Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Star Arises From The East Side: Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman
The King of Swing Does His Thing.
Hello and welcome back to Old Highway Notes. Before we get things under way, I would like to ask a question. So far we are exploring Route 66 and Highway 101 on the this blog. What route should we explore next? Let me know your opinion in the comments.

Today we continue our exploration of Chicago Jazz. Last week,  we talked about some of the hot jazz pioneers that passed through the city of Chicago on the way to fame in other places. This week we're going to talk about one of Chicago's native sons. In Chicago back in the jazz days, it was common for businesses on Chicago's Maxwell Street to the setup stages in front of their stores and let the local jazz musicians play to draw in customers. Those street level performances would have had an effect on our native son.

Born in 1909, Benny Goodman was the 9th of 13 children to grow up in a poor Jewish family on the east side of Chicago. Early in his life Benny Goodman showed an aptitude for music. At the age of 10 he was given clarinet lessons with a local Synagogue, providing his foundation in music. Goodman was a quick student and shortly join the school band and began performing in numerous other bands at a young age. He made his professional debut in 1921, 1 year before beginning high school. 1923 he joined Musicians Union and by 1924 at age 14, following the death of his father, he quit school to performing in local bands to help support his family. One band featuring legendary jazz performer Bix Beiderbecke. When Goodman was just 16 he was hired by the Ben Pollack band and went with them to Los Angeles, staying on with the band for four years. At this point, the Chicago portion of the Benny Goodman story largely winds down. His star was still rising though.
During the late 20's and early 30's, Benny Goodman relocated to New York, which really ends the Chicago part of our story. But to follow up on the heights Goodman's star was to rise to, we continue. While in New York, Goodman was an session musician who worked with such jazz greats as  Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Coleman Hawkins and a young Billie Holiday. n 1934 he created his first band and also auditioned for the radio program Lets Dance.  It was a successfull audition and the band was booked for the program. As part of his preparation for the program, Goodman was expected to provide arrangements for the dance performances. He enlisted the help of early jazz great, Fletcher Henderson, who had fallen on hard times with the crash of the stock market in 1929. Goodman helped Henderson solve some financial problems and was paid with Henderson's manuscripts of arrangements and sheet music. Goodman also hired several of Henderson's musician to teach the hot jazz playing style to his band members.  The program featured three bands, with Goodman's band playing during the last hour at starting at 11:30pm New York time. Due to the late hour, the band did not attract a lot of attention on the East Coast. In  1935, they were without work, as the program was cancelled do to a strike by the show sponsor, Nabisco.

Hitting the road in May of 1935, the band began with an engagement in Manhattan that proved to be disappointing. In an attempt to appear to a popular audience, the Goodman band played slower "sweet" numbers, rather than the Henderson style of swing they played on late night radio. The audience was largely unimpressed.  The tour continued along the same vein with fairly disinterested audiences. By August, the band was on the verge of collapse due to financial difficulties and a frustration with indifferent audiences. As their tour reached the west coast, the Benny Goodman band was scheduled to play for 3 weeks at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles. During their first performance they continue to play the mellow Sweet Music that had failed to inspire audiences across the country. Goodman's drummer, the legendary Gene Krupa, turned   to Goodman on the bandstand and said "If we're going to die, Benny, let's die playing our own thing." With that, the band began to play one of the hot swing numbers. The crowd  went crazy! The kids jumped up out of their seats and began to dance. What Goodman did not realize was that the Los Angeles audience got to hear his set at 930 in the evening instead of 11:30 as they did back east, which made his music popular among the LA youth. They had also been hearing a few of his records being spun on the KFWB radio in Los Angeles, so when the Goodman band arrived they were ready to hear them. The Palomar shows drew a lot of  attention and is considered by many to be the birth of the swing era.

In 1937 Goodman and his band were given the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall, this gave the jazz and swing scene a credibility to the world of "serious music" that it had not had prior to that. Goodman;s fame continued to grow. Ultimately he would be given the title The King of Swing. He would provide the soundtrack for World War II. A film would be made (over)dramatizing his life story. As the swing era wound down and the costs of the large touring bands became unsustainable, Goodman would switch gears and pursue a successful career in classical music composition. He would lead a long and productive life before passing away in 1986 at the age of 77. Not bad for a kid from the poor side of Chicago.

Compared to his legacy in music, Benny Goodman is somewhat under represented in my music collection. He shows up on a variety of compilations and anthologies of the Swing Era and World War II that I have, but I only have one album. So lets start off this weeks additions to the Route 66 playlist. As always, the song titles links you where you can download the songs, whenever possible. The videos are often similar versions offered for comparisons sake and for entertainment value.

Probably the most well mastered recordings are from Ken Burns excellent documentary Jazz : A Film By Ken Burns.With the documentaries release a five disc set was issued. I'm glad I made a point of picking it up. While Burns loses steam in the 1950's and lapses in his coverage, his work in most of the film is as detailed and entertaining a presentation of jazz history as you will find. The "King Porter Stomp" featured in the film is from a 1935 recording and is the first Benny Goodman song to be added to our playlist.

Also from Ken Burns Jazz, "Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing)" was originally released in 1937.  Drummer, Gene Krupa pounds a driving tribal rhythm to start the number before the band kicks in with a swinging melody. Goodman does some absolutely rollicking solos trading breaks with Krupa, whose drum solos put a lot of modern rock drum solos to shame. It was the band's signature song that they would often end live sets with. You can hear why.

The 1939 recording of "Rose Room" featuring the Benny Goodman Sextet was also in the epic documentary and is now part of my epic playlist..

This next set of Benny Goodman songs is from a three disc various artist set called Music From The War Years The Big Band Era . I picked up the third disc used at a library book sale. It has a mini set of Benny Goodmans Orchestra that are now a mini set on my already enormous Old Highway Notes Route 66 playlist. (If you think Chicago has a lot of music for us to explore, just wait until we get to Texas!)

"One O' Clock Jump" was featured in the quite dramatized bio-pic The Benny Goodman Story with Steve Allen playing Goodman, The clip is from the films styled account the infamous Palomar Ballroom performance.

A much shorter version of  "One O'Clock Jump" also makes the list from another swing anthology I picked up over the years. The YouTube clip is from the 1938 Carnegie Hall show.

I have no idea when this was recorded but it is apparently a latter day stereo recording, according to Amazon customer comments, probably from the 50's.
Even more unclear is the sources uses for this collection I picked up in the cutout bin in the record store years ago. The sound quality is fairly weak, but I am an include everything including the kithen sink kind of guy, so they are the next mini set of Benny Goodman's music.

With the assorted loose tracks added to the list I turn to the one album of Goodman's music in my collection. It is an average budget compilation from 1988 called. "Swing Back with Benny Goodman". It is out of print and Amazon currently only offers a used cassette version. Here is the track listing:
1.  One O'clock Jump 7:42
2.  Jersey Bounce 3:03
3.  And The Angels Sing 3:10
4.  Stompin At The Savoy 2:28
5.  Down Town Camp Meeting 2:59
6.  Jumpin At The Woodside 3:17
7.  Let's Dance 0:45
8.  Sing Sing Sing 6:34
9.  Get Happy 3:09
10.  Stardust 2:54
11.  King Porter Stomp 2:30
12.  Lady Be Good 5:42 
Since I had some success looking in Archive for the artists I covered in last weeks post, I thought I would see what it had for Benny Goodman. And there were some good finds.The first track I found was Wolverine Blues from 1928. According to Archive, it was his first recording. You can download it HERE. Or listen to it below:

Next I found a recording with another Jazz pioneer who we haven't really mentioned up until this point, Jack Teagarden. Their version of "Strut Miss Lizzie" can be downloaded HERE.

I also found a two part collection of assorted Goodman tracks that has some tasty swing on it. You can download Part ! HERE and Part II HERE.

Someone was nice enough to post on Archive.Org the recording of the 1938 Carnegie Hall Show that I told you about earlier. You can download it HERE. Or just listen...

Well, that about does it for this week's Old Highway Notes. Join us next time when we look at star that came down from the heavens into Chicago. I'll explain then. Also, stay with us on Highway 101 as we continue exploring American anthems, while we cross the border from Tijuana Mexico. As a reminder,  please answer the question this post started with: I am thinking of adding a 3rd route to the rotation of routes to explore on this blog. I'd love to hear your opinion as to what that route should be. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

If you like what you have read here I'd like to ask you a favor. If you purchase any item on Amazon after you link to them in the little Amazon search window below, I will get a little something from them. It doesn't cost you any extra and I cannot see what you have purchased.

With your help, I can keep the show on the road for you.


To read more Old Highway Notes, choose an off ramp and click on the highway sign:

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Tale Of Two Alternative Anthems

Part 1 Of A Series Of 6
Highway 101 Crossing The Border:

American Flag
Hello everyone. Our virtual wait in line to cross the border back into the USA continues, as we leave Tijuana Mexico and re-enter the USA. Last week we looked a little bit at our national anthem.We had a variety of interpretations to consider. Lets face it, though, the Star Spangled Banner is a difficult song to sing and many renditions end up sounding more like the Star Mangled Banner.  There are several songs that have been written since then that are more easily sung. These serve as sort of unofficial national anthems. A great example of this is "God Bless America".

America the Beautiful was written by Irving Berlin, composer of such other songs as Alexander's Ragtime Band, Easter Parade, White Christmas, and There's No Business Like Show Business. He originally composed the song in 1918 while serving the U.S. Army at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York. At the time he didn't find it suitable for use and he shelved it. In 1938, with the rise of Hitler and European fascism occurring, he went back to fine tune the "peace song" for an Armistice Day radio program to be sung by Kate Smith. It would become her signature number.

In 1943 the song was used with other of Berlin's patriotic songs in the film This Is The Army. In a gesture of patriotism, Berlin donated all proceeds from the song to the Boy and Girl Scouts of America. An easy to sing song, with a religious connection  that allowed it to be sung as church hymn has kept the song in the American songbook as a very popular alternative to the Star Spangled Banner.  I have a copy of the song from a CD collection called The Great Entertainers. It is the first track we are adding to the playlist today. The CD my version is from is not being sold any more but Kate Smiths Greatest Hits offers the download

  • God Bless America     The Great Entertainers     Kate Smith, and Jack Miller Orchestra     2:43

As fan of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey club the song has its own special attraction to me. When I hear it being played before a game I know the game will be huge. And my team will likely win. I'll let Wikipedia tell the story...
Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers Hockey

When the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team played Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" before their game on December 11, 1969, an unusual part of her career began. The team began to play the song before home games every once in a while; the perception was that the team was more successful on these occasions, so the tradition grew.
At the Flyers' home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 11, 1973, she made a surprise appearance to perform the song in person and received a tremendous reception. The Flyers won that game by a 2-0 score. She again performed the song at the Spectrum in front of a capacity crowd of 17,007 fans before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on May 19, 1974 against the Boston Bruins. Boston's forward, Phil Esposito, infamously tried to jinx the Flyers' "good luck charm" by presenting her with a bouquet of roses after her performance. The Flyers won their first of two back-to-back Stanley Cups, winning that playoff series against the Boston Bruins 4 games to 2, with Bernie Parent shutting the Bruins out 1-0 in that game.
Smith also performed live at Flyers home games on May 13, 1975, when the Flyers beat the New York Islanders 4-1 to win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup semi-finals., and on May 16, 1976, before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, when the Flyers lost to the Montreal Canadiens 5-3 and were swept in that series.
The Flyers' record when "God Bless America" is played or sung in person stands at a remarkable 94 wins, 26 losses, and 4 ties as of April 26, 2011.[4] Smith and her song remain a special part of Flyers' history. In 1987, the team erected a statue of Smith outside their arena at the time, the Spectrum, in her memory. The Flyers still show a video of her singing "God Bless America" in lieu of "The Star Spangled Banner" for good luck before important games. The video of her performance is now accompanied by Lauren Hart, daughter of the late Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster, Gene Hart, longtime voice of the Flyers, and anthem singer for the Flyers. Before games whenever God Bless America is performed, Lou Nolan, the PA announcer for the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center would say: "Ladies and gentlemen, at this time, we ask that you please rise and remove your hats and salute to our flags and welcome the number 1 ranked anthemist in the NHL, Lauren Hart, as she sings (if the visiting team is from Canada, O Canada (or Canadian national anthem) followed by) God Bless America, accompanied by the great Kate Smith."[5]
This CBC footage from the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs is typical of how it is performed before big Flyer games. 

