The Legends of the Rocking Dutchman - episode 179

Eight double-siders and a twelve inch

This transcript of the radio show is an approximation of what I said in the show. The real spoken parts may differ slightly.

And for today a very short playlist and still an hour full of music - I selected tracks that were too long to fit one side of a 78 - so halfway I flip the record where the tune continues on the other side. A pretty common way to avoid the technical limit - even though the owner of the record still had the break where he had to turn it over. Well nowadays you won't get it with the clicking mechanism of the turntable.

And I start with a blues from 1931 on the Vocalion label of J.T. 'Funny Paper' Smith - a pretty strange nickname for this John T. Smith. Most likely his nickname was Funny Papa and the error was caused by the record company.

He was born somewhere before 1890 so he definitely is an older generation of bluesmen. All his recorded output is from a few sessions in 1930 and '31 and that includes the double sider that I'm gonna play now, and another 6-minute piece of blues, the Howling Wolf Blues. A few years later he was arrested and convicted for murder and he died in prison about 1940.

Here is the Seven Sisters Blues.

01 - J.T. 'Funny Paper' Smith - Seven Sisters Blues
02 - Victoria Spivey with Lonnie Johnson - You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now!

You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now - one of the blues duets of Lonnie Johnson and Victoria Spivey. This was recorded in 1929 on the OKeh label. Now blues duets are pretty rare but these Spivey and Johnson recordings are a real treat. Victoria's blues all have a haunting style and melodies that are well rooted in twenties blues but they have a taste of their own.

For today double-siders only - music that was so long that it had to be split up over two sides of the 78 rpm record. Next is an instrumental of Illinois Jacquet - the classic Flying Home. Now Jacquet had done this before in 1942 with Lionel Hampton and his band and that was a groundbreaking record for Jacquet pioneering in a new style of saxophone playing - loud, hard and unsophisticated honking. It was the piece that raised the roof of the joint wherever they played but physically very demanding for Illinois Jacket. When he left Hampton in '43 for the band of Cab Calloway, others had to take over his role - and so Arnett Cobb and Dexter Gordon got the next honkers on the sax.

Jacquet was born in Louisiana from parents who were both Creoles of color - once a class in society with many privileges over freed slaves but from the end of the 19th century they had to deal with the same Jim Crow laws as every African American. Via Houston, he moved to Los Angeles and in 1945 he re-recorded Flying Home with his own combo as a honking double-sider- and it was the very first release of the brand new Philo label - the label that later went by the name of Aladdin.

Here he is - Illinois Jacket.

03 - Illinois Jacquet - Flying Home
04 - Joe Liggins - Three O'Clock Jump

From 1949 on the Exlusive label Joe Liggins and his Honeydripper with the Three O'Clock Jump - definitely inspired on Count Basie's classic of two hours before - the One O'Clock Jump. It was four years after Joe Liggins' monster hit the Honeydripper and still he was one of the major moneymakers for the tiny Exclusive label of Leon Rene. A label that went out of business at the end of that year, and that brought Liggins to the label where his brother Jimmy already was signed - Specialty.

Next singer and actress Pearl Bailey. After a career in vaudeville she debuted in the Broadway production St. Louis Women as Madam Butterfly that brought her a Donaldson award - the most prestigious award for musicals before the Tony Awards were instituted. From her - A Little Learnin' Is A Dang'rous Thing

05 - Pearl Bailey - A Little Learnin' Is A Dang'rous Thing
06 - Jo Jo Adams - Around The Watch

Jo Jo Adams on the Hy-Tone label backed up by a combo led by guitarist Floyd Smith, a former member of Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy. Doctor Jo Jo Adams was a comedian and blues singer with quite a reputation on Chicago's South Side where he performed in clubs in costumes in wild colors and Cab Calloway-style long coat tails - and what that prefix Doctor comes from, I guess it must have been one of his comedy gimmicks.

This Around the Watch from a late 1946 session in Chicago's United Broadcasting Studios was on a popular theme in the blues - either lovemaking or partying around the clock. All of them hark back to the early twenties when Trixie Smith did her first version of My Man Rocks Me With One Steady Roll, that describes twelve hours of lovemaking where every hour, the lovers see the clock strike the hour, comment on how they're having a ball - and continue. All of these blues have the same format. Now the Rock 'n Roll classic Rock Around The Clock is said to be inspired on these kind of blues - but it's a completely different song.

From Chicago we jump to Oakland, CA that by the mid-forties had built up a nice Black entertainment scene - but it got only the very small Rhythm label of San Francisco to record it. From this, guitarist Saunders King with his combo with a recording from 1949. Here is S.K. Jumps, a.k.a. the Summertime Boogie.

07 - Saunders King - Sk Jumps-Part (Summertime Boogie)
08 - Jimmie Gordon - Jacksonville

From 1936 on the Decca label Jimmie Gordon with Jacksonville. Here he plays and sings alone, where in a lot of his Decca recordings he's accompanied by Decca regulars on all kinds of instruments, billed as the Vip Vop Band, a non-existing combo but just musicians put together for the occasion.

Today I played double-siders, records that have the song or instrumental split up over the two sides, to work around the technical limit of about 3:15 for a 78 RPM record. Still of course, the listener had to flip the record to play the other side, but with the technology of the 78 RPM record with its wide grooves and speed and 10 inch size, just no more was possible.

In most cases there were not just cut in two - you can hear the band make a short outtro for the A-side and start all new for the flip, making it rather a sequel to the first half than just cut in two. Well in live performances, the band just played on, and often more than these six minutes. Joe Liggins' Honeydripper, one of the two greatest Rhythm & Blues hits ever, was a six-minute double-sider on record, but on stage it lasted over fifteen minutes and it served as the closer of the gig.

Some rare records have been pressed as 12 inch size to be able to get to somewhat over four minutes. These records could never get popular, as they just didn't fit on most phonographs.

There's a few discs on the Blue Note jazz label that were released that way. Here is one of these rare records - from 1944. A great boogie woogie blues instrumental, here is trumpeter Sydney De Paris with his Blue Note Jazz Men - listen to The Call Of The Blues.

09 - Sidney de Paris Blue Note Jazz Men - The Call Of The Blues

And what a great track to play loud, this 12 incher of Sidney De Paris and his Blue Note Jazz Men - that was the Call of the Blues. Sidney De Paris was a master with the muted trumpet, and he shows off that on this great session.

Well today I got no much time to talk with such long numbers and I suppose you didn't mind a bit more music and a bit less talk. Well of course you can let me know and send me an e-mail - the adddress is Any kinda feedback is greatly appreciated. Well the few things that done tell you today, you can look that up on the website of your favorite program. Easiest way to get there is to search the web for the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman - my site will show up first. On there you can also find out what'll be on for next week.

Next week there will be more great Rhythm & Blues - and until then, don't get the blues. See you next time, where I'll play more of your favorite music, here on the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman!