Monday, 20 February 2017

Cootie Williams & His Orchestra - Gator Tail

Side 1:
01. You Talk A Little Trash
02. Typhoon
03. I Love You, Yes I Do (vocal - Billy Matthews and The Balladeers)
04. Smooth Sailing
05. Gator Tail, Part 1
06. Gator Tail, Part 2
07. Let 'Em Roll (vocal - Bob Merrill)
08. Slidin' And Glidin'

Side 2:
01. Mercenary Papa (vocal - Eddie Mack)
02. You Got To Pay Those Dues (vocal - Eddie Mack)
03. Doin' The Gator Tail
04. Shotgun Boogie (vocal - Eddie Mack)
05. Divorce Me C.O.D. (vocal - Eddie Mack)
06. Steam Roller Blues (vocal - Eddie Mack)
07. Beauty Parlor Gossip (vocal - Eddie Mack)

Download from here:

As promised, here's a homemade comp which takes a look at the final recording years of the Cootie Williams Orchestra as an R&B act. I've given the cover a similar appearance to one of my favourite reissue labels, Jonas Bernholm's "Saxophonograph." The faux "Saxophony" label is also a tribute to one of my favourite CDs, "Saxophony: Jubilee Honkers & Shouters" on the Sequel label.

This late period in the recording career of the Cootie Williams Orchestra was described in the original 2010 post of "Typhoon," including a brief look at the careers of Bob Merrill and Eddie Mack. Since then I've managed to acquire some more of the tracks Willis Jackson recorded with Cootie, hence the appearance of this comp.

Towards the end of 1947 Cootie slimmed down his big band to a small group and signed on with Mercury Records for whom he recorded under his own name and also occasionally as a backing group for Dinah Washington. The first Mercury session took place on the eve of the AFM recording ban, with the band laying down 4 tracks under their own name, and also backing Dinah Washington on tracks which included "Record Ban Blues."

The next recording session wasn't until March 1949 by which time young tenor sax sensation Willis Jackson had joined the band. The two parter "Gator Tail" was a honking, squealing sensation among fans of the "muscular" approach to tenor sax playing and now makes its long awaited first appearance on the blog. The unreleased "Doin' The Gator Tail" from a September 1949 session is probably even better.

The Cootie Williams band (still featuring Willis Jackson and blues shouter Eddie Mack) signed with the Derby label at the very end of 1950 (announced in "Cashbox" on December 30th 1950). Their only recording session for the label probably took place in January 1951 and produced 4 sides, all vocal outings for Mack, which were released on 2 singles in the first half of that year. These sides mark the end of the Williams outfit as an R&B recording act, and eventually Cootie would return to the swing / jazz idiom.

Willis Jackson started recording under his own name while still a member of Cootie's band. His first sides were recorded for Apollo in January 1950. In July 1951 he recorded sides for Atlantic and went on to feature in many sessions for that label, particularly with his wife Ruth Brown and with The Clovers. Towards the end of the 1950s he started recording small group sides for Prestige in what has come to be known as the "Soul Jazz" style. His groups featured Hammond organ players such as Brother Jack McDuff, Freddie Roach and Carl Wilson, and guitarist Bill Jennings. I'm a big fan of this style of jazz or r&b or soul or whatever you want to call it, but it lies outwith the usual scope of this blog.

Willis Jackson - "Mad Man of the Saxophone"
Back to the 1940s and early '50s - here's the lowdown on the fine vibes on this comp:

Track info and release details:

Side 1, tracks 1-4, "You Talk A Little Trash," "Typhoon," "I Love You, Yes I Do," and "Smooth Sailing" were recorded in New York City on December 27th, 1947.

Personnel: Cootie Williams (trumpet) with - Bob Merrill (trumpet); Rupert Cole (alto sax, clarinet); Bill "Weasel" Parker (tenor sax); Arnold Jarvis (piano); Mundell Lowe (guitar); Leonard Swain (bass); Sylvester "Vess" Payne (drums); Billy Matthews (vocal); The Balladeers (vocal group)

I Love You, Yes I Do / Smooth Sailing - released on Mercury 8073, March 1948

You Talk A Little Trash (And I'll Spend A Little Cash) / Typhoon - released on Mercury 8083, May 1948.

Side 1, tracks 5-8, "Gator Tail, Part 1," "Gator Tail, Part 2," "Let 'Em Roll," and "Slidin' And Glidin'," were recorded in New York City on March 2nd, 1949.

