THE REAL THING: “OLD STACK O’LEE”: THE BLUES at MANASSAS (December 2, 1972): JOHNNY WIGGS, RAYMOND BURKE, GRAHAM STEWART, BOB GREENE, DANNY BARKER, FREDDIE MOORE

Through the kindness of Joe Shepherd, we have another trip backwards in time to view and hear the magic of the music.  In case you missed the first excursion, do visit here.

Be forewarned: the visual quality of this video is quite murky — almost twenty thousand leagues under the sea, although Verne never heard such music.  One can get used to it.  This is what much-transferred forty-years-old videotape looks like, but the audio is loud and clear.

This video is a valuable document, because it and its predecessor from the same session are (as far as I know) the only performance footage of cornetist Johnny Wiggs and clarinetist Raymond Burke — lyrical heroes of mine — here accompanied by Graham Stewart, trombone, Bob Greene, piano, Danny Barker, guitar, Freddie Moore, drums: Johnny Wiggs’ Bayou Stompers, introduced by Johnson “Fat Cat” McRee, sometime singer / kazooist and eternal jazz lover – festival creator.  They play a nice old blues (close to MAKE ME A PALLET ME ON THE FLOOR) at a sweet tempo, the beat marked off in a special old-time way by Freddie.  And Raymond Burke’s sliding, gliding feet (in very shiny loafers) are a visual treat in themselves; even the cameraperson thought so.

Burke and Wiggs are uplifting poets of the music: sad but not maudlin or frozen in time, playing the blues from deep knowledge of what they are, where they came from, and how they feel to listeners.  There’s a good deal of Jelly Roll Morton here, too, which is always uplifting.

This video — although its originator is not known to me — comes to us through the loving diligence of trumpeter / archivist Joe Shepherd, Sflair on YouTube, someone who cares a great deal for and about this music.  Thank you, Joe!  And this one’s for you — John Gill and Leon Oakley, Roger Wade, Doug Pomeroy, Chris Tyle, Sam McKinistry, Trygve Hernæs, and Hank O’Neal!  (“By popular demand” — more from Johnny Wiggs and Raymond Burke!)

May your happiness increase.

Advertisements

7 responses to “THE REAL THING: “OLD STACK O’LEE”: THE BLUES at MANASSAS (December 2, 1972): JOHNNY WIGGS, RAYMOND BURKE, GRAHAM STEWART, BOB GREENE, DANNY BARKER, FREDDIE MOORE

  1. Raymond Burke had a junk/antique shop in the French Quarter. When he passed away (before I went to New Orleans), amidst all of the many things, were boxes of clarinet parts – barrels, upper and lower joints and bells. Because he played Albert (or simple) system, the parts are interchangeable, so he was frequently doing “mix and match” with various different instruments. So he might well have been playing an instrument made by four different makers!

    He also used to file his mouthpieces down using the concrete on the sidewalk.

  2. Whatever he did, it “sure sounds pretty good”!

  3. Another great clip in the same vein. Thanks to all concerned.

    Great to have a post on this from Chris Tyle, a hero of mine writing about my heroes (as were Leon Oakley and John Gill)! Burke is characterised by Al Rose as a man who just never did anything he didn’t want to do.

    That’s a precious observation on his use of the sidewalk to file his mouthpieces down. Given the sounds he got from his clarinets, so much for the people who tell us about how critical the rails and cavity of mouthpieces are, and so on.To my mind, as a dabbler, the tone comes mostly from the ear and chops. I saw somewhere recently that when Burke acquired an Albert clarinet that had extra keys on it, he filled in the holes as he felt they were unnecessary – my kind of man.

  4. In regard to all of your blogs, and videos,,I love them all! They entertain me,
    and they touch me, they make me realize how blessed I am to see, and hear them.Thank you dear NM…Much love.

  5. I’m now fascinated with Burke’s “footwork.” Note that he never taps his feet – just moves them around like he’s dancing.

    Shallyoumow (clever name!) – thanks for the compliment. I don’t think anyone has ever mentioned me as a “hero” before.

    I like Al Rose’s comment, that Burke “never did anything he didn’t want to do.” Very Zen – and very New Orleans.

  6. I have a number of recordings I regard as being in the tradition of Johnny Wiggs, Raymond Burke and the rest of ‘Papa Laine’s Children’, not least among which is one by the Silver Leaf Jazz Band, beautifully led by Chris Tyle. I strongly recommend this band’s work.

    Chris, I met you briefly in Edinburgh at the Royal Overseas League a few years back and heard you a few times there. Hope all is well and work at least sufficient. I have a couple of Alberts, including a Henry Gunckel (Buffet stencil) that must predate WW1.

    Has Ray Burke left no descendants or relations? It would be wonderful to hear from them.

  7. I really enjoyed the gigs in Edinburgh – and the Royal Overseas League was especially a treat. We had a great session that day, thanks to the great playing of Orange Kellin, Conal Fowkes and John Gill. It’s the last time the Silver Leaf Jazz Band performed.

    Thanks for the kind words about the SLJB!

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