The Door To Yesterday Vol. 3, No 20. Alan Warner. 2019

 

 

 

Swingin The Boogies: The World of Boogie Boogie Music., The Door Too Yesterday. 2019. Alan Warner.

 

 

 

Albert Ammons and Fats Domino. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

Chicago-born Ammons (1907-1949) 

was a key figure in the rise in popularity

 of the barrelhouse jazz style of boogie woogie 

blues piano music which emerged primarily 

in the 20’s and 30’s. 


Listen to the following track and 

you’ll hear Ammons and boogie woogie 

piano playing at its very best…

BOOGIE WOOGIE STOMP 

(Albert Ammons) 

by Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings

 (Decca: 1936)

 https://youtu.be/dNbc0YO5hKg

 One of Albert Ammons’s tracks

 that was a particular favorite of Fats’s

 was SWANEE RIVER BOOGIE based on

 Stephen Foster’s minstrel song 

OLD FOLKS AT HOME


So in ’53, 

Fats Domino recorded his own arrangement 

which he called SWANEE RIVER HOP

 and this was the spectacular result: https://youtu.be/3xtcR8Vc4no



Mead and Pinetop. The Door To Yesterday.

 Here are two of the earliest examples of outstanding boogie woogie hits

 that captured the attention of American audiences…

HONKY TONKY TRAIN BLUES 

(Meade Lux Lewis)

 by Meade Lux Lewis 

(Paramount: 1928)

 https://youtu.be/iabfLNKjNQY 


Over the years, Kentucky-born Meade Lux Lewis (1905-1964) 

cut his tune HONKY TONK TRAIN BLUES several times

for different labels following that first version recorded in December ’27.

He performed the tune in the 1947 musical film “New Orleans” 

and British keyboard whiz Keith Emerson successfully revived it in ’76.


PINETOP’S BOOGIE WOOGIE

 (Pinetop Smith)

 by Pinetop Smith 

(Vocalion: 1928) 

https://youtu.be/ZfekNvYO1tI  


This tune by Alabama-born pianist Clarence Pinetop Smith (1904-1929) 

is another milestone in boogie woogie music and this recording featured

 Clarence playing & talking. 


Bandleader Tommy Dorsey scored a major success

 with his version of Pinetop’s BOOGIE WOOGIE 

initially on Victor in ’38 and then in ’44 when it was re-issued.

 

 

Pete Johnson. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 Another key exponent of boogie woogie was Kansas City native piano player Pete Johnson (1904-1967). 

Check out this track, SHUFFLE BOOGIE which he wrote and recorded in New York in the spring of ’39 for Solo Art.  https://youtu.be/n4ZdlS0X1nA 


 Pete later teamed up with Albert Ammons and the two pianists playing together created quite a storm. 

Here’s an example of their collaborations: BOOGIE WOOGIE MAN

 (Pete Johnson/Albert Ammons) 

by Pete Johnson & Albert Ammons 

(RCA Victor: 1941) 

https://youtu.be/RAufxRwk27s 


Pete Johnson, Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis famously appeared together 

in concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1938 and they even recorded together.


Mention must also be made of Chicago-born pianist Jimmy Yancey (1894-1951) 

who was a key influence on Meade Lux Lewis so much so that Meade composed and cut

 this standout tribute tune YANCEY SPECIAL for Decca in ’36. 

 https://youtu.be/cvffkbjhUys


In 1940, bandleader/pianist Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines (1903-1983) contributed this memorable take on 

W.C. Handy’s milestone blues tune: BOOGIE WOOGIE ON HANDY’S ST. LOUIS BLUES. 

It was credited to Earl Hines & His Orchestra on the Bluebird label.

 https://youtu.be/z-Mpb9Lx5UM


Tommy Dorsey’s reworking of PINETOP’S BOOGIE WOOGIE was just one example of how the influence

 of that style of music was being translated for a wider section of audiences. Jazz and popular big bands took cues 

from the boogie woogie pianists and cultivated a series of boogie-inspired compositions of their own. 


Following are a couple of examples:

HAMP'S BOOGIE WOOGIE 

(Lionel Hampton/Milton Buckner) 

by Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra

 (Decca: 1944)

 https://youtu.be/kKYNZqYTGis


DRUM BOOGIE 

(Gene Krupa/Arr: Elton Hill) 

by Gene Krupa & His Orchestra

Vocal: Irene Day & Ensemble 

(OKeh: 1941)

https://youtu.be/hN_QmwiwgYE

 

 

The Boogie Influence Don Raye Freedie Stack and Ella Mae Morese the door to yesterday

 In the early 40’s, a whole series of other boogie-inspired popular songs often written

 or co-written by Don Raye were major successes on the hit parade of the day

 though they were not always true examples of the original boogie woogie style. 


They included: 


BEAT ME DADDY EIGHT TO THE BAR

 (Don Raye/Hughie Prince/Eleanor Sheehy)

 by Will Bradley & His Orchestra Feat. Ray McKinley& Freddie Slack

Vocal: Ray McKinley 

(Columbia: 1940).

 https://youtu.be/_pf3MMQFhcI 

 Freddie Slack played piano and trombonist Will Bradley led the orchestra. 


BOOGIE WOOGIE BUGLE BOY

(Don Raye/Hughie Prince) 

by The Andrews Sisters 

w/Vic Schoen & His Orchestra 

(Decca: 1941) 

Song famously revived in ’73 by Bette Midler.


COW-COW BOOGIE 

(Don Raye/Gene DePaul/Benny Carter)

 by Freddie Slack & His Orchestra/Vocal by Ella Mae Morse (Capitol: 1942). 

Produced by Johnny Mercer, it was Capitol Records’ very first hit and it

featured pianist Freddie Slack and teenage singer Ella Mae Morse

 https://youtu.be/XUHqrPSkzWk

(Freddie Slack was also successful with his version of 

THE HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHTS that he’d co-written with Don).


DOWN THE ROAD A PIECE

 (Don Raye) 

by The Will Bradley Trio

Vocal: Ray McKinley & Will Bradley

 (Columbia: 1940)

  https://youtu.be/P6LSJ4ZdVVc  

Freddie Slack played piano on the Will Bradley record. 

Song covered over the years by a host of different artists 

ranging from Amos Milburn to The Rolling Stones.

 

RHUMBOOGIE 

(Don Raye/Hughie Prince) 

by The Andrews Sisters 

w/Vic Schoen & His Orchestra 

(Decca: 1940)


SCRUB ME, MAMA, WITH A BOOGIE BEAT 

(Don Raye) 

by Will Bradley & His Orchestra Feat. Ray McKinley 

(Columbia: 1940) 

Also a hit for the Andrews Sisters.


Even Charles Brown’s wife Mabel Scott climbed aboard the boogie bandwagon

 with Leon Rene’s song BOOGIE WOOGIE SANTA CLAUS on Leon’s Exclusive label 

in time for the Christmas season of 1948 though the result was more boogie than woogie!  


Here are two important female singer/pianists 

who recorded outstanding boogie tunes on the west coast in the late 40’s.


 

Camille Howard. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 Camille Howard (above) was a Texas-born

 R&B artist on Art Rupe’s Specialty label; she'd

 played keyboards with Roy Milton & His Solid Senders 

and this is a self-written number which

was a big solo seller for her in ’48: 

X-TEMPORANEOUS BOOGIE

https://youtu.be/DQqhGdpI

Hadda Brooks. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 As a singer, Los Angeles-born Hadda Brooks 

(1916-2004) gave sultry performances singing 

romantic ballads in both movies and her own TV show

 but she was also referred to as the ‘Queen Of The Boogie’ after Jules Bihari signed her to the fledgling

 Modern Music label. 

Here’s her first release 

and one of her finest instrumentals: SWINGIN’ THE BOOGIE 

(Hadda Brooks) 

by Hadda Brooks https://youtu.be/GlFRSMzDQ6c


Pat & I got to know Hadda well in her last few years 

when she came out of retirement and played club dates. 


In her early Modern years, she’d also adapted classical themes for boogie numbers but here’s another of my favorites of her original instrumentals:

JUKE BOX BOOGIE

 (Modern: c.1947) 

https://youtu.be/qFu1iPQFTIo


Of course, the word Boogie has continued to develop 

in a zillion song titles over the decades in such hits as BOOGIE NIGHTS, BOOGIE FEVER, 

GET UP AND BOOGIE and JUNGLE BOOGIE 

and its general meaning refers to 

fast-paced and fun-filled dance music.


 Long may it thrive!

Pete Johnson Rocket Boogie 88. The Door TO Yesterday.

 Finally, turn back the clock and check out ROCKET BOOGIE ‘88’ Part 1 

(Jack Lauderdale/Pete Johnson) 

by Pete Johnson

 (Down Beat/Swing Time: 1949)

  https://youtu.be/Jz0JL5-wj28 

 

This tune was obviously an influence on R&B singer/saxman 

Jackie Brenston when he created his ROCKET 88 classic a couple of years later. 


Rock on.


Alan Warner


Please send any comments or suggestions to 

thedoortoyesterday@gmail.com