Personnel: Cootie Williams (trumpet) with - Bob Merrill (trumpet, vocal); Rupert Cole (alto sax); Willis Jackson (tenor sax); Lester Fauntleroy (piano); Leonard "Heavy" Swain (bass); Gus Johnson (drums)

'Gator Tail - Pt. 1 / 'Gator Tail - Pt. 2 - released on Mercury 8131, May 1949.

Let 'Em Roll / Slidin' and Glidin' - released on Mercury 8143, August 1949.

Side 2, tracks 1-3, "Mercenary Papa," "You Got To Pay Those Dues," and "Doin' The Gator Tail" were recorded in New York City on September 20th, 1949.

Personnel: Cootie Williams (trumpet) with - Eddie Mack (vocals); Bob Merrill (trumpet); Rupert Cole (alto sax;) Willis Jackson (tenor sax); Lester Fauntleroy (piano); Leonard "Heavy" Swain (bass); Gus Johnson (drums)

Mercenary Papa / You Got To Pay Those Dues - released on Mercury 8168, March 1950.

Doin' The Gator Tail - not released.

Side 2, tracks 4-7, "Shotgun Boogie," "Divorce Me C.O.D.," "Steam Roller Blues," and "Beauty Parlor Gossip" were recorded in New York City, early 1951.

Personnel: Cootie Williams (trumpet) with - Eddie Mack (vocals); Rupert Cole (clarinet, alto sax); Willis Jackson (tenor sax); Arnold Jarvis (piano); Richard Fullbright (guitar); Ed Thigpen (drums)

The Shot Gun Boogie / Divorce Me C.O.D. Blues - released on Derby 756, January / February 1951.

Steamroller Blues / Beauty Parlor Gossip - released on Derby 784, March 1951.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Cootie Williams & His Orchestra - Typhoon (re-up)

Side One:
1. Typhoon
2. Saturday Night (vocal – Tony Warren)
3. I Can't Get Started
4. Save The Bones For Henry Jones (vocal – Bob Merrell)
5. Ooh La La (vocal – Bob Merrell)
6. I Want To Be Loved (vocal – Billy Matthews)
7. Divorce Me COD Blues (vocal – Eddie Mack)

Side Two:
1. Shotgun Boogie (vocal – Eddie Mack)
2. You Talk A Little Trash
3. If It's True (vocal – Billy Matthews)
4. I Shoulda Been Thinkin' Instead Of Drinkin' (vocal – Bob Merrell)
5. Sound Track
6. Inflation Blues (vocal – Bob Merrell)
7. I'm Beginning To See The Light (vocal – Tony Warren)

Download from here:

Original post (19th September 2010) is here:

That post includes an in-depth look at the Cootie Williams Orchestra after the departure of Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson plus information and recommended purchases of CDs for the blues shouters who filled the Vinson gap: Bob Merrill and Eddie Mack. The period covered by this compilation (1945 - 1950) saw the downsizing of the Williams outfit from a big band to a small jump combo.

Recording dates and personnel are on the back cover of the LP.

Additional release info on the tracks:

I'm Beginning To See The Light / Saturday Night (Is The Loneliest Night Of The Week) - Hit 7131 / Majestic 7131 - March 1945

I Want to Be Loved / I Can't Get Started - Majestic 1136 - May 1947

Inflation Blues / Sound Track - Majestic 1150 - June 1947

Ooh, La-La / If It's True - Majestic 1165 - September 1947

Save The Bones For Henry Jones / I Should A' Been Thinkin' Instead Of Drinkin' - Majestic 1172 - October 1947

You Talk A Little Trash (And I'll Spend A Little Cash) / Typhoon - Mercury 8083 - May 1948

Divorce Me C.O.D. Blues / Shotgun Boogie - Derby 756 - early 1951

Our next post will be a new look at the final years of the Cootie Williams Orchestra as an R&B outfit, featuring the introduction of Willis Jackson as the band's wild man of the tenor sax.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Cootie Williams & His Orchestra - Echoes Of Harlem (re-up)

Side 1
1. Echoes Of Harlem
2. Things Ain't What They Used To Be (vocal – Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson)
3. Tess' Torch Song (vocal – Pearl Bailey)
4. You Talk A Little Trash
5. Sweet Lorraine
6. Cherry Red Blues (vocal – Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson)
7. 'Round Midnight
8. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby? (vocal – Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson)

Side 2
1. Blue Garden Blues
2. Floogie Boo (vocal – Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson)
3. I Don't Know
4. Gotta Do Some War Work (vocal – Cootie Williams)
5. My Old Flame
6. Now I Know (vocal – Pearl Bailey)
7. Somebody's Gotta Go (vocal – Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson)
8. Honeysuckle Rose

Download from here:

Original post (4th September 2010) is here:

Read the post and the back cover of the LP for the background to these recordings and information on the personnel.

