[Dixielandjazz] Re: CLYDE McCOY Plunger Mute

BillSargentDrums at aol.com BillSargentDrums at aol.com
Thu Jul 29 13:39:54 PDT 2004

<<Trumpet players: I'm working with a trumpet guy who hates   Clyde McCoy's 
Sugar Blues BECAUSE it is bad form--or a bad use of a plunger  mute  
(whatever that 
is) and hence not worth trying to imitate. I  rather liked it and  it was 
quite a hit in the 50s, as I recall. What's  your take on this? Is he  
right? Half right? Or what?   

Dan (piano fingers)  Spink>>
It's NOT bad form. Clyde innovated the wah-wah sound. So much so that in  the 
'60s and currently, the daddy of all wah-wah pedals for guitarists, the  
"Vox" brand wah-wah has Clyde's picture on the back. I can think of all kinds of  
instrumentalists in different genres that picked up on that effect and use it  
HOWEVER, Clyde did NOT use a plunger mute to achieve this. He had a special  
metal straight mute (not like today's straight mutes. Bob Schulz is the only  
person I've seen other than Clyde to have one) and a metal mute similar to  
today's rubber plumber's plunger. The plunger cup he used was not a musical item 
 at all. It was the bottom, base, of the old soda fountain sundae dishes with 
the  stem attached for holding between his fingers.
BTW, Clyde made his first recording of Sugar Blues in 1929 and by the early  
'70s, had sold over 13 million recordings of it.
Authenitcation: Spent 3 years with him and paid close attention to  
everything that happened.
BTW Sugar Blues was usually played twice a night. Remember one night it was  
5 times. Decided it was a curse to be a one hit wonder. And now I have 
diabetes  . . . just kidding!

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