[Dixielandjazz] Alvino Rey Dies

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Feb 27 22:16:03 PST 2004

Hi Bill & List mates:

Rey had 3/4 of the 4 brothers in his band, prior to Woody Herman, plus he
was, perhaps, an inspiration for Stan Kenton. See below. Pre 1942, he had
borrowed some ideas from Spike Jones and put them into his swing band.

In 1942, he reshaped his band, anticipating Stan Kenton with a huge brass
section and six saxophones. Although this band quickly failed when the
musician's union imposed its recording ban in 1943, included future
Ray Conniff, Neal Hefti, Billy May, and Johnny Mandel. His sax section
included Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, and Herbie Stewart, who went on to form 3/4ths
of Woody Herman's famous "Four Brothers" line-up. This band did make a
couple of quickie musicals for Hollywood, but by the end of 1943, Rey was
out of business, working as a mechanic in the Lockheed aircraft factory in

He joined the Navy in 1944 and was assigned to lead a service band. After
he separated in 1946, he formed another band, which earned a contract with
Capitol and placed a few numbers like "Cement Mixer" in the pop charts. He
broke up this band around 1950 as the interest in big bands began to fade,
and he performed with a smaller combo, mostly in the Southern California
area, sometimes with his brother-in-law, Buddy Cole, throughout the 1950s.

He made Gaillard's Cement Mixer, Putty Putty a big hit.

Rey was one hell of a musician. Originally an exceptional banjo player,
returning to it in the 1950s. He then recorded several albums on banjo for
Warner brothers under the pseudonym Ira Ironstrings because he was under
contract with Capitol. The band player humorous Dixieland. Hmmmm. ;-) VBG.

(Slim Gaillard / Ricks)
Recorded by : Liberace; Jimmie Lunceford; Hal McIntyre; Alvino Rey.

Cement mixer, putty putty
Cement mixer, putty putty
Cement mixer, putty putty
Cement mixer, putty putty
Cement mixer, putty putty
A puddle o’ vooty, a puddle o’ gooty,
A puddle o’ scooby, a puddle o’ veet concrete.
First you get some gravel, pour it on the vout
To mix a mess o’ mortar
You add cement and water
See the mellow roony
Come out slurp slurp slurp.

Steve Barbone

PS. Congratulations Bill, on becoming the Jazz Festival editor for the
American Rag. Nice picture on page one of the February Issue also. Very
handsome and looking a bit like Henny Youngman. ;-) VBG.

Bill Gunter wrote:

> I though Alvino Rey was great and his humorous ventures into music had a
> great impact on me.
> However, I gotta admit that I never heard the Alvino Rey group ever do
> "Cement Mixer."  I love the song, but I have only heard it done by Slim
> Gaillard.
> Are there two "Cement Mixers?" Did Slim play the Alvino Rey song?

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