Another favorite piece of family lore has to do with the fact that my brother’s wife’s father, Jack Gutjahr, was also a vocalist who recorded pop and swing tunes back in the day. Gutjahr – who recorded under the stage name, Jack Daniels – was the featured singer on a number of records from the late 1940s through the mid-60s and beyond, often backed by Herbie Layne’s Orchestra & Chorus, but also as part of a vocal ensemble known as The Four Jacks.
How amusing to discover years later that – according to the indispensable and authoritative reference source, Rockin’ Country Style – “Jack Daniels” was a pseudonym applied by Cincinnati indie label, Gateway, to numerous artists! Fortunately, our family members have good ears and can recognize Jack Gutjahr’s voice without having to consult anyone, such as here on this version of Chuck Berry’s country-flavored rhythm & blues hit, “Maybellene”:
[Pssst: Click the triangle above to play “Maybellene” by Jack “Daniels” Gutjahr backed by Herbie Layne’s Orchestra.]
My brother, Bryan, also turned up an interesting piece of research:
“Jack was also in the John Arvin Quartet. They recorded a calypso album on Gateway, which was picked up by Hollywood Records in NYC. Here is an odd blog site with a bit of info, a sound sample, and front & back covers of the LP. Jack is second from the bottom.”
Stylistically speaking, Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline” – it should be pointed out – is somewhat outside the range of pop and swing material that Gutjahr typically recorded over the years. Check out this live performance of Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” for a better representation of Gutjahr’s vocal flair in a video produced by brother Bryan that begins with a fun visual vinyl display: