Thanks to the energetic Rae Ann Berry, who took her nimble video camera to Fresno, California on February 6, 2010, for the Sounds of Mardi Gras (sponsored by the Fresno Dixieland Society), here are some lively videos of the New El Dorado Jazz Band, co-led by Hal Smith (on washboard) and Clint Baker (clarinet, banjo, vocals, and more) with Howard Miyata on trombone, Marc Caparone on trumpet, Mike Baird on clarinet, Katie Cavera on banjo, Carl Sonny Leyland on piano, Georgia Korba on bass — with a guest appearances by singer Dawn Lambeth and the multi-talented Jeff Hamilton

Here they are on a romping BIG CHIEF BATTLE AXE, which Dawn once told me they called (privately) BIG CHEAP CADILLAC, a title I much prefer.  Now the secret is out!

Here’s SNAG IT, a wonderful evocation of New Orleans – Chicago funk:

Marty Bloom’s improvisation on the theme of jazz sorrow, MELANCHOLY (with the verse):

Are you prey to violent urges?  SHAKE IT AND BREAK IT might be the right theme music:

Jelly Roll Morton’s WININ’ BOY BLUES, at a splendid tempo, with Carl hilariously swerving around the more erotic lyrics not once but twice (send a quarter to this blog by email for the missing lines, if you’re over eighteen):

And a romping ORIENTAL MAN (which I would bet has wonderfully archaic and unpopular lyrics):

Here’s a delicious YOU’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY — even though Dawn’s microphone lets her down, the combination of her creamy legato approach and the band’s Louis / Moten riffs is irresistible:

In tribute to Papa Ray Ronnei, here’s his original, SALTY BUBBLE:

Here’s YOU ALWAYS HURT THE ONE YOU LOVE — a wonderful song but bad advice in personal relationships.  Howard’s shifted over to the massive helicon, and Jeff Hamilton sits in on trombone (not his usual drums or piano — who knew?):

Carl Sonny Leyland can certainly rock the blues, as he does here — see how Hal Smith is enjoying the tempo even before the band joins in for SONNY’S BLUES:

And a nearly dangerous ONE SWEET LETTER FROM YOU, with Howard and Jeff continuing.  This band delivers the mail for sure. 

This band has recorded a CD for Clint’s BURGUNDY STREET RECORDS: if you’re lucky enough to see members of the band on gigs, I’m sure they’ll have some, and Hal Smith promises that it will soon be available through his website.  (  I’m buying some copies! 

Does anyone have the lyrics to ORIENTAL MAN?  Or the original sheet music to share?

P.P.S.  For no reasons aside from personal pleasure, I’d like to know the “reach” of this blogpost.  Who’s watching these clips from far, far away?  A prize to the most distant viewer . . . !


  1. Michael,

    Here’s my rough transcription of the lyrics of Oriental Man (one of the two Johnny Dodds recordings has a duet vocal!):

    I see my oriental man,
    He’s way across the desert sand,
    Calling me to loving arms,
    Underneath the palms,
    I love my oriental man,
    His kind of love is mighty grand
    Another moon, a creole song, my oriental man

    Seems the lyricist had a dubious understanding of the term ‘oriental’, and how odd that they sing ‘creole song’ when ‘creole tune’ would rhyme better?!

    Watching the clips over breakfast in hot and humid Melbourne.

  2. Thank you, Michael! I envy you the “hot and humid,” as there is a blizzard-in-the-making outside my window. I’m also glad to find that ORIENTAL MAN was not about some demeaning stereotypical Asian character . . . what a relief! Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner; send Miss Little my best regards! Cheers, Michael

  3. In 1963, William Miskell recorded the “Pepper Jazz Band” at a gig in the Los Angeles area. The band consisted of: Ray Ronnei-cornet; Frank Demond-trombone; Tom Sharpsteen-clarinet; Dick Shooshan-piano; Ralph Diana-banjo; Mike Fay-bass; and Walter Sereth-drums. Sharpsteen sang “Oriental Man” and the results were issued on Miskell’s “Epitaph” label (LP-3). Unfortunately, the mic was just far enough away from Tom that the lyrics are not crystal clear. There may be a few variations on the lyrics that Michael McQuaid posted; maybe some of Tom’s own creation???
    Anyway, if you ever see the LP, there’s a lot of good stuff on it, including three tracks by the (original) El Dorado Jazz Band!

  4. Pingback: Chattanooga Jazz Festival | Citygreen at Northshore

  5. My memory of the last line of the lyrics to “Oriental man” is a bit different:
    Beneath the moon, I’ll see him soon, my oriental man.

    Interestingly, at the time this was written, “Oriental” referred to Egypt and the Levant, which is why they refer to the desert and palm trees.

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