I’ve posted the second half of this performance, where the Three Pods of Pepper were joined by Bent Persson, but here are the Pods in their original form. A collection of C-melody saxophone, clarinet, bass saxophone, two banjos, ukulele, and guitar might sound like the inventory of a dealer of moderately-antique instruments, but the Three Pods of Pepper (named as if for a spinoff of Kid Ory’s 1922 recording band with perhaps a nod to Jelly Roll Morton’s Victor band) are fervent, swinging, lively. How could they not be when their members are Spats Langham, Norman Field, and Frans Sjostrom?
Here they perform NEVER AGAIN, explained in depth by Professor Langham:
Courtesy of Rube Bloom and his Bayou Boys, MYSTERIOUS MOSE, a song designed to scare the kiddies, although not fatally:
GONNA GET A GIRL, both lyrically and musically, is one of the dumbest songs ever written (a rebuke to those who think everything in the Jazz Age was by definition more creative) but it sticks in the brain — perhaps for that reason. And its repetitive simplistic lyrics and melody line exactly capture the woozy thought processes of a hormonally-charged fifteen-year old boy, intent on what’s lacking in his life:
The other side of the amorous condition is the vainglorious pride of ownership, expressed in IT ALL BELONGS TO ME, associated with Annette Hanshaw and Cliff Edwards:
THE MAN FROM THE SOUTH is rhythmically propulsive although not philosophically deep, also connected with Rube Bloom and his Bayou Boys:
Finally, a tender masterpiece, MARY (WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?) by Walter Donaldson, which is always — in memory — performed by Bing Crosby with Paul Whiteman, on a wonderful 1927 Victor record where Bix Beiderbecke and Henry Busse represent Old and New (in Bill Challis’ witty arrangement), Old slowly going beneath the waves at the end. But this version is more than its equal, with Spats singing the lyrics as if his heart was in every line and playing beautiful Eddie Lang guitar; Norman’s eloquently simple playing; Frans, majestic and logically emotional as always:
If you’ve watched these performances with the growing awareness that your life — culinary or musical or both — needs more spice, don’t rush to the pantry to spoon Tunisian harissa into your oatmeal. Relief of another kind is in sight! Tthe Pods have a wonderful CD, uncluttered and generous, that is just what you (and your friends) need. It’s called HOT STUFF! (WVR 1003) and it features guest appearances by those masters of capiscum Mike Durham and Keith Nichols.
Details at www.wjrk.co.uk.