[Dixielandjazz] Uncle Yoke's Black Dog Jazz Band

rahberry at comcast.net rahberry at comcast.net
Sat Jan 8 10:45:22 PST 2005

Jeanne and Listers:
Ed Metz Jr. was Watchdog and Bob Leary was Corn Dog.  Yocum was Top Dog; Jim was Good Dog; Tom Hook was Bad Dog; I can't remember Dave and Davy.
Rae Ann 

> Dear Bill,
>     I'm mostly a lurker but Uncle Yoke's Black Dog Jazz Band will bring me out 
> in the open. BDJB was one of the first bands I fell in love with on the 
> Dixieland circuit. They went into a recording studio in 1988 and worked out all 
> their performance schtick before they ever played their first gig together - 
> which meant that they exploded on the scene as the BEST showband in the land 
> (defined as equally fabulous in musicianship AND entertainment) or as Tom Hook 
> puts it on website: 
>     "Yocum, a veteran trombonist that had previously worked with artists as 
> diverse as Tom Waits and Banu Gibson, had a vision of a band that would infuse 
> Traditional Jazz with contemporary New Orleans rhythms. In conjunction with a 
> revitalized look at the music, Uncle Yoke" also had a vision of presenting a 
> dynamic stage presentation with the kind of showmanship typical of a Disney 
> product." (for more click on: http://www.tomhook.com/html/the_black_dogs.html 
>     So, the emphasis was to make fabulous music AND be enormously entertaining 
> right from the start. Since all of the original Black Dogs were playing at 
> Disney World in Orlando (with different bands), they all knew each other's sense 
> of humors. Their early schtick featured each of the musicians as a different 
> "dog" - ie, Steve Yocum was "Top Dog," Tom Hook was "Bad Dog," Jim Buchman was 
> the "Good Dog," I think it was Eddie Metz, Jr. who was the "Junkyard Dog," my 
> memory starts to slip but I think Dave Gannett might have been "Hound Dog," etc. 
> This schtick was SO funny that bandleader and trumpeter Stan Mark used the same 
> concept when he was creating the Sin Sity Suitz (a Las Vegas-based swing band 
> where each of the guys wore a different color zoot suit). In his band, each of 
> the guys was a different "suit" based on his personality - ie, the laid-back 
> pianist was "leisure suit," the trombonist was "lawsuit" (he was a lawyer by 
> day), the alto saxophonist was "birthday suit" (he was a teenage phenomenon), 
> etc.   These nicknames would be used in their introductions as well as patter 
> between songs to really make the audience feel as if they knew the guys. And 
> keep everyone laughing!  
>     Every single one of the Original Black Dogs was a fabulous musician AND 
> entertainer - from David Gannett's exploding fireworks out of his tuba to Bob 
> Leary's hysterically funny lyrics (like "Roll the Patrol"). Some of their best 
> songs included "I Like New Orleans" - which was used as a television theme song 
> for "Great Chefs of New Orleans II" - and Tom Hook's hauntingly beautiful, 
> "Nobody's There." Bookers and record producers were really hoping that Uncle 
> Yoke's Black Dogs would be the band that would take the Dixieland circuit and 
> make it more mainstream - since they were so entertaining they could easily have 
> been one of the first cross-over artists of Dixieland with today's radio. Harry 
> Connick, Jr. (who has written some great Thirties-style songs that have been 
> used in movie soundtracks like "The Recipe for Makin' Love," or (We Go Together 
> Like) A Wink and A Smile" (which was recorded by the Kinda Dixie Jazz Band) was 
> the first crossover artist of my generation that I know of (actually makes REAL 
> music with melodies and horns in the band). It CAN be done! I think you have to 
> start by being either a TV or movie theme before you can get any radio play, 
> nowadays - but, hey, I think Louis Armstrong gets played in more movie 
> soundtracks now than when he was alive! 
>     Dixieland music has an energy and a sound that all ages can enjoy - it's 
> just a matter of exposing people to it - I fell in love with it the first time I 
> heard it (of course, as a small child my family exposed to ALL kinds of music - 
> the radio may have been playing the Captain & Tennille but we used to drive up 
> to Denver to the Elitch Gardens' Trocadero and see 80-year-old Wayne King's 
> orchestra and we'd go to Shakey's pizza parlor and hear all the sing-a-long 
> songs on piano and banjo - it breaks my heart that today's generation of kids 
> don't know ANY of those songs except Take Me Out to the Ballgame. 
>     Well, I digress - Rae Ann gave you the Black Dogs original line-up - their 
> last year together was 2000 and their last ever performance together was the 
> first Costa Mesa Jazz Festival. Later incarnations of the Black Dogs have 
> dropped most of the schtick - now they're more like a Mardi Gras band or a party 
> band - they make you want to get up and dance to some fabulous music!
>     I'm really grateful to the Dogs because when they announced that 2000 was 
> going to be their last year, I went to ALL of their performances (which took me 
> to Victoria, British Columbia (wonderful festival spread all over town, gorgeous 
> city and fabulous dancers up there) all the way to the Clearwater Jazz Festival 
> (wonderful festival all in one hotel that year) to the Costa Mesa Festival 
> (wonderful festival that was in two hotels that year -across the street from 
> each other). The bookers of Costa Mesa really know how to book - call them 
> showbands, crowd-pleasers, whatever - they book fabulous musicians who are also 
> entertaining and put on a great festival. 
>     If you want the complete discography of the Black Dogs, Tom Hooks has that 
> on his website, click here: http://www.tomhook.com/html/albums.html  
> And enjoy!
> Jeanne Brei
> Tin Pan Alley Cat Entertainment
> (702) 254-3832 / jeannebrei at cox.net 
> http://hometown.aol.com/jmbrei/myhomepage/resume.html
> http://www.viewnews.com/2002/VIEW-Jun-28-Fri-2002/Summerlin/19044673.html
> P.S. I'm going to New Orleans next weekend (to work a tradeshow) but I'm looking 
> forward to hearing some music every night! 
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Bill Haesler" <bhaesler at bigpond.net.au>
> To: "dixieland jazz mail list" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
> Sent: Friday, January 07, 2005 10:46 PM
> Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Uncle Yoke's Black Dog Jazz Band
> > Friends,
> > A dear mate in Melbourne, Oz, has (very naughtily) sent me two copy CDs by
> > 'Uncle Yoke's Black Dog Jazz Band'.
> > But no details.
> > An entertaining and very good band, which I can imagine having some very
> > devoted festival fans.
> > I gather that Uncle Yoke is trombonist Steve Yocum.
> > There is also an excellent drummer and a fine tuba player.
> > A Google search revealed practically nothing.
> > CD 1 starts with Jelly Roll Morton's "Fussy Mabel".
> > The other opens with Jelly's "Georgia Swing".
> > Both have 12 tracks.
> > Help!
> > Personnel, dates, full tune list (I have worked out most of them), where
> > were the CDs 'pinched' from, history of the band.
> > Kind regards,
> > Bill. 
> > 
> > 
> > 
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