Recorded in New York City for Hit/Majestic on the 4th and 6th of January and the 22nd of August 1944.

1. Echoes Of Harlem (January 6, 1944)
2. Things Ain't What They Used To Be (January 6, 1944)
3. Tess' Torch Song (January 6, 1944)
4. You Talk A Little Trash (January 4, 1944)
5. Sweet Lorraine (January 6, 1944)
6. Cherry Red Blues (January 6, 1944)
7. 'Round Midnight (August 22, 1944)
8. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't? (August 22, 1944)
9. Blue Garden Blues (August 22, 1944)
10. Floogie Boo (January 4, 1944)
11. I Don't Know (January 4, 1944)
12. Gotta Do Some War Work (January 4, 1944)
13. My Old Flame (January 6, 1944)
14. Now I Know (January 6, 1944)
15. Somebody's Gotta Go (August 22, 1944)
16. Honeysuckle Rose (January 6, 1944)

Original 78 rpm releases:

Hit 7075 - Now I Know / Tess's Torch song - April 1944

Hit 7084 (Majestic 7084) - Cherry Red Blues / Things Ain't What They Used To Be - April 1944

Hit 7108 (Majestic 7108) - Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby? / Blues Garden Blues - September 1944

Hit 7119 (Majestic 7119) also Hit 7148 - Somebody's Gotta Go / 'Round Midnight - December 1944

*Hit 7131 (Majestic 7131) - I'm Beginning To See The Light / Saturday Night Is The Loneliest Night Of The Week - March 1945 - not on this LP. See next post "Typhoon."

The following four 78 rpm discs were released on Hit album H-122 ("Echoes Of Harlem") in October 1944:

Hit 8087 - My Old Flame / Echoes of Harlem

Hit 8088 - Sweet Lorraine / Honeysuckle Rose

Hit 8089 - You Talk a Little Trash / Floogie Boo

Hit 8090 - I Don't Know / Gotta Do Some War Work (Do Some War Work Baby)

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Rockin' The Room!

Side 1:
01. Ha Ha Ha Blues - Jimmy Cavallo And His House Rockers
02. Little Rock Special - Pat The Cat And His Kittens
03. Yes, Indeed! - Bill Haley And Haley's Comets
04. Poison Ivy - Boyd Bennett And His Rockets
05. My Baby Loves Me - Charlie Gracie And The Wildcats
06. Hound Dog - Freddie Bell And The Bellboys
07. Shake A Hand - The Mike Pedicin Quintet
08. Boogie At Midnight - Boyd Bennett And His Rockets

Side 2:
01. Wildwood Boogie - Charlie Gracie And The Wildcats
02. Ooh Baby Ooh - Dave Appell And The Applejacks
03. Dim Dim The Lights (I Want Some Atmosphere) - Bill Haley And His Comets
04. Move Me Baby - Freddie Bell And The Bellboys
05. Disc Jockey's Boogie - The Mike Pedicin Quintet
06. Head Home Honey - Charlie Gracie And The Wildcats
07. The Most - Boyd Bennett And His Rockets
08. Giddy Up A Ding Dong - Freddie Bell And The Bellboys

Download from:

In recent posts I mentioned in passing that The Treniers were an acknowledged influence on early rock and roll bands who played a style of music which Charlie Gillett in his ground breaking book "The Sound Of The City " labelled "northern band rock 'n' roll." The sax driven bands which played this music mostly hailed from the Philadelphia area, but we start off our home made comp of this early form of rock 'n' roll with two bands whose roots lay further north, in upstate New York.

Jimmy Cavallo was featured in a previous post, "Rock The Joint" in which I looked at the development of early rock 'n' roll from rockin' R&B via the history of the song "Rock The Joint" which was originally recorded by the jump band of Jimmy Preston in Philadelphia in 1949. A Philadelphia based cowboy band, Bill Haley and The Saddlemen, recorded a countrified version in 1952, but the honour of being the first white artist to cover Preston's wild recording probably goes to Jimmy Cavallo who had been playing R&B in the clubs and dance halls of the North Carolina beach resorts in 1948 and 1949. A move back to his hometown of Syracuse, New York State, and subsequent gigs at the Oneida Lake resort of Sylvan Beach saw his brand of R&B gain an enthusiastic new audience and the chance to record for the tiny BSD label of Auburn, NY in 1951 or thereabouts, the precise dates of his recordings being somewhat in doubt.

