Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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Category: Jazz

Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys
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Gary Burton’s Tennessee Firebird

Jimmy Colvard was a teen in 1963 when he played those distinctive snapping and popping guitar sounds that helped make “Six Days on the Road” a runaway hit for Dave Dudley.  I have since learned that Colvard played guitar on a number of albums in the 1960s and 70s by

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George Barnes’ Halloween Guitar

George Barnes recorded a boss guitar instrumental – “Spooky” – that should be part of everyone’s Halloween soundtrack: “Spooky”     George Barnes     1962 Billboard conferred three stars (“moderate sales potential) upon this B-side, as well as its A-side “Trainsville,” in their June 23, 1962 edition.  Exactly fifty years later, in 2012, someone would pay $126

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Bethlehem Records
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King’s Jazz Legacy: Maxi-Tweets

I am liberating a special series of “maxi-tweets” tied to King Records‘ lesser known jazz legacy – part of 2018’s King 75th Birthday Celebration – that were otherwise buried in a PDF file attachment.  The following research was conducted primarily by scanning the index of Ruppli‘s 2-volume King recording session

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Jamil Nasser: Jazz in Russia

Penny Von Eschen’s Satchmo Blows Up the World — notes Muneer Nasser in 2017’s Upright Bass:  The Musical Life and Legacy of Jamil Nasser (in the chapter entitled ‘Getting the Soviets to Swing’) — “reinforces the myth that [Benny Goodman] introduced jazz to the Soviet Union”: Benny Goodman became the first

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Milton Ostrow: Cincinnati Sax

I was delighted to learn that the father of a childhood friend from Cincinnati was once a professional musician, whose chosen instrument was the saxophone.  Milton Ostrow, in fact, was captured in a live performance with Tony Pastor and His Orchestra, accompanied by Dolores Martel, in a “Snader Telescription” short film

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Milt B’s “Mod Popcorn R&B”

Philip Paul‘s stellar stick work really drives this “killer” instrumental version of “Fever” that features organ (Milt Buckner) and vibes (Gene Redd) — recorded at Cincinnati’s King Studios on March 5, 1963: “Fever”     Milt Buckner     1963 Organ:  Milt Buckner Drums:  Philip Paul Bass:    Bill Willis Vibes:   Gene Redd

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Bethlehem Records
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Jazz Misrepresented As Surf?

The Australian All-Stars‘s 1959 album – Jazz for Beach-Niks – was originally released on Columbia Australia and picked up for US release four years later by King subsidiary label, Bethlehem (and reissued 2013 in Japan), subject of the previous history piece.  One can only presume Syd Nathan was trying to capitalize

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Duke Ellington Meets Apollo 11

Eternal debt of gratitude to Larry Appelbaum of WPFW’s Sounds of Surprise program for pointing listeners (including myself) to a fascinating moment in our nation’s history about which not enough seems to have been written. “Moon Maiden”     Duke Ellington Quartet @ ABC in NYC     July 21, 1969 A rather surreal

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"Oooh-Diga-Gow"
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“Oooh-Diga-Gow”: King-a-binghi

One can be forgiven for mistaking the heartbeat bass line and the off-kilter, syncopated hand drumming in this 2-minute heavy chant as being part of the Jamaican Nyabinghi tradition.  Note the special effect at song’s end — somewhat “high tech” for King in 1954: “Oooh-Diga-Gow”     Cecil Young Quartet     1954 And

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“Snowfall”: Soulful + Strings

The Soulful Strings evoke the magic of falling snow — thanks to Dorothy Ashby‘s harp — on their classic instrumental track, “Snowfall“: “Snowfall”     Soulful Strings     1968 Discogs helps us appreciate how The Soulful Strings were able to create an identifiable sound despite only playing other people’s material: “The Soulful Strings

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