Of course, there are some fans who don't like the old clips of the song and mocking deride it saying, "it ain't started' til the fat lady sings. Yes, we have some classy members in the "Philly Faithful" fan base. There is another person who did not like the song when it came out. That person was named Woody Guthrie.

Woody Guthrie is a legendary figure in American folk music. He was an admirable man in many ways, but he was flawed as well. Born in Okemeh, OK in 1912, his childhood started off in the prosperous boom of the early 20th century in Oklahoma, but things unraveled quickly. His sister was burned to death in coal fire in their home when he was 7. His father, who was also severely burned in another coal  fire, lost his wealth in failed land deals and his mother, who suffered from Huntington's Disease, was drifting into dementia. She would be institutionalized when Woody was 18. It is also speculated that she had a hand in the tragic fires that kept affecting the Guthrie family.
Woody Guthrie
Woody Guthrie

Woody was naturally gifted as a folk artist. He could draw and paint well enough to sell his work commercially. He had learned to play the guitar and harmonica, having an ability to play play by ear tunes that he had heard. Woody also had a gift for writing new words for the old folk tunes he would strum. He did some busking and side jobs painting signs in Pamas Texas where his father was trying to work out some land deals to get back on his feet. Woody married at 19, and was soon to join the stream of refugees from Oklahoma on Route 66, leaving his wife and daughter in Texas to fend for themselves until he could start sending them money from California. He made a habit the rest of his life of leaving situations to try other avenues that is admirable in its ambition, but irresponsible to those left behind.

In Los Angeles, he gained his initial fame working on the Lefty Lou radio program on progressive radio station KFVD in Southern California. It was during this time that many of his famous dust bowl ballads were written and fist performed such as "Oklahoma Hills", "Do-Re-Mi", "I Ain't Got No Home", and "Pretty Boy Floyd". It was also during this time that he became interested in the labor movement. The mistreatment of so many of the dust bowl refugees allowed international communist groups to gain traction with many of the refugees with its promise of fair treatment for the working man. Woody began to work writing articles for the Communist newspaper Peoples World.  His politics would make him loved as a sympathist to the lower class, and despised later in an era of rising anti-communism.

Woody was a controversial figure. I have a lot of respect for him. His neglect of his family at a moments notice to pursue adventure and opportunity I find fairly deplorable, but I honor his ambition and loyalty to the cause he embraced. Was he right about those causes? History has proven that communism, while a lovely utopian ideal, just doesn't work with the inherent flaws of human nature. So he was wrong about that. But it hadn't proved to be a failure at the time Woody was embracing the ideology, so I am forgiving of his communism.

Back to our story, when Irving Berlins' "God Bless America" came it out it immediately became popular and with the onset of World War II was all over the radio at the time. Woody that the the song was trite and sentimental and over simplified the problems facing the world, or ignored them altogether.  Woody's song took the Berlins style of listing out the varied features and geography that make up the US. Instead of calling for Gods blessing, Woody celebrates the blessing that we have. His original line "God blessed America for me" he would rewrite to become "This land was made for and me".

No Trespassing Sign
The Controversial Notion
Like the Berlin song had been put on shelf, Woody would shelve his song for four years before finally publishing it. Unlike "America The Beautiful" which had a sudden introduction and immediate success, "This Land Is Your Land" sort of simmered. Woody would play it live but at the time he was under increased criticism for his communist beliefs and he was performing generally at events and meetings in support of leftist causes. However, during the folk music revival of the early 1960's the song was discovered by the youthful folk scene and covered by many artists. In a lot of ways, "This Land Is Your Land" could be a great national anthem. However, like Woody himself, the song has its flaws. There were two verses that were included in the original writing of the song that Woody sometimes performed that are often left off of many renditions. In the 4th verse he criticizes private property, championing communist values.
     As I went walking I saw a sign there
    And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
    But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
    That side was made for you and me.
In the 6th verse he rebukes the US government, as well as the churches, ineffectiveness at providing a safety net against poverty.
    In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
    By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
    As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
    Is this land made for you and me? 
These controversial stances insure that "This Land Is Your Land" will likely never be the national anthem. I wish it would though. Really, what is worse, sympathy with idealism in communist propaganda or the militarism and celebration of war that is our current anthem?

