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Mound City Blue Blowers 1935-1936

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Album Review

The Mound City Blue Blowers originally made history with a dozen high-quality novelty recordings during 1924-1925 that featured the trio of Red McKenzie's comb, Dick Slevin's kazoo, and banjoist Jack Bland; guitarist Eddie Lang solidified the rhythm on their later six numbers. However, other than McKenzie's participation, those dates had little to do with the 25 recordings on this Timeless CD (a reissue that's identical to the 1997 compilation on Classics). In fact, other than taking four vocals on the first date, McKenzie makes only cameo appearances on kazoo during the remainder of the program, although he had clearly organized the bands. The six sessions feature overlapping personnel with some hot playing from either Bunny Berigan (on four of the dates) or Yank Lawson on trumpet and Eddie Miller or Forrest Crawford on tenor and clarinet. In addition to McKenzie, guitarist Nappy Lamare has eight vocals; there are also five from Billy Wilson, four from Spooky Dickenson, and two by a vocal group. Only "High Society" and "Muskrat Ramble" are instrumentals, although there are strong solos on nearly every number. The music falls between Dixieland and small-group swing and is most notable for the playing of Berigan.

Biography

Formed: 1923

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s

The Mound City Blowers were an unlikely success. Originally comprised of Red McKenzie on comb and tissue paper (which sounded like a kazoo), Dick Slevin on an actual kazoo, and Jack Bland on banjo, the unique band's initial recording in 1924 ("Arkansas Blues" and "Blue Blues") became a big hit. The group recorded 12 titles in all during 1924-1925, including two with guest Frankie Trumbauer on C-melody sax and with guitarist Eddie Lang firming up the rhythm on the final six numbers. McKenzie made...
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Mound City Blue Blowers 1935-1936, Mound City Blue Blowers
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