Discographical Ramblings

A selection of Ate van Delden’s Ramblings from VJM 190, our Summer 2021 issue.

The Corona lockdown is slowly becoming less serious, but we are still mostly at home, and collecting Ramblings. Here's another batch.


The Fred Rich session of c. 3 February 1926 has long been thought to have a California Ramblers personnel, including Adrian Rollini on bass sax. But Rollini was in Florida at the time, so can't be him. Bert Brandsma, leader of Chris Barber's band, plays all reed instruments, including the bass sax. He listened for me to 2 of the 3 Rich titles and here is his conclusion. Bert writes:

  The bass notes are played by a tuba. On one title, the first part of the clarinet solo is followed by a low sax solo, and the bass notes are continued. Then the clarinet returns for 8 bars and the same sax then plays a kind of improvised counter melody, while the bass notes from the tuba are continued. That sax could be a bass sax, but the range could be done on a baritone too. At the time American baritones had a deeper tone than modern Selmers have. The solo does sound a little like Rollini, but it has some elements which are not typical for him. Whoever played it studied his style quite well, particularly the opening breaks.


Editor Brian Goggin writes about Lil Armstrong's Decca session of 9 Sep 1938 [See Reviews]. On this session, a male voice is heard on the final track Knock-Kneed Sal (On The Mourners Bench). The JR5 does not list this, but JR6 lists him as unknown, and erroneously on its flip side, Everything's Wrong, Ain't Nothing Right where he is not heard. Sounds slightly too low and rough to be drummer O'Neill Spencer, but Brian can't rule him out either. Any ideas?


Bernhard Behncke writes that a test exits of unissued take 2 of Brunswick mx 20695-2 Big Boy Blue.


Björn Englund notes that at least 19 of Jack Payne's Imperial titles on Swedish Kristall are from alternate takes to those given in Rust's British Dance Band Discography. Since multiple takes were often on the parent Imperial(E) issue, these takes may also have been issued in England. Here they are (followed by the Swedish Kristall catalogue no.):

6437-2 (K.3008); 6489-2 (K.3016); 6491-2 (K.3013; 6493/6494 (K.3015); 6505-3 (113);

F 690-3/691-3 (139); F 694/695 (177); F 933-3 (192); F 1062 (219); F 1210 (223); F 1316-2    (264); F 1681/1682 (316); F 1960  (387).


Tom Buhmann wonders if it has ever been researched, why there is a jump in mx no.s on Bessie Smith’s January 1925 session, where Fred Longshaw plays harmonium before the break (mx 140241/2) and piano after (mx 140249/250/251). Tom suggests that Bessie recorded the first 2 titles in the morning, took a break with the men and after her return, found that the studio was occupied. Then they found a different studio, but it had no harmonium. The intervening 6 matrices were recorded by Calvin P. Dixon and Ollie Powers. The file cards however, have additional information. They say that the operator for all 5 Bessie Smith titles was one Emerson, while operators for the Dixon/Powers titles were Gloetzner and Freiberg respectively. Masters for Bessie's first 2 titles were shipped on 14 Jan 1925 and for the last 3 on 15 Jan 1925. But the Columbia Artist Card only gives 14 Jan for all 5 of Bessie's titles. Comments, please.

The ‘Lake Arrowhead Orchestra’ made at least two personal recordings for Sunset in Los Angeles. According to a newspaper clipping found by Colin Hancock, a great cornetist and multi-instrumentalist in the classic style, the band was a college group from University of Southern California (now UCLA). It gives a partial personnel: Carroll Huxley, piano; Bud King and Ormande Grier, saxes; Jack Farrell, violin; Mei Le Mon, banjo; J. Stewart Peters, drums.

Thank you all. All contributions to a.vandelden@onsmail.nl please.