That is really more than enough about my personal philosophical and political viewpoints. We are here for music and I have several versions of "This Land is your Land" to add to our playlist. The first version is from Woody Guthrie and it was found in my collection as a track on the Ultimate Grammy Box. That set is not available for download, but I have this version from  The Asch Recordings, Vol. 1-4. The video is a collection of shots from the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemeh, OK:
  • This Land Is Your Land     Ultimate Grammy Box     Woody Guthrie     2:18

One of Woody Guthrie's best friends and musical collaborators was Pete Seeger who partnered with Guthrie in the Almanac Singers and like Guthrie faced McCarthyist blacklisting. My copy was included as bonus track on the CD Pete Seeger's Greatest Hits. For some reason the track is not listed on
the mp3 version of the album, so I offer a download link from Pete Seeger Sings Woody Guthrie.
  • This Land Is Your Land     Pete Seeger's Greatest Hits     Pete Seeger     3:01

The next version of "This Land Is Your Land" is from Tennessee Ernie Ford. I got it as party of a 4th of July mix disc titled  Rudy presents... Let Freedom Ding. The disc is no longer being offered for download but I did find a version of Tennessee Ernie Ford doing the song that you can download.
  • This Land Is Your Land     Rudy presents... Let Freedom Ding     Tennessee Ernie Ford

In spite of the controversy I mentioned, the song has become a beloved patriotic anthem. Especially when the controversial verses are left out. Even the conservative Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform the song. My version is from a collection from Readers Digest called A Celebration Of Great American Favorites. Naturally the CD is not available for mp3 download but I have found you an alternate version. The video is a performance with The Air Force reserve Band.
  • This Land Is Your Land     A Celebration Of Great American Favorites    Mormon Tabernacle Choir     3:06

During the folk music revival, one of the acts that did the most popularize Woody's song was Peter, Paul and Mary. My version is from an later greatest hits kind of release called Around The Campfire. The video from their 25th Anniversary concert is from the same era.
  • This Land Is Your Land     Around The Campfire     Peter, Paul & Mary

The next version of "This Land Is Your Land" is from the concert A Tribute To Woody Guthrie. I love this album! Shortly after Woody's death a memorial concert was held that attracted a who's who of folk artists that offered their heartfelt tribute in performing his songs. The close to the album is our song being peformed by Odetta, Woody Guthrie's son, and folk hero in  his own right, Arlo Guthrie, with narration and participation from the ensemble of gathered artists. You can't get the song alone on mp3. You have to download the album. If you do, I suspect you will enjoy it.
  • This Land Is Your Land/Narration     A Tribute To Woody Guthrie     Odetta, Arlo Guthrie And Company    2:55

My next version of "This Land Is Your Land" is from a Smithsonian Folkways release by folk singer Oscar Brand. He performs the campaign song of every president in US history up until its release date in 1996. Interestingly, George H Bush used this song as his campaign song. Much like Reagan did not realize the lyrical implications of "Born In The USA", I suspect Bush must have somehow overlooked the communist associations  of the song, since he was such a famous Cold War figure.
  • This Land Is Your Land: George Bush     Presidential Campaign Songs  1789-1996  Oscar Brand 1:31
Neil Young brings us to nearly the present with his rendition from his 2012 album Americana with Crazy Horse.
  •  This Land Is Your Land     Americana     Neil Young & Crazy Horse     5:26

There is another version that I realized I need to upgrade in my collection. I have it on cassette and it is destined to be on the list. It is by Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper from their album "Root Hog or Die"
  •  This Land Is Your Land     Root Hog Or Die     Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper     5:46

Bobby Bare brings us full circle with his song "God Bless America Again". The video is a 9/11 Tribute backed by his song.
  •  God Bless America Again     The Essential Bobby Bare     Bobby Bare     2:49

Well, that allowed some to kill some time as we sit in virtual traffic on our virtual journey across the border from Tijuana, Mexico to the USA and old Highway 101. There is another alternative anthem worthy of mention as well and we will talk about that song next week. Don't forget to stop by on Saturday when we will continue to explore the music of the city of Chicago.Thanks for joining me and until we meet again, stay musical my friends.

If you like what you have read here I'd like to ask you a favor. If you purchase any item on Amazon after you link to them in the little Amazon search window below, I will get a little something from them. It doesn't cost you any extra and I cannot see what you have purchased.

With your help, I can keep the show on the road for you.


To read more Old Highway Notes, choose an off ramp and click on the highway sign:

Highway 101

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Before The Blues There Was Jazz

Piano Keyboard
Before the Electric Guitar
Hello and welcome back to Old Highway Notes as we explore the history of Chicago's music. Chicago has always been known as the city of the blues. The fast Chicago blues style generally associated with the city didn't really take off until the introduction of electric instruments in the 40's. Before the Chicago was known for the blues, Chicago was a hub city in the development of jazz.

The Columbia Exposition and Worlds Fair held in Chicago in 1893, drew many ragtime pianists to the city to perform and proved to be important in spreading interest the syncopated rhythms ragtime to  diverse areas of the country as the fair drew such crowds from far and wide.

In the early 20th century, the city of Chicago was booming. The stockyards and manufacturing facilities created numerous jobs that caused tens of thousands of blacks to relocate from the South seeking better opportunities and the North. This is a period of history known as "The Great Migration". Chicago, which was located directly north of New Orleans on the Mississippi River and easily reached by rail, swelled with relocated blacks who were congregating in neighborhoods on the south side of the city. An area known as "The Stroll" was filled with many honky tonks, nightclubs, cabarets and vaudeville theaters. A  large number of New Orleans musicians would make the journey to Chicago to perform for the growing black community.

Tony Jackson
Tony Jackson
As early as 1906, Chicagoans could enjoy pianists such as Tony Jackson, an influential jazz pioneer from the Storyville section of New Orleans who never recorded. Tony Jackson is an interesting person. Born in  1882 in New Orleans, and moving ot Chicago to live in 1912, he was a bit of musical prodigy. He grew up in a poor family who could not afford to provide him with musical instruments to play. The story goes that by the age of 10 he built a playable and tunable harpsichord out of  scrap from his backyard. He used it to perform church hymns, catching the attention of more affluent neighbors who would allow him to practice on their instruments. By the age of 13 he was performing in honky tonks and by the time he was 15 he was considered to be one of the best musicians in New Orleans-not a small feat! He would play ragtimes, cakewalks and other popular songs of the day as well as popular European and Latin Amerirican songs. It was said he could hear a song once and could immediately play it. in addition to being a phenomenal pianist he was reported to have an excellent voice with a wide range He style of dress was widely imitated by other early jazz musicians, such was his fame. And he was openly gay, which was pretty unusual in that era, not that there's any thing wrong with that. Actually, it seems pretty brave. I wish someone would have recorded him, I would love to hear what he sounded like.

Jelly Roll Blues Sheet Music
"Jelly Roll" Blues
Another early transplant was Ferd La Menthe “Jelly Roll” Morton. One of the earliest recorded Jazz artists his style of honky tonk piano he called "Jelly Roll" playing. His playing effectively acted as bridge between ragtime music and the hot jazz that was emerging. My music collection had a little "Jelly Roll" Morton, but it was only a couple of random tracks and an old cassette tape. The time for an upgrade had come. A trip to found a group of 49 of his recordings available for download.

Album: Jelly Roll Morton Jelly Roll Morton

Set 1: Jelly Roll Morton-01-10
  • Big Lip Blues 3:12
  • Black Bottom Stomp 3:11
  • Buddy Bolden's Blues 4:17
  • Burnin' The Iceberg 6:02
  • Climax Rag    Jelly Roll 4:48
  • Dead Man Blues 6:30
  • Fat Meat And Greens [1926] 5:50
  • Finger Buster 2:47
  • Georgia Swing 2:29
Set 2: Jelly Roll Morton-11-20

  • Good Old New York 5:31
  • Grandpa's Spells 3:17
  • Hyena Stomp 6:20
  • King Porter Stomp 5:17
  • Mamanita 2:46
  • Mamie's Blues 2:44
  • Mister Joe 2:54
  • Mr. Jelly Lord 2:51
  • My Gal Sal 3:57
Set 3: Jelly Roll Morton-21-30

  • Piano Boogie 5:05
  • Pretty Baby 2:18
  • Pretty Lil 6:21
  • Red Hot Pepper Stomp 7:31
  • Shoe Shiner's Drag (incomplete) 4:48
  • Shreveport Stomp 1924 9:08
  • Sidewalk Blues 3:31
  • Smokehouse Blues 3:26
  • Someday Sweetheart 3:29

Set 4: Jelly Roll Morton-31-40

  • Sporting House Rag 2:16
  • Steamboat Stomp 6:12
  • Sweet Substitute 2:53
  • That's Like It Ought To Be 2:53
  • The Original Jelly Roll Blues 6:09
  • The Pearls 2:49
  • West End Blues 5:43
  • Wolverine Blues 3:18
Set 5: Jelly Roll Morton-41-49

  • Black Bottom Stomp 3:11
  • Dead Man Blues 2:20
  • The chant 3:06
  • The Pearls 2:49
  • Burnin' The Iceberg (1929) 2:59
  • Midnight Mama 2:18
  • Mr Jelly Lord 2:28
  • High Society 5:36

I hit the goldmine today. I also found 22 tracks listed as "Jelly Roll Morton and his Red Hot Peppers".

Set 1: Jelly Roll Morton And His Red Hot Peppers-01-10

  • Ballin' The Jack (1939) 2:12
  • Big Lip Blues 3:12
  • Blue Blood Blues 3:01
  • Boogie Woogie Blues 2:14
  • Buddy Bolden's Blues 2:09
  • Cannon Ball Blues 2:52
  • Classic Jazz 2:17
  • Climax Rag 2:23
  • Creepy Feeling 4:10
Set 2: Jelly Roll Morton And His Red Hot Peppers-11-20
  • Dead Man Blues 3:14
  • Dr Jazz 3:23
  • Fig Leaf Rag 4:40
  • Finger Buster 2:48
  • Grandpa's Spells 2:53
  • Maple Leaf Rag 2:39
  • Shreveport Stom 3:13
  • Smokehouse Blues 3:27
  • Sporting House Rag 2:17
Set 3: Jelly Roll Morton And His Red Hot Peppers-21-22
  • Wolverine Blues 3:19
  • Carolina Shout 2:16
Joe King Oliver
Joe "King" Oliver

With Storyville in New Orleans under greater police pressure, the musicians kept coming into Chicago. Joe "King" Oliver was yet another."King" Oliver played the cornet in the same Storyville brothels and gambling dens as the other jazz men in this post. As cornet player in the famous Kid Ory Jazz Band, he pioneered the use of mutes on horns that became standard for most horn players that followed. He composed many songs, including such jazz standards as "Dippermouth Blues," "Sweet Like This," "Canal Street Blues," and "Doctor Jazz". He founded a band, King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, was lured like so many from New Orleans to Chicago where they would perform at the Royal Gardens Café, later renamed the Lincoln Gardens Café from 1917 to 1924. His band included a few other early jazz luminaries: clarinetist Johnny Dodds, drummer Warren “Baby” Dodds and cornetist Louis Armstrong. More on him later. The move to Chicago brought "King" Oliver closer to a developing recording scene in Chicago. In those days musicians did not sign to a label but would record one-off tracks for the labels, often recording the same song on more than one label. In 1923 they recorded for Gennett, Okeh, Paramount and Columbia Records. Sadly, the Great Depression hit Oliver particularly hard and one of the legendary pioneers of jazz music died a pauper in 1938. Luckily, he lives on in his recordings. Due their age these are free to download.

Album: King Oliver King Oliver DOWNLOAD

  • Aunt Hagar's Blues 3:00
  • Camp Meeting Blues 3:02
  • Canal Street Blues 2:34
  • Chattanooga Stomp 3:02
  • Crimes Blues 3:04
  • Dippermouth Blues 2:38
  • I Want You Just For Myself 2:53
  • I'm Watchin' The Clock 3:06
  • New Orleans Shout 2:45
  • Riverside Blues 2:59
  • Showboat Shuffle 2:59
  • Snag It 3:07
  • Snake Rag 3:05
  • Speakeasy Blues 2:50
  • Sugar Foot Stomp 2:56
  • Wa WA WA 2:49
  • West End Blues 3:38
  • You're Just My Type 2:33

Album: King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band DOWNLOAD

  • Just Gone 2:41
  • Mandy Lee Blues 2:11
  • I'm Going Away To Wear You Off 2:53
  • Weather Bird Rag 2:41
  • Froggie Moore 3:04
  • Snake Rag 3:18
  • Sweet Lovin' Man 2:43
  • High Society Rag 2:58
  • Sobbin' Blues 3:10
  • Where Did You Stay Last Night? 2:32
  • Dippermouth Blues 2:17
  • Jazzin' Babies' Blues 3:02
  • Alligator Hop 2:24
  • Zulu's Ball 2:36
  • Workingman Blues 2:14
  • Krooked Blues 2:51

Album: King Olivers Creole Jazz Band-01-08 King Oliver & His Orchestra

  • Boogie Woogie 3:01
  • Dont You Think I Love You 2:47
  • I Must Have It 2:58
  • Shake It and Break It 2:29
  • Stealing Love 3:24
  • Whats The Use Of Living Without You 3:26
  • You're Just My Type (1930) 2:31
  • You Were Only Passing Time With Me 2:48

Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Perhaps the most famous of these early jazz artists to arrive in Chicago from "Storyville" in New Orleans, was Louis Armstrong. His early childhood had a lot of similarities to that of Tony Jackson. His parents could not afford to buy him a musical instrument, but his interest in music caused a neighbor to by him his first cornet as gift. He began to play and soon found himself in performing in the colorful New Orleans red light Storyville district. As a young man in New Orleans he filled in for "King" Oliver in Kid Ory's band until 1918 when he was called up to join Oliver's band in Chicago. He looked up to "King" Oliver as a mentor. Armstrong once said "if it had not been for Joe Oliver, Jazz would not be what it is today." As a member of Oliver's band, he moved North to Chicago and performed on those early recordings.  In the early twenties he was invited to be a member of the Red Onion Jazz Babies, an early jazz supergroup that performed to great acclaim attracting both whites and blacks from the city to enjoy the entertainment that was offered in the speakeasies on "The Stroll". In 1924 Louis Armstrong would move to New York and become one of the most beloved entertainers in American history as well as the "Ambassador of Jazz to the World" leading a long life before passing away in 1971. His time in Chicago was short, but his presence on those early recording make him a significant part of music history even if he had not gone on to such an acclaimed long life.

My music collection is weak on Louis Armstrong, time to go shopping. In the meantime, what I do have that makes the list is a CD that was released by the Musical Heritage Society in early 1990's. The Musical Heritage Society was a CD of the month kind of operation that rereleased remastered old jazz and classical recordings. Titled "Louis Armstron/King Oliver" It featured early recordings by King Olivers Creole Jazz Band, and the Red Onion Jazz Babies. I don't think you can buy it new any more but if you ever see it for sale used it is a good collection. Here is some track listing info for you.

Album: Louis Armstron/King Oliver Various Artists
  • Just Gone King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:44
  • Canal Street Blues King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:31
  • Mandy Lee Blues King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:10
  • I'm Going Away To Wear You Off My Mind King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:52
  • Chimes Blues King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:53
  • Weather Bird Rag King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:43
  • Dipper Mouth Blues King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:28
  • Froggie Moore King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 3:02
  • Snake Rag King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 3:01
  • Alligator Hop King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:25
  • Zulu's Ball King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:31
  • Workingman Blues King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:12
  • Krooked Blues King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:52
  • Mabel's Dream (1st Take) King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:50
  • Mabel's Dream (2nd Take) King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:47
  • Southern Stomp (1st Take) King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:42
  • Southern Stomp (2nd Take) King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:46
  • Riverside Blues King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 2:59
  • Texas Moaner Blues Louis Armstrong & The Red Onion Jazz Babies 3:05
  • Of All The Wrongs You've Done To Me Louis Armstrong & The Red Onion Jazz Babies 2:52
  • Terrible Blues Louis Armstrong & The Red Onion Jazz Babies 2:55
  • Santa Claus Blues Louis Armstrong & The Red Onion Jazz Babies 2:48
  • Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning Louis Armstrong & The Red Onion Jazz Babies 2:50
  • Early Every Morn Louis Armstrong & The Red Onion Jazz Babies 2:54
  • Cake Walking Babies From Home Louis Armstrong & The Red Onion Jazz Babies 3:07

While I was In Archive.Org looking for Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver I thought I would see what I could find from early Armstrong. I found these:
  • Red Onion Jazz Babies - Terrible Blues 1924
  • Red Onion Jazz Babies with Clarance Williams - Early Every Morn' 1924
Album: 1920s-Louis Armstrong-11-20 Louis Armstrong

Chloe 3:04
Cornet Chop Suey 3:15
Creole Love Call 3:12
Droppin' Shucks 3:04
Dummy Song 2:19
Fly Me To The Moon 5:24
Go Down Moses 3:38
Heebie Jeebies 2:53
Home 3:01

  • Louis Armstrong Hot Five - Yes

The early 1920's was a golden age for jazz in Chicago. A generation was growing up hearing these sounds and next week on Old Highway Notes we will continue our look into the history of jazz in Chicago as we move into the 1930's. Please join us. Don't forget to stop by on Sunday too where we continue crossing the border into America by looking at some more USA music,. 

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

America: An Anthem

American Flag
(Wikimedia Commons)
Part 1 Of A Series Of 6
Highway 101 Crossing The Border:

Hello and welcome back to Old Highway Notes. We are still stuck in traffic here as we cross try to get across the border from Tijuana, Mexico so we can get onto old Highway 101 and continue our musical journey North up the California Coast. As we wait in traffic, listening to the honking horns and trying to dodge the street peddlers who wander between the lanes of traffic, more thoughts of the USA come to mind. And when you look up at the imposing building that is the US Border complex you see above it a flag. That flag has a song and this blog is about music. So lets get patriotic.

