My goodness, there’s more! That’s the closing performances of the Nov. 16, 1948 Eddie Condon Floor Show — audio only — with Wild Bill Davison, Brad Gowans, Pee Wee Russell, Mary Lou Williams, Dick Cary, Eddie, Jack Lesberg, George Wettling, Johnny Mercer, with commentary by Lord Buckley.
On DOWN AMONG THE SHELTERING PALMS, what might have seemed a novelty number suddenly opens up because of Mercer’s absolutely relaxed singing (with a touch of the giggles at one point) and lovely work from Brad, Pee Wee, and the rhythm section.
The SLOW BLUES keeps Johnny at the mike (with Wild Bill muttering behind him) — some witty lyrics which lead to that marvel, a Pee Wee stop-time blues performance (the video here is from the 197 THE SOUND OF JAZZ, by the way); a beautiful Wettling drum break takes it up and out we go, with Lord Buckley telling us all about the show next week, with Louis, Jack Teagarden, Barney Bigard, Earl Hines, Arvell Shaw, Sidney Catlett, and Velma Middleton.
As an aside, if you follow Charles Ellsworth Russell’s fortunes and career, wasn’t he apparently disintegrating in 1948, and with a great enmity towards Eddie Condon? The music wouldn’t prove either of those contentions: he sounds positively elevated and not at all unhappy with the surroundings. Perhaps history after the fact isn’t as substantial as the evidence. And here’s another mystery: the cornetist who’s playing as the program is fading out is clearly Davison. But the first horn soloist after Wettling’s break doesn’t sound like Bill, or Henry “Red” Allen for that matter. I wonder, I wonder — will the experts in the audience listen in and tell me that I am wrong for thinking it to be my hero, the Atlas of the trumpet, HOT LIPS PAGE? It wouldn’t be the first or last time Lips showed up at the Floor Show.
I don’t know if Channel 11 — WPIX-TV in New York City — even exists, but I’d guess that their programming in 2012 is not quite as surprising as this. Thanks once again to the energetic Franz Hoffmann for opening the cornucopia . . . with more to come!
This one’s for Maggie, Romy, and Phyllis and Liza as well.