The Legends of the Rocking Dutchman - episode 259

Capitol Rhythm & Blues series

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 the first releases of the 70000 "Race" series of the Capitol label that started in 1949, seven years after the founding of the label and just after the second strike of the American Federation of Musicians, and by then Capitol was quickly growing towards one of the major record labels.

And I start with one of the sensations of 1949 - the Huckle-Buck. Starting as the D Natural Blues written by Andy Gibson, first performed on stage Lucky Millinder, but it was Paul Williams who recorded it first in December of '48 under the title of Huckle-Buck, even before Millinder got it on record. Soon some simple lyrics saw daylight, and it was Roy Milton who had the first performance of that. This was the second vocal recording, part of a storm of covers done by anyone from Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra to the unknown Big Sis Andrews and her Huckle-Busters that you'll get next. Here she is, on Capitol 70000, with the Huckle-Buck.

00 - 70000 - Big Sis Andrews and Her Huckle-Busters - The Huckle-Buck
00 - 70001 - Nellie Lutcher - Ditto from Me to You

Nellie Lutcher was that with Ditto From Me To You. Lutcher signed with the label when she done a talent contest and got the attention of a Capitol scout. Lutcher is one of several piano playing and singing artists with Capitol, with a lighter repertoire that still was rooted in the Rhythm & Blues. It proved to be succesful and she had several major hits in 1948. This was number 70001 on the new Race series of Capitol, that I spotlight today, here on the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman.

Next the obscure John 'Blues' Taylor - he had four sides for Capitol. Here is his Hackensack Mama.

00 - 70003 - Blues Taylor - Hackensack Mama
00 - 70004 - Sammy Davis Jr. - I Ain't Got Nobody


00 - 70006 - Julia Lee - Take It or Leave It
00 - 70007 - Blue Lu Barker - Trombone man blues

You got four in a row - after Blues Taylor, you got a young Sammy Davis Jr. with his version of the jazz classic I Ain't Got Nobody, backed by the band of Dave Cavanaugh. Davis went to become a popular singer, dancer and actor, but for Capitol he also recorded blues under the names of Shorty Muggins and Charlie Green.

Then came the jingle, and another of the piano ladies of Capitol. This was Julia Lee with Take It Or Leave It, just like Nellie Lutcher her lyrics were spicy and the style light and entertaining. These were, as she said, "the songs my mother taught me not to sing". The studio band was credited as "her boyfriends" - they included Jay McShann, Benny Carter and guitarist Nappy Lamare. Julia Lee had started her musical career in the twenties, but she's best known for her Capitol recordings.

Then finally you got Blue Lu Barker with the Trombone Man Blues - one of the many versions of the blues starting with the verse 'I Ain't never loved but three men in my life'. Barker is most remembered for her Don't You Feel My Leg, that she recorded in '38.

And the next one in the catalog of Capitol is another of Nellie Lutcher. Lutcher's career started early, at age 12 as a stand in pianist for Ma Rainey when her regular pianist was ill. Two years later she joined the band of Clarence Hart, and played the piano in several Los Angeles combos, but her Capitol recording contract brought her in the spotlights.

Here she is with Kiss Me Sweet.

00 - 70009 - Nellie Lutcher - Kiss Me Sweet
00 - 70010 - Addie Williams - Maybe Someday

Addie Williams had just one release on Capitol, this Maybe Someday and we're talking number 70010 on the Rhythm & Blues series of the label, that I spotlight today here on the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman. Capitol was in business from 1942, and after a humble start it was growing out to one of the major record labels - it had sold 42 million records by '46.

The iconic Capitol tower, close to the famous intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street was built in '55, just after the merger with British EMI, and it still houses the headquarters of the Universal Music group that EMI's music department now is part of. The circular building was designed as a stack of records on a turntable and it's a landmark in Hollywood.

Next another of Capitol's female pianists - Betty Hall Jones. The name of Jones, she put after her name when she married trombonist Jap Jones in either 1940 or 41, and he wrote the next song. It's her first release on the 70000 series, but not her first release for Capitol - just before this series was launched, her This Joint's Too Hip For Me was released on the 15000 series, a song about how she not liked the modern changes in jazz.

