In the 1950s, Rock´n´Roll was a force. Some brave accordionists were still holding their ground, not ready to give up the fight. But it was a losing game, loud electric guitars were taking the world by storm. Since then, they have more or less replaced acoustic instruments like accordions, recorders, zithers, cazoos and washboards in popular music.
The Accordionnaires, on the other hand, tried to go with the times…
Found this Rose Records 45 in Vienna a couple of weeks ago. No idea when or where it was published. No trace of it in the digital world either. Obviously it´s never been reissued. About the only thing that popped up, when I searched for The Accordionaires on the Internet, was this music book.
Everett Barksdale (1910-1986) was an American jazz guitarist and session musician who worked with anyone who had a name in the jazz field from the 30s to the late 60s.
As far as I could find out, Everett Barksdale only recorded two 45s of his own material, this one and another one (See You Friday/ First Flag On The Moon) in 1968 for the Murbo label. Both of them have never been reissued in any format.
Think about it and do the math…
That´s a pretty fresh guitar sound for a 52 year old man in 1962!
Grady Martin (January 17, 1929 – December 3, 2001) is in the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame. As a session guitarist he worked with anyone who had a name in the country and rock´n´roll field. Today he´s mostly known for the recordings he did with Johnny Burnette. It´s actually his guitar playing that can be heard on most of the recordings of Johnny Burnette´s Rock´n´Roll Trio.
But Grady Martin´s own instrumental records with the Slew Foot Five were equally excellent. Side By Side, with vocals by Dottie Dillard and Jack Shook, was originally recorded in 1953 in Nashville. This German EP from 1958 collects four tracks that also appeared on Martin´s Jukebox Jamboree LP (1956).
Surprisingly the song has never been re-released in digital format and can currently not be purchased anywhere.
Great Gosh found its way on a Belgium bootleg compilation LP called “Rock´n´Roll Collection Vol. 15” in 1986. The generic cover of the series simply donned a Confederate Flag indicating to what type of listeners the bootleggers had in mind. Apart from this appearance the song has never been reissued legally and hence is not to be found digitally anywhere either.
After 57 years it´s about time…
This 45 has been in my possession for quite some time and I never knew anything about it. From looking at the label, Crossfire Records from Southern California seems to have been a tiny regional label with a typical feature being the bold, but very effective hand-made logo. The A-Side was incorrectly printed The Is The Night and then corrected by hand with a pen. The most striking thing was, that I couldn´t really categorize the music. Since I bought it in a Berlin thrift store, it has always puzzled me, but whenever I tried to find some information about Jimmie Goodin or Crossfire Records on the Internet, nothing turned up. Until recently. When I once again casually googled his name, this obituary appeared:
James Wilbert Gooden
February 16th, 1933 – January 20th, 2013
James Wilbert Gooden was born on February 16, 1933, in Columbus Ohio, to Loyes Gooden-Pitman and Tom Pitman.
In 1952 he left Columbus, Ohio and moved to San Diego, CA where he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. When he arrived in San Diego he joined the “Old Jackson Memorial “ Church of God In Christ and was a flag carrier in the dedication of the “Greater Jackson Memorial” Church of God in Christ, under the pasturage of the Late Bishop J.A. Blake Sr.
James united in marriage to Bernice Emery. To this union 6 children were born.
For 40 years he was owner operator of Gooden Janitorial Services. Over this period he employed his children, family members and several friends and taught them all the “meaning of hard work”.
Beyond his Janitorial business he was also a singer in the likes of Sam Cooke and Nat King Cole. He enjoyed singing their specific songs as part of his stage performance in both San Diego and Las Vegas venues. He also recorded 2 records; “This Is The Night” and “Needing Your Love”. He was quietly proud of this God given talent.
In his later years, he was unable to attend church and he found great solace in Television ministry. Some of his favorite ministers included Bishop T.D. Jakes.
James departed this life on Sunday, January 20, 2013.
He leaves to mourn his home going, 3 daughters, 3 sons, 14 grandchildren, 3
sisters and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends to remember his life.
