Who knew that Nixons’ Music Store in Adrian, Michigan, was the Mecca for hot trumpet swingfans circa 1940?*  But here’s the evidence from the eBay treasure chest:

But how could Feist Music teach anyone that tone?  Or this one:

Something for the pianists in the house (original source unknown):

I’d love to see the “transcription” of Fats’ solos on SHOE SHINE BOY and WHEN IT’S SLEEPY TIME DOWN SOUTH. 

That one is priceless for Fats as Pagilacci — an early example of marketing tie-in, connected to his 1939 Lang-Worth transcription date. 

Someone actually owned this folio, and it’s the Second Series, too:

That one comes with its own rubber plunger mute — for no extra charge.

From A to Ziggy. 

*My research found that Nixons’ no longer exists — but an advertisement in the ADRIAN DAILY TELEGRAM, Sept. 2, 1947, says that they had everything in records and music.  Given the evidence here, I am convinced.  To see a vintage photograph of Maumee Street in Adrian with reference to a music shop, click here.  In 1970, it was Nixon-Marboro’s Music Store (120 East Maumee) and currently that address is occupied by a martial arts school, “Black Dragon’s Den.”  I wouldn’t dare to say a word against the Black Dragon, but it makes me think (not for the first time) 

Sic transit gloria mundi.


  1. Why must you torment me, sir? I say it again, wrong generation. I was born in the wrong generation. Thanks for the post, Michael.

  2. Perhaps. But your job (should you decide to accept it) is to bring the glory of that generation into this century. You can do it!

  3. That “Fats Waller Swing Sessions” folio is mighty interesting. The only one of those selections that he recorded, as far as I can recall, is “Truckin’.” Regards “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South” and “Shoe Shine Boy,” were you implying that Fats wouldn’t have “transcribed” these because of the racial element of the lyrics? He *did* record “Floatin’ Down to Cotton Town,” pretty much the same type of lyric. And “Sleepy Time” was written by black songwriters Leon and Henry René and Clarence Muse, and despite the lyric about “darkies” it was much beloved by Louis Armstrong, who made it his theme song.

  4. No, Randy, no racial implications involved. I would have loved to hear what Fats did with those melodies, both favorites of mine. However, those “folios” are always slightly suspect. Sometimes I think the publishing company hired someone to invent an improvisation on a theme owned by them “in the style of.” I know, for instance, that discs survive of Berigan playing several of the improvisations that appeared as transcriptions. Anyway, I would simply like to hear / imagine more Waller! Cheers to you, Michael

  5. I do have a folio of Bix Beiderbecke “Trumpet Transcriptions” (I guess cornets weren’t as appealing to the mass market). That gaffe aside, these really are note-for-note transcriptions of actual Bix solos, with good capsule histories of the records. This was published in the mid-’40s, I believe. Most of the key Bix solos are here, except, strangely, “Singin’ the Blues.”

  6. As for hearing/imagining more Waller, do you know about the Joe Sullivan album where he recorded Waller compositions which had been left in a publisher’s files but never committed to disc by Fats? That’s worth having. It came out as a 10″ LP on Epic and is reissued on CD somewhere–I’ll track down that info for you.

  7. So are these items you’ve purchased? I can’t tell.

  8. No, just coveting . . .

  9. I had the Epic 10″ and might still . . . thanks for the reminder! As for unheard Fats of another sort, there’s the Marty Grosz – Keith Ingham UNSATURATED FATS on a Stomp Off CD.

  10. I’ve been going through some old sheet music of my Grandmother and found a lot purchased at Nixons. Thought I’d look up the storw and OMG there’s actually information here. Thanks for making a website

  11. Late late late post here. I have a sheet music piece from Nixon’s. The address on the stamp is 105 Maumee.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s