[Dixielandjazz] Re: that da da strain

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Tue Nov 2 20:52:38 PST 2004

Dear Luis,
Regarding:> Please what is the meaning of the song´´that da da strain´´

This query came up on the DJML about 18 moths ago.
This was my reply at that time:
The thought occurred to me that the clue to the meaning of "That Da Da
Strain" may be contained in the lyrics.
And it is.
I have it on disc by Anna Meyers, Mamie Smith, Eva Taylor and Ethel Waters.
Here it is (taken from the Anna Meyers version):

"That Da Da Strain" (Mamie Medina, lyr-Edgar Dowell, music. 1922.)
Have you heard it, have you heard it, that new Da Da Strain?
It will shake you, it will make you really go insane.
Everybody's full of pep,
Makes you watch your every step.
Every dancer, every prancer, starts to lay 'em down,
When the music starts to play it makes you buzz around
And I'll go crazy as a loon,
When everybody hums this tune:

Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da,
It's so appealing, starts me reeling;
Like I'm sailing upon the Bounty Main.
When everybody starts to
Da-Da, Da-Da,
Da-Da, Da-Da,
I want to do it once again, I'm simply
Wild about that Da-Da, Da-Da Strain!.

The Mamie Smith and Eva Taylor lyrics are the same, but both include
variations the 2nd time around, as does the Ethel Waters' version.

At about this time David 'Sheik' Littlefield and I discussed which might be
considered the "standard" version of "That Da Da Strain".
This was my opinion:
Ignore the vocal and Original Memphis 5 versions. Although, they would have
been close to the author's 1922 original.
The instrumental versions came later.
13 March 1923. New Orleans Rhythm Kings
11 July 1929. Louisiana Rhythm Kings (Nichols, Tea, Pee Wee, Bud, etc.)
16 Feb 1938. Bobby Hackett
7 July 1939. Muggsy Spanier
23 July 1940. Bud Freeman
29 Jan 1942. Bob Crosby Bobcats
So far as we were concerned in Melbourne, Australia  during the mid 1940s
the Muggsy and Freeman versions available at that time, would have been our
inspiration.  And would, I suggest, have been the source for the chords
commonly used.
Musicians in the US and UK would have had much the same record influences at
that time.
The Bob Crosby record had always been a rarity and I can't recall having
heard the NORK or Hackett versions until the LP reissue era of the 50s-60s.
There is a common musical thread though. Pee Wee Russell is on the Louisiana
RK, Hackett and Freeman versions.
George Brunies is on the NORK, Hackett and Spanier sides.
Jack Teagarden is on the Louisiana RK and Freeman sides.
Bud Freeman is on the Louisiana RK side.
The Bobcats would have, by 1942, been familiar with all these versions by
their peers.
I have always believed that we must go back to the source records (or music)
for early tunes and chords and should never use or trust the later records
made by trad/revivalist groups.
I have heard too many disasters resulting from copies of copies of copies.

Very kind regards,

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