Our comp features his first record for BSD, "Ha Ha Ha Blues," an adaptation of "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" which was the B Side of an Atlantic disc by Joe Morris, "Jump Everybody Jump." The Morris record was released in March 1951, so a date sometime later in the same year for the Cavallo version is perfectly feasible.

Another upstate New York group to feature on BSD was Pat The Cat and His Kittens. Tenor saxman Pat "The Cat" Monforte and his drummer brother Tony came from Binghampton, NY. Again, the precise year of his recording of "Little Rock Special" is in doubt. Tony Monforte posited 1952, but some websites give the year as late as 1956. Whatever the reality, it's a rousing piece of rock'n'roll with a vocal by Vic Fontaine. Apologies for the sound quality on this track which I ripped from a bootleg LP.

Most of the remaining acts on this comp are Philadelphia bands, with the exception of Southerner Boyd Bennett. Of course the best known band is that of Bill Haley, about whom there have been several posts on the blog. "Destination Rock and Roll" (and here) traces the development of his sound from country to R&B and rock and roll through his recordings for small Philadelphia labels Holiday and Essex from 1951 to 1953. For this comp I've chosen an Essex recording from 1953, "Yes, Indeed!" which remained unreleased until 1957 when it was used as the B Side of a London UK issue of "Rock The Joint." I've also added a Decca recording from September 1954, "Dim Dim The Lights" which hasn't featured on any of the previous Bill Haley posts.

Freddie Bell And The Bellboys had the rather surreal distinction of failing to chart in the U.S. while reaching number 4 in the British top ten with "Giddy Up A Ding Dong" in September 1956. Freddie and the boys (reinforced by Mickey "Guitar" Baker) had recorded the track for Mercury in New York City in February 1956. Almost exactly a year before that The Bellboys recorded some sides in their hometown of Philadelphia for the small Teen label. Among the sides were covers of Ruth Brown's "5-10-15 Hours" and Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog." In April 1956 Elvis saw The Bellboys performing the latter number in Vegas and borrowed their arrangement for his own hit version.

In the early 1950s Philadelphia's top R&B independent label was Gotham. Mike Pedicin and Charlie Gracie both recorded for the Gotham subsidiary 20th Century. Native Philadelphian Charlie Gracie was a blues influenced guitarist and singer who recorded some sides for the NYC based Cadillac label in the early 1950s, including a track called "Rockin' and Rollin'." In 1955 he recorded 2 singles for 20th Century - "My Baby Loves Me" / "Head Home Honey" and "Honey Honey" / "Wildwood Boogie." Charlie went on to greater popularity on the Cameo label in 1957 with "Butterfly" and "Fabulous." Both of these discs were also hits in the UK along with "I Love You So Much It Hurts," "Wanderin' Eyes" and "Cool Baby."

"Wildwood Boogie" was a tribute to the New Jersey resort which hosted many Philly holidaymakers and where many of the bands on this comp had regular seasonal residencies. When saxman Mike Pedicin covered Fay Adam's R&B hit "Shake A Hand" b/w "Disc Jockey's Boogie" on 20th Century in 1954, he was already a music business veteran who had been organising small swing bands to play Philly and New Jersey venues since the early 1940s. In 1955 he signed up with major label RCA Victor for whom he recorded until 1957 but was unable to see any chart action. In 1958 his re-recording of "Shake A Hand" for Cameo did have a brush with the lower reaches of the charts (number 71) but that was that as far as the hit parade was concerned. However Mike Pedicin continued to record and feature as a live act for decades.

Dave Appell was a member of one of Mike Pedicin's early bands, playing rhythm guitar in The Four Sharpes. After leaving the Pedicin outfit he worked as a big band arranger and then formed his own group The Dave Appell Trio. The group recorded for London in 1950 and then as Dave Appell and The Applejacks for Decca in 1954. "Ooh Baby Ooh!" was recorded for the small President label in New York in August 1955. The Applejacks made it to Vegas but soon headed back to Philly where they inked a pact with Cameo for whom they produced a string of releases in 1957-59. Dave Appell moved to arranging and producing side of the business, providing backing on Cameo discs by Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell.

Boyd Bennett was a son of the South, born in Alabama and raised in Tennessee. His band was originally called The Southlanders and they started recording under that name for King in 1952. Bennett played as a drummer on some King R&B sides and started moving his band from country to a more R&B based sound at the beginning of 1955, changing the band's name to The Rockets which was more in keeping with the new rock and roll craze.

