[Dixielandjazz] Re: "Oriental Jazz"

dingle at baldwin-net.com dingle at baldwin-net.com
Wed Mar 16 07:01:11 PST 2005

Bill Haesler wrote:

>>Whyat was the tune that had within its lyric the phrase "I'm the meanest man
>in Siam, yes I am." ??
>or was that the title?
>Dear Craig,
>The song you have in mind is indeed called "Siam" .
>Spike Jones and His City Slickers recorded it for a Standard radio
>transcription (27 Feb 1942), Bluebird (28 March 1942) and V-Disc (mid Aug
>1945). Yes, I have all three.
>However, they only use the words 'greatest, fastest, richest' in the vocal
>Incidentally the V-Disc version with the vocal chorus starting with "I'm the
>'fastest' man in Siam, yes I am......." is sung by Red Ingle, dear ole dad
>of esteemed musician DJMLer Don Ingle.
>Now for the big question.
>"Siam" was written in 1915 by Fred Fisher with lyrics by Howard Johnson.
>The Spike Jones version is credited to (Porter-Hoefle).
>Reedman Del Porter and pianist Carl Hoefle were members of the Spike Jones
>band in the 1940s. Did they claim authorship for adapting/arranging the
>Fisher-Johnson hit, OR are they two different songs?
>There are no early recorded jazz versions of "Siam" that I can find.
>Now look what you've done!
>You also set me off - playing my Spike Jones records. Again!!!
>Kind regards,
>Dixielandjazz mailing list
>Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
Indeed  -- Porter and Hoefle did much of the early arranging and parady 
chores for Spike, with Country Washbourne doing the major charts.
The Yiddish version of the lyric was by Carl Grayson, a Jones regular 
until Spike got sober and wanted the rest of the band to do the same.
Poor Carl never did and his was a sad fnal chapter.
Drumer Wayne Jones once told me the reason he bought Spike Jones records 
was not for the funny stuff but for the band that played dixieland style 
so very well.
One of the earliest trombonists was King Jackson, who later worked for 
along time with Red Nichols in the 40's along with Rushton, Bobby 
Hammock (fine pianist and great arranger), Rollie Culver, and Rosey 
McHargue at the old Hanover and ltare at the Royal Room and Lyman's.
Ah, a grand time to be yung, learning the music and hwo to play it 
right. I cnsider myself among the fortunate ones to be there when all 
this was going on.
Don Ingle

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