Archive for Washboard Sam

Whippin’ that Jelly

Posted in Jazz with tags , , on June 3, 2011 by telescoper

Summer has most definitely arrived. It’s a gorgeous day and most of the students have finished most of their examinations, so I’m sure will be taking a well-deserved break and enjoying the sunshine. It’s also Friday, and time, I think, for a little frivolity.

I’m indebted to young Miss Liggins for drawing my attention to this old record via Facebook. It’s by a relatively obscure swing band called the State Street Swingers, which was based in Chicago during the mid-1930s. From a technical point of view the musicians weren’t anything like as proficient as the leading bands of the Swing Era, especially in the horn section, so they usually tried to make up for their relatively limited abilities by playing for laughs behind various vocalists. It doesn’t say who it is on Youtube, but the singer sounds to me like Washboard Sam. He made a lot of records with other bands for the Vocalion label, which is what this one came out on, so that’s at least consistent with my hypothesis.

The State Street Swingers only ever recorded 14 tracks, most of them involving euphemistically raunchy titles, like this one, Whippin’ that Jelly. It may not be the most sophisticated music, but I hope it at least brings a smile to your face, as it does to mine every time I listen to it!

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