Friday, March 11, 2011
The latest on my medical situation? Well, basically, all the while we've been waiting to hear back from my auto insurance, it transpires that Dr. Lee's office never got around to contacting them! Then we discover (from them) that, despite Dr. Lee's insistence to the contrary, no pre-approval is needed--I'm to simply go ahead and get the surgery done, and, after all the medical stuff is over, my car insurance will decide what to pay and how much. Don't ask me how that works.
So, now we're waiting for the hospital's verdict on the procedure, as in yea or nay. Meanwhile, it's only been a month and a few days since I fractured my spine. Welcome to what passes for the health care system in 2011 America.
Soooo... lots of 78s. I had plans for how I was going to present these, but at the moment I lack the energy or brain-focus to keep up with my posting intentions. Solution: an -athon.
All of these rips, unlike the discs themselves, are new. All of the restorations are by me, from discs in my over-collection. W.C. Handy's orchestra, from 1917, starts things off with the Maple Leaf Rag rip-off Fuzzy Wuzzy Rag--this is ragtime just as it was morphing into jazz, even if the recording is a slightly late document of that event. Better late than not at all. Fascinating, too, is the Harold Veo Orchestra's Zoo Step, a 1917 piece of tightly arranged pop-jazz that sounds like the Original Dixieland Jazz Band at 45 rpm. But the Earl Fuller Rector Novelty Orch. sides straddle the jazz/ragtime fence more skillfully than anyone else I know of, and we have eight of them. Well, seven--the Missouri Waltz isn't very jazzy, though for its day it's an unusually lively example of triple-meter dance music. Oddly enough, those numbers recorded for Victor by Fuller as jazz sides aren't nearly as innovative as these Columbia label titles, to my ears at least.
Please note that I'm referring to jazz in a late 1910s/early 1920s sense--back then, it wasn't quite the animal we know today (or the one documented so conventionally by PBS). Joseph Samuels' Dreaming Blues of 1920 is probably the most properly jazz-sounding item in our playlist, and I love every second of it, even if I've been years warming up to that bandleader's light and loose version of Dixieland, which initially struck me as inept. These are the things I devote hours of critical thought to, even doped up on pain meds....
To the -athon: March Shellac-athon
FUZZY WUZZY RAG--Handy's Orch. (Columbia A-2421; 1917)
SMILES--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch. (Col. A-2578; 1917)
MISSOURI WALTZ--Same, but 1918.
COLD TURKEY--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty O. (Columbia A-2298; 1917)
PORK AND BEANS--Same (Columbia A-2370; 1917)
SINGAPORE--Same (Columbia A-2686; 1918)
SWEET EMALINA, MY GAL--Same (Columbia A-2523; 1918)
HOWDY--Same (Columbia A-2649; 1918)
HERE COMES AMERICA--Same (Columbia A-2595; 1918)
THE ZOO STEP (One-Step)--Harold Veo's Orch. (Victor 18372; 1917)
DON'T LEAVE ME DADDY--Same.
THE SHEIK OF ARABY--The California Ramblers (Vocalion B-14275; 1921)
DANCING TAMBOURINE--Anglo-Persians (Louis Katzman) (Brunswick 3655; 1927)
WHISPERING--Ray Miller's Black and White Melody Boys (Okeh 4167; 1920)
DREAMING BLUES--Joseph Samuels' Jazz Band (Okeh 4167; 1920)
Monday, March 07, 2011
Do I look thrilled? I just noticed how much I look (in this shot, at least) like Friday the 13th's Jack Marshack, as played by Chris Wiggins (middle, below):
(From the On-Line Gallery of Silly Promo Poses.)
So how come I'm not a famous TV actor born in England? Besides my not having been born in England? Why have I never co-starred with Louise Robey? An actress whose presence in Friday the 13th has nothing to do with my having seen nearly every episode?
Speaking of the Friday the 13th TV series, Chiller Channel just replayed an entire week of repeats, all of them lame entries from the series' third and last (and post-John D. LeMay) season. I've never understood how a channel can accidentally repeat a week's worth of reruns. Or, for that matter, rerun a week's worth of repeats.
Anyway, now you've seen me in my brace. As you may notice, my brace doesn't get along with my shirts.
Sunday, March 06, 2011
For the longest time, the late 1910s and early 1920s bandleader Joseph C. Smith has been regarded as the antithesis of jazz, early or otherwise, so it's refreshing to encounter this description at Red Hot Jazz: "The Joseph C. Smith Orchestra was a dance band that occasionally injected some Jazz into their arrangements." That's a good, accurate description, Leethinks. Smith's Money Blues, from 1916, sounds jazzier than anything else I've heard by the bandleader (and I've heard most of his recordings)--specifically, it sounds like the popular, Ferde Grofe-arranged jazz of Paul Whiteman, circa 1922. Why? Partly, it's the emphasis on the bVI chord, which figured into many a trick Grofe cadence (one bar of bVI, then a quick V/I resolution). It's also the strict but gentle four-beat feel instead of the pronounced 2/4 (or 2/2) pulse of nearly every other Smith side. It's the melody being played by both the cornet and violin(s).
Not so Whiteman-y or 1922 is the snare drum, very up-front for an acoustical recording. I'm not aware of a snare showing up on any other Smith sides, though it was a common feature on similar sides by James Reese Europe, Earl Fuller, and Wilbur Sweatman.
I first heard this at Red Hot Jazz (see link above) and decided I had to have my own copy. Now I do. And here it is, along with its 1917 flip (much more typical of Smith), Cole Porter's I've a Shooting Box in Scotland.--which, according to Charles Schwartz' Cole Porter: a Biography, is the "first known commercial recording of a Porter number." Cool! (Thanks, Google Books.)
Money Blues (Hugo Frey, poss. arranged by the composer)--Joseph C. Smith and His Orchestra, 1916 (Victor 18165): Money Blues
I've a Shooting Box in Scotland (Cole Porter)--Joseph C. Smith and His O., 1917 (Victor 18165): Shooting Box