Thursday, May 26, 2011

Harry The Hipster Gibson

I thought I had featured Harry The Hipster Gibson before here but a quick search through the archives reveals that I haven't. So putting things right with one side of a cassette that Harry shares with Cecil Gant and Benny Carter on the Italian Curcio label which looks like it was part of a magazine called I Giganti Del Jazz from 1981 - but the tracks here were recorded in 1944.

Wikipedia says -

"In the 1940s, Gibson was known for writing unusual songs, which are considered ahead of their time. He was also known for his unique, wild singing style, his energetic and unorthodox piano styles, and for his intricate mixture of a hardcore, gutbucket boogie rhythms with ragtime, stride and jazz piano styles. Gibson took the boogie woogie beat of his predecessors, but he made it frantic; similar to the rock and roll music of the 1950s Examples of his wild style are found in the songs "Riot in Boogie" and "Barrelhouse Boogie". An example of his strange singing style is in the song "The Baby and the Pup." Other songs that Gibson recorded were "Handsome Harry, the Hipster", "I Stay Brown All Year 'Round", "Get Your Juices at the Deuces", and "Stop That Dancin' Up There." Gibson recorded a great deal, but there are very few visual examples of his act. However, in New York in 1944, he filmed three songs for the Soundies film jukeboxes, and he went to Hollywood in 1946 to guest star in the feature-length film musical Junior Prom. Gibson preceded the first white rock and rollers by a decade, but the Soundies he recorded show significant similarities to rock and roll.
"Harry the Hipster" headlining at the Onyx on 52nd Street, May 1948. Note in the photo the Deuces as well as Leon and Eddie's.

While working on "Swing Street" at night, Gibson was a fellow at the Juilliard Graduate School during the day. At the time, Juilliard was strictly a classical music academy, and Gibson excelled there, which partly explains the richness of the music he brought to the jazz world. The other part of the explanation is, his own inventiveness, and Gibson was almost always billed and promoted as a musical genius."

Songs on Side One are-

1. Handsome Harry, The Hipster Gibson
2. Riot In Boogie
3. Stop That Dancin' Up There
4. Get Your Deuces At The Deuces
5. The Hipster's Blues Opus 6
6. The Hipster's Blues Opus 7

Harry The Hipster Gibson - Side One

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Phil Harris

A CD on the Living Era label thats probably still available. A good selection of his well known and not so well known tracks recorded back in the 40's and 50's.

Wikipedia says- "Although he was born in Linton, Indiana, Harris actually grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and identified himself as a Southerner (his hallmark song was "That's What I Like About the South"). His upbringing accounted for both his trace of a Southern accent and, in later years, the self-deprecating Southern jokes of his radio character. Harris began his music career as a drummer in San Francisco, forming an orchestra with Carol Lofner in the latter 1920s and starting a long engagement at the St. Francis Hotel. The partnership ended by 1932, and Harris led and sang with his own band, now based in Los Angeles. From December, 1936 through March, 1937, he recorded 16 sides for Vocalion, most were hot swing tunes that used a very interesting gimmick; they faded up and faded out with a piano solo (probably these were arranged their pianist Skippy Anderson). This was a novel approach and quite unusual for the time.
On September 2, 1927, he was married to actress Marcia Ralston in Sydney, Australia. The couple adopted a son, Phil Harris, Jr. (b. 1935). They were divorced in September, 1940.
Phil Harris played drums in Henry Halstead Big Band Orchestra in the 1920s.
In 1933, he made a short film for RKO called So This Is Harris, which won an Academy Award for best live action short subject. He followed it up with a feature-length film called Melody Cruise. Both films were created by the same team that next produced Flying Down To Rio, which started the successful careers of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers."

Discover more about Phil Harris HERE

Phil Harris - Some Little Bug

Phil Harris - My Kind Of Country

Phil Harris - One-Zy Two-Zy

Phil Harris - The Thing

Fred Douglas

Not really a boot sale find but an excuse to upload some novelty songs by Fred Douglas who I know nothing about except he made lots of cover versions of hits on the cheap Regal label that sold in Woolworths I believe back in the 30's and 40's. Later they had the Embassy label which did a similar service - all the pop hits of the day by obscure singers who nobody had ever heard of! Fred Douglas went by many other nome de plumes, some say as many as 60 including the comedy duo The Two Gilberts.

Chris Gavin says of The Two Gilberts -

"Almost nothing is known about this comedy duo, but it can be surmised from their recordings that the people making up the pairing varied with time. The odd thing is that the Two Gilberts appear at a time when comedy duettists had just about died out in terms of popularity. Harry Cove & Billy Thompson had dominated the recording studios (along with the likes on Will Brockton, Jack Charman, Stanley Kirkby, Lionel Rothery etc) with their duet records from before WWI. People with a good ear claim that Fred Douglas, a prolific maker of records in his own name, is always one of the pair. Recently it has been claimed that the most regular duo were Fred Douglas and Leslie Rome.

Interestingly, both Cove and Thompson were mainstays of The Two Gilberts at different times. Thompson seems to be Douglas's first partner before Cove took over in mid-1924. Recordings by Tom Gilbert exist, usually paired with recordings of the Two Gilberts, these records issued as by Tom Gilbert are also by Fred Douglas; the Regal company obviously dreamt up the name as a tie-in with the duettists as well as issuing record under Douglas's own name.

It seems that about these artists: Douglas, Thompson & Cove, very little is known as they spent pretty well the whole of their careers as recording artists, generally looked down upon by collectors and researchers as "of no historical importance or interest"."

Fred Douglas - Yes, Sir That's My Baby

Fred Douglas - Vamping Rose

Fred Douglas - Mammy

Fred Douglas - Aurora Borealis

Monday, May 09, 2011

Los Macarenos

An EP on the Regal label in Spain from 1961. Also from the same box of smoked records at the boot sale on Sunday. Some were a bit too near the fire and were badly burned or warped! This one had the wrong sleeve but will try and find one on the internet. Typical flamenco one would purchase on a package holiday in Spain.

Los Macarenos - En Er Mundo/ Los Duros Antiguos

Chris Barber

A 10 inch LP on the Pye Nixa label from 1956 I bought at a boot sale this weekend for 50p. Its slightly scratched and the sleeve shows signs of smoke damage and wear.
Line-up is Chris Barber ( trombone ), Pat Halcox ( trumpet ), Monty Sunshine ( clarinet ), Lonnie Donegan ( banjo ), Ron Bowden ( drums ) and Mick Ashman ( bass ).

Wikipedia says -

"Barber played trombone with Ken Colyer in 1949 and began leading his own bands in which he played trombone and double bass in 1950. Barber helped to create the careers of many diverse musicians, most notably the blues singer Ottilie Patterson, who was at one time Mrs Barber. Others include vocalist and banjo player Lonnie Donegan who rose to his own fame during the skiffle music craze of the mid 1950s. He had his first transatlantic hit during his time in Chris Barber's band with the release of "Rock Island Line".

In addition to Donegan, Barber also featured Pat Halcox on trumpet from 1954 onwards, once Ken Colyer had moved on after a difference of opinion as to the way the band should develop. The band formed in 1953 took Colyer's name as they thought that his recent spell in New Orleans would be an attraction, with Monty Sunshine on clarinet, Donegan, Jim Bray (bass), Ron Bowden (drums) and Barber on trombone. In April, 1953, the band made its public debut in Copenhagen where Chris Albertson recorded several sides for the then new Danish Storyville label, including some with a trio from the band, Sunshine, Donegan and Barber (on bass). Later, back in London, Sunshine and Barber recorded a version of Bechet's "Petite Fleur" that made it to #3 in the UK Singles Chart, spending a total of twenty-four weeks therein. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Although the Barber band featured traditional jazz in the New Orleans style, it later also engaged in ragtime, swing, blues and R&B and worked with other artists including Louis Jordan and Dr. John. After 1959 he toured the United States many times.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Barber was mainly responsible for arranging the first UK tours of seminal blues artists such as Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Muddy Waters. This, along with encouragement from local enthusiasts such as Alexis Korner and John Mayall, sparked the interest of young local prospective musicians such as Peter Green, Eric Clapton and the members of the The Rolling Stones in the blues, and caused the British blues explosion that in turn resulted in the British invasion exported back to the US in the middle to late 1960s. In January 1963, the British music magazine, NME reported that the biggest trad jazz event to be staged in Britain had taken place at Alexandra Palace. The event included George Melly, Diz Disley, Acker Bilk, Alex Welsh, Kenny Ball, Ken Colyer, Sunshine, Bob Wallis, Bruce Turner, Mick Mulligan and Barber."

Side One -

1. Whistlin' Rufus
2. Big House Blues
3. April Showers

Side Two -

1. One Sweet Letter From You
2. Hushabye
3. We Shall Walk Throuhg The Valley

Chris Barber - Side One

Chris Barber - Side Two

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Les Dawson (Re-Up)

"Les Dawson (2 February 1931 - 10 June 1993) was a popular Lancashire comedian, known for his deadpan style. Dawson was a curmudgeon, famous for jokes about his mother-in-law and his wife.
Dawson began his entertainment career as a club pianist ("I finally heard some applause from a bald man and said 'thank you for clapping me' and he said 'I'm not clapping - I'm slapping me head to keep awake.'"), but found that he got more laughs by playing wrong notes and complaining to the audience. He made his television debut in the talent show, Opportunity Knocks, and was seldom absent from British television screens in the years that followed. His best known routines featured Roy Barraclough and Dawson as two elderly women, Cissie Braithwaite and Ada Sidebottom who, having worked in a mill in their youth, spoke some words aloud and mouthed others--particularly those pertaining to bodily functions and sex; they also repeatedly pushed up their bosoms, in pantomime dame style, an act copied faithfully from his hero, Norman Evans. Dawson's humour, though earthy, was seldom coarse, and he was as popular with female as with male audiences."

A very funny man and in reality he could play the piano really well. Most of this record is comedy routines but I have extracted two "musical" interludes for your enjoyment, or not as the case may be! A bargain at 49p!

Side Two consists of tracks -

1. I Can't Control Myself
2. Jeremiah Fisher Frog
3. Show Me The Way To Go Home
4. Goodbye (from "Whie Horse Inn" )

Les Dawson - Side Two

Les Dawson - Bye Bye Blackbird