One-of-a-kind signed letters/albums/contracts/sheet music

One-of-a-kind signed letters/albums/contracts/sheet music

One-of-a-kind signed letters/albums/contracts/sheet music

One-of-a-kind signed letters/albums/contracts/sheet music from Nat King Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, B. B. King, Ethel Waters, Pearl Bailey, Miles Davis, Lindy Hoppers, Sarah Vaughan, Fats Domino, Quincy Jones, Earl Hines, Etta James, S. Coleridge-Taylor, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis, Jr., Grover Washington, Jr., Count Basie, Mills Brothers, Ozzie Davis, Lena Horne, Four Tops, Cicely Tyson, James Brown, Charley Pride, Bo Diddley, Bobby Blue, Chubby Checkers, and others...Negro Actor's Guild 1945 Program (NAG, with Noble Sissle as president) is pictured to the left.
-- AFTRA Contract signed by Cicely Tyson for her appearance on the Nancy Wilson Show pilot, Mar. 18, 1973. Paid $181.
-- AFTRA Contract signed by Lena Horne for her appearance on Kraft Music Hall, Nov. 17, 1969. Paid $7500 and $50 per diem, plus 2 First Class R/T air tickets from LA to NY.
-- AFTRA Contract signed by the Four Tops for their appearance on Kraft Summer Music Hall, signed April 10, 1968. Paid $2500 for show to be aired August 21, 1968.
-- Waiver for late AFTRA filing signed by Diahann Carroll on Dec. 9, 1987.
-- Employment contract signed by Ella Fitzgerald on October 31, 1960.
-- 1989 NBC contract signed by Lionel Hampton, no compensation for appearance. November 15, 1989.

-- American Federation of Musicians contract signed by Bo Diddley for his appearance in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa Feb. 20 - March 1, 1970.
-- American Federation of Musicians contract signed by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra for appearance in Shrine Auditorium, LA on June 4th, 1960. Headline billing, paid $3000, but paid an extra $1000 if promoter grosses over $10,000.
-- Original signed engagement contract for jazz legend Lionel Hampton at Mansfield State College, PA on March 9, 1963 (band was paid $2000 for the gig!).
-- KABC radio contract for the Michael Jackson Show, signed by Robert Guillaune, states that "he discussed his career as Benson in Soap and as Benson in his own sit-con, Benson." No compensation for his appearance. November 19, 1979.
-- American Federation of Musicians contract signed by Charley Pride for an event at the Ozark Mountain Amphitheatre in Branson, MO. Rider states that he is to receive 100% top billing and that his name is to be spelled correctly (Charley). Paid $20,000 plus 60/40 split over $55,000. Neal McCoy is opening act. June 25, 1988.
-- Original 4-Page contract (1935) between the Lindy Hoppers and Samuel Goldwyn. Signing twice are George "Shorty" Snowden, Freddie Lewis, Madeline Lewis, Beatrice Gay, Beatrice Elam and Leroy Jones. They were paid $2500 for a week's service. Research has determined that this document is most probably the contract for the film short, "Ask Uncle Sol".
-- Actors Television Motion Picture contract signed by Leslie Uggams for her role as "Amanda Price" in the movie "Hotel -- Discoveries." Paid $10,000. October 13, 1986.
-- Standard AFTRA Engagement Contract for Single TV Broadcast signed by Leslie Uggams for her appearance on the Glen Campbell Show. Paid $7500. December 20, 1968. Show aired March 2, 1969.
-- American Federation of Musicians contract signed by jazz great, Donald Byrd (Blackbyrd Productions), to appear at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco. Ticket price, $6, paid $3,000 against the rights to 70% of the gross. July 30, 1979.
-- Standard AFTRA Exclusive Agency Contract (1 year) with CNA & Associates, signed by Richard Roundtree (Shaft). June 6, 1989.
-- Contract signed by Sarah Vaughn for performing 100% Sole Star Billing at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Cebter, Sarasota, FL. Paid $20,000. Includes stage plot. May 1, 1987.
-- Standard AFTRA exclusive agency contract (3 years) with The Artists Agency signed by Ossie Davis. May 4, 1987.
-- American Federation of Musicians contract by blues great B.B. King for his appearance at Shea's Buffalo Theater, Buffalo, NY. Paid a flat $7500, with 100% top billing. Signed July 30, 1976. Show was March 19, 1977. Rider, with letter and check receipt included.
-- Standard AFTRA Network TV contract for the Harlem Globetrotters TV Special shot at The Forum in LA, signed by Pearl Bailey. Paid $1000. Jan. 28, 1972.
-- Agency For The Performing Arts agreement signed by Isaac Hayes for his appearance on the "Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour." July 16, 1973.
-- William Morris Agency contract (10%) signed by Pearl Bailey to represent her in relation to the motion picture industry and the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG). March 30, 1945.

-- 1971-Standard Aftra Engagement Contract, signed and agreed to by Pearl Bailey and Roncom Productions. Perry Como was producer of the Pearl Bailey Show. Pearl Bailey was paid $7,500 plus $2,500 in expenses for this show. The contract is dated Jan 28, 1971. Signed in blue ink by Pearl Bailey, (Pres). Exc. cond. This contract was part of the archives from the office of Perry Como.
- William Morris contract signed by Earl "Fatha" Hines vintage and dated January 15, 1941. Earl Hines was known as one of the most famous jazz pianist's of the 20th Century and created many standards of today. This vintage signed contract is in excellent condition with a bold autograph of Earl Hines in vintage fountain pen. The contract is also signed by Charles Carpenter sometimes known as Charlie Carpenter who wrote and worked closely with Earl Hines on many songs including the famous song "You Can Count On Me". He has signed under Earl Hines as Witness. The contract is actually signed by two famous Jazz musicians which makes this contract very rare and unique.
-- William Morris Agency contract, signed by Earl "Fatha" Hines (10% -- representing him from 10/1943 - 1/1948). Signed 10/12/1943. Signed contracts by Earl Hines are very rare.
-- AGVA Standard Form for Artists Engagements Contract, signed by Eartha Kitt (Catwoman) for an appearance in San Bernardino, CA on March 20, 1964. Paid $1500. This contract would've been cancelled if  Las Vegas event opened up for her on the same day.
-- WPIX "Clay Cole's Diskotek Program" NY appearance signed by the Shirelles, Addie Harris (3/27/1967)
-- An historical 33 page recording contract (1983) between Jennifer Holliday and David Geffen. This was at the height of her career...for a six year period. The contract stated seven years, but Jennifer changed it to six years and initialed it in three different places. The contract discusses the number of masters Jennifer must complete and the payment from the Geffen Group. In 1979 Jennifer joined the Broadway show, Dreamgirls on its successful four year run...winning a Tony Award. Dreamgirls was followed by the Broadway show, Mahalia, and a Number One charted hit, And I Am Telling You. Jennifer won multiple Grammys as well as Tony Awards. She had many hits in the 1980s, including five Number One Billboard hits. Jennifer boldly signs on the last page of the contract.

-- Signed contracts for the Detroit music scene from 1956-1971 (R&B, Soul, Jazz and Blues):  Ron Butler and the Ramblers (1971), James Holland and The Holidays (1971), Lloyd Sims & The Untouchables Promo Kit/Contracts (1961), Sammy Bryant Group Press Kit/Photo/Contract (1966)...Roulette recording artists, Lonnie Woods (1965), Jon Bartel & Soul Masters (1968), Jesse Ullmer (1966), Dwight (Jon D) Pettiford (1971), Billy Allyn "Laff of the Party" on Dooto Records, with appearances on Sanford & Son (1961), Bill Murry, Comic (1966), Tommy Hunt and The Flamingos (1956-1960), Albert King Promotional Lot -- Stax Records (1970).

T E S T   P R E S S I N G S  --  78 rpm   R E C O R D S  (vintage, one-of-a-kind)

The following 78s came from the private collection of Mr. Rudy May who was an employee of Decca Records for about
40 years. During that time Rudy was involved in nearly every aspect of recording and record manufacturing at Decca.

A test pressing was generally heard by the artist and key decision-makers to determine if
the song was viable as the final take -- to be mass-produced for the general public.
The Freeman Institute Black History Collection owns well over 100 original test pressings:

LOUIS JORDAN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- One-of-a-kind, original one-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Louis Jordan & his Tympany Five, "I Like 'Em Fat Like That." Decca #71819, recorded March 15, 1944 in New York. Jordan's name and song title are hand-written in period ink. Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five: Eddie Roane, tp; Louis Jordan, as, voc; Arnold Thomas, p; Al Morgan, b; Wilmore "Slick" Jones, d.
BIO: Louis Jordan (1908-1975) was one of the most successful African-American musicians of the 20th century, ranking fifth in the list of the all-time most successful black recording artists according to Billboard Magazine's chart methodology.
Lyrics: Let the cats all criticize, joke about my baby's size, she's reet with me because you see, I likes 'em fat like that.
When she bounces down the street, she's a whole heap of honey and ain't she sweet, feels so fine to know that she is mine, I likes 'em fat like that. You can have all those lean chicks tender and tall, but when it comes to mean kicks,
a big fat momma's the best of all, after I get through working well I reach and grab my hat, and I hurry home, don't want her to be alone, coz I likes 'em fat like that.
>>> A genuine Decca 78rpm record (#71819) with "I Like 'em Fat Like That" by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five. Part of the Decca Personality Series #23810.
LOUIS JORDAN & ELLA FITZGERALD ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- One-of-a-kind, genuine double sided acetate test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Louis Jordan and Ella Fitzgerald, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and "Don't Cry Baby." Decca #unknown, recording date is 1949. Jordan's name and Fitzgerald's name and song title are hand-written in period ink. Possibly a unique item! The a-side is the classic "Baby, It's Cold Outside". I'm not sure what the standard version of this tune sounds like but this one is nearly all vocal with very subdued instrumental accompaniment barely audible through most. Piano is really the only instrument we can make out. The b-side has regular instrumental accompaniment. These could be alternate takes - We have no way of knowing for sure. One-of-a-kind? We think so!
MAURICE ROCCO ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Maurice Rocco's song "Little Rock Getaway" Decca #93584A -- recorded March 11, 1941. Rocco's name and song title are hand-written in period ink.
>>> A genuine Decca 78rpm record (#8544) with "Little Rock Getaway" by Maurice Rocco.
BIO: Born in Oxford, Ohio, Maurice Rockhold (1915-1976) later became known as a jazz musician who played the piano while standing up. He performed briefly with Duke Ellington before adopting the stage name Maurice Rocco.
COLEMAN HAWKINS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Pre-war test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Coleman Hawkins with The Ramblers -- song "What Harlem is To Me." Decca #AM 179. Date of recording is August 26, 1935. Coleman's name and song title are hand-written in pencil. Here are the musicians on this song: George Van Helvoirt, Jack Bulterman (tp), Marcel Thielemans (tb), Wim Poppink (cl, as, bar), Andre Van Den Ouderaa (cl, ts, vn), Coleman Hawkins (ts), Nico de Rooy (p), Jack Pet (g), Toon Diepenbroeck (sb), Kees Kranenburg (dm). Casino Hamdorff, Laren,
BIO: Coleman Randolph Hawkins (1904–1969), nicknamed "Bean," or simply "Hawk," was the first important tenor saxophonist in jazz. Sometimes called the "father of the tenor sax," Hawkins is one of jazz's most influential and revered soloists. An improviser with an encyclopedic command of chords and harmonies, Hawkins played a formative role over a 40-year (1925-1965) career spanning the emergence of recorded jazz through the swing and bebop eras.
JIMMIE LUNCEFORD & HIS ORCHESTRA  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Pre-war test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "For Dancer's Only" by Jimmie Lunceford & his Orchestra. Decca #62263, dated 1937. Lunceford's name and song title are hand-written in period ink. One-sided.
--- Scarce smaller master recording (8" 33 1/3rpm) of the songs "T'aint What You do, It's the Way Cha Do It" (Uptown Blues, Pro-533) and "Walkin' Thru
         Heaven
" (For Dancer's Only, Pro-534) by Jimmie Lunceford & his Orchestra. Capitol, dated 1-24-1958. Lunceford's name is listed on both sides.
--- Three test pressings (12" discs) of the song "Blues in the Night" aka "My Mama Done Told Me" by Jimmie Lunceford & his Orchestra for the Jerry Lawrence Show...to be aired on Saturday, August 20, 1955. 
  * Disc #1 -- (12" 78rpm) Part 1 Taped August 6th, 1954 and aired August 7th, 1954. #4932-S2 -- metal disc
  * Disc #2 -- (12" 78rpm) Part 2. Taped on August 6th and aired August 7th, 1954 -- metal disc
  * Disc #3 -- (12" 33rpm). Taped on August 19, 1955 and aired Saturday, August 20, 1955. #6110 (S411-HWB) acetate disc
  BACKGROUND:  Jerry Lawrence, early radio and television quiz show host, disc jockey and announcer of such shows as "Truth or Consequences. Born in Rochester, N.Y., and brought up in Long Beach, CA, Lawrence developed his radio career in the 1930s at New York City radio stations WOR, WNEW and the CBS network. During World Was II he was recognized for hosting the music and interview show "Moonlight Savings Time," broadcast to troop ships and war industry workers from 2:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. As a disc jockey, he promoted the music of a young singer named Frank Sinatra and was an early announcer on "The Frank Sinatra Show" in 1944. Lawrence returned to the Los Angeles area in 1945 and worked in radio and early television at KTLA, KCOP and KFWB. He hosted CBS' "The Spade Cooley Show" featuring the orchestra leader in 1951, and helped develop local quiz shows, including "Play Marco" for KTLA. He was an announcer for television's popular game show "Truth or Consequences" when it was hosted by Jack Bailey on NBC in 1954 and 1955.
--- Pre-war test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "My Blue Heaven" by Jimmie Lunceford & his Orchestra. Decca #60277, dated 1935. Lunceford's name and song title are hand-written in period ink. One-sided.
--- Another pre-war test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "The Melody Man" by Jimmie Lunceford & his Orchestra. Decca #60277, dated 1935. Lunceford's name and song title are hand-written in period ink. One-sided.
--- Yet another pre-war test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "Organ Grinder's Swing" by Jimmie Lunceford & his Orchestra. Decca #61246A, dated 1936. Lunceford's name and song title are hand-written in period ink. One-sided.
>>> A genuine Decca 78rpm record (#61246) with "Organ Grinder's Swing" by Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra.
BIO: James Melvin "Jimmie" Lunceford (1902–1947) was an American jazz alto saxophonist and bandleader of the swing era. Lunceford was born in Fulton, MO, but attended school in Denver and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Fisk University. In 1927, while teaching high school in Memphis, TN, he organized a student band, the Chickasaw Syncopaters, whose name was changed to the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra when it began touring. The orchestra made its first recording in 1930. In 1947, while playing in Seaside, Oregon, Lunceford collapsed and died from cardiac arrest during an autograph session. Allegations and rumors circulated that Jimmie had been poisoned by a fish-restaurant owner who was unhappy at having to serve a "Negro" in his establishment.
LIONEL HAMPTON ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "Pink Champagne" and "Oh Well Oh Well!" by Lionel Hampton & his Orchestra. Decca #5758, date is unknown. Lionel Hampton's name and song titles are hand-written in period ink. Rare and possibly one of a kind acetate test pressing of this jazz great! Label on the a-side only states the artist and the title "Oh! Well Oh! Well". "Pink Champagne" is written but has been crossed out. The b-side label states the title and a portion of it has been torn off. 
FLOYD RAY & HIS ORCHESTRA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Single-sided shellac test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the immensely popular song "Skeleton in My Closet" recorded and released in 1939 by Floyd Ray and His Orchestra (1885-1941). Floyd Ray (1909-1985). Test pressing of Decca 2618-B, matrix 65393-A. Floyd Ray and his Orchestra formed and played around 1925-1950. There were 3 female singers (The V's), from whom it is said that the Andrew Sisters derived their singing style. Floyd Ray's son, Stephen Ray, recalls their names: Lavern (Vern) Whittaker; Willie Lee (Von) Floyd, and (Ivy) Jones. Floyd's first band was called "The Harlem Dictators". Floyd played saxophone and bass, but not in his bands. He was primarily the leader, arranger and songwriter. During the years 1918-1930, they played at New York's famed Apollo Theater and also at the Cottonwood Club, among other places.
LOUIS ARMSTRONG & HIS HOT FIVE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- AN ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE ITEM! --A single-sided acetate test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five, "Georgia Grind." This song is Louis Armstrong's first genuine vocal performance. No record matrix present, but it was listed as 9533A. The date February 26, 1926 is hand written on the label.

Armstrong recorded this song with the Hot Five in Chicago on this date. This is the first line-up featuring Kid Ory, Johnny Dodds, Johnny St. Cyr, and Louis' wife, Lil Armstrong. Armstrong's name and song title are hand-written in period ink on a blank white label. The entire album that was produced around that time had a great set of great recordings including Louis' first genuine vocal performances on Georgia Grind and Heebie Jeebies. Armstrong's wife Lil also does vocal work on Georgia Grind. Following this day's work, four two-sided discs are ready for release. Oriental Strut / You're Next and Muskrat Ramble / Heebie Jeebies are given consecutive release numbers by OKeh; Georgia Grind is paired with Come Back, Sweet Papa (from February 22); and Cornet Chop Suey finds its mate with My Heart, recorded back in November. This group of songs includes some truly landmark recordings, especially Kid Ory's Muskrat Ramble, which immediately takes its place as a jazz standard.
>>> A genuine Hot Jazz Club of America 78rpm record (#HC21) with "Georgia Grind" by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five.

A two-sided acetate test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five, "You Made Me Love You" and "Irish Black Bottom." No record number is listed and no matrix present, but it is listed as 9980A and 9981A. The date November 27, 1926. Armstrong recorded these songs with the Hot Five in Chicago on this date. These songs featured Louis Armstrong (Cornet, Vocal), Henry Clark (Trombone), Johnny Dodds (Clarinet), Johnny St. Cyr (Banjo), and Louis' wife, Lil Armstrong (piano).
LOUIS ARMSTRONG ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Louis Armstrong: Elder Eatmore's Sermon on Throwing Stones

------- Single-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra, "Mahogany Hall Stomp." Decca #6111A, recording date is January 28, 1933 (Chicago). Armstrong's name and song title are hand-written in period ink.
------- A genuine (British) Parlaphone 78rpm record (#01691B) with "Mahogany Hall Stomp" by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra.
------- Original one-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra, "Elder Eatmore's Sermon on Generosity." Decca #64437, recording date is August 11, 1938. Armstrong's name and song title are hand-written in period ink. This song was on the Louis and the Good Book album.
------- One-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra, "Elder Eatmore's Sermon on Throwing Stones." Decca #64436A, recording date is August 11, 1938. Armstrong's name and song title are hand-written in period ink. This song was also on the Louis and the Good Book album.

--- Single-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra, "She's the Daughter of a Planter from Havana." Decca #62335, recording date is July 7, 1937 (New York City, Chaplin; Kahn). Armstrong's name and song title are hand-written in period ink.
--- Single-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra, "Yours and Mine." Decca #62329, recording date unknown. Armstrong's name and song title are hand-written in period ink.
LOUIS ARMSTRONG & HIS FIRST APPEARANCE IN FILM ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

--- A GROUND-BREAKING ITEM! --A single-sided acetate test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Louis Armstrong, "Skeleton in The Closet." This song is Louis Armstrong's first featured role in a Hollywood musical -- alongside Bing Crosby. No record matrix present, but it was listed as Decca DLA 539-A. The date August 7, 1936. Louis Armstrong with Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra. Louis Armstrong plays trumpet and does the vocals.
    BACKGROUND
: Armstrong plays Henry, a hired musician at the Haunted House Cafe. Servants and subserviant roles were pretty much the only options available to blacks in the pre-civil-rights Hollywood - even for as big a star as Armstrong. The song comes from Pennies From Heaven, Armstrong’s first major studio picture. He was hired for the film at the insistence of its star, Bing Crosby, a lifelong student, friend, collaborator and admirer of Pops. When the film came out, Armstrong got his own credit during the main titles, making him the first African-American to get featured billing alongside white actors. So Pops was pioneering, though some critics have frowned upon the way Armstrong was used in the film.

Playing a bandleader who is hired by Crosby to perform at his nightclub, Armstrong’s “role, as written, makes one cringe,” according to Lawrence Bergreen. Bergreen quotes an exchange between Armstrong and Crosby in the film, comedically playing on the ignorance of Armstrong’s character, who asks for seven percent instead of accepting Bing’s offering of ten percent because his is a seven-piece band, “And none of us knows how to divide ten percent up by seven.” Bergreen writes that this banter dwells “on black inferiority and subservience” but what he doesn’t mention is that Pops legitimately loved this scene, quoting it in front of friends on one of his later private tapes. One of Armstrong’s last television appearances was made with Crosby on the David Frost Show from February 10, 1971. During the interview portion, Armstrong talks about how much fun they had making the film and though 35 years had gone by, Armstrong quotes the entire “percent” scene, line by line, as it originally appeared in the film. Thus, it’s easy for us to “cringe” while watching Pennies From Heaven but for Pops, funny was funny and he cherished the gags he was asked to deliver. Armstrong gets one music number to himself in the film and it’s a great one.
   “The Skeleton in the Closet” was written by Arthur Johnston and Johnny Burke, the same two men wrote the rest of the Pennies From Heaven score. Filmed in California, Armstrong was seen leading a contingent of some of the finest west coast jazzmen, including trumpeter (and Armstrong disciple) Teddy Buckner, saxophonist Caughey Roberts, future Nat Cole bassist Wesley Pince and as already advertised, the grand reunion of Armstrong and Lionel Hampton. Hampton was in the midst of a steady engagement as a leader at the Paradise Nightclub in Los Angeles and was just about to explode. Pennies From Heaven was filmed in August 1936 and while out there, Armstrong asked Hampton to sit in on drums and vibes on two Hawaiian cuts made with “The Polynesians” on August 18. One week later, on August 24, Hampton took part in a Teddy Wilson session with Benny Goodman on clarinet and just a few months later, in November, Hampton joined Goodman’s Quartet and, well, you know the rest! But for “Skeleton in the Closet,” Hamp sticks to the drums, wearing a mask to keep the whole “haunted house” motif going. This is Armstrong at his finest: storytelling, acting, singing, swinging and playing beautifully. On January 14, 1937, Armstrong underwent a throat operation, spending the next two weeks in the hospital. Satchmo was having throat issues (perhaps polyps?) because he sounds a hundred times more raspy later than he did on the original “Skeleton” record of just a few months earlier. The surgery might have been a success but when he returned, Armstrong’s voice was still pretty raspy and well, that was pretty much it for that. The rasp turned to gravel over the years, resulting in the true Satchmo voice most of the human race associates with Armstrong.
--- WINIFRED ATWELL - "Piano Liner's Boogie" was a ragtime piece recorded in London by Winifred Atwell in 1956 (one-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test pressing -- #F10681, Decca Records).
BACKGROUND: Born in Trinidad (1914), Winifred Atwell was an accomplished and versatile pianist who was idolized by the British public throughout the 1950s. She had studied the piano since she had been a small child although she later became trained as a dispenser in the expectation that she would be employed in her father's pharmacist shop. By the age of 30 she became aware that other local musicians had gained further musical training abroad and, encouraged by this, in 1945 she left for the USA. By the late 1940s she had gained a place at London's Royal Academy of Music with ambitions of becoming a concert pianist. However, in order to finance this initiative she worked during the evenings at London's clubs playing piano rags. By 1950 her popularity had spread nationally and she began recording with Decca during 1951- before the advent of any record sales 'chart'. Her music also worked well on TV where she made regular appearances. She would normally start her act by playing a classical piece on a grand before transferring herself to what she called 'my other piano' which was an old 'honky tonk' upright. It was on this that she recorded many of her most successful numbers including her two #1's and the now legendary 'Black And White Rag' which has been used as the signature tune of BBC's 'Pot Black' snooker program for several decades.
--- JIMMY RUSHING with COUNT BASIE & HIS ORCHESTRA  - "The Blues I Like to Hear" (one-sided shellac test). This song was recorded in New York City with Jimmy Rushing on vocals -- November 16, 1938 (released on Decca 2284, Matrix #64748. Composed by Jimmy Rushing and arranged by Buster Smith. Count Basie and his Orchestra : Ed Lewis, Harry Edison, Buck Clayton, tp; Dicky Wells, Dan Minor, BennyMorton, tb; Earl Warren, as; Lester Young,Herschel Evans, ts; Jack Washington, bs, as; Count Basie, p; Freddie Green, g; Walter Page, b; Jo Jones, drums.
   BACKGROUND: Born James Andrew Rushing on August 26, 1903, in Oklahoma City, OK; died June 8, 1972, in New York, NY. Jazz vocalist. Pianist. Played in Southern California with Jelly Roll Morton, Harvey Brooks, and Paul Howard, 1920s; member of Walter Page Blue Devils band, 1927-29; joined Bennie Moten's orchestra, 1929-35; member of Count Basie Orchestra, 1935-50; toured with his own septet, 1950-52; as a solo act, 1952-72; Europe with Humphrey Littleton, Buck Clayton, Benny Goodman, 1961; Japan and Australia with Eddie Condon, 1964; appeared in film The Learning Tree, 1969; appeared at the Half Note in New York City playing with Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, early 1970s. Jimmy Rushing, also known as "Mr. Five by Five," (short height and wide girth) possessed ajoyous, booming voice that could be clearly heard over the swinging jazz orchestras of the big band era and beyond. He began his career as a piano player in the 1920s, but soon found his voice. He made his name with the Count Basie Orchestra in the 1940s, and enjoyed an active career singing solo and with jazz and big-band greats such as Humphrey Lyttleton, Buck Clayton, Benny Goodman, Eddie Condon, Al Cohn, and Zoot Sims, among others. He toured the United States and abroad, and his voice can be heard on countless recordings, including the most recent compilations The Essential Jimmy Rushing (1978), Mister Five by Five (1980), and The Classic Count (1982).
LOUIS ARMSTRONG & HIS APPEARANCE IN THE FILM, NEW ORLEANS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Acetate test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the classic Louis Armstrong song, "When The Saints Go Marching In." This song is for Louis Armstrong's role in the film, New Orleans. Record matrix number is C-19, with C. Webb (Chick Webb) hand written on the label. Record Disc corporation recording disc is used. The date 1947. There have been over 1,000 recorded versions of this famous song, but Louis Armstrong's version is the best.
    BACKGROUND: This version of "When The Saints Go Marching In" was for the motion picture New Orleans, a piece of Hollywood fluff that purported to tell the story of the origins of jazz in the titular city. It’s a mess of a movie but Pops lights up the screen and the music is often good. Three short takes of “The Saints” exist, all strictly instrumental and featuring Pops mainly playing the melody in a band that featured his former boss Kid Ory on trombone and future All Star Barney Bigard on clarinet. Armstrong sounds in wonderful form but the large group doesn’t exactly swing, instead marching along on top of heavy tuba beats. Armstrong sounds great riding over the ensemble. By April of 1947, New Orleans was getting ready to make its debut so Armstrong did a lot of promotion including an appearance on Rudi Blesh’s WOR radio show This is Jazz. The broadcast reunited Armstrong with many of his New Orleans cohorts, including clarinetist Albert Nicholas, bassist Pops Foster and drummer Baby Dodds. The song hadn’t exactly become a staple yet and Armstrong doesn’t seem to have played it much since the original recording nine years earlier. Thus, the arrangement follows the Decca record to a tee.

================= TEST PRESSINGS FROM OTHER LABELS =================

NAT KING COLE TRIO ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

--- One-of-a-kind, historic test pressing (10" 78rpm) of Nat's first big hit "Straighten Up and Fly Right" (sold over 500,000 copies) and on the other side, I Just Can't See For Lookin' by the Nat King Cole Trio. Recorded in Los Angeles on the brand new label, Capital Records (CAP 142A / CAP 123B), date is November 30, 1943.
    BACKGROUND
: Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat "King" Cole, was an African American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. Although an accomplished pianist, he owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres. He was one of the first African Americans to host a television variety show, and has maintained worldwide popularity since his death; he is widely considered one of the most important musical personalities in United States history.

Nat King Cole's first mainstream vocal hit was his 1943 recording of one of his compositions, "Straighten Up and Fly Right," based on a black folk tale that his father had used as a theme for a sermon. Johnny Mercer invited him to record it for the fledgling Capital Records label. It sold over 500,000 copies, proving that folk-based material could appeal to a wide audience. Although Cole would never be considered a rocker, the song can be seen as anticipating the first rock and roll records. Indeed, Bo Diddley, who performed similar transformations of folk material, counted Cole as an influence.

RACISM: Cole fought racism all his life and refused to perform in segregated venues. In 1956, he was assaulted on stage during a concert in Birmingham, AL, (while singing the song "Little Girl") by three members of the North Alabama White Citizens Council (a group led by Education of Little Tree author, Asa "Forrest Carter, himself not among the attackers), who apparently were attempting to kidnap him. The three male attackers ran down the aisles of the auditorium towards Cole and his band. Although local law enforcement quickly ended the invasion of the stage, the ensuing melée toppled Cole from his piano bench and injured his back. Cole did not finish the concert and never again performed in the South. A fourth member of the group who had participated in the plot was later arrested in connection with the act. All were later tried and convicted for their roles in the crime.
In 1956 he was contracted to perform in Cuba and wanted to stay at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana, but was not allowed to because it operated a color bar. Cole honored his contract, however, and the concert at the Tropicana was a huge success. The following year, he returned to Cuba for another concert, singing many songs in Spanish. There is now a tribute to him in the form of a bust and a jukebox in the Hotel Nacional.

DAN GRISSOM ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Hard-to-find two-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the songs, "Recess in Heaven" and "Why I Must Adore You" by Dan Grissom -- Matrix #JRC 275 and JRC 276, on the relatively new label, Columbia Records. Recorded in Los Angeles on December 13, 1947. On the songs are Bumps Myers (ts), Sylvester Scott (p), Buddy Harper (g, hca, ldr), Joe Comfort, and (b) Earl Hyde (d) -- with Dan Grissom on vocals.
>>> Two genuine Columbia Records 78rpm record (#38351) with "Recess in Heaven" and "Why I Must Adore You" by Dan Grissom.
    BACKGROUND: Dan Grissom is best-known as a vocalist and alto sax player with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra, but also sang with Duke Ellington for a half-dozen years and released an occasional single under his own name on labels such as Imperial. He was rather uncharitably nicknamed “Dan Gruesome” by jazz fans who were less than enamored by his song stylings. From 1945 onwards he made records as a vocalist for various small labels in Los Angeles. Actually, Grissom represented a new type of jazz vocalist who came about more because of technological innovations than progressive musical thinking.

Around 1933, microphones came into use, allowing singers such as Dan Grissom or the Claude Hopkins frontman Orlando Robeson to carry on over the sound of a full band; neither man had the lungs to belt out lyrics over the top of the band the way pre-microphone "blues shouters" did. There was nothing loud about Grissom's singing style, described in a survey of Ellington vocalists as displaying "pinched-tones and heavy vibrato." Actually, he wasn't the only big-band singer in the Grissom lineage. His uncle Jimmy Grissom also sang with Lunceford, and was just about as busy on records as his nephew, with somewhat less negative critical feedback. Dan Grissom joined the Lunceford band in 1935 and stayed on through the early '40s. The Sy Oliver arrangement of "By the River Sainte Marie" was supposedly Grissom's personal favorite amongst the stacks of songs he interpreted for Lunceford, though that might not mean it is any less gruesome. It was roughly a decade later that Grissom joined Ellington, staying through 1957, and among other accomplishments, recording a version of Ellington's tune "Love (My Everything)," also known as "My Heart, My Mind, My Everything." Vocal wonder boy Johnny Mathis was reportedly influenced by Grissom from this period. Under his own name, Grissom pitied the "Poor Butterfly" in the mid-'40s with backing from the Flennoy Trio, a combo led by Lorenzo Flennoy on piano. Dan Grissom & the Ebb Tones put out a single on Million in 1955 featuring the same song on this test pressing "Recess in Heaven," and there is also a rare Imperial single featuring Grissom's tribute to the "King of Fools."

LEADBELLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- A British test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "The Boll Weevil" (side A) and "The Bourgeois Blues" (side B) by blues musician, Huddie Ledbetter...better known as Leadbelly (1885-1949), October 15, 1934, Both songs were written and performed by Leadbelly. Working as a driver and field assistant, Leadbelly recorded the song, Boll Weevil for Alan Lomax in Shreveport, LA and again the following year in Wilton, CT. This version has since been covered by dozens of artists, from Tex Ritter to Woodie Guthrie to the White Stripes, who ended almost every live performance with the tune. A 1961 version by Brook Benton became a #2 pop hit.

>>> A genuine Musicraft 78rpm record with "The Bourgeois Blues" and "The Boll Weevil" by Leadbelly.
"The Bourgeois Blues" was written after Lead Belly went to Washington, DC at the request of Alan Lomax, to record a number of songs for the Library of Congress. After they had finished, they decided to go out with their wives to celebrate, but were thrown out of numerous establishments for being an interracial party. The song rails against racism, classism, and discrimination in general, with such verses as "The home of the Brave / The land of the Free / I don't wanna be mistreated by no "bourgeoisie."
Lyrics:  Me and my wife went all over town, And everywhere we went people turned us down. Lord, in a bourgeois town. It's a bourgeois town, I got the bourgeois blues. Gonna spread the news all around. Well, me and my wife we were standing upstairs, We heard the white man say'n I don't want no niggers up there. Lord, in a bourgeois town. Uhm, bourgeois town. I got the bourgeois blues. Gonna spread the news all around. Home of the brave, land of the free. I don't wanna be mistreated by no bourgeoisie. Lord, in a bourgeois town. Uhm, the bourgeois town. I got the bourgeois blues. Gonna spread the news all around. Well, them white folks in Washington they know how To call a colored man a nigger just to see him bow. Lord, it's a bourgeois town. Uhm, the bourgeois town. I got the bourgeois blues. Gonna spread the news all around. I tell all the colored folks to listen to me. Don't try to find you no home in Washington, DC, 'Cause it's a bourgeois town. Uhm, the bourgeois town. I got the bourgeois blues. Gonna spread the news all around.
--- Test Pressing (10" 78rpm) of Lead Belly's  "Frankie and Albert (Part One)" and the acapella version of "Looky, Looky, Yonder / Black Betty / Yellow Woman's Doorbell" medley. 1939. Lyrics: Looky looky yonder, Looky looky yonder, Looky looky yonder, Where the sun done gone. The cap'in' (captain) can't hold 'em ("him" or "them"), Cap'in' can't hold 'em, Cap'in' can't hold 'em, The way I do. Yes Addie gotta (got a) gold mine, Addie gotta gold mine, Addie gotta gold mine, Way above her knee.
"Frankie and Albert"
tells the story of a woman, Frankie, who finds that her man Johnny was "making love to" another woman and shoots him dead. Frankie is then arrested; in some versions of the song she is also executed. The first published version of the music to "Frankie and Johnny" appeared in 1904, credited to and copyrighted by Hughie Cannon. At least 256 different recordings of "Frankie and Johnny" have been made since the early 20th century, including the Leadbelly version with "Frankie and Albert."
    BIO: Ledbetter, born on Jan. 29, 1885 on the Jeter Plantation near Mooringsport, La., would spend several stints in jail, once reportedly lived as a recluse from the law under an assumed name, and was known to resolve every-day conflict with violence right up until his early passing on Dec. 6, 1949. He had a huge impact upon British rock-n-roll musicians.
LIONEL HAMPTON  &  LOUIE JORDAN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Extremely rare test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song (unissued take) "On The Sunny Side of the Street" by Lionel Hampton & his Orchestra and on the other side "Ain't That Just Like a Woman" by Louie Jordan & his Tympany Five, which was #4 on the "Most Played Juke Box Race Records" Billboard charts in 1947. Recorded on Duo Disc, date is March 29, 1947. Lionel Hampton and Louie Jordan's names and song titles are hand-written in period ink. Rare and possibly one of a kind acetate (aluminum) test pressing of two jazz greats on one test pressing! Acetate only has a certain number of plays before it becomes unsable.
>>> A genuine RCA/Victor 78rpm record (#25592) with "On The Sunny Side of the Street" by Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra.
Lionel Hampton:On the Sunny Side of the Street” appeared on the pop charts first by Ted Lewis and His Orchestra in February of 1930. Shortly after, Harry Richman’s recording (which had “Exactly Like You” on the B-side) climbed to number thirteen. The strength of “On the Sunny Side of the Street” is its surprising and inventive melody. Regardless of who wrote the music, there is no denying the song’s tone is cheerful, buoyant, and bouncy. With Dorothy Fields’ casual, optimistic lyrics, “On the Sunny Side of the Street” was a perfect pick-me-up for depression-weary listeners. In spite of its occasional characterization as a bumptious novelty song, “On the Sunny Side of the Street” has been a favorite of jazz greats, musicians and instrumentalists since its publication -- including Lionel Hampton!
Louie Jordan: His first recordings were released under the name "Louie Jordan and his Elks Rendez-vous Band" but by the time of the next recording session, the name became "Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five"  This new name maintaining the misspelling of "tympani" from their club billing.  From this time forward, his band was always known as the "Tympany Five" regardless of the actual number of members. As early as 1946 Jordan was adding electric guitar to the mix resulting in songs such as "Ain't That Just Like a Woman." The humor and energy that permeates so many of Jordan's recordings is a hallmark of the early Rock 'n' Roll sound.
SARAH VAUGHAN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Scarce one-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song, "Make Yourself Comfortable," #10745 Mercury Records. Sarah Vaughan with orchestra conducted by Hugh Peretti, dated September 24, 1954. Recorded in New York City. Vaughan's commercial success at Mercury began with this particular song...one of her biggest hits.
>>> A genuine Mercury 78rpm records with "Make Yourself Comfortable" by Sarah Vaughan.
SARAH VAUGHAN with the GEORGE TREADWELL BAND ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Acetate test pressing (10" 78rpm) of one of her signature tunes of surrender, "Everything I Have Is Yours," #C-19 Musicraft Records. Sarah Vaughan with the George Treadwell Band, dated November 8, 1947. Matrix #5615. George was Sarah's first husband and she was married to him from 1946-1957. This song was recorded during their first year of marriage.
>>> Two genuine Musicraft 78rpm records (#5615) with "Everything I Have is Yours" by Sarah Vaughan.
     BIO: Possessor of one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century, Sarah Vaughan ranked with Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday in the very top echelon of female jazz singers. She often gave the impression that with her wide range, perfectly controlled vibrato, and wide expressive abilities, she could do anything she wanted with her voice. Sarah Vaughan's legacy as a performer and a recording artist will be very difficult to match in the future. Her parents were Asbury, a carpenter, and Ada, a laundress. She began studying music when she was seven, taking eight years of piano lessons (1931-39) and two years of organ. As a child, she sang in the choir at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Newark, and played piano and organ in high school productions at Arts High School. She developed into a capable keyboardist. After she won an amateur contest at the Apollo Theater, she was hired for the Earl Hines big band as a singer and second vocalist. Unfortunately, the musicians' recording strike kept her off record during this period (1943-44). When lifelong friend Billy Eckstine broke away to form his own orchestra, Vaughan joined him, making her recording debut. She loved being with Eckstine's orchestra, where she became influenced by a couple of his sidemen, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, both of whom had also been with Hines during her stint. Vaughan was one of the first singers to fully incorporate bop phrasing in her singing, and to have the vocal chops to pull it off on the level of a Parker and Gillespie. Other than a few months with John Kirby from 1945-46, Sarah Vaughan spent the remainder of her career as a solo star. Although she looked a bit awkward in 1945 (her first husband George Treadwell would greatly assist her with her appearance), there was no denying her incredible voice.
ELLA FITZGERALD with CHICK WEBB & HIS ORCHESTRA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Single-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "All My Life" by a very young 18-year-old Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb and His Orchestra (1905-1935). Recorded in New York City on March 17, 1936. The orchestra included Mario Bauza, Bobby Stark, Taft Jordan, tp; Sandy Williams, Nat Story, tb; Pete Clark, Edgar Sampson, as; Teddy McRae, ts; Wayman Carver, ts; fl; Don Kirkpatrick, p; John Trueheart, g; Bill Thomas, b; Chick Webb, d; Ella Fitzgerald, voc.
BIO: Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996). A performance at the Apollo Theater’s famed Amateur Night in 1934 set Fitzgerald’s career in motion. Over the next seven decades, she worked with some of the most important artists in the music industry including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Sinatra. She was dubbed “The First Lady of Jazz” for her mainstream popularity and unparalleled vocal talents—even though her less–than–svelte appearance and upbeat singing style was in contrast to the sultry and bluesy female singers of her day. Her unique ability for mimicking instrumental sounds helped popularize the vocal improvisation of “scatting,” which became her signature technique. Ella recorded over 200 albums and around 2,000 songs in her lifetime, singing the works of some of the most popular composers such as Cole Porter, Gershwin and Irving Berlin. Ella Fitzgerald died in 1996 at the age of 79, and is remembered as one of the most influential jazz artists of the 20th century.
ELLA FITZGERALD with RANDY BROOKS & HIS ORCHESTRA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Single-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "A Kiss Goodnight" by Ella Fitzgerald with Randy Brooks and His Orchestra (MX #73020 Decca, Label #18713). This song was recorded on August 29, 1945. There is a slight hairline crack on one half of the disc, but it still playes.
MORTON'S RED HOT PEPPERS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

--- Two-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the songs, "Beale Street Blues" and "The Pearls" -- #20948-A & #20948-B, Victor Records. Morton's Red Hot Peppers, dated July 10, 1927 Recorded in Chicago. The recordings made in Chicago featured some of the best New Orleans sidemen like Kid Ory, Barney Bigard, Johnny Dodds, Johnny St. Cyr and Baby Dodds. A native of New orleans, Jelly Roll Morton was the first great composer and piano player of Jazz. He was a talented arranger who wrote special scores that took advantage of the three-minute limitations of the 78 rpm records. But more than all these things, he was a real character whose spirit shines brightly through history, like his diamond studded smile.
--- Two-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the songs "Beale Street. Blues" and "The Pearls" (vinyl test for a HJCA reissue)

LEROY CARR ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Single-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "Black Gal (What Makes Your Head So Hard?)" by Leroy Carr (1905-1935), blues singer, songwriter and pianist, best known for his first release on Vocalion in 1928 at 23 years of age. Bluebird #15646, 1934.Joe Pullem wrote this particular song and recorded it first, but Leroy came out with his own version that very same year -- a year before he died. Lyrics: Black gal, black gal, What makes yo' head so hard? Black gal, woman, What makes yo' head so hard? Lord, I would come to see you, But your bad man has got me barred.
BENNIE MOTEN'S KANSAS CITY ORCHESTRA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Very rare acetate test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the unreleased tune "My Old Flame" by band leader Bennie Moten (1894-1935), noted American jazz pianist and band leader born in Kansas City, MO. Dated May 15, 1946. On the label is written that the other players on this song are: Ben Webster, Barney Bigard, Ben Webster and the super bassist, Israel Crosby (Ahmad Jamal and George Shearing fame).
--- Hard-to-find single-sided vinyl test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song, "South" by Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra (1894-1935). Bennie was a noted American jazz pianist and band leader born in Kansas City, Missouri. Moten's popular 1928 recording of "South" (V-38021) stayed in Victor's catalog over the years (as #24893) and became a big jukebox hit in the late 1940s (by then, reissued as #44-0004). It remained in print (as a vinyl 45) until RCA stopping making records.
>>> A genuine Victor 78rpm record (#24893) with "South" by Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra.
BIO: Bennie Moten led the Kansas City Orchestra, the most important of the itinerant, blues-based orchestras active in the Midwest in the 1920s, and helped to develop the riffing style that would come to define many of the 1930s Big Bands. His first recordings were made (for Okeh Records) in 1923, and were rather stiff interpretations of the New Orleans style of King Oliver and others. They also showed the influence of the Ragtime that was still popular in the area. His OKeh sides (recorded 1923-1925) are some of the more valuable acoustic jazz 78's of the era and continue to be treasured records in many serious jazz collections. They next recorded in 1926 for Victor Records in NJ, and were influenced by the more sophisticate style of Fletcher Henderson, but more often than not featured a hard stomp beat that was extremely popular. Moten remained one of Victor's most popular orchestras through 1930. By 1928 Moten's piano was showing some Boogie Woogie influences, but the real revolution came in 1929 when he recruited Count Basie, Walter page and Oran "Hot Lips" Page. Walter Page's walking bass lines gave the music an entirely new feel compared to the 2/4 tuba of his predecessor Vernon Page, colored by Basie's understated, syncopated piano fills.
REV. J. M. GATES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Rare single-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the sermon "Scat to the Cat and Suie to the Hog" recorded in 1930 by Rev. J. M. Gates (1885-1941), Master test pressing of Okeh matrix 480014-A, which is a transfer of matrix 403932-B. It was issued on Okeh 8844. Why did the curiously titled "Scat to the Cat and Suie to the Hog" get such a limited release? Perhaps it was too much comedy and charm to match Okeh's idea of even a rustic sermon? The main message of the sermon was simply that people ought not to snap, nark, and claw at one another.
BIO: The Baptist preacher J. M. Gates was one of the most prolifically recorded black artists of the early century, with over 200 sides on wax between the mid-'20s and his death in 1940 (he once recorded 23 titles in a week, at just two sessions). His sermons and musical numbers appeared on a variety of labels (Victor, Bluebird, Okeh, Gennett), though Gates often re-recorded his most popular sermons — "Death's Black Train Is Coming," "Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting," "Goin' to Die with the Staff in My Hands" — for multiple labels. Gates ministered at Atlanta's Calvary Church and first recorded in 1926. Beginning in April, he recorded almost 100 sides by the end of the year. Understandably, his output slowed slightly during the rest of the late '20s, and the advent of the Great Depression resulted in a four-year period off records. He returned in 1934, and recorded about 20 more sides until his death in 1941. Experts estimate that Gates recorded at least a quarter of all the sermons that appeared before 1943. Gates is credited with introducing the gospel music of former blues artist, Thomas A. Dorsey, into the black gospel market via his crusades. His funeral drew the largest crowd of any memorial service in the city before Martin Luther King, Jr.

CLARENCE WILLIAMS' BLUE FIVE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Single-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "Thriller Blues" by Clarence Williams' Blue Five. (1893 - 1965), with wife, Eva Taylor on vocals.  RCA/Victor #BS-071199-1, 1941.
>>> A genuine Bluebird 78rpm record (#11368) with "Thriller Blues" by Clarence William's Five, with vocals by Eva Taylor.
    BIO: Although he was quite spirited playing jug, Clarence Williams was a decent pianist, composer and dancer. He was a likable but limited vocalist. He was also a business manager for other Black entertainers, and an independent entrepreneur (who had his own Music Publishing firm). A fascinating figure and one of the most successful black businessmen of the era, Clarence Williams had a real ear for talent. During 1923 to 1928, he was the artist and repertoire director for Okeh Records. Before he was in his teens, he had decided upon a career in show business and ran away from home to work with a traveling minstrel show. By the time he was 21 he had started composing, formed his first publishing company, and was married to Blues singer Eva Taylor (1923).

At the height of his power in the early '30s, Clarence Williams' importance waned as the decade continued and swing took over. After 1937, he only appeared on one final session (two songs in 1941), concentrating on the business side of music. In 1943, he sold his company to Decca and became a shop owner in Harlem. Williams was seriously injured when hit by a taxi in 1956 and passed away in 1965.

EARL HINES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Fascinating single-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "Rosetta" by Earl "Fatha" Hines. (1903 - 1983), RCA/Victor #BS-040480-3, 1939. Pianist/composer/bandleader Earl “Fatha” Hines first recorded “Rosetta” with his orchestra on October 21, 1939. The lyrics were written by his band’s arranger Henri Woode. Western swing bandleader Bob Wills contributed to the popularity of “Rosetta,” which he first recorded in 1938 and which became the theme song of his Texas Playboys as well as the name of his daughter, born in 1940. As the simple lyric attests, “Rosetta” is a love song: Rosetta, my Rosetta, In my heart, dear, there’s no one but you. You made my whole life a dream, and I pray you’ll make it come true...

>>> A genuine RCA/Victor 78rpm record (#040480-3) with "Rosetta" by Earl "Fatha" Hines.
TITUS TURNER ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Scarce double-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the songs "Jambalaya" (side A) and "Please, Baby" (side B) by Titus Turner (1933 - 1984), with Danny Kessler orchestra while he was only 19 years of age. Okeh #4-6907, 1952. Turner – though no slouch in the performing department – made his mark as a writer of some of absolutely dynamite songs, among them ‘Sticks and Stones’, ‘All Around the World’ (aka Grits Ain’t Groceries), and ‘Leave My Kitten Alone’. Turner himself had a two decade long career as a recording artist, spending most of the 50s recording mostly for Okeh and King, and then the 60s recording for no less than a dozen different imprints. Turner originally recorded ‘People Sure Act Funny’ for the Enjoy label in 1962.
MERLINE JOHNSON "THE YAS YAS GIRL" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- An almost-impossible-to-find single-sided shellac test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "Squeeze Me Tight" by Merline Johnson "The Yas Yas Girl" (1912 - ?), with George Barnes (el guitar) prob. Blind John Davis (piano) and unknown (bass) Apparently made by or for Vocalion #C-2170-1, 1938.
    BIO: During the late '30s, one Chicago-based blues woman cut more records than either Memphis Minnie or Georgia White, and even edged in on Blue Lu Barker with a smart cover of her most famous hit, "Don't You Make Me High." The aunt of R&B vocalist LaVern Baker, Merline Johnson was usually billed as the Yas Yas Girl, a bawdy nickname that utilized a favorite early blues euphemism for your butt. Little is known of this singer's origins, her life during a brief but productive heyday, or her eventual fate. Legend has it she first saw the light of day somewhere in the state of Mississippi during the year 1912. After making her way to Chicago, she established herself as a sanguine, straightforward blues vocalist whose backup bands were often peppered with seasoned jazz musicians who were capable of swinging hard when necessary, and sometimes launched into full-strength boogie-woogie. After cutting six sides as Merline Johnson for Bluebird in May 1937, she commenced recording for the American Record Corporation a few weeks later as the Yas Yas Girl, already demonstrating an innate ability to put across blues and jazzy dance tunes convincingly, with a combination of honesty and warmth that is still very effective. Between 1938 and 1941 Merline Johnson waxed more than 50 titles for Vocalion and OKeh, covering the standard topical range of Chicago blues. She sang of passionate and at times turbulent interpersonal relationships, of unencumbered sexuality, and of unapologetic alcohol consumption. Her accompanists, drawn from a pool of experts from New Orleans and Chicago, included trumpeters Punch Miller and Lee Collins; saxophonists Buster Bennett and Bill Owsley; guitarists Big Bill Broonzy, George Barnes, and Lonnie Johnson; Vocalion's resident steel guitarist Casey Bill Weldon; pianists Blind John Davis, Black Bob Hudson, and Aletha Robinson; string bassists Ransom Knowling and Bill Settles; an interesting character named Alfred Elkins who carried a bassline really well using only his voice; and a rock-solid drummer by the name of Fred Williams. Aside from one final session in 1947, most of this woman's recorded legacy dates from the years and months prior to the U.S.A.'s direct involvement in the Second World War.
ERNIE WILKINS & HIS ORCHESTRA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "Blue Jeans Blues" (side A) and "Have You Ever Been Lonely?" (side B) by Ernie Wilkins & his Orchestra. Savoy #1524, September 6, 1957, recorded in New York City. Ernie's orchestra members: Jim Dahl, Al Grey, Rod Levitt, Melba Liston (tb) Ernie Wilkins (as, arr, dir) Don Abney (p) Al Lucas (b) Charlie Persip (d) 6 unknown (vo)
DUKE ELLINGTON & HIS ORCHESTRA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Extremely rare test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song, "Blue Ramble," #B11866B. Duke Ellington and his orchestra, dated May 18, 1932. Columbia.
MARVIN GAYE & SISTER SLEDGE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Test pressing remix import (12'' LP) B-Boy House edit #HEDIT001A. Side A: Marvin Gaye -- "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby." Side B: Sister Sledge -- "All American Girls."
ANITA BAKER ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- One-sided test pressing (12" LP) of "Watch Your Step" by Anita Baker. Specialty Records #ED-5132, dated February 4, 1986.
BILLIE HOLIDAY & HER ORCHESTRA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Extremely rare test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song "All of Me" (side A) and "Romance in the Dark" (side B) by Billie Holiday & her Orchestra. Okeh #6214, 1941, written by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons.  Lyrics: You took my kisses and all my love. You taught me how to care. Am I to be just remnant of a one side love affair. All you took, I gladly gave, There is nothing left for me to save. All of me, Why not take all of me, Can't you see I'm no good without you. Take my lips, I want to loose them. Take my arms, I'll never use them. Your goodbye left me with eyes that cry. How can I go on dear without you. You took the part that once was my heart, So why not take all of me
ETHEL WATERS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- One-of-a-kind test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the song, "Come Up and See Me Sometime," Brunswick #6885, Matrix: B-14956-C. Ethel Waters and the Brunswick Studio Band, in New York City, dated March 16, 1934. Brunswick. Frank Guarante or Charlie Margulis, Bunny Berigan (tp), Frank Luther Trio (Frank Luther, Zora Layman, Leonard Stokes).
BIO: Ethel Waters was one of the most popular African-American singers and actresses of the 1920s. She moved to New York in 1919 after touring in vaudeville shows as a singer and a dancer. She made her recording debut in 1921 on Cardinal records with "The New York Glide" and "At the New Jump Steady Ball," but switched over to African-American owned Black Swan label, and recorded "Down Home Blues" and "Oh Daddy" the first Blues numbers for that company. She frequently sang with Fletcher Henderson during the early 1920s, but by the mid-1920s Waters had became more of a pop singer. She performed in a number of musical revues throughout the rest of the decade and appeared a couple of films, including "Check and Double Check" with Amos 'n' Andy and Duke Ellington. By the end of the 1930s she was a big star on Broadway. In 1949, she was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress in the film "Pinky", and the next year she won the New York Drama Critics Award for best actress. Waters became a Christian in the late Fifties and performed and toured with evangelist Billy Graham until her death in 1977.
TINY BRADSHAW, HIS PIANO AND BAND ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the jazz/blues songs, "Powder Puff," and "Ping Pong" #4687, Matrix #K9320. Tiny Bradshaw, his Piano and Band, dated 1950s. Dee Jay King Special. Sylvester Austin on tenor sax.
LOUIS ARMSTRONG & HIS ORCHESTRA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- Extremely rare master single-sided test pressing (11" 78rpm) of the song "Home (When Shadows Fall)" by Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra. Columbia control #405132, January 27, 1932, recorded in Chicago, IL. with Louis Armstrong (Trumpet, Vocal). Zilner Randolph (Trumpet), Preston Jackson (Trombone), Lester Boone (Clarinet, Alto Saxophone), George James (Reeds), Albert Washington (Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone), Charlie Alexander (Piano), Mike McKendrick (Banjo, Guitar), John Lindsay (Bass) and Tubby Hall (Drums).

LUIS RUSSELL'S HOT SIX ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

--- Scarce double-sided test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the songs "Sweet Mumtaz" (side A) and "Dolly Mine" (side B) by Luis Russell and his Hot Six. Okeh #8454, November 17, 1926. Turner – though no slouch in the performing department – made his mark as a writer of some of absolutely dynamite songs, among them ‘Sticks and Stones’, ‘All Around the World’ (aka Grits Ain’t Groceries), and ‘Leave My Kitten Alone’. Turner himself had a two decade long career as a recording artist, spending most of the 50s recording mostly for Okeh and King, and then the 60s recording for no less than a dozen different imprints. Turner originally recorded ‘People Sure Act Funny’ for the Enjoy label in 1962.

BACKGROUND: The Luis Russell Orchestra started in Chicago and then moved to New York. They were one of the most innovative bands of their day, but never had the commercial success that they deserved. They are generally considered to be one of the first Swing bands. The outfit featured some of the best hot musicians from New Orleans, such as Barney Bigard, Omer Simeon and Pops Foster. The band first backed up Louis Armstrong in 1929 on the record "Mahogany Hall Stomp" -- which this collection also owns (see above).

SUGAR RAY ROBINSON ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--- One-sided audio test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the famous boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson's appearance in "Excursion" an NBC TV series of 26 shows for young people ages 8-16, designed to give them stimulating views of world literature, science, sports, art, theater, career-building, and government, with Americans who have made distinguished contributions in these fields acting as guests. This particular show aired during the week of August 25th, 1953. Dick Charles Recording Studios, located at 729 Seventh Avenue, New York. These were test scenes for the 1953 TV Episode of Huckleberry Finn, which co-starred boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson as Jim. Sugar Ray Robinson was expanding on his career by branching out in print advertising, television and film. Mr. Robinson was a handsome natural, that the cameras adored. Robinson retired from professional boxing in December 1953 to become a dancer.
  DICK CHARLES RECORDING STUDIOS: By the 1950s, Dick Charles had opened a recording studio on Seventh Avenue in New York City, a block away from Broadway. It was here that a good number of demos of up and coming stars were cut before the stars were signed by the big record labels. Here, both Dick Charles (Richard Krieg and Richard Waldspurger) worked with many famous and not quite so famous musicians and performers.
FATS WALLER ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

--- Scarce double-sided Gramophone test pressing (10" 78rpm) of the songs "Breakin' The Ice" (side A) and "Honeysuckle Rose" (side B) by Fats Waller and His Rhythm (1904 - 1943). A British test pressing. Brunswick #24826, November 7, 1934.
BACKGROUND: Born in New York City with the given name Thomas Wright Waller, "Fats" Waller was the son of a churchman. He learned how to play the organ in church with his mother, Adeline Waller, who gave him a background in classical music. Fats' first musical experience was playing harmonium for his father's Abyssinian Baptist Church at 10 years of age. The music which Fats later picked up around Harlem was viewed by his father as "music from the Devil's workshop."

In 1918 Waller won a talent contest playing James P. Johnson's "Carolina Shout" which he learned from watching a pianola play the song. Later, when Johnson met Fats for the first time and heard him play the pipe organ, he told his wife, "I know I can teach that boy." So Johnson took Waller under his wing and within months had improved his play and introduced him to his first Harlem rent party. Waller was such a diligent and lonesome pupil that he would practice on the Johnson's piano until 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning--when Mrs. Johnson would finally order him to go home. In 1922, Johnson had been asked to take over the piano at Leroy's, a club at Fifth Avenue and 135th Street where Willie the Lion Smith had been playing. But Johnson was going out of town with a show and he recommended his 18 year old protégé for the job. This was Waller's night club debut. But he was ready because by this time, Fats had developed into an all-around keyboard dynamo who was playing theater organ for silent movies and stage shows (at Harlem's Lincoln Theater), accompanying singers, backing up dancers in chorus lines, vaudeville revues and nightclubs, and playing blistering stride piano at rent parties. Though his skills on the piano introduced him to fame, it wasn't until after Fats started to sing that he became famous. From 1930 to 1943, Fats made over five hundred recordings and he was recognized from the streets of Harlem to Danish nightclubs as he toured extensively and appeared on numerous radio broadcasts as well as in some Hollywood feature films. Fats unexpectedly died on board a train near Kansas City, Missouri of pneumonia on Dec 15, 1943. Usually remembered as a genial clown, he is of lasting importance as one of the greatest of all jazz pianists and as a gifted songwriter, whose work in both fields was rhythmically contagious.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  MANY MORE "TEST PRESSING" RARITIES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • --- DON BYAS & HIS RE-BOPPERS - "How High the Moon" and "Dynamo A" (#ST1896 & ST1900, by Don Byas -- white label two-sided shellac test of recordings made on January 27, 1947 at Studio Technisonor in Paris). Peanuts Holland (tp) Don Byas (ts) Billy Taylor (p) Jean-Jacques Tilche (g) Jean Bouchety (b) Buford Oliver (d).
  • --- EARL BOSTIC - Sleep (#4444 single-sided vinyl test pressing recorded in 1951). Earl Bostic (1913-1965) was an American jazz and rhythm and blues alto saxaphonist, and a pioneer of the post-war American Rhythm and Blues style. He was a major influence on John Coltrane. He had a number of popular hits such as "Flamingo", "Harlem Nocturne", "Temptation", "Sleep" and "Where or When", which showed off his characteristic growl on the horn. Bostic recorded for Cincinnati-based King Records, a small label that was well known for releasing "R and B" and Bluegrass records. In fact, the biggest star on the King label was "the Godfather of Soul," James Brown. Bostic was also popular among R&B and jazz followers in the United Kingdom, thanks to his records that were released on the Parlophone label. King Records was rewarded for its devotion to Bostic and his music in 1951, when “Sleep” (a song from the 1920s) went to Number Six on the R&B chart.
  • --- JACK TEAGARDEN & ORCHESTRA - "River Home" (#ST1867-1, white label one-sided shellac test of recordings made on July, 1940. In 1940, Jack Teagarden recorded sixteen sides for Varsity, which were reissued in 1986 by Savoy Jazz. During these sessions, his orchestra included Nat Jaffe on piano.
    BACKGROUND: (Weldon Leo Teagarden), 1905–1964, American jazz trombonist and singer, b. Vernon, Tex. One of the earliest White bluesmen, he came from a jazz-playing family and was mainly self-taught. He sometimes played with his brothers, trumpeter Charlie and drummer Cub, and sister, pianist Norma. In his twenties Teagarden wandered across America's Southwest, playing in several jazz groups, and arrived in New York in 1927. He played in bands led by Ben Pollack (1928–33), Paul Whiteman (1933–38), and Louis Armstrong (1947–51), and also led his own groups (1939–47; 1951–57). He began recording in the late 1920s and made many albums throughout his career. Teagarden was one of the great horn players of the mid-20th cent.; his trombone playing, seemingly effortless yet extremely accomplished technically, was uniquely smooth and lyrical. In addition, his somewhat gruff, drawling voice was ideal for singing the blues.
  • --- DAVEY DEX on DA SET - "Dee Dottie Day" Test pressing (AV8 Records) by Davey Dex of this and other rap/hip hop songs (1996). Instrumental Cut-up/DJ. He is a producer, DJ from NYC. A DJ for 20 years, He plays Hip-Hop/R&B, Reggaeton Classic House, Classic Freestyle, Smooth Jazz. As a Producer, He produces mostly Hip-Hop Beats and Party Records but has produced House as well. With over 30 records under his belt. He has produced records since 1990.
  • --- ORO "TUT" SOPER - "Right Kind of Love" by Oro Spher. (Steiner-Davis acetate recorded in Jack Gardner's apartment with drummer Warren "Baby" Dodds on January 31, 1944 in Chicago). John Steiner and Hugh Davis teamed Soper up with Dodds in pianist Jack Gardner’s apartment for the session. Gardner owned a particularly fine piano, which is why the session was held in his place, at 102 East Bellevue, a basement apartment located in the same apartment complex as John Steiner. Jazz fans tend to revel in improvisation, and Down Beat columnist George Hoefer loved the idea at how "impromptu" the recording was, as Soper and Dodds had never met before, and had feel each other out in the recording process. Little is known about Tut Soper, and he seems to have made very few recordings. Tut proceeded to develop his career as a popular solo act. He found additional work with reedmen Bud Freeman, Boyce Brown, and Orville "Bud" Jacobson, and with trumpeter Johnny Mendel.  Tut also performed with drummer Danny Alvin and with Frank Snyder, who played drums with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings in 1922. While hot jazz was artistically rewarding, Tut found greater monetary security working with popular hotel-orchestra leader George Olsen. The great recorded legacy of this grievously overlooked pianist consists of six duets he recorded with master percussionist Warren "Baby" Dodds. Five of these sides, recorded January 31, 1944, can be found on Jazz & Blues Piano Vol. 2: 1924-1947. With Tut sounding at times a bit like Earl Hines, these tasty stomps provide a tangible context for his reputation as a mainstay of traditional Chicago jazz. The only other session involving this pianist that has come to light is a 1957 Dixie revival date led by guitarist/vocalist Marty Grosz, released on Riverside as Hooray for Bix! and reissued in 2000 on the Good Time Jazz label. Tut's impact upon the evolution of jazz in Chicago was greater than this handful of obscure phonograph records can ever demonstrate. His story serves as a reminder that the real history of this music is a mosaic of many individual lives; it runs much deeper and is far more intricate than the standard pantheon of famous names and familiar faces.
  • --- BUSTER BAILEY - "Eccentric Rag" (single-sided shellac test recorded in New York, dated 1940). Buster Bailey (1902-1967) was a brilliant clarinetist who, although known for his smooth and quiet playing with John Kirby's sextet, occasionally really cut loose with some wild solos. Expertly trained by the classical teacher Franz Schoepp (who also taught Benny Goodman), Bailey worked with W.C Handy's band in 1917. Eccentric Rag was the first big hit written by J. Russel Robinson in 1912.
  • --- MILLS BROTHERS - "Caravan" (single-sided vinyl test pressing recorded in 1942) by the Mills Brothers.

