Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“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” by Cecil Young Quartet (1954)

Cecil Young — Piano

Jimmie Rodgers — Drums

Trafford Hubert — Bass

Gerald Brashear — Tenor Sax & Bongos

And yet, this King track by the Cecil Young Quartet, according to Michel Ruppli’s King Labels discography, was recorded December 7, 1953 in Cincinnati.  But where – given the live audience sounds – exactly?  Actually, it tells you on the cover of the accompanying album, A Concert of Cool Jazz:  Seattle’s Metropolitan Theater (whose final curtain fell shortly after in 1954).  We the listeners can only presume that stage movements and vocal inflections, designed to accentuate the “meaning” of the lyrics, are what’s eliciting periodic bursts of laughter.

“Oooh-Diga-Gow” was originally a B-side that enjoyed release on 78 as well as 45.  The appearance of “Jay & Cee” on the record label is a publishing reference to Henry Glover — did Glover also have a hand on the production side, as well?

King would reissue the song five years later in 1958 on Audio Lab LP, Jazz on the Rocks.  One Ebay ad for this song (with no reference to the A-side) describes the music as “rare jazz exotica Yma Sumac,” while another seller would go even further (i.e., “exotica jazz t*ttyshaker”).

Cecil Young - Jazz on the Rocks LP

King’s art department would turn out some delightful ‘cool jazz’ covers for Cecil Young and his crew during their short run with the label 1953-54:

Cecil Young - Cool Jazz Concert ICecil Young - Cool Jazz Concert II-cCecil Young Progressive Quartet EPCecil Young Quartet EP

These back cover notes serve as band biography:

Cecil Young Quarter - back cover story

 Photo courtesy Univ of Wash Libraries – from a 1951 concert available online

Cecil Young Quarter photograph

Auction prices for the Cecil Young Quartet on vinyl are not too shabby.

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