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Spirits of Rhythm 1932-1941

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Album Review

Spirits of Rhythm were a popular novelty band that was at its prime during the first half of the 1930s. Featuring at one point three musicians on tiples (a type of ukulele) and vocals (including Leo Watson) plus guitarist Teddy Bunn, bassist Wilson Myers, and drummer Virgil Scroggins, the group was a great deal of fun. Surprisingly, Spirits of Rhythm actually recorded very little as an independent unit (only nine songs were released on 78s), although, over time, various unissued performances and a few collaborations expanded their discography. This 1997 CD has all of their recordings. Watson and Wilbur Daniels from the band are first heard on two songs with the Washboard Rhythm Kings. Then the Spirits are featured on 11 numbers, plus four in which they are fronted by singer Red McKenzie. The CD concludes with six tunes from their 1941 reunion session, including four featuring vocalist Ella Logan. Whether it be "Nobody's Sweetheart," a few versions of "I Got Rhythm," or "Shoutin' in That Amen Corner," one can quickly understand why this unusual group caught on for a time; its spirit is infectious.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s

There are several different genres of string bands, coming out of the varied yet sometimes overlapping worlds of country, blues, and jazz. Of the ensembles coming from the latter persuasion, one that is considered one of the most important was the Spirits of Rhythm. A string band, in case there is any confusion, is basically a group where the accompaniment to singing, if there is any, is provided by stringed instruments. Sometimes joining forces from outside the stringed instrument family are various...
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Spirits of Rhythm 1932-1941, Spirits of Rhythm
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