Music reviewer, Paghat writes about this song and arrangement that can be seen here. >>> "Offensive to a forgiveable degree, the Mills Brothers perform this song in the garb of hillbillies as they vocally recreate Duke Ellington's classic instrumental Caravan (1942). It's doubtful the brothers had anything to do with the costuming, but had done their arrangement of the swing tune strictly in honor of Ellington, thus sophisticated rather than hick imagery would've been more apropos. To recreate a big band swing sound with just their mouths is damned clever, but they've also given us a very fine piece of classic harmony. Given the sophistication of Ellington's composition and the cosmopolitan wittiness of the Mills Brothers' vocal arrangement, dressing them up in a hick setting seems hardly to fit the music. To heighten the unfortunate stereotype there are three 'lazy darkies' lounging nearby, a guy and two gals. These lazy persons have complained that a dance band was supposed to show up for a dance, but isn't going to make it. Only when the Mills Brothers recreate the band vocally does everyone perk up."

Paghat continues, "Slowy one and then the other two and then additional dancers from off screen all get up to dance to "Caravan." It pretty much turns into a 'dancie' instead of a soundie, and if you overlook the stereotyping costuming, this is pretty fine performing, including some breakdance moves from the guy who wins a trophy, though he has to stop eatin' dat watermelon to receive it. Director Josef Berne worked with many black entertainers and should've known better. But in the context of soundie content of the time, one of the most popular 'thread' of soundies content was fake hillbilly music by the likes of the Korn Kobblers and scores of others. So rather than thinking 'lets have some lazy rural darkies with watermelons' I'm sure the point was to have black entertainers horn in on the generally popular honky-hillbillie imagery in many a soundie. And without the weight of history of such imagery crushing down upon it, it would've been no worse (but also no more clever) than when white performers did such acts. The music at least is good, and the later Mills Brothers soundies to come would forgo storytelling in favor of recording the performance." (review by Paghat)

  • --- DINAH WASHINGTON - "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof" and "The First Time" by Dinah Washington (1924-1963) -- both songs recorded in 1956 with Mercury Records (Matrix #70868) white label two-sided test pressing. Dinah was a blues, R&B, and jazz singer. She is a 1986 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Washington was well known for singing torch songs. Recordings by Dinah Washington were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old, and that have "qualitative or historical significance.
  • --- KING CURTIS - "Games People Play" by King Curtis (real name Curtis Ousley, 1934-1971) -- one-sided 45 test pressing recorded in 1969 with Atlantic/Atco Records (Mono, Matrix #69-C-16320-1, #6664). In 1970, Curtis won the Best R&B Instrumental Performance Grammy for this song, "Games People Play."
    >>> A genuine Atlantic/Atco 45rpm record (#69-C-16320) with "Games People Play" by King Curtis.
    BACKGROUND: Saxophonist, songwriter and producer. Successful both as a solo artist (best known for his 1967 hit Memphis Soul Stew) as well as a session musician and producer. Curtis mainly played and composed rhythm and blues or soul but also some Rock and roll and great bop or soul jazz. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Around midnight on August 13, 1971 Curtis was lugging an air-conditioning unit towards his brownstone apartment on West 86th Street in New York City when he noticed two junkies were using drugs on the steps to his home. When he asked them to leave, an argument started. The argument quickly became heated and turned into a fist-fight with one of the men, 26-year old Juan Montañez. Suddenly, Montañez pulled out a knife and stabbed Curtis in the chest. Curtis managed to wrestle the knife away and stab his assailant four times before collapsing. Montañez staggered away from the scene and Curtis was taken to Roosevelt Hospital, where he died from his wounds less than an hour later. Montañez was arrested at the same hospital Curtis had been taken to. When police officers investigating the murder learned that another man had been admitted to Roosevelt hospital with stab wounds around the same time as Curtis, they quickly realized that the two events were connected. Montañez was charged with Curtis' murder and subsequently sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
  • --- SUE CHALONER - "Answer My Prayer" by Sue Chaloner (born 1953) -- one-sided 33 test pressing recorded in 1991 with Pulse-8 Records (UK). Sue is an English-Dutch pop singer, best known for the '70s duo Spooky and Sue. She is living in Holland these days and tours Europe constantly.
  • --- REX STEWART - "Jug Blues" ("ST 2219-2", "M3-113850", "PART 5196" by Rex Stewart -- white label one-sided original shellac test pressing. Recorded at Studio Technisonor, Paris, France on December 9 & 10, 1947. Rex Stewart (1907-1967) liked to experiment with his cornet, creating different sounds. He popularized the half-valve technique and was quite adept at playing just his valve. Both are employed on "Jug Blues," backing the rough-and-ready vocalizing of bass player Wilson Myers. On the song: Rex Stewart (cor) Sandy Williams (tb) George Kennedy (as, cl) Vernon Story (ts) Don Gais (p) Ted Curry (d).
  • --- BESSIE SMITH - "There'll Be a Hot Time In Town Tonight" (Matrix #21840) white label one-sided original 78 shellac test pressing, with hand-written information about the "Empress of the Blues," Bessie Smith (1894-1937). Recorded in 1927 by Columbia Records.
    BACKGROUND: Bessie Smith's magnificent voice, sense of the dramatic, clarity of diction (you never missed a word of what she sang) and incomparable time and phrasing set her apart from the competition and made her appeal as much to jazz lovers as to lovers of the blues.

Her voice was remarkable, filling the largest hall without amplification and reaching out to each listener in beautiful, earthy tones. Born into poverty in Chattanooga, TN, Bessie Smith began singing for money on street corners and eventually rose to become the largest-selling recording artist of her day. So mesmerizing was her vocal style - reinforced by her underrated acting and comedic skills - that near-riots frequently erupted when she appeared. Those outside the theaters clamored to get in; those inside refused to leave without hearing more of Smith. Guitarist Danny Barker as saying: "Bessie Smith was a fabulous deal to watch. She was a large, pretty woman and she dominated the stage. You didn't turn your head when she went on. You just watched Bessie. If you had any church background like people who came from the [U.S.] South as I did, you would recognize a similarity between what she was doing and what those preachers and evangelists from there did, and how they moved people. She could bring about mass hypnotism." With her earnings, Smith was able to purchase a custom-designed railroad car for herself and her troupe in 1925. This luxury allowed her to circumvent some of the dispiriting effects of the racism found in both northern and southern states as she traveled with her own tent show or with the Theater Owners' Booking Association (TOBA) shows, commanding a weekly salary that peaked at $2,000. Twice she was instrumental in helping save Columbia Records from bankruptcy.

