Tag Archives: Mamie Medina


If the hot jazz classic THAT DA DA STRAIN is known at all these days, it might be for the versions recorded by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Muggsy Spanier and his Ragtime Band, or Bud Freeman and his Famous Chicagoans. But this 1922 tune has not been forgotten, not by a long shot. The delightful evidence will appear below, I promise.

First, some history.

Wild Bill Davison called this tune “baby talk” when explaining its title to an audience, and another musician linked it to the Dadaist movement in art. Each to their own.

I had forgotten that the song — lyrics by Mamie Medina, music by J. Edgar Dowell — had lyrics. (I haven’t found out anything about either of them.)

And here they are sung, wonderfully and energetically, by Ethel Waters. She’s joined by Joe Smith’s Jazz Masters: Joe Smith, cornet; George Brashear, trombone; possibly Clarence Robinson, clarinet; Fletcher Henderson, piano:

How could you resist a song whose first words of the chorus are DA DA, DA DA (repeated)? I am avoiding the knotty question of whether the hyphen belongs in the title or not: see below.

And for those who want to play it on the piano while the gang sings along, here is the treasure, the Thing In Itself, thanks to the Detroit Public Libraries.





and now, the recent past, as delineated in my title. Jon-Erik Kellso, Puje trumpet; Evan Arntzen, clarinet; Albanie Falletta, resonator guitar; Jen Hodge, string bass. Performed at Cafe Bohemia, 15 Barrow Street, New York City, on January 9, 2020.

“Isn’t that wonderful?” I want to ask rhetorically, but on second thought, want to make it a statement: “Damn, that’s wonderful!” — the splendid mixture of down-home porch music, New Orleans flavors, and heat.

(I know this post isn’t about me, or ME, but performances like this are why I carry a heavy knapsack with cameras, batteries, tripod, and notebook. My body complains but my soul leaps.)

These four sterling musicians are doing the thing in various places: keep track of them for pleasure, pure and delicious. And Cafe Bohemia will host Matt Rivera and the Hot Club of New York starting Monday, January 9, 2023 (7-10 PM). Read all about it here.

May your happiness increase!