Yesterday the Beloved and I visited what we call “Mrs. Rodgers’ Book Barn,” although its official name is “Rodgers Book Barn” — a fine old-fashioned used bookstore (467 Rodman Road, Hillsadle, New York, 518-325-3610). Mrs. Rodgers herself is a pleasure to talk to and deal with. The Beloved ended up with four or five new gardening books . . . but her clever eye had spotted a stack of sheet music, and Mrs. Rodgers, seeing me clutch my purchases ardently, told me that more awited in the barn.
Aside from the one late-Thirties ringer (which you will spot easily) this is a hot collection circa 1931, with photos of musicians and bandleaders I had not seen before. The original owner or owners had an ear for lively pop music.
I had never seen the music for this song before and was dismayed to find it has a truly uninspired verse, but any song made immortal by Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, and Django Reinhardt in 1937 and later by Dick Sudhalter and Marty Grosz is worth celebrating.
Signs of the times — the reverse of one of the music sheets (which, in other cases, show the industry at a crossroads, with ads for music, phonograph records, and piano rolls — anything to keep people from sitting in front of their radios and listening for free).
In her sweet little Alice Blue gown — a pretty waltz before the jazz players got to it!
I never heard of Walter Doyle, but was captivated by this because of the hot recording by Rube Bloom and his Bayou Boys in 1930 — and a hot performance of the song done by Spats Langham at, you guessed it, Whitley Bay. It’s one of those period songs that threatens to terrify the listener. Is it the Ur-text for OL’ MAN MOSE, I wonder?
In honor of Bix, Whiteman, and that Movietone News clip (1928).
One of my heroes, looking skeptically off into the distance. (I gather there’s never been a biography written of Cliff Edwards?)
Nice publicity still of Bing — although I have never heard him sing this song.
Then again, I never heard Gene Krupa sing this one, either.
A lively cover for a hot Twenties tune — again, in my memory because of Spats Langham’s performance.
I bought this one for the cherubic Whiteman portrait. All of the sheet music I’ve encountered here and on other vacations tends to wander far from its original source (some sheets were originally purchased in Missouri, one in a Maine music store that billed itself TEMPLE OF MUSIC) but this song must have been well-loved here or elsewhere, if the number of copies unearthed here is any indication. “Why Wyoming?” I ask myself, with no particular hopes of an insightful answer.
This is a real oddity — a 1913 folio of original compositions. At first, I thought it was music for those pianists who improvised to fit what they saw onscreen (the big love scene, the terrible storm) but now I think it’s something even more subversive: music implicitly connected with those pictures and perhaps the fantasy of being the pianist in the pit . . . to make Junior put down his bat and ball and practice that piano.
Only diehard jazz fanciers will understand why I got terribly excited about the last two sheets, below:
I know that that portrait finds Husk O’Hare perhaps a little past his fame as a bandleader in whose organization hot players could find work, but I’d never seen a picture of him.
I knew Pollack was famous, and that this 1929 engagement brought him fame, but I never expected to see him on the cover of this sheet music. Of course, in an ideal world, Jack Teagarden’s picture would replace Pollack’s, but you can’t have everything.
And (speaking of crass commerce) these pieces of irreplaceable jazz ephemera cost less than an entree at the local Mexican restaurant, so I am in the unusual position of being rich in possessions and positively thrifty at the same time — thanks to the unknown Benefactors and gracious Mrs. Rodgers.