At a session in early January 1955 Boyd and his band recorded their biggest hit "Seventeen" (number 5 in July 1955) which was squarely aimed at the teenage market. Of more interest to blog followers are the R&B cover versions which Bennett recorded at the same session. I've included two of them - Willie Mabon's "Poison Ivy" and Roy Brown's "Boogie At Midnight." Also recorded at the same session but not included here was a cover of B.B. King's "You Upset Me Baby." Also on this comp is a track from an October 1955 - "The Most" - a more mainstream rock and roll record which features a vocal by "Big Moe" Joe Muzey.

Recommended listening:

"Rare Rock'N'Roll Rampage" (Properbox 146). Jimmy Cavallo, Boyd Bennett, Freddie Bell, Eddie Fontaine, Dave Appell, The Treniers, Joe Bennett & The Sparkletones, and others. 4CD set of band rock 'n' roll, ranging from genuinely hip to kinda square.

"Have Yourself A Ball" a compilation of  rock 'n' roll sides from Gotham subsidiary 20th Century. Appeared as an LP on Krazy Kat in the UK in the 1980s and has reappeared in various guises as a CD. Mike Pedicin, Charlie Gracie, Don Haven and The Hi-Fi's, The Playboys, The Nu-Tones, Bobby Boyd's Jazz Bombers.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Imperial R&B All-Stars re-upped

Side 1
01. The Fat Man - Fats Domino
02. Rootin' And Tootin' - Smiley Lewis
03. All That Wine Is Gone - Big Jay McNeely
04. Fats' Frenzy - Fats Domino
05. An Old Cow Hand From A Blues Band - Dave Bartholomew
06. Don't Cry Baby - Big Jay McNeely

Side 2
01. Ain't Gonna Do It - The Pelicans
02. '44' - Fats Domino
03. Shame, Shame, Shame - Smiley Lewis
04. Good News - Dave Bartholomew
05. I Don't Need You - James "Sugar Boy" Crawford
06. Don't Leave Me This Way - Fats Domino

New download link:

Original post (19th September 2011) is here:

A re-up for this short (but fine as wine) homemade comp of Imperial sides. The R&B All-Stars series only ever ran to two comps! I think this is the only post on Be Bop Wino which features some Fats Domino tracks. I must do something about that ...

Friday, 20 January 2017

King R&B All-Stars re-upped

Side 1:
01. Tell The Truth - The 5 Royales
02. I'll Go Crazy - James Brown & His Famous Flames
03. Driving Sideways - Freddy King
04. Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong - Albert King
05. Over The Rainbow - The Checkers
06. Cherry Wine - Little Esther

Side 2:
01. I'm Tore Up - Billy Gayles
02. Goofy Dust Blues - Little Willie Littlefield
03. Tonk Game - Hank Marr
04. It Won't Be This Way Always - The King Pins
05. Teardrops On Your Letter - Hank Ballard & The Midnighters
06. Need Your Love So Bad - Little Willie John

Download from here:

Original post (September 3rd 2011) is here:

Re-upped by request - a short no-frills homemade comp of sides from King and subsidiaries Federal and DeLuxe. I can't believe it's five and a half years since this was originally posted. Tempus fugit.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

St. Louis Blues Mystery Track - Help!

A blog follower has sent in this track with a request to identify the artist. Our fellow Be Bop Wino taped this track along with others from a radio show a number of years ago. He is in the process of converting a load of these old radio tracks to mp3 but can't find the artist for this one. He thought that it might have been The Dozier Brothers, but a listen on YouTube clearly demonstrates that their version of "St. Louis Blues" is different from this one.

It sounds like a 1950s R&B vocal group accompanied by a good sax player. The lead vocalist sounds maddeningly familiar but I can't place him. Can anyone out there identify this group?

Listen here:

Alternatively you can download the track from here:

All help would greatly appreciated!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Treniers - Rockin' Is Our Bizness

Side 1:
01. Rockin' Is Our Bizness
02. Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie
03. Get Out Of The Car
04. Hi-Yo Silver
05. It Rocks, It Rolls, It Swings
06. Plenty Of Money
07. Hadacol, That's All
08. Rockin' On Sunday Night

Side 2:
01. Go Go Go
02. Trapped In A Web Of Love
03. Long Distance Blues
04. Hey Little Girl
05. Bald Head
06. Poon Tang
07. The Moondog
08. Taxi Blues

Download from here:

The third and final instalment of our look at The Treniers. This 1983 Edsel LP gathers 16 sides recorded for Okeh (and Epic in the case of "Go! Go! Go!") between 1951 and 1955. The version of "Go! Go! Go!" on this LP is not the track The Treniers recorded in 1951 for their first release on Okeh, but is a version they recorded in 1955 for their Epic LP "Go! Go! Go! The Treniers On TV." For the re-recording The Treniers, who were normally backed by a small band led by Gene Gilbeaux on piano and featuring Don Hill on alto sax, were accompanied by a larger band led by Quincy Jones.