The obituary just mentions this 45, so apparently it was the only one James Gooden ever recorded. The Crossfire label´s biggest claim to fame seems to have been the fact that they distributed the wild garage punk 45 Music b/w Do You Believe Me by Byron and the Mortals on the Xpreshun label. Do You Believe was re-released on Pebbles #9 in 1980 and on Crypt Records Teenage Shutdown Series #4 in 1998. Two more 45s released by the Crossfire label from Lake Elsinore, located halfway in-between Los Angeles and San Diego, can be found on Youtube: Crossfire #105, Roy and Georgia and the So and So´s Devil Get Away From Me b/w Looking Up and Crossfire #106, Leo Senay Livin´Like A Bum b/w Let´s Not Think Of Tomorrow. Both 45s, recorded sometime in the mid-60s, are weird home-grown Hillbilly music.
Jimmie Gooden´s two self-written songs are both great. The A-Side This Is The Night is a saxophone and trumpet driven, up-tempo pop tune. But the B-Side Needing Your Love is truly wonderful! A dramatic flute and cymbals introduce the song, a haunting guitar and trumpet carries it through and James Gooden´s vocals tenderly communicate his desire. It´s all sort of jazz-tinged, especially the Herbie Mann-style flute, and I wonder who´s the backing band. There´s no trace of Todd Sanders & The Naturals anywhere on the Internet yet. Was it this Charles “Todd” Sanders? And who was Edna Grimes, who produced these songs?
I can also only speculate why these beautiful songs have never been reissued in 50 years. Maybe it was because, for something recorded in the mid-60s, This Is The Night sounds very much like it was made in the 50s. The songs fall in-between: they´re not quite pure enough for fans of the 1950s and not groovy enough for the 60s. They´re not Rhythm & Blues, Soul or Jazz. They´re just great pop songs.
It´s a shame if it wasn´t. Behind the hissing there´s a nice bubblegum-style pop song!
Every once in a while I like to go to a Berlin record convention. The records there are a little more expensive than in thrift stores but generally of much better quality. It´s nice to be in a room filled with choice stuff for a change, instead of my usual neighborhood stores where I have to wade through heaps of garbage. I hadn´t found so much on that one day a couple of years ago, and was about ready to leave when I came across a seller specializing in magazines. While randomly browsing through some of them, I noticed this Music Makers (of stage-screen-radio!) magazine from December 1940, way down at the bottom of the stack. At first it seemed like a typical tabloid featuring the regular pop stars of the swing era – no real jazz music in there with all of the featured artists being white. When suddenly, somewhere in the middle of the magazine, I saw this double spread about the SAVOY BALLROOM! Immediately I knew that I wanted this magazine and I took it home for four euros.
If you search the Internet for photos of the Savoy Ballroom or even just any period lindy hoppers, the same handful of images seem to pop up. I haven´t seen these shots before, so I thought it would be nice to share them. They´re pictures of regulars at the club, some of them sitting on the floor, watching couples doing some wild air steps. The atmosphere is casual, not very ballroomsy, the girls are wearing simple skirts and saddle shoes, lotsa guys are without ties, some of them wearing sandals. It must have been in the midst of the summer.
Sadly the accompanying article is full-on racist. It shouldn´t be surprising regarding the nature of this white pop magazine, but it´s still worth remembering, while we enjoy swing dancing and listening to swing music today, how common racism was in the 30s. The article reflects the widespread bigotry of the period, when it was hip to be entertained by Cab Calloway at the Cotton Club, where black people were not allowed. Few people actually went to Harlem to hang out, let alone move there like Mezz Mezzrow, who was a junkie. The whole country was segregated. But it was still nowhere near the degree of murderous racism that was taking place right here in Berlin at the same time in 1940. Now it´s always said, that the Savoy Ballroom was the only integrated ballroom in the U.S. and probably the whole world. If you look closely, you can even find some white faces in these photos. Double-click on them and they will get much bigger.
Just for historical accuracy and to remind us of the dubious source of these images, I transcribed the article in full. So please don´t blame me for reproducing the racist trash talk or the numerous irregularities in this exploitation piece. It´s what came with these pictures.
Stompin´at the Savoy
by Ted Farah
THINK it over – and if you want to know the reason why darkies were born come along to Harlem´s Savoy ballroom. Sure, someone has to to plant the cotton, and someone has to pick the corn, just like the song says. Someone has to shine shoes and wait on tables and do housework, but that ain´t all.
