This blues was sleeping in my music collection for a few years now.
Just today, I recognized what gem has been waiting to be discovered and chosen as this week’s Song of the Week.
A classic by the unique
Mound City Blue Blowers
The Mound City Blue Blowers were an American novelty jazz ensemble, formed in 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri (“Mound City”).
The group originally consisted of Red McKenzie playing comb and tissue paper, Dick Slevin on kazoo, and Jack Bland on banjo. The band also included a traveler’s suitcase played with foot and whisk brooms (instead of a drum kit).
Their unique debut recording in 1924 (“Arkansas Blues” and “Blue Blues”) became a big hit. During 1924-1925, they recorded 12 titles. Two of them included guest Frankie Trumbauer on C-melody sax and Eddie Lang played guitar on the final six numbers.
After 1925, McKenzie recorded additional sessions under his own name as a vocalist while the Mound City name disappeared for several years.
In 1929, he re-used the name for four selections recorded with all-star groups, including Jack Teagarden, Coleman Hawkins, Glenn Miller, and Pee Wee Russell.
The two recordings “Hello Lola” and “One Hour” are considered classic!
Scott Yanow writes:
Coleman Hawkins took a historic ballad solo on the latter, trombonist Glenn Miller rarely sounded hotter than on “Hello Lola,” and both clarinetist Pee Wee Russell and McKenzie on comb were in top form.
If you follow this series for a while now then you know that I like unusual instruments. Comb and tissue paper were missing so far in the collection ;).
Look at the personnel, what an amazing line-up – in 1929!
Red McKenzie – comb
Pee Wee Russell – clarinet
Coleman Hawkins – tenor sax
Glenn Miller – trombone
Eddie Condon – banjo
Jack Bland – Guitar
Al Morgan – bass
Gene Krupa – drums
You can find all the songs of the series also on my Spotify playlist and on 8tracks.
Official hashtag of the series: #djcsotw
What do you think about this song? How do you like the Series “DJ Chrisbe’s Song of the Week”? Let us know in the comment section below.
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