My one quibble about the tracks on this LP is that I wish the Gene Gilbeaux band had featured a tenor sax player to help fill out the sound, as Don Hill has so much to do in the way of providing sax accompaniment. That said, these Okeh sides are still good examples of early rock 'n' roll, especially the recordings released in 1952 which include the wild double whammy of "Hi-Yo Silver" / "Poontang", not to mention "It Rocks, It Rolls, It Swings" and "Rockin' On Sunday Night." They closed out 1952 with a tribute to rock 'n' roll DJ Alan Freed, "The Moondog" (backed by "Poontang" which was making a second appearance on the B-Side of a Treniers disc).

Other great tracks on this LP include "Plenty Of Money" which is very similar to Jimmy Witherspoon's "Ain't Nobody's Business", and a couple of R&B covers - "Bald Head" by Roy Byrd and "Hey Little Girl" by The Larks. And let us also note the Bill Haley-penned  "Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie."

On many of these tracks "The Treniers" included not only twins Claude and Cliff, but also brothers Buddy and Milt. In 1953-54 Milt Trenier recorded some good rockin' tracks for RCA and its subsidiary Groove, including "You're Killing Me," "Squeeze Me," "Flip Our Wigs," and "Day Old Bread."

A particular point of note is the January / February 1955 release of "Get Out Of The Car" which was originally released under the title "Oh! Oh!" as you can see on this scan from Joan K:

It was reviewed under this title in the February 12th 1955 issue of Billboard, but there are scans on the web showing a single release of this track with the title "Get Out Of The Car." This was the title used when the track was included on the 1955 LP "The Treniers On TV" and on an accompanying EP. It may be that a decision to change the title was taken when in late February 1955 Flair issued a cover version by Richard Berry titled "Oh! Oh! Get Out Of The Car." Although the Flair issue gives composer credit to Berry, it is definitely a Claude and Cliff Trenier composition. In the liner notes to the Ace CD "Get Out Of The Car" Berry said that the record company gave him the composer credit without his prior knowledge.

The LP has excellent liner notes by Bill Millar (all hail!) and the tracklist includes record number, month and year of original release, thus relieving me from my usual trawl through the internet and books. There is one slip, though - "The Moondog" was not released in January 1952, but rather December 1952 - January 1953.

The Treniers final recording session for Columbia / Okeh / Epic took place in December 1955 and was followed by an April 1956 session for RCA subsidiary Vik. As was mentioned in the previous post, Trenier records weren't big sellers. Their strength lay in their dynamic stage act which rocked the halls, clubs and lounges of resorts such as Wildwood and Atlantic City and of course that resort  non plus ultra, Las Vegas, where for decades the Treniers entertained desperate gamblers. As we shall see in an upcoming post they were the real progenitors of that type of rock 'n' roll which has been largely forgotten and which barely has a name, though the cognoscenti sometimes refer to it as "room rock 'n' roll" or "lounge rock 'n' roll." We could maybe call it "Dinner Jacket and Bow Tie Rock and Roll."

Whatever it was, The Treniers kept doing it decade after decade. Milt left the act in 1959 to open a lounge in Chicago where he continued to perform and where his brothers made periodic appearances. Nephew Skip Trenier joined the band and the boys kept on rockin'. They still kept on after Cliff died of cancer in 1983. Buddy retired, but Claude rocked ever onwards until November 2003 when he played his last Vegas gig a few weeks before he passed away.

Recommended reading - "Their God Wore Shades" in "Unsung Heroes Of Rock 'n' Roll" by Nick Tosches.

The Treniers on CD:

From 1985 -  a rare CD release on Jonas Bernholm's Dr Horse label. Includes Milt Trenier sides as well as Mercury, Okeh and Vik material by The Treniers.

From 2004 - nice digipack presentation with notes by Adam Komorowski. Mercury and Okeh material plus a couple from Milt Trenier and His Solid Six (Shorty Rogers band).

