The Legends of the Rocking Dutchman - episode 260

Soothing swing for feverish minds

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

And I had the flu this week, listeners, that is, as I'm producing this show I'm still not at my best. And with the thermometer on 103 there was little that could soothe me but a warm bed, a Tylenol and good music. Actually, I found myself zapping through the music on my mp3 player staying with a few favorites from the swing era. So I decided to dedicate this show to that soothing swing that I was listening to.

And I start with a genius composition of the totally unknown band of Nate Leslie. They only made one record, the flip is great, but this side is simply stunning. While listening, I was wondering how the director of a philharmonic could arrange this for a complete orchestra, as some of the parts sound as if they were just made for the violins section. Oh, maybe it were the phantoms of my overheated brain, but the idea stuck and still I think this is a brillant piece of music that's completely overlooked.

Here is Nate Leslie with Shaggin' at the Shore.

01 - Nate Leslie - Shaggin' at the Shore
02 - Bogan's Birmingham Busters - Everything Is Rhythm Now

Everything Is Rhythm Now - you got Bogan's Birmingham Busters and Bogan was the son of blues singer Lucille Bogan, and the band indeed resided in Birmingham, AL. The whole song is of a brilliant simplicity and definitely the best in the small legacy this territory band left.

For the next one the band of Lil Hardin Armstrong - the ex of Louis Armstrong led an all-male band. The instrumental breaks are wonderful in this one. Here is the Hi-De-Ho Man.

03 - Lil Hardin Armstrong - My Hi-De-Ho Man
04 - Eddie Durham - Magic Carpet


05 - Tiny Bradshaw - Mister, Will You Serenade
06 - Original Yellow Jackets - Blue Drag

Oh that Blue Drag, you drag my poor heart around and I can't get enough of that Blue Drag - whether it's this version by the obscure band the Original Yellow Jackets, or the soulful delivery of Steve Washington in the Washboard Rhythm Kings. This one was on the mp3 player - an old-fashioned 4 GB stick model, ideal for travel cause if the battery gets empty, you just put in a new AAA-size, instead of having to charge the whole device again. Now the Blue Drag soothed my mind while I had the flu - and that's what today's show is made up of, soothing swing for feverish minds.

You got more, before the Yellow Jackets came Tiny Bradshaw with Mister Will You Serenade, a cover of a Clarence Williams number, that's great in its own right, but the flaboyant performance of Bradshaw was the first version I ever heard of it, and something you automatically press the repeat button.

Then I have to account for what was before the jingle, that was Eddie Durham, the great pioneer on the electrical guitar, with his band playing the Magic Capet.

And I'm gonna let my mp3 player run again, on a version of the classic Everybody Loves My Baby. I love that song so much, for the message it brings of pride for the lover, and I think it so much describes my feelings for my lady. Here is Skeets Tolbert with His Gentlemen Of Swing.

07 - Skeets Tolbert & His Gentlemen Of Swing - Everybody Loves My Baby
08 - Sam Price - The Goon Drag (Gone Wid De Goon)

Pianist Sam Price with his Texas Blusicians, that in this session had Don Stovall and Lester Young on the saxophones. From 1940 that was the Goon Drag and what a great laid-back swing that is, that should make everyone happy instantly.

And the next one is Bennie Moten and his Kansas City Orchestra. It was recorded in Victor's famous studio in Camden, NJ, in december of '32. Great swing apparently also soothed the hardships of the Great Depression, that was at its deepest in the early thirties. Here is the Moten Swing.

09 - Bennie Moten - Moten Swing
10 - Sidney Bechet - Sidney's Blues

When Sidney Bechet hits the clarinet, it's always instant magic, but I dig this combined with that odd blues he sings and a great piano backing. The band was named his New Orleans Feetwarmers and that was just what I needed the last days.

And for the next one a nice song about a self-made businessman, in unison band chant. But it's the instrumentals that I dig on this goodie. Here is Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds of Joy with Little Joe From Chicago.

11 - Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds of Joy - Little Joe from Chicago
12 - Benny Goodman - Flying Home

Hmmm.. you can't get 'em any better than this, laying under the blankets shivering with cold this will heal you. Benny Goodman's combo was that with Flying Home and of course you recognized the guitar of Charlie Christian and the vibes of Lionel Hampton - but it's a small detail that makes me dig this goodie. When Benny's solo is done and Charlie gets the spotlight, Goodman silently retracts in the rhythm section, blowing three monotonous notes on his clarinet - hear. ... Then later it's Hamp's turn and Charlie Christian joins this subtle rhythm hint.

Goodman and his band were waiting for their flight home - and I can tell you listeners, in the late thirties that was much more of an adventure than today, flying across the country instead of taking a train or a bus. For Lionel Hampton it was the first time and he was very nervous, constantly whisling a little tune that became the theme of this Flying Home.

Hamp would later record it in his own right, in '42, with a young Illinois Jacket giving a wild honking performance - a completely different version from this one.

The next one I like, just for the antics on the trumpet of Cootie Williams. Here he is with the Echoes of Harlem.

13 - Cootie Williams - Echoes of Harlem
14 - Eddie Durham - Hittin The Bottle

There's some doubt among people whether the guitar of Eddie Durham was amplified or not - according to the guitarist himself it was, he'd attached the element of a microphone inside his guitar. That makes this Hittin The Bottle of Jimmy Lunceford's band, widely seen as the first recording of an electrical guitar - we're talking 1935. The wire was connected directly to the studio equipment for this recording. And Durham is at his best in this one - but the killer diller of it, to me that is that one rasping trumpet note.

And next for some great goodtime depression swing. I can only see a floor full of lindyhoppers when I play this. Also works great on max volume in my car. These are the Georgia Washboard Stompers - roughly the same band as the Washboard Rhythm Kings - with Who Stole The Lock Of The Henhouse Door.

15 - Georgia Washboard Stompers - Who Stole The Lock
16 - Lucky Millinder - Apollo Jump
17 - Chick Webb - Blue minor

And this smash - I left it to end with, one of the other tunes that I kept on repeating while sweating my fever out under the blankets. This was Blue Minor of Chick Webb and his band and before that, you got the Apollo Jump of Lucky Millinder.

Now the ones that really caught me while the flu was nagging me, they have things in common, that is that they're all great rhythms and they're minor key. That always appealed to me listeners, but why I could hardly bear to listen to blues or postwar Rhythm & Blues and I stuck to the swing, well, it's a bit like what I've eaten these days. You know, you're not really into food, of course, but every day I had something that I couldn't get off my mind, and it was not the most obvious convenience food - one day it were Chinese Scechuan-style pork dumplings, the next day spagetti with ham and tomato sauce - no cheese - and one day a typical Dutch dessert, some vanilla pudding like stuff. And just everything that I normally like, I got nausious just thinking of - and it was a bit like that with the music.

Next week you'll get a regular show from me, listeners, with stories about the artists and the music and so, and blues too. Hope you still enjoyed this somewhat odd show that I produced in between warming up again in my bed. Well you can let me know - as always on And today's show and all there's more on this program to know, it's on the website, and you will find that searching the web for the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman - it'll show up first with Google, or wherever you're used to search.

For now I'm done, so I hope to see yuo again, here on the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman!