[Dixielandjazz] Overlooked jazz tunes

Charlie Hooks dixielandjazz@ml.islandnet.com
Tue, 04 Jun 2002 20:45:22 -0500

on 6/4/02 3:28 PM, Don Ingle at dingle@baldwin-net.com wrote:

> I have noted that we seem to get off on non-jazz threads more and more
> lately. So...to get something going more in the spirit of this being jazz
> list, I suggest this subject.
> Everyone has a few jazz tunes that they know but that are seldom played
> anymore. I have several in mind and I will list them now. I will be
> interested in hearing about some of the unsung songs you might suggest.
> My list:
> Stomp Mr. Henry Lee.  Credited to several people but most in the know say
> that the reclusive Houston pianist Peck Kelly was the originator of it, with
> the latter support of Big T and Eddie Miller who were especially fond of the
> tune. A real "stomper" at that.
> Just for a Thrill. A lovely ballad by Lilian Armstrong. Several good
> recordings of it...Nancy Wilson for one.
> Makes a great solo tune for instruments as well. Change of pace tune for
> otherwise up tempo sets.
> Deep Henderson. Hardly ever played anymore these days but a good tune for
> mid-tempos.
> Blue Lou. Once a big band staple, but long neglected.
> There are many others I'd but let's hear yours.
> Don Ingle
Great idea, Don! ("Deep Henderson" is one of my favorite tunes!)

    Let me add several Willard Robison tunes--not only "Old Folks," which
does get played but not nearly enough (I called it once when Wild Bill was
aboard, and he grinned: "anybody like 'Old Folks' can't be all bad!")--but
also, "That Old Deserted Farm," "T'aint So," and either version of "The
Devil is Afraid of Music: Sing, Brother, Sing!"  [Willard wrote and sold one
version, then needed money and wrote and sold a modified version to another

    "Old Folks" needs a vocal, for the lyrics are superb, written by "the
wife of one of the band members."  Poor woman has no name of her own, like
"the wife of Zebedee's sons" in the Bible.  She deserves mention!

    But, truth is, they all need vocals because Willard was a very fine
lyricist.  Feels like Mercer with the words lying easy on the tongue, nice
clever little rhymes not striven for, just seeming right.

    Everyone (who matters) knows "Cottage For Sale," but it's played too
seldom by OKOM bands.  Again, the lyrics are superb, but by Willard (I

    There was a wonderful Public Radio show out of Memphis 25 years ago
(someone sent me a tape, if I can find it) featuring all Willard songs,
moderated by Alec Wilder (whose "I'll Be Around" I also recommend, with its
marvelous ascending bass line) and sung by Barbara Lea, a vocalist who sang
the actual melody to each tune without the personal "improvements" usual
today.  Bless her heart! You can listen and learn!

    Willard was a Southern boy who moved to New York but whose heart never
left the country and country things.  Deserted houses, country folk and
country preachers of the kind I knew as a kid in Texas back in the early
thirties.  I at first thought he was black.  He's got the feel!