Someone´s gotta dance. Someone´s gotta play hot, rapturous jazz on a piano and a trumpet, on a high laughing clarinet, on low mournful trombones. Some colored gal in a flashy evening gown has to stand at a microphone and sing the blues away, while a mean horn plays all in and out and around the melody.
Down below the platform, on the long dimly-lighted dance floor, the boys and girls are struttin´, jivin´, cuttin´ up. The days´s work is done. No boss to´yell orders. Only rhythm. Plenty of rhythm. All God´s chillun got rhythm.
For fifteen years this has been going on at the Savoy, in the heart of Harlem, the greatest colored community in the world. Remember, way back in the twenties, when the Charleston was the rage all over the country?
The Charleston was born at the Savoy. A sepia cavalcade of jazz could be based on the dance crazes that were cradled in one upper Manhattan ballroom. After the Charleston, they gave out the Blackbottom and it was succeeded by the Lindy Hop, Truckin´, Suzy-Q, Boogie-Woogie and Big Apple, with a few others in between. For dancing like that, ecstatic, jubilant, all out dancing you have to have music. That´s where Duke Ellington, the great Duke who means so much to American music, comes in. He got his first big breaks at the Savoy. The late drummer genius Chick Webb was discovered here. Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Lunceford, Erskine and Coleman Hawkins, The Four Ink Spots – began their careers in the Savoy.
The kids who go there – attracted by a reasonable admission price, ten-cent beer and jazz played by masters – go strictly to dance.
Many songs have been composed by musicians, sitting around its lively atmosphere. They say Hoagy Carmichael wrote his ever popular “Stardust” while sitting at the Savoy. Gene Krupa jotted down his startling “Bolero” there one night. Chick Webb dictated “Stompin´at the Savoy” to Ella Fitzgerald in a moment of inspiration between dance sets. “Tuxedo Junction” was born there.
The Stompin´at the Savoy reaches its zenith on Thursday nights. This is a free night for ladies. By eleven, the dance floor is jammed. By midnight the building seems to be rocking with rhythm and the dancing that goes on would bring joy to the heart of a wooden Indian.
A cavalcade of dances could be based on the styles cradled in the Savoy – birthplace of the Charleston, Blackbottom, Truckin´, Lindy Hop, and Big Apple.
(captions from Music Makers magazine:)
This series of action pictures shows members of the Savoy´s “Four Hundred Club” in action on the dance floor. The club is composed of the best dancers in Harlem.
While the band on the platform provides torrid rhythms, they skillfully toss their partners toward the ceiling, or around their shoulders.
There is no charge for membership in the “Four Hundred Club”, but aspirants must demonstrate to members that they are good enough dancers.
Once admitted to the club, they may attend the regular Tuesday night dance sessions at the Savoy and get in at the club rate, which is less expensive.
At these sessions of the “Four Hundred Club” you see some of the smartest amateur dancing on view anywhere.
Truckin´and the Lindy Hop are highly popular dances among the Savoy Stompers. Here you see a Truckin´couple being “sent” clear out of this world.
Fast action is characteristic of the youngsters when they “get hot” while Stompin´at the Savoy. Here is a remarkable photo that captures the speed and spirit of a dancing couple.
Photos by Barry
Wer Lust hat kann mit uns am Ostermontag, 25 April, auf dem Tempelhofer Feld Swing tanzen. Swingtanzbare Musik kommt direkt vom Plattenteller. Decken, Getränke und Verpflegung bitte mitbringen. Wenn ihr am Eingang Columbiadamm auf Kreidezeichen auf dem Boden achtet, findet ihr uns leicht.
Berlin Tempelhof Airport has a long history starting in 1923. In 1933 Berlin´s first concentration camp was established in this place. After Tempelhof Airport was massively reconstructed in 1936 by the Nazi governement, thousands of forced laborers worked there in air armament. Of course Tempelhof was also the base of the legendary Berlin Airlift, the Allied mission to fly food and supplies to blockaded West Berlin in 1948-1949. The airport closed in 2008. Today it is a public park.
We´ll be dancing in Tempelhof park on Easter monday. To commemorate the US history of the airport, here´s a 45 used for radio broadcasts. Betty Madigan together with Dick Hyman and his band advertise for WAF – Women in the Air Force.
“So rememer young ladies: if the life of the WAF appeals to you, talk with your local Air Force recruiter. Get in on the ground floor of the space age!”