Young Jessie (With Plas Johnson) - Atco 6101 (1957)

With a musical mom who performed under the name of Plunky Harris, and who was also related to Blind Lemon Jefferson, one can understand how Obediah Jessie ended up in the music industry.

He teamed up with Richard Berry (who wrote The Kingsmen's hit, Louie Louie) and the group eventually became The Flairs, winning a recording contract with Modern Records.

He joined The Coasters for a spell in 1957 and sang harmony on Youngblood and Searchin'.

His brother DeWayne Jessie played the part of Otis Day in Animal House.

Backing Jessie on these sides is Plas Johnson (& The Sharps), the bebop tenor saxaphonist. He is probably best known for playing the unforgettable saxophone on Henry Mancini's Pink Panther Theme and also opposite Sweets Edison's trumpet on the theme to the 70s sitcom The Odd Couple.

Apparently both men are still active on the jazz scene.

Recorded in Los Angeles on October 11, 1957.

The Robins - Atco 6059 (78 RPM) / Spark 110 (45 RPM) (1954)

Recording first as The Four Bluebirds accompanied by Johnny Otis, The Robins eventually spawned the clown princes of rock & roll...The Coasters.

Both recorded in Southern California in early 1954.

Brownlee's Orchestra Of New Orleans - Okeh 40337 (1925)

Besides Buddy Bolden, there is another early New Orleans jazz musician that was never caught on wax...Emmett Hardy.

A child prodigy, Hardy grew up in Gretna, LA and it has been said that he out dueled Louis Armstrong in a cutting contest.

He played second trumpet to Paul Mares in the original lineup of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, similar to Armstrong in the King Oliver band, but never recorded with them.

He also played in Norman Brownlee's outfit, which only recorded the following 2 sides, but because of poor health, did not make the recording date. Incidentally, this was probably the catalyst for Sharkey Bonano to fill in on the date, which marked his recording debut.

Rumor has it that Hardy recorded on homemade cylinders and that one had survived into the 1950s but, unfortunately has never been located.

He passed away 5 months after these sides were recorded in 1925 at barely 22 years of age.

Here is a record that he ALMOST played on.

Sharkey Bonano c / Tom Brown tb / Harry Shields cl, bar / Hal Jordy as / ? Howard Martin ts / Norman Brownlee p / Behrman French bj / Alonzo Crombie d.

Recorded in New Orleans on January 23, 1925.

Thanks to the liner notes of the recent Jazz Oracle (No. 8066) cd release Merritt Brunies, which quoted Norman Brownlee's son, Henry, I discovered that Mr. Brownlee is buried nearby and promptly visited, paying my respects.

From Vol. 1 No. 9 The Second Line (December 1950)

From Vol. XVIII The Second Line (May-June 1967)

(I had posted severely compressed videos of these same sides last year on this blog...please bear in mind that both sides suffer from rough starts.)

Just found a reissue label 78 of the above record with cleaner sound.

1922 Newspaper Clipping (The Herald August 24, 1922)

1915 Newspaper Clipping

1918 Newspaper Clipping

1921 Newspaper Clipping

1922 Newspaper Clippings

Sonny Boy Williamson - Bluebird 34-0744 (1946)

It's rare that I find any blues record with at least decent sound. Usually they are worn & gray. Let's me know that they were enjoyed way back when.

Here's John Lee Curtis (Sonny Boy) Williamson, the first one, and try as I might, couldn't find a discography to identify the bass, piano and guitar players.

Recorded in 1946.

Conjunto Pin Pin (Charlie Palmieri) - Alba 1005 (1948)

Just scored this NuYorican 78. After a bit of research, I discovered that Piano Charlie is Charlie Palmieri...the late older brother of Eddie Palmieri (who I almost got to see in concert but was replaced at the last minute by the wonderful Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval)

Charlie Palmieri recorded 8 sides with his band Conjunto Pin Pin in 1948 on the Alba label.

Los Tres Vaqueros - La Bamba - RCA Victor 70-7249 (1945)

Not sure who had recorded this popular Mexican folk song first but I haven't found any recordings (yet) earlier than this one in 1945.

Of course Ritchie Valenz would record the definitive version over a decade later and would rank #345 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.

Edit: Was just informed that there were at least two other versions recorded around the same time as this one... one on RCA by Andres Huesca not issued in the USA and one on Peerless. However, the first version is from 1936, on a Mexican Victor by El Jarocho. (Thanks Mike!)

Recorded in Mexico in 1945.

Alfredo Brito & His Siboney Orchestra - Victor 22685 (1931)

Third of 3 early Cuban records recently found.

Recorded in 1931.

Estudiantina Oriental - Victor 81245 (1928)

Second of three early Cuban 78s recently found.

Would really like to find the other two records they made from their lone recording session in Havana in 1928...Victor 80657 and 81625.

From Wikipedia…

Estudiantina Oriental

This group developed in Santiago de Cuba at the end of the 19th century. It was significantly different from the típicas, both in music, instruments and racial composition (the members were usually white). The genres of music played included danzón, bolero, son and guaracha. The instruments included tres, marimbula, kettle drums or pailas criolla (timbales). This instrumental line-up prefigures that of the sextetos which appeared later, rather than the older típicas. The members would be based on university students, probably reinforced by talent from other quarters. Similar Estudiantina groups were formed in other provincial towns.

Giro gives this set-up as characteristic of Estudientinas: two tres, 1st and 2nd; two guitars; one trumpet; botija or double bass; paila (timbal); cencerro (cow-bell); güiro; three singers, 1st, 2nd and falsetto, and maybe both sexes. It is clear that estudientinas in different parts of Cuba had variations in membership, instruments and repertoire.

Recorded in Havana, Cuba on February 6, 1928.

Sexteto Habanero - Victor 81751 (1928)

Recently got a tip on some 78s that had been in storage for decades and eagerly went to check it out.

Although most were common, there was an album of Latin records. Most were 40s and 50s but three ranged from 1928-1931 and were Cuban.

From Wikipedia…

The Sexteto Habanero was a famous Cuban musical group which was founded in 1920. It played an important part in the early history of the son.

In 1917 four musicians from Oriente, calling themselves Cuarteto Oriental, recorded four numbers for Columbia Records in Havana. The numbers are listed in a Columbia catalog for 1921, but are probably lost. However, the same group expanded to a sextet in 1918, and were recorded by Victor Records in a field recording at the Hotel Inglaterra in Havana. At least one of these records has survived, giving two numbers, which are probably the first surviving sones. The new grouping called itself Sexteto Habanero in 1920.
Its line-up was: Guillermo Castillo (guitar and director), Carlos Godínez (tres), Gerardo Martínez (voz prima y claves), Antonio Bacallao (botija), Oscar Sotolongo (square bongó) and Felipe Nerí Cabrera (maracas).

Sexteto Habanero 1920

The instrumental set-up is interesting, because they use some of the original instruments of the son: the botija and a unique square bongó. Soon this (and other) groups appreciated that the double bass was a musically more suitable instrument: they never went back to the botija. Five years later, the group had new members and a different look. Agustín Gutierrez (bongó), Abelardo Barroso (sonero, claves), Felipe Nerí Cabrera (maracas, vocals); Gerardo Martínez (double bass, vocals, leader); Guillermo Castillo (guitar, vocals), Carlos Godínez (tres, vocals).

Sexteto Habanero 1925

The group's recordings in New York 1925-26 are available on LP and CD. The music is of high quality, considering the technical limitations of the time; the group won first prize in the Concurso de Sones in 1925 and 1926. When the group added a cornet, soon replaced by a trumpet, it became the Septeto Habanero. This latter line-up lasted until the late 1930s, when sextetos were ousted by conjuntos and big bands. The leader, Gerardo Martínez then formed a new group, Conjunto Típico Habanero.

Recorded in New York on May 31, 1928. (4,820 were sold)