From 2010 - part of Bear Family Records' "Rock" series. 32 tracks and a 64 page booklet.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Treniers - Go! Go! Go! (Epic EP EG-7014)

Side 1:
01. Go! Go! Go!
02. Rocking On Sunday Night

Side 2:
01. Rockin' Is Our Bizness
02. This Is It

Download from here:

We rejoin the story of The Treniers with their recordings for Columbia R&B subsidiary Okeh for whom they started recording in May, 1951. The 7" EP (Extended Play) format appeared in 1951 when the boffins at RCA Victor found a way to extend the running time of a 45 rpm disc beyond five minutes and soon all the major companies started issuing 4 track "extended play" 7 inch 45 RPM records which, with their thick cardboard sleeves, resembled "mini-LPs."

This Epic (another Columbia subsidiary) EP was reviewed in the 2nd January, 1954 issue of Billboard, so its date of release is either January 1954 or perhaps even December 1953. Either way, it is probably the first "rock and roll" EP.

The tracks were originally released on Okeh singles as follows:

"Go! Go! Go!" was recorded at the first Okeh Treniers session on May 21st, 1951 and released on Okeh single 6804 in June 1951. The B-Side was a brilliant blues sung by Claude Trenier, "Plenty Of Money."

"Rocking On Sunday Night" and "This Is It" were both recorded on January 9th, 1952. "Rocking On Sunday Night" was released on Okeh 6904 (b/w "Cheatin' On Me") in September 1952. "This Is It" was released on Okeh 6984 (B-Side of "I'd Do Nothin' But Grieve") in July 1953.

"Rockin' Is Our Bizness" was recorded on October 22nd, 1952. It was released on Okeh 6960 (b/w "Sugar Doo") in April 1953. This track continues The Treniers connection to the Jimmie Lunceford band as it is an adaptation of Lunceford's 1935 hit "Rhythm Is Our Business."

Probable personnel on these sides is - Claude Trenier and Cliff Trenier (vocals) with Gene Gilbeaux (piano and direction); Don Hill (alto sax); Charles Drayton (bass); Henry "Tucker" Green (drums). It is likely that Buddy Trenier and Milt Trenier are also on vocals on some or all of the tracks.

Of all the Treniers Okeh singles, only "Go! Go! Go!" had a brush with the R&B charts. The reason is probably that it was impossible to capture the intensity of the Treniers live act on sound recordings. The sides on this EP feature lots of whoopin' and hollerin' which would be the point where The Treniers would launch into some athletic stage moves or other "business."

Fortunately there is film and television footage of the brothers' live act which you can easily find on YouTube. Perhaps the most intriguing clip is from "The Colgate Comedy Hour," a TV show hosted by Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. This clip dates from May 1954 and may well be the first performance of rock and roll on national television.

"Stick around, folks! We'll be back in the next post!"

Thanks to Joan K for the front cover scan and label shots. The back cover shot is from via a Google image search. This post is a "reconstruction" of the original EP with the audio taken from various sources.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Trenier Twins - Buzz Buzz Buzz

Side 1:
01. Buzz Buzz Buzz
02. Sure Had A Wonderful Time Last Night
03. I Miss You So
04. Hey! Sister Lucy
05. No Baby No!
06. Ooh, Look-A There Ain't She Pretty

Side 2:
01. Ain't She Mean
02. It's a Quiet Town In Crossbone County
03. Convertible Cadillac
04. Sometimes I'm Happy
05. Why Did You Get So High, Shorty
06. Everybody Get Together

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Facts on the tracks, Jack:

Personnel on tracks 1 - 10: The Trenier Twins : Claude Trenier, Cliff Trenier (vocals) acc by Gene Gilbeaux Orchestra : Don Hill (alto sax); William "Buddy" Collette (tenor sax); Gene Gilbeaux (piano); Bob Bain (guitar); Herman Washington (bass); Henry Green (drums)

"Buzz Buzz Buzz" and "Sure Had A Wonderful Time Last Night" were recorded in New York on May 15th, 1947. Released on Mercury 8045 in June 1947.

"I Miss You So," "Hey! Sister Lucy," "No Baby No!" and "Ain't She Mean" were recorded in New York on September 16th, 1947. "I Miss You So" / "Hey! Sister Lucy" released on Mercury 8058 in October 1947.

"Ooh, Look-A There Ain't She Pretty," "It's a Quiet Town In Crossbone County," "Convertible Cadillac," and "Sometimes I'm Happy" were recorded over two sessions in December 1947. Remaining Mercury releases were as follows:

"No Baby No!" / "Ooh, Look-A There Ain't She Pretty" Mercury 8071, January 1948.
"Ain't She Mean" / "It's a Quiet Town In Crossbone County" Mercury 8078, March 1948.
"Convertible Cadillac" / "Sometimes I'm Happy" Mercury 8089, June 1948.