The Jones Brothers kick off the set with their version of the World War II country hit "There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere".

There are a lot of Star Spangled Banners waving in my music collection. The first is a folk version from former Byrd, Roger McGuinn. He is a cyber citizen and has a great website, The Folk Den, that is chock full of downloadable folk songs. This is one of his offerings, I quite like it.
My next addition is pretty much a mystery. My wife found this CD in the dollar bin at Target. It has no marking other than a track listing and a clip art American Flag on it the with the words "Music CD". It is mostly synth versions of various patriotic songs likely scoured from the open source Internet sites. The versions are good, if generic. Needless to say, I can't offer any link to this gem but it does make it onto the list.

  • Star Spangled Banner     Music CD     Artist Unknown     1:28

Spreckles Outdoor Organ, San Diego CA
Spreckles Organ-Look how small the keyboardist is!
After that plain instrumental version of our nations song, I thought it would be appropriate and perhaps even respectful to offer a version that is a bit more impressive. Sadly this version will also be hard to share with you as you have to get it from the source. Soon we will have crossed the border and will be exploring San Diego. One of the cities crown jewels is Balboa Park, which offers everything from zoos to museums to lawn bowling and hiking trails. The park also houses the Spreckles Organ. A gift from the founder of Spreckles sugar to the city of San Diego it is the worlds largest outdoor pipe organ. We got to see one of it s Sunday performances a few years ago and picked up this souvenir CD, I would offer a link to purchase online but you have to buy it on site. While the recording of the CD is fantastic, there is no way to replicate the awesome sound of hearing it in person. Definitely recommended if you are in the area, it's a one of a kind experience. I could not find a link to the album I did find a YouTube video of a performance of the anthem that also shows off the organ.

While the anthem can be so majestic, it also packs a lot of meaning. Jimi Hendrix took that power and that meaning and changed the way the anthem could be presented. His feedback drenched rendition leads to an explosion of sounds to cause us to examine the tension between the romantic notions of revolution  and the horrors of modern war. The dynamic reworking of the song also embodies a celebration of the freedom of America, which I believe he was trying to emphasize over the militarism so controversial during the Vietnam Era. I have two versions in my collection that vary just a bit, so they are both being added to our playlist.

Mannheim Steamroller checks last with us this week with their version that offer much in the way of flourishes, fanfares, and synthesized magic.The video is of a 4th of July light display in Wheeling WV.

We have barely creeped forward in our trip back across the border. But enough daydreaming about the flag and its anthem for a while. Next Sunday we will continue our dreams of America with some alternative anthems.  Don't forget to stop by Saturday as we dig deeper into Chicago and its music. Until then, Travel safely my friends.

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chicago-The Band

Chicago Album, Cover

Welcome back as we continue our exploration of Chicago. After starting with a Broadway show named  Chicago, it make sense to look into the band that is named Chicago.

Chicago is one of the longer running rock bands out there. Founded in 1967, they were perhaps America's version of Britain's progressive rock which was starting to emerge at the same time. I don't know that they would call themselves that. They described themselves as  a  "rock and roll band with horns". It is true too that there sound was more associated with jazz than with the classical or folky stylings of the British prog rockers. However they attempted to fuse Jazz, which is arguably America's classical music, with rock and roll. Also they had the usual pompous porg rock attitude. This early clip of the band talks about the scene in their heyday of the early seventies.

Chicago was always around when I was growing up. They produced a wealth of hit songs. As time went on, their sound got mellower while I was entering my teenage angst stage. By the way, will the angst ever really stop? I doubt it, I still love a good power pop song and probably always will, but moving on...  Anyway, as I was saying I was getting into more aggresive music while they were getting into a  more mellow sound, I wanted raw music and they were offering polished pop/rock so I never really added them to my collection. Over time I had forgotten how many good songs there were on their  albums. As I began to prepare for exploring Chicago musically, and as I am older and more laid back these days, it just seemed like time to dig into their music a little more.

You will notice a pattern that I am a sucker for large box sets of  a given artist as well as Greatest Hits albums. To quickly dig into Chicago, I got their 6 disc box set, well actually it is 5 discs of music and a bonus DVD. After 48 years, they have released a lot of material, so this set still only scratches the surface. The jury is still out on Chicago for me. Their music is pleasant enough but it doesn't really grab me as much as a lot of other rock music does. I guess a lot of it is sort of like sonic wall paper. But they did have some pretty great songs too, when they rock they can kick out some tasty grooves. They definitely qualify to be included on the Route 66 playlist. Here is the track listing, its kind of long so feel free to skim past it and keep reading.
Album: Chicago Box Set Chicago 
Disc 1 CTA: Chicago

  • Introduction 6:36 
  • Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? 3:20 
  • Beginnings 6:27 
  • Questions 67 & 68 5:01 
  • Listen 3:24 
  • South California Purples 6:11 
  • I'm A Man 5:43 
  • Movin' In 4:08 
  • Wake Up Sunshine 2:32 
  • Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon 7:02 
  • Colour My World 3:02 
  • To Be Free - Now More Than Ever 2:43 
  • Fancy Colours 5:11 
  • 25 Or 6 To 4 4:51 
  • Poem For The People 5:31 
  • It Better End Soon Movements 1, 3, 4 6:37 

Disc 2 Chicago III-VII

  • Loneliness Is Just A Word 2:37 
  • Flight 602 2:48 
  • Free 2:18 
  • Mother 4:31 
  • Lowdown 3:35 
  • An Hour In The Shower 5:30 
  • A Hit By Varese 4:55 
  • All Is Well 3:50 
  • Saturday In The Park 3:55 
  • Dialogue (Part One & Part Two) 7:12 
  • Just You And Me 3:43 
  • Something In This City Changes People 3:43 
  • In Terms Of Two 3:30 
  • Feelin' Stronger Every Day 4:14 
  • (I've Been) Searchin' So Long 4:30 
  • Mongonucleosis 3:27 
  • Wishing You Were Here 4:38 
  • Call On Me 4:02 
  • Happy Man 3:14 

Disc 3 Chicago VIII-Hot Streets

  • Harry Truman 3:01 
  • Old Days 3:31 
  • Brand New Love Affair - Part I & II 4:27 
  • Never Been In Love Before 4:10 
  • You Are On My Mind 3:12 
  • Mama Mama 3:30 
  • Hope For Love 3:03 
  • Another Rainy Day In New York City 3:01 
  • Gently I'll Wake You 3:33 
  • If You Leave Me Now 3:56 
  • Mississippi Delta City Blues 4:40 
  • Baby What A Big Surprise 3:04 
  • Take Me Back To Chicago 5:15 
  • Prelude (Little One)/Little One 6:35 
  • Gone Long Gone 4:00 
  • No Tell Lover 3:49 
  • Alive Again 3:29 
  • The Greatest Love On Earth 3:18 
  • Little Miss Lovin' 4:36 
  • Hot Streets 5:14 

Disc 4 Chicago 13-18

  • Street Player [Single Version][Edit] 4:24
  • Must Have Been Crazy 3:23
  • Manipulation 3:29
  • Thunder And Lightning 3:32
  • Song For You 3:42
  • The American Dream 3:18
  • Love Me Tomorrow 5:00
  • Chains 3:22
  • What You're Missing 3:31
  • Hard To Say I'm Sorry/Get Away 5:06
  • Stay The Night 3:48
  • We Can Stop The Hurtin' 4:11
  • Hard Habit To Break  4:43
  • Along Comes A Woman 3:46
  • You're The Inspiration 3:49
  • Good For Nothing 3:38
  • If She Would Have Been Faithful... 3:53
  • Forever 5:20
  • Will You Still Love Me? 4:11
  • Niagara Falls 3:42

Disc 5 Chicago 19-Heart Of Vol.II

  • Heart In Pieces 5:05 
  • Look Away 3:59 
  • What Kind Of Man Would I Be? 4:19 
  • I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love 3:56 
  • We Can Last Forever 3:45 
  • You're Not Alone (Single Version) 3:59 
  • Hearts in Trouble [single version] 4:01 
  • Only Time Can Heal The Wounded 4:39 
  • You Come To My Senses 3:48 
  • God Save The Queen 4:19 
  • Chasin' The Wind 4:18 
  • All The Years 4:16 
  • Stone of Sisyphus 4:12 
  • Bigger Than Elvis 4:31 
  • Caravan 3:24 
  • Here In My Heart 4:14 
  • The Only One [single version] 4:38 
  • All Roads Lead To You 4:17 
  • Show Me A Sign 3:35
Moving on, I will share another tendency I have as a music collector. That is to get live albums when available. I find they often show the true musicianship and not just studio recording tricks. Live music often provides a nice contrast to studio work and shows a more complete picture of the artist. On that note, to gain background on Chicago, I obtained Chicago At Carnegie Hall. This is taken from a one week stand at the iconic theater in 1971. It was early in their careers, but still they had several hits albums by then. It is a rocking album in the best tradition of early 70's live rock albums. Spacy jams, challenging fusion pieces, extended solos including drums. By and large it has rekindled an interest in the band for me and will likely cause me to start seeking out some of their live shows.

Album: At Carnegie Hall Chicago
Volume 1
  • In The Country 10:35
  • Fancy Colours 5:15
  • Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is (Free Form Intro) 6:20
  • Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? 3:26
  • South California Purples 15:34
  • Questions 67 & 68 5:35
  • Sing A Mean Tune Kid 12:53
  • Beginnings 6:27
Volume 2
  • It Better End Soon 1st Movement 2:54
  • It Better End Soon - 2nd Movement (Flute Solo) 5:00
  • It Better End Soon - 3rd Movement (Guitar Solo) 2:42
  • It Better End Soon - 4th Movement (Preach) 3:09
  • It Better End Soon - 5th Movement 2:07
  • Introduction 7:09
  • Mother 8:20
  • Lowdown 3:58
  • Flight 602 3:31
  • Motorboat To Mars 2:59
  • Free 5:15
  • Where Do We Go From Here 4:08
  • I Don't Want Your Money 5:22
Volume 3
  • Happy 'Cause I'm Going Home 7:55
  • Make Me Smile 3:31
  • So Much To Say, So Much To Give 0:59
  • Anxiety's Moment 1:08
  • West Virginia Fantasies 1:30
  • Colour My World 3:26
  • To Be Free 1:21
  • Now More Than Ever 3:25
  • A Song For Richard And His Friends 6:58
  • 25 Or 6 To 4 6:34
  • I'm A Man 8:51
Volume 4
Listen 4:15
Introduction 6:36
South California Purples 12:41
Loneliness Is Just A Word 2:44
Free Form Intro (Naseltones) 5:58
Sing A Mean Tune Kid 10:50
An Hour In The Shower 5:59
25 Or 6 To 4 6:20
Since I like to include some relevant YouTube videos in these Old Highway Notes, I have found a few to span their career. The first is from their early days as Chicago Transit Authority.

The second clip is also from early on, its a 1969 performance of "Questions 67 & 68" from 1969.

Because Chicago has been around for so long, I thought I would include a live performance from later in their career. Thism 1989 performance from Budokan in Japan is a tasty treat.

Chicago just keeps chugging along and soon will be releasing a career retrospectice film.
As I said, I am just scratching the surface of available Chicago material to listen to and comment on. This post has opened my eyes to some music to explore further, Thanks to all of you for staying with me as I make the cross country musical journey of discovery on Old Highway Notes. Stay with as we continue our exploration of Chicago on Saturdays Route 66 series and stop by again on Sunday as we work our way across the Mexican border from Tijuana, Mexico to old Highway 101.

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