Browsing in my favorite antiquarian second-hand store, eBay, I encountered a 1940 music folio that I’d never seen. Now, I know that the music in these books is often suspect: “compositions” by a famous artist that (s)he had only a tenuous link to, solos created over songs owned by the publisher of the folio, and so on. Of course, anything connected to Irving Mills is a touch more suspect . . . but here’s the cover:
Without being a deep Ellington scholar, I recognized those titles: aside from SOPHISTICATED LADY and CARAVAN, which date from the start and end of the Thirties, the rest come from the Twenties. But what of RUB-A-TUB-LUES? Did Ellington whistle a blues line to Mills while he (Duke) was bathing? It’s a mystery. Here’s the first page of the folio, to substantiate even more solidly:
It’s perplexing . . . can any Ellington scholars ride to the rescue?
Were I even an amateurish pianist, I would purchase the book (several copies are for sale on eBay) in hope of solving the mystery myself. But I have to be realistic.
May your happiness increase!