones of Allen. The session of May 10th uses an unidentified band. Banks tried hard to be clever, scatting up a storm on "The Scat Song," but there are less kicks to be had with this group. As if to make up for a missed opportunity, Banks sang "Oh Peter" on May 23rd with the original ensemble except for Krupa, who was replaced by the mighty Zutty. Billy scats nicely on "Who's Sorry Now?" and "Take It Slow and Easy." These are strong performances, tough stomps played by a band that gradually works Billy down to a hipper delivery. "Bald Headed Mama" focuses on a theme revived years later by Professor Longhair ("Bald Head") and Lou Donaldson ("Wig Blues"). The epicenter of this album is the session of July 26th, 1932. Fats Waller and Pops Foster gas up the band so solidly that Banks sounds vicariously hipper than ever. Red Allen wails while Pee Wee plays only tenor sax, the clarinet being handled by Jimmy Lord. Strum support from simultaneous banjo and guitar certainly doesn't hurt. The most exciting track is "Mean Old Bed Bug Blues" with a very funny falsetto vocal chorus by Fats. W.C. Handy's "Yellow Dog Blues" bumps along at a good clip, with a marvelous piano solo after the perky vocal. "Yes Suh!" is pure vaudeville call-and-response. There's no telling who was in the band on August 18th 1932. About half of this material is quite rare, and it's good to have all of Banks' work on one disc. The album closes with Jack Bland and His Rhythmakers, a racially mixed band that blows the roof off of the "Hen House Door." This is one of Red Allen's wildest vocals on record. "Shine on Your Shoes," popularized by Fred Astaire, features unnervingly wholesome vocalist Chick Bullock, who advises everyone to face each dawn with polished footwear, either literally or metaphorically. The band cooks so hard it doesn't matter who the vocalist is! Bullock was the most heavily recorded vocalist of the 1930s, and this track is, without question, the best side he ever piped in on.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/13/1998
Label:
Melodie Jazz Classic
UPC:
3307517096920
catalogNumber:
969
Rank:
181859

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Billy Banks   Primary Artist,Vocals
Henry "Red" Allen   Trumpet,Vocals
Eddie Condon   Banjo
Gene Krupa   Drums
Pee Wee Russell   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Fats Waller   Piano,Vocals
Zutty Singleton   Drums
Joe Sullivan   Piano
Frank Froeba   Piano
Jack Bland   Guitar
Happy Caldwell   Tenor Saxophone
Tommy Dorsey   Trombone
Pops Foster   Bass
Morgan   Bass
Chick Bullock   Vocals
Jimmy Lord   Clarinet

Technical Credits

Jack Pettis   Composer
Elmer Schoebel   Composer
Billy Meyers   Composer
Little Jack Little   Composer
Anatol Schenker   Liner Notes
Joe Young   Composer
Ira Schuster   Composer
Jesse Stafford   Composer
Herb Wiedoeft   Composer
Billy Rose   Composer

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