Here she is with a composition of her husband - You Got To Have What It Takes.

00 - 70011 - Betty Hall Jones - You Got To Have What It Takes
00 - 70012 - T-Bone Walker - Vacation Blues

The vacation blues of T-Bone Walker - recorded for the Black & While label in '47, but they were soon re-issued on Capitol that bought the masters from the defunct West Coast label. It has Lloyd Glenn on the piano and Teddy Buckner on the trumpet. Capitol kept the Black & White sessions in print throughout the fifties, especially the next one, the seminal Stormy Monday, that Walker would record several times in his career - and so did numerous other bluesmen.

Here is that Call It Stormy Monday - on Capitol 70014.

00 - 70014 - T-Bone Walker - Call It Stormy Monday
00 - 70013 - Julia Lee - Tonight's the night

Tonight's The Night - once more the piano playing of Julia Lee and that was on Capitol 70013 - now I intended to play the records in order of the catalog but I also wanted to keep the two T-Bone Walkers together, so I cheated a little.

The next one is a recording of Walter Brown - backed by Jimmy Walker on guitar and Freddy Culliver on the saxophone. Later that year Brown re-united with Jay McShann for a few recording dates in Kansas City. Brown did some real good work at - what appeared to be the near end of his recording career. After the Capitol dates came one session in Houston for the Peacock label, and a few more turbulent years without recording until his death in '56 as a victim of his addictions to alcohol, benzedrine and heroin. Here he is with the Lying Woman Blues.

00 - 70015 - Walter Brown - Lyin' Woman Blues
00 - 70016 - Tommy Douglas - Goosed

And another musician of the fruitful Kansas City scene - saxophonist Tommy Douglas honking his way through this restless instrumental named Goosed. Douglas by then had a long career behind him doing probably less wild but still exciting stuff - in the twenties in the reed section of Duke Ellington and in the thirties and forties with several own Kansas City bands - one of them had a sixteen year old Charlie Parker on board.

And we stay in Kansas City with Buster Moten - most likely the brother of the more famous Bennie Moten. The two worked together until Bennie died in '35. Buster wanted to take over the band, but the band's pianist Count Basie had other plans: he started out for himself and took most of the band members with him. Bus Moten formed several new bands, and one of them recorded in '49 for Capitol. He also was a good Louis Jordan-like singer, but on the next recording we find him in a simple popular song. Here is It's so Hard to Laugh or Smile.

00 - 70017 - Bus Moten - It's so Hard to Laugh or Smile
00 - 70019 - Lee Young - Seeing Double

Lee Young - the brother of saxophonist Lester Young with Seeing Double. Drummer Lee was different from his brother - Lester died after a long battle with alcohol at age 49, while Lee was just a hard worker, a session man on numerous recordings, the drummer in Nat King Cole's trio, and leading bands. Later he switched to producing and executive in the music business.

Well there's time for one more - another of the legendary sessions T-Bone Walker did for the Black & White label, that got a re-release on Capitol. Here he is with You're My Best Poker Hand.

17 - 70023 - T-Bone Walker - You're My Best Poker Hand

The great guitarist T-Bone Walker with You're My Best Poker Hand and when I hear him playing I always wonder what made him end up just on number 67 of the greatest 100 guitar players in the world.

T-Bone Walker had recorded for Capitol before, in fact, he was among the first ones to sign for the label. Now they got these re-releases from masters of the Black & White label, but Walker never got into the Capitol studio again. He signed for Imperial and later, in '55, for Atlantic.

And so today you got an insight in the catalog of Capitol's Rhythm & Blues series, with some of the greatest blues and some that I wonder what they were doing on a Rhythm & Blues list, such as Sammy Davis Jr. With Dave Cavanaugh and the Bus Moten song. Well of course you can let me know what you thought of it, and send e-mail to - feedback is greatly appreciated. And then all of what I told you today, you can find it on my website, and easiest way to get there is a Google search for the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman and it will show up first. Once in, this is show 259, or in the episodes list look for the name of Capitol records.

For now I'm done listeners. Next week there will be more great Rhythm & Blues. See you then, here on the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman!