A generous friend sent me this . . . the front cover from a Manhattan Records 78 album (which, when new, contained three 10″ discs) under Muggsy Spanier’s leadership, to be sold at Nick’s in Greenwich Village.  An authentic Spanier autograph!  “The good doctor” was Henry Sklow, a swinging dentist who watched over the pouring of drinks for the musicians at Jimmy Ryan’s jam sessions.

Muggsy writes “Barnum was right,” which I presume is a self-deprecating comment about the ubiquity of suckers.  I wonder if he was referring to the people who were buying this album — or was it a comment on all humanity?  No one who ever spoke of Muggsy referred to his cynicism (Maggie Condon remembers him fondly) so I suspect it was an offhanded example of artistic self-mockery:


Whatever the context, a genuine Muggsy!  (And he always was.)

May your happiness increase!

4 responses to “THE SPANIER WORLDVIEW, 1945

  1. Michael, when I was 14 I was crazy over the Lu Watters Band. Then one afternoon while tuned to a program called “Open House” a swing and Jazz venue, I heard Bill Davidson and was converted. Soon thereafter I found Muggsy and the “16” and became a devout MS fan – until – I was working at a Standard Station that used to be at the corner of California and Taylor Sts. just above the Hangover. A car pulled in and Muggsy stepped out. Before I could stop my self I blurted out something like” Holy Cow aren’t you Muggsy Spanier?” He hardly even looked at me and replied “just grease my fuckin’ car kid” and headed for that monstrous hill that lead down to Bush St. But I never stopped loving his playing.

    Ev Farey – San Francisco ca 1951

  2. The late great arranger Manny Albam told me that Muggsy Spanier was such a Chicago Cubs fan that at times he performed in a Cubs uniform.
    Remember that the Cubs were a championship and contending team for much of the 20th century until fateful 1945 their last World Series appearance.

  3. Trygve Hernæs

    Superb Dixieland Jazz by Muggsy, Lou Mcgarity, Pee Wee and a superb Ernie Caceres on baritone sax.The problem with this set is the awful NYC pressings. The material was a catastrophy during the last years of the war. On the other hand, Good Time Jazz, Exner and Cavatone made some beautiful pressings, but that was on the other coast!

  4. “MUGGSY SPANIER SPOKE TO ME” would make a fine bumper sticker, no? Thanks for the story, Ev!

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