  • --- KID ORY - "The World's Jazz Crazy, Lawdy So Am I" and "Creole bo bo" (two-sided shellac test pressing recorded October 21, 1946 by Columbia #37276 and #37277). As a prime surviving trombonist from the dawn of recorded jazz, Edward "Kid" Ory served as the eye of a hurricane driving the resurgence of traditional New Orleans entertainment during the mid-'40s. His radio broadcasts and the excellent studio recordings he cut during the second half of the 1940s helped to repopularize old-fashioned jazz and paved the way for a full-blown Dixieland revival during the 1950s. The "Creole Bo Bo" ("Bo Bo" being a sort of dance) was one of his popular selections, along with "The World's Jazz Crazy," which sounded a lot like "Ballin' the Jack."
  • --- CHARLIE PARKER - "Big Foot" Part I&II. recorded on December 11, 1948 at the Royal Roost. (two-sided shellac). This is a very nice, near mint 10" (78rpm). Miles Davis and Kinny Dorham are on trumpet, with pianist Al Haig, bassist Tommy Potter and drummer Max Roach.
    BACKGROUND: Arguably the greatest saxophonist of all time, Charlie "Bird" Parker was one of a handful of artists who permanently changed jazz. The altoist's phenomenal technique, ability to play perfectly coherent solos at blinding speeds, array of fresh ideas and phrases and his genius at improvising over chord changes have inspired and been emulated by a countless number of musicians from 1945 up to the present. Most of Bird's most famous solos were made in the studio either for Savoy, Dial or Verve. However, when his band was captured live at clubs, the results were even more stunning. Parker was able to take lengthy solos and his string of ideas never seemed to run out of creativity or excitement. From the Royal Roost with his regularly working quintet.
    ROYAL ROOST: 1580 Broadway (at 47th Street). Peak years: 1946 to mid-’50s. In 1942, a new sound began to be heard in New York City: snappy, staccato phrasing, harmonic leaps and rhythmic elasticity all taken at a breakneck tempo that favored 8th notes (and sometimes 16th notes) for maximum effect. By 1944, this sound that defined a doorway into the modern era of jazz had its heroes—Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie—and a name: bebop. Sept. 1948-March 1949—Bird’s quintet featured weekly at Royal Roost Club in NYC, dubbed the "Metropolitan Bopera House;" stellar sessions taped off radio broadcasts by Boris Rose, others during recording ban by American Federation of Musicians; broadcasts flavored by colorful deep-voiced musings of legendary jazz disc jockey "Symphony Sid" Torin.
  • --- FLETCHER HENDERSON ORCHESTRA - "Tidal Wave" (single-sided vinyl test pressing recorded on September 12, 1934 in New York by Decca). The Fletcher Henderson Orchestra was the most popular African-American band of the 1920s. The smooth, carefully arranged sound of Henderson's orchestra was a huge influence on the Swing style of the next decade. The Orchestra played at the Club Alabam on West 44th Street in New York from 1922 to July of 1924 and then moved to the Roseland Ballroom when Armand J. Piron's Orchestra vacated the job and returned to New Orleans. In 1924 Henderson  hired Louis Armstrong to replace Joe Smith on trumpet. Armstrong's thirteen months in the band caused quite a stir among New York Jazz musicians who had never heard anything like him. The orchestra also featured Coleman Hawkins on tenor saxophone, Buster Bailey on clarinet and Don Redman on alto saxophone and also contributing arrangements. When Armstrong left the band to return to Chicago to join Erskine Tate's Vendome Orchestra a succession of fine cornet and trumpet players played in the band.
  • --- BILL HARRIS - "Bill Harris and His Guitar" (two-sided vinyl advance/test pressing, recorded in 1956 by Mercury).  EmArcy # MG 36097 from Mercury. This EmArcy Solo Guitar from 1956 is considered to be the first album of solo jazz guitar ever released. The song titles are typewritten on the label...Selections are: Stompin' at the Savoy, Moonglow, Cherokee, Out of Nowhere, Ethel, Possessed, Perdido, I Can't Get Started, Dreaming, K.C. Shuffle, Ivanhoe, and Lover.
    BACKGROUND
    : Guitarist Bill Harris was one of the finest solo guitar players to take on classical guitar, jazz and blues. He was lead guitarist, composer/arranger and singer with The Clovers in the early 1950's. Bill Harris was a professor of music at Howard University. During the '70s, Harris operated Pigfoot, a Washington, D.C., restaurant, nightclub, and art gallery.
  • --- JIM GODDARD of the Foreman Banks - "Heav'n Heav'n" and "Lucky Jim" (very rare two-sided shellac white label pressing of otherwise unreleased 1930 Brunswick masters) by Jim Goddard. Adapted by Harry Thacker Burleigh in 1921 as "Heav'n Heav'n (Gonna Shout All Over God's Heav'n)"
  • --- JOE LIGGINS & HIS HONEYDRIPPERS  - Joe Liggins (1915 - 1987) with "Little Willie" and "Think of Me" (very rare two-sided Exclusive sample copy (EXC-1139, Master Series: 252, Hollywood, CA). Songs featured "Little" Willie Jackson on alto and baritone; James Jackson on tenor; Joe Liggins on piano; Frank Pasley on guitar; Eddie Davis on bass; Peppy Prince on drums.
    BACKGROUND: Joe was an American R&B, jazz, and blues pianist, who was the frontman in the 19402 and 1950s with the band, Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers. His band was often the staple on the US Billboard R&B chart in those years, with their biggest hit logging a reported 2 million sales.
  • --- UNKNOWN 1930s ORCHESTRA playing W.C. Handy's "Big Stick Blues" (single-sided Metropolitan Recording Studios acetate which seems to be from a radio program on the life & compositions of W.C. Handy -- an announcer speaks at the beginning --- note that "Big Stick Blues" was never recorded prior to this recording and this seems to be a unique item).
  • --- ALBERT "SCRATCH" PHILLIPS - "Mary Jo" (by the Four Blazes) and "Fancy Meeting You" (by Count Basie) -- two-sided 10" shellac KCOR radio pressing, hand written on the label and signed by Scratch. Albert "Scratch" Phillips was a legendary African American disc jockey in San Antonio, Texas. Hired by KCOR on May 25th, 1951, Scratch hosted a nightly two-hour R&B radio show on KCOR. The listeners were treated to Jackie Wilson, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, James Brown and many other entertainers. In 1953 KCOR opened up a cafe. Scratch installed a broadcasting booth in the cafe, from which he originated his nightly program. He later hosted a KCOR TV (channel 41) show. Scratch died in December, 2004.
  • --- LOUIS ARMSTRONG - "Big Butter and Egg Man" and "When it's Sleepytime Down South" (two-sided shellac test). "Big Butter and Egg Man" was a 1926 jazz song written by Percy Venable. Venable was a record producer at the Sunset Cafe and wrote the song for Louis Armstrong and singer May Alix. The song is often played by Dixieland bands, and is considered a jazz standard. According to pianist Earl Hines, Alix would often tease the young Armstrong during performances. Armstrong was known to be timid, and had a crush on the beautiful vocalist. At times, Armstrong would forget the lyrics and just stare at Alix, and band members would shout "Hold it, Louis! Hold it." Armstrong's utterly confident cornet solo on the 1926 recording is one of his most highly acclaimed performances. The song name was a 1920s slang term for a big spender, a traveling businessman in the habit of spending large amounts of money in nightclubs. The song is also known as "I Want a Big Butter and Egg Man" or "Big Butter and Egg Man from the West".
    >>> A genuine Decca 78rpm record with "When it's Sleeytime Down South" by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra.
    -- In 1931, Armstrong first recorded "When It's Sleepytime Down South," the tune that became his theme song.
  • --- LOUIS ARMSTRONG - "I'll Walk Alone" and "Kiss of Fire" -- two-sided shellac test pressing, with "Kiss of Fire" adapted from 'El Choclo' (Lester Allen–Robert Hill) Decca 28177, [Master 82703]. Recorded April 19, 1952, Denver, Colorado  -- I touch your lips and all at once the sparks go flying, Those devil lips that know so well the art of lying. And though I see the danger, still the flame grows higher, I know I must surrender to your kiss of fire. In anyone else's hands, the ancient tango Kiss Of Fire would have sounded ludicrous, but Satch gives it the same light-hearted treatment Fats Waller might have given it. Had he heard it, Waller would have nodded in approval of Louis' tag: 'Ah, boin (burn) me!'
    -- "I'll Walk Alone" is recorded the same date (April 19, 1952) in Denver, CO (Styne; Cahn) [master 82702] -- Decca 28177. Armstrong, Louis (Trumpet, Vocal), Phillips, Russ (Trombone), Bigard, Barney (Clarinet), Ruffell, Donald (Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone), Napoleon, Marty (Piano), Jones, Dale (Bass), Cole, Cozy (Drums).
  • --- LOUIS ARMSTRONG - "I Dream of Jeanie" and "Indian Love Call" (two-sided shellac test). "I Dream of Jeanie" was written by Stephen Foster, originally titled "I Dream of Jenny with the Light Brown Hair." Jenny was the nickname of Stephen Foster's wife to whom - with whom he had an unhappy on-again marriage. And he wrote this when they were estranged, or - it's a little bit unclear - or possibly, just gotten back together again. I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair. Borne like a vapor on the summer air. I see her tripping where the bright streams play, happy as the daisies that dance on her way. Many were the wild notes her merry voice would pour. Many were the blithe birds that warbled them o'er.
    >>> A genuine Decca 78rpm record with "Indian Love Call" and "Jeanine" by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra.
     -- "Indian Love Call"
    was recorded by Louis Armstrong and Gordon Jenkins & his Orchestra. Written by Rudolf Friml, Herbert Stothart, Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II. Recorded on November 28, 1951 in Los Angeles: Louis Armstrong, trumpet, vocal; Chris Griffin, George Thow, Bruce Hudson, trumpet; Eddie Miller, Dent Eckels, tenor saxophone; Charles LaVere, piano; Allan Reuss, guitar; Phil Stephens, bass; Nick Fatool, drums; Unknown strings, Gordon Jenkins (arranger, conductor). Originally released on Decca 28076. "Indian Love Call" wasn't the type of song Louis was going to start performing live with the All Stars. Also, it doesn't appear to have made any waves on the charts, either. But on June 8, 1952, over six months after the studio recording, Louis performed it on "The U. S. Royal Showcase," an NBC television show with a studio band conducted for the occasion by Gordon Jenkins. This performance was never issued commercially but it is a fantastic little rarity.
  • --- LOUIS ARMSTRONG - "I Get Ideas" and "It's All in the Game" (two-sided shellac test). The song, "I Get Ideas" was originally a tango-cancion (music with lyrics) called "Adios, Muchachos", composed by Julio Cesar Sanders (often credited in the U.S. as "Lenny Sanders"). The recording bywas recorded on July 24, 1951 and released by as catalog number 27720. It first reached the Billboard magazine charts on August 24, 1951 and lasted 16 weeks on the chart, peaking at #13. It was the flip side to "A Kiss to Build A Dream On."
    -- "It's All in the Game" was a jazz arrangement was recorded by Louis Armstrong (vocals) and arranger Gordon Jenkins, with "some of Armstrong's most honey-tinged singing." Carl Sigman composed the lyrics in 1951 to a wordless 1911 composition entitled "Melody in A Minor," written by Charles Dawes, later VP of the United States under Calvin Coolidge. It is the only #1 pop single (a 1958 #1 hit for Tommy Edwards) to have been co-written by a U.S. Vice President.

--- DEEP RIVER BOYS - "What Did He Say?" (The Mumbles Song). This is a rare original 10"/78 RPM test pressing of the famous "Mumbles Song" by the Deep River Boys on RCA Records -- serial # D7-VA-2057-1A. This recording was found in a storage facility not far from the original recording studio in Camden, NJ.
BACKGROUND: The Deep River Boys had their genesis on the campus of Hampton Institute in Virginia in the mid thirties. They found their first success in winning radio's "Amateur Hour" competition. This notoriety led to opportunities to appear on stage and in radio. During the Second World War the group did extensive touring for the USO and provided entertainment for American troops overseas. The members for most of the life of the group were Harry Douglas, Jimmy Lundy, Ed Ware, and Vernon Gardner.
In 1948 they released two songs for RCA -- "I'm Sorry I Didn't Say I'm Sorry" and “What Did He Say,” written by Cy Coben. Could this have been the first rap song ever recorded?