Several sources list a November 1948 repressing of Mercury 8089 with "Convertible Cadillac" / "Near To Me" as the featured sides.

Personnel on "Why Did You Get So High, Shorty" and "Everybody Get Together": Claude Trenier, Cliff Trenier (vocals) acc by Gene Gilbeaux Orchestra: Don Hill (alto sax); unknown other horns, Gene Gilbeaux (piano); unknown (drums).

These sides were recorded in Los Angeles, circa January 1950 and released on London 17007 in March 1950. Release was credited to "The Treniers with Gene Gilbeaux And His Orchestra."

London was originally an outlet for UK Decca material in the US (Vera Lynn, George Formby, Edmundo Ros, Billy Cotton, etc), but also started issuing American pop, hillbilly and R&B recordings, with R&B records bearing a green label.

The Treniers! This post started out being a re-up of an LP of early 1950s Okeh sides by the group which was a big influence not only on Bill Haley but also on several other early rock 'n' roll acts (mostly originating from the Philadelphia area or upstate New York) such as Charlie Gracie, Freddie Bell and the Bellboys, and Jimmy Cavallo. As I started listening to The Treniers here at Radio Be Bop Wino, I realised I had the tracks to make up a little homemade compilation of pre-Okeh Treniers tracks, specifically their Mercury sides recorded in 1947 and their 1950 single on London.

So what he have here isn't the rockin' and rollin' Treniers but the Louis Jordan influenced jump blues combo which recorded under the moniker of "The Trenier Twins", with the exception of the final track on the collection, "Everybody Get Together" which, with its unruly bawlin' and squallin', foreshadows the rockers which The Treniers would start issuing on Okeh the following year.

Although several members of the rather large Trenier family were at one time or another members of the group, it was always about the identical twin brothers, Claude and Cliff. Born in Mobile, Alabama in 1919, the boys were encouraged to play musical instruments by their father, and when they enrolled at Alabama State College in 1940, their musical interests soon overshadowed their studies. Seriously, who would want to study to be a teacher when there is a chance to jump and jive to one's hearts content? Especially if the little band you form gets to share a bill with Louis Jordan. It was a no-brainer. While at college the boys made the acquaintance of two more musically inclined students who would go on to be a vital part of their later professional success - alto sax player Don Hill and pianist Gene Gilbeaux.

World War Two interrupted the jumpin' and jivin' as Claude was called up by Uncle Sam. Upon leaving the forces in 1944 he joined the Jimmie Lunceford band out on the West Coast. Soon twin brother Cliff was also a band member and in early 1945 the boys made their first recording as a duo with the Lunceford band - "Buzz Buzz Buzz" - which lay unreleased until 1949.

After leaving the Lunceford band, the boys split up, with Cliff returning to Mobile and Claude opting to stay on in Los Angeles to try his hand at a solo musical career. He had some success, obtaining residencies at various clubs, including the Club Alabam where he replaced Wynonie Harris, and also spots with various small groups including Big Jim Wynn's band with whom he recorded a second version of "Buzz Buzz Buzz" and "Ee-Bobaliba" in late 1945. In 1947 Claude persuaded Cliff to rejoin him out west and while working in San Francisco they met their old student compadre Gene Gilbeaux who was able to call Don Hill and the act which was at first known as The Trenier Twins with Gene Gilbeaux's Orchestra was formed.

The group was signed by Mercury Records for whom they recorded 5 singles between May and December 1947. A combination of the Petrillo recording ban and a punishing live schedule kept the Treniers out of the studio until early 1950 when they recorded a single for London Records - the Jordanesque "Why Did You Get So High Shorty?" and the first recorded indication that their jump blues sound was changing into proto rock and roll, "Everybody Get Together."

Above: The Treniers, 1950. In the background - Don Hill and Gene Gilbeaux.

The act was getting wilder with all sorts of fast paced dance and comedy routines mixed into the diet of rockin' music. It was around this time that Bill Haley, then leading a hick cowboy band called The Saddlemen, saw The Treniers in action at a club in Wildwood, New Jersey. What he saw impressed him mightily and helped him to decide to mix a little rhythm and blues into his act. Meanwhile outside the club there was a Philadelphia kid called Freddie Bell (or more likely at that time Ferdinando Dominick Bello) hanging around doing vacation jobs such as shoe shining. Freddie heard, and Freddie liked. The Treniers liked him back, they even nicknamed him "Ding-Dong." Sounds like a song ...

"We'll be back in Be Bop Wino's next post!"