No, my title isn’t a reference to Robert Louis Stevenson, or the 1935 pop song recorded by Louis and Wingy Manone. It’s how I think of the back quadrant of the antiques-and-collectables shop called CAROUSEL on Warren Street in Hudson, New York. In a previous post, I happily showed off the Jelly Roll Morton HMV 78 I had uncovered . . . but I hadn’t bothered to look down. What I found was two boxes of 10″ and 12″ 78s and a few 10″ lps — many of them suggesting that their previous owner had far-ranging and excellent jazz taste. Here are my latest acquisitions, arranged in rough chronological order for the purists out there . . .
Let’s begin with some classic acoustic blues: two Columbias by a famous pair:
This one was fairly dull, but I didn’t expect roaring improvisation.
Well, we live in hope. SUSAN has some faux-hot playing in its final chorus, where potential buyers might not be scared away, but nothing memorable.
I recall this tune from Mildred Bailey’s little-girl version, but don’t know the vocalist.
This 78 is cracked, but this side’s a real prize. With the song taken at a slower tempo than usual, there’s a good deal of growling from Bubber Miley in the last minute of the record, out in the open and as part of the ensemble. A find!
What first caught my eye was the lovely UK label . . . then when I saw this and the next ones were mint Bings from 1933, I couldn’t resist. And Eddie Lang is added to the Royal Canadians. Legend has it that the British pressings are quiet and well-behaved. Is this true?
Not a memorable song, but I can hear Bing becoming pastoral as I type these words.
And my favorite of the four sides — a jaunty naughty song about love-addiction, and perhaps other things, too. I always knew that “I must have you every day / As regularly as coffee or tea,” didn’t entirely refer to Twining’s Earl Grey.
Now you’re talking my language! We jump forward into the Forties (I left aside a number of familiar Commodores and Keynotes, because of the economy) — with a record I’d only heard on an Onyx lp compilation. Here’s the original 12″ vinyl pressing, with “Theodocius,” as Mildred called him on a 1935 record, who was under contract to Musicraft at the time. A wonderful quintet!
And a tune that only one other jazz group (Benny Morton-Red Allen, 1933) ever recorded.
For whatever reason, 10″ jazz lps are even more scarce than 78s, so this one was a real surprise — even without its cover.
Just as good!
The other side of the ideological divide, but equally thrilling.
Did Mingus overdub his bass lines on this issue, I wonder?
Take it on faith that side 2 is exactly the same except for the altered digit. Now, to conclude — a pair of oddities!
I can see myself listening to this two-sided piece of history once, if that — but the near-mint record and the original sleeve made it an essential purchase. I’ll also send this photo to my friend, poet Amy King, who isn’t abdicating her throne any time soon.
Finally, a real gamble and entirely irresistible for that reason. The logical half of the brain says that what looks like “Hawk” will turn out to be “Hank,” singing about his girl Nona, accompanying himself on the musical saw. The hopeful side of the brain says “Coleman Hawkins, of course . . . ” Stay tuned! My next purchase, obviously, has to be a three-speed turntable.
And two antique-store stories, both cheering. In Carousel, the gentleman behind the counter saw me come puffing up with my armload of precious 78s. I could be wrong, but I don’t think the store does a brisk business in 78s, so he was happy to see me. “I have twelve,” I said, with that hopeful expectant canine look on my face that says, silently, “Can you give me a break on the price, especially if I don’t haggle with you?” His intuition was splendid. He grinned at me and said, “Looks like ten to me.” I was pleasantly flustered and said, conspiratorially, “You knew I was hoping for some sort of discount, didn’t you?” and his smile got bigger. “No,” he said, “I just count better than you do.” Very sweet indeed!
And a few days before this, the Beloved and I had spent some time in a store in an odd location — where, I don’t exactly remember. Its owner was even more amiable, even when we couldn’t find a thing to buy in his place, including gardening books and a small stash of vinyl records. But we had an exceedingly amusing and thoughtful conversation with him about the changing nature of the area, and how it affected local businesses. We exchanged friendly good wishes at the end, and went outside to get in the car. A few beats later, we saw him emerge from the store. “Did I tell you my clown joke?” he said, and we said no, he hadn’t — hoping for the best but expecting something positively weird or terrifying. (One never knows, do one?) “Two cannibals are eating a clown, and one of them looks at the other and says, suspiciously, ‘Does this taste funny to you?” It caught me by surprise and, after a moment for cogitation, we were laughing loudly. Now you can tell it to someone else.