  • --- PAUL ROBESON - "De 'Old Ark's A-Movering" and " Ezekiel Saw de Wheel" were recorded as Echantillon Invendable "Sample Unmarketable" Spirituals by Rapport (Report) de Fusins in Paris, France on March 3, 1927 (one-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test pressing) --K7825, MX #38420, XREF #MW6068.
    BACKGROUND: In 1925 the baritone Paul Robeson became the first major singer to perform Lawrence Benjamin Brown's spiritual arrangement in concert. Robeson also was the first solo singer to offer an entire concert of spirituals
  • --- INTERNATIONAL SINGERS with CLIFFORD KEMP, CONDUCTOR - "Ave Maria" (Villa-Lobos) was recorded by the International Singers (with Clifford Kemp, conductor) at Carnegie Hall in New York on April 7, 1949 (one-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test pressing -- #H1, Carnegie Hall Recording Co.).
    BACKGROUND: THE INTERNATIONAL SINGERS, with Clifford Kemp as their conductor appeared at Carnegie Hall in concert on April 7, 1949. Under the energetic and sensitive direction of Mr. Kemp, the International Singers are rapidly becoming known as the group likely to bring us realistic interpretations of folk songs from many countries. Consisting of forty voices with as many nationalities represented, the singers were exceptionally persuasive in their rendition of songs like "Ave Maria" and many others. Clifford Kemp once stated, "Music can iron out misunderstandings better than logic."
  • --- DUKE ELLINGTON - "Blue Skies" and "Squeeze Me But Don't Tease Me" (two-sided shellac). This is a very nice, near mint 10" (78rpm) Mid-1940s era air check of Duke Ellington. Can't tell much more about it, except that the record came from the collection of an advanced Ellington collector.
    BACKGROUND: “Blue Skies” was covered by well over 100 artists, including Duke Ellington. The song was born of more desperation than inspiration. It was introduced in 1926 by well-known vaudeville star Belle Baker in the Broadway musical Betsy, but that doesn’t begin to describe the saga of how an Irving Berlin song ended up in a Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical. The young songwriting team of Rodgers and Hart had written the score for Betsy in the new fashion sweeping Broadway musicals, that of integrating songs into the characters and dramatic context of the story rather than stringing together a series of song and dance numbers in the style of a revue, often with little connection to the plotline. Betsy, produced by Florenz Ziegfeld, was scheduled to open on Broadway in December of 1926 after its Boston tryout, where it was moderately well received but was far from being a hit. Berlin’s first child had been born in November of 1926, and the song he had started but not finished was to be gift to his new daughter. All he had was the first eight bars of the refrain, but with the help of Baker and her husband, Maurice Abrahams, working through the night he finished the song, lyrics and all, and it became “Blue Skies.” Herbert Baker recalls, “It’s now about seven in the morning and the show is due to open that night. My mother gets on the phone and calls Florenz Ziegfeld. She wakes him up and she tells him that Irving Berlin has been up all night working on a song for her, and it’s finished, and it’s great, and she wants to sing it tonight, and if she can’t sing it tonight she doesn’t want to open in the show. When Baker sang “Blue Skies” she stopped the show and had to sing twenty-four encores. On the twenty-third time, overwhelmed by the response, she forgot the lyrics, and Berlin, who was in the audience, stood up and gave her the words. They finished the next chorus singing together.
  • --- DUKE ELLINGTON - "Just Good Fun" was recorded by Duke Ellington (piano solo) at an ARC-Brunswick recording session in New York on March 8, 1939 (one-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test pressing) -- mx #MW-990-1, issued on LP only; FDC-1003.
  • --- JIMMY RUSHING with COUNT BASIE & HIS ORCHESTRA  - "The Blues I Like to Hear" (one-sided shellac test). This song was recorded in New York City with Jimmy Rushing on vocals -- November 16, 1938 (released on Decca 2284, Matrix #64748. Composed by Jimmy Rushing and arranged by Buster Smith. Count Basie and his Orchestra : Ed Lewis, Harry Edison, Buck Clayton, tp; Dicky Wells, Dan Minor, BennyMorton, tb; Earl Warren, as; Lester Young,Herschel Evans, ts; Jack Washington, bs, as; Count Basie, p; Freddie Green, g; Walter Page, b; Jo Jones, drums.
       BACKGROUND: Born James Andrew Rushing on August 26, 1903, in Oklahoma City, OK; died June 8, 1972, in New York, NY. Jazz vocalist. Pianist. Played in Southern California with Jelly Roll Morton, Harvey Brooks, and Paul Howard, 1920s; member of Walter Page Blue Devils band, 1927-29; joined Bennie Moten's orchestra, 1929-35; member of Count Basie Orchestra, 1935-50; toured with his own septet, 1950-52; as a solo act, 1952-72; Europe with Humphrey Littleton, Buck Clayton, Benny Goodman, 1961; Japan and Australia with Eddie Condon, 1964; appeared in film The Learning Tree, 1969; appeared at the Half Note in New York City playing with Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, early 1970s. Jimmy Rushing, also known as "Mr. Five by Five," (short height and wide girth) possessed ajoyous, booming voice that could be clearly heard over the swinging jazz orchestras of the big band era and beyond. He began his career as a piano player in the 1920s, but soon found his voice. He made his name with the Count Basie Orchestra in the 1940s, and enjoyed an active career singing solo and with jazz and big-band greats such as Humphrey Lyttleton, Buck Clayton, Benny Goodman, Eddie Condon, Al Cohn, and Zoot Sims, among others. He toured the United States and abroad, and his voice can be heard on countless recordings, including the most recent compilations The Essential Jimmy Rushing (1978), Mister Five by Five (1980), and The Classic Count (1982).
  • --- COUNT BASIE and ORCHESTRA - "I'm Going to Move Way Out On the Outskirts of Town" was recorded for Columbia Records in Chicago on April 3, 1942 (one-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test -- #C-4226-1, Columbia Records). Count Basie is on the piano and Jimmie Rushing is on vocals.
  • --- COUNT BASIE and ORCHESTRA - "Farewell Blues" was recorded for Columbia Records 1942, released in May 1944 (one-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test -- #36712 HCO-7877-1, Columbia Records). is a 1922 jazz standard written by Paul Mares, Leon Roppolo and Elmer Scoebel. The song was originally recorded on August 29, 1922 in Richmond, Indiana. Count Basie recorded this smooth blues instrumental in 1942.
  • --- KITTY WHITE - "Cashmere Sweater" and "The River, The Moonlight and You" were recorded in NYC with an unidentified orchestra (Hal Mooney, conductor) on November 9, 1956 (Whitehall Music, Record #70817two-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test -- Master #12452 & #12453).
  • --- SARAH VAUGHN - "Easy Come Easy Go Lover" was recorded in NYC with the Don Costa Orchestra on March 29, 1954 (Mercury Records, Midway Music, #70299, one-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test.
  • --- BILL DAVIS - "Lullaby of Birdland" was recorded by the Bill Davis Trio on January 8th, 1953 (Columbia Records, Okeh label, #6946, one-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test, Matrix CO486771. Songf was written by George Shearing. Birdland was a famous jazz club in New York City located at 1678 Broadway at 44th Street. It had previously been the Clique Club where pianist George Shearing, composer of “Lullaby of Birdland,” first played in 1949 with clarinetist Buddy De Franco. Later that year owner Morris Levy renamed the club Birdland in honor of Charlie "Bird” Parker.
    -- BACKGROUND: In his autobiography, Lullaby of Birdland: The Autobiography of George Shearing, Shearing says that there was nothing special about the small club which seated a maximum of 175 when packed. But it became famous because of the live broadcasts which originated there. In 1952 Levy decided to have station WJZ in New York broadcast a disc jockey program from there, and he asked Shearing to record a theme song for the show. But Shearing didn’t like the song that Levy gave him, so he offered to write one especially for the show. Levy finally agreed with the stipulation that he be given publishing rights while Shearing retain composer rights. For weeks Shearing tried to come up with something but to no avail. Suddenly one night in the middle of dinner he jumped up, went to the piano and wrote the whole thing in about ten minutes. The pianist explains, “Actually quite a lot of my compositions have come this way--very slow going for a week or so, and the finished piece comes together very rapidly, but as I say to those who criticize this method of working, it’s not that I dash something off in ten minutes, it’s ten minutes plus umpteen years in the business.” Shearing recorded his instrumental for the radio show and ultimately adopted it as the theme song for his quintet. Somewhat later George David Weiss added lyrics to the tune, and Sarah Vaughan recorded it in December, 1954, for Mercury with trumpeter Clifford Brown. It was one of her biggest hits and became a standard in her repertoire. In 1956 a Parisian vocal group called the Blue Stars took the song to the charts where it rose to #16. In 1962 Bill Haley and His Comets recorded a version of the tune which they called, “Lullaby of Birdland Twist.”
    -- NOTE: On Feb 14, 2011. George Shearing, the British piano virtuoso who overcame blindness to become a worldwide jazz star, and whose composition, "Lullaby of Birdland" became an enduring jazz standard, died in Manhattan. He was 91.
  • --- LARRY DARNELL - "I'll Be Sittin' I'll Be Rockin'" and "Crazy She calls Me" were recorded with orchestra (Leroy Kirkland, conductor) in 1953 (Columbia Records, Okeh label  #6954 two-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test -- Master #CO48077 & #CO48060). Composers for I'll Be Sittin': S. Wyche & L Kirkland. Composers for Crazy She Calls Me: C. Sigman & B. Russell.
    -- BACKGROUND: This great R & B performer started out in 1950 with two well received recordings on the Regal label. Number 3236 - "I'll Get Along Somehow" and soon after #3240 - "For you My Love". "I'll Get Along" is an immediate hit on the West coast. In January of 1953 singer Varetta Dillard joins the tour with Darnell and the two Harris blues men. In April "I'll Be Sittin' and I'll Be Rockin'" and "Crazy She Calls Me" is released on Okeh #6954. The famous R & B popularity poll held by the Pittsburgh Courier places Larry Darnell third among all male performers attesting to his lasting appeal despite slumping record sales. Some of the shows on tour offer an all out "Battle Of The Blues" between Wynonie Harris and Larry Darnell.
  • --- FRANK MURPHY - "Our Song and "What Can I Do?" were recorded with Norman Leyden in January 1953 (Columbia Records, Okeh label  #6954 two-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test -- Master #CO48077 & #CO48060). Composers for I'll Be Sittin': S. Wyche & L Kirkland.
  • --- BILL DAVIS - ""Nina Never Knew" and "Rhapsody in Blue" were recorded in 1953 (Columbia Records, Okeh label  #6965 two-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test.
  • --- JACKIE ROY & the COLLEGIANS - "The Leaf" and "You Made a Fool of Me" were recorded with the Ray Ellis Orchestra in March, 1953 (Columbia Records, Okeh label  #6954 two-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test.
  • --- SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON - "Sonny Boy's Cold Chills" was recorded in Chicago on August 6, 1946 (RCA Victor, Record #20-2184, one-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test.  Willis Lacy on guitar, Ransom Knowling on string bass, and Blind John Davis on piano. Aleck "Rice" Miller (December 5, 1899? – May 25, 1965) was an African American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter. He was also known as Sonny Boy Williamson II, Sonny Boy Williams, Willie Williamson, Willie Miller, Little Boy Blue, The Goat and Footsie.
  • --- THE DIXIE STARS - "Sweet Mandy" and "Henry Jones" were recorded on May 10, 1927 by Al Bernard and Russel Robinson (Brunswick Records, #E-23069 & #E-23064, two-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test. Al Bernard was born in New Orleans, he became a blackface singer in minstrel shows before starting his recording career around 1916. He was one of the first white singers to record blues songs. W.C. Handy credited Bernard with helping his own career by recording a number of his songs.
  • --- LOUIS ARMSTRONG & HIS HOT FIVE - "You Made Me Love You" and "Irish Black Bottom" were recorded on November 27, 1926 (two-sided, 10" 78rpm shellac test -- #09981A & #09980A). The song, "Irish Black Bottom" was all the craze in Ireland.
  • --- BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS - "Babylon By Buss" and "It's All in the Game" (two-sided 12" 2LP test -- ISLD-11). Babylon By Bus is a live album released by Bob Marley & The Wailers in 1978. The album was recorded mostly at the Pavillion de Paris in June 1978, during the Kaya Tour. Like the 1973 album Catch A Fire, the first release had something of a novelty cover. The windows of the bus on the front cover were cut out, revealing part of the inner sleeve. The listener had a choice of four different scenes to view through the windows.
  • EXTREMELY RARE: V-Disc
    --- JIMMY LUNCEFORD & HIS ORCHESTRA ("THE JIMMIES")  - "I Need a Lift" (extremely rare 12" one-sided V-Disc 78rpm shellac test -- VP-1590, No. 568A). This song featured Kirtland Bradford on alto sax, with vocals by "The Jimmies" band.
    BACKGROUND: V-Disc ("V" for Victory) was a morale-boosting initiative involving the production of several series of recordings during the World War II era by special arrangement between the United States government and various private U.S. record companies. The records were produced for the use of United States military personnel overseas. Many popular singers, big bands and orchestras of the era recorded special V-Disc records. These 12-inch, vinyl 78 rpm gramophone recordings were created for the army between October 1943 and May 1949. Navy discs were released between July 1944 and September 1945. Twelve inch discs were used because, when 136 grooves per inch were used, they could hold up to six and a half minutes of music. The V-Disc project actually began in June 1941, six months before the United States' involvement in World War II, when Captain Howard Bronson was assigned to the Army's Recreation and Welfare Section as a musical advisor. Bronson suggested the troops might appreciate a series of records featuring military band music, inspirational records that could motivate soldiers and improve morale. By 1942, the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) sent 16-inch, 33 rpm vinyl transcription discs to the troops from eight sources: special recording sessions, concerts, recitals, radio broadcasts, film sound tracks and commercial records.

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There are two types of 78 pressing: Stock Shellac and Laminated:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
--- Stock shellac pressings are those produced from a shellac and filler mix (the fillers were put in to both increase the resistance to wear and to keep the price down - shellac was and is expensive!). Because of the quantity of filler used, stock shellac surfaces tend to be noisy and prone to grittiness, e.g. Victor, Brunswick, Vocalion, Decca etc. Most records pressed in the US, Europe and Britain were stock shellac.
--- Laminated pressings used a low quality filler core but then had a high quality playing surface bonded to it. This playing surface was shellac rich which meant that the surface noise was reduced massively. The main users of Laminated Pressings in the US were Columbia (1923-33 and again in the 1940s) and OKeh (1926-33 and again later in the 1940s). In Britain Columbia (1923-31)and Parlophone (1928-31) used laminated pressings until the merger with HMV into EMI in 1931. Thereafter all EMI records were produced on stock shellac. In continental Europe many Columbia and HMV (1928-1940s) pressings were also laminated. The most interesting exception was Australia, where laminated pressings were the rule rather than the exception from 1923 (Columbia) and 1931 (HMV) right through to the end of 78s. Because of limited pressing facilities, even labels such as Decca appeared as laminated pressings. The superior surfaces of the Australian laminated pressings have thus long been prized by collectors.

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