Davenport Blues

Davenport Blues

Frank van Nus
Frank van Nus

July 1st, 2004, 6:33 pm #1

Paul Mertz mentioned that the Rhythm Jugglers used the "I'se Coming" strain from Old Black Joe in "Davenport Blues" (Evans/Evans p.182). I'm completely mystified by this; nowhere in the recording can I find anything remotely resembling "Old Black Joe", at least not as I know it.

On the other hand, the opening strain of "Davenport Blues" does reappear in the coda of Jean Goldkette's "Gimme A Little Kiss, Will Ya, Huh?" from 1926 (the same strain is played as a riff behind Bix's "Davenport Blues" solo). I think even the two cymbal beats (the charleston rhythm) from the Davenport Blues intro are echoed by two kissing sounds (also in charleston rhythm) in the Goldkette recording.

So, what's going on here? Did Bix and the Goldkette arranger quote the same popular strain? Or did the arranger quote Bix's Rhythm Jugglers intro? And how about "Old Black Joe"? There must be a simple answer to all this, but I can't see it.

Frank
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Scott Black
Scott Black

July 1st, 2004, 6:43 pm #2

Paul was just a tad off on that one. That quote was in Toddlin' Blues from the same Gennett session.
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Frank van Nus
Frank van Nus

July 2nd, 2004, 10:30 am #3

So it is, of course! "I'se Coming" leading into the "Toddlin' Blues" trombone break, and appearing in the coda. Thanks, Scott!

Still, I have one question left: what about the Davenport Blues intro reappearing in the "Gimme A Little Kiss" coda?

Judging by the "Davenport Blues" version edited by Bill Challis (which I only know in its guitar arrangement), the intro that Bix recorded (and, according to Mertz, outlined himself) seems to be part of his composition, not a borrowed fragment. Is it? Does the intro (as can be expected) appear in the piano arrangement too?

Another possibility: could Paul Mertz simply be the arranger of "Davenport Blues", using this strain again a year later in a novelty arrangement for his boss, Goldkette? The off-hand treatment the strain gets in "Gimme A Little Kiss" (quoted once, then again but sorta reversed) occurs to me like Mertz humor; perhaps a reminder of that strange session he'd done with Bix and his Goldkette colleagues?

Looks as if I asked an impossible question here, or at best one which only can be answered hypothetically....
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Scott Black
Scott Black

July 2nd, 2004, 6:52 pm #4

I'm not too sure about that one. But here's something to listen to. Listen to the first four bars of the verse to Davenport Blues, after the intro. Then give a listen to the last four bars of the bridge to "Skylark". What do you think?
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Frank van Nus
Frank van Nus

July 3rd, 2004, 11:02 am #5

Well, Scott, here's my first thought: this connection is as obvious as it's amazing. A real find - at least I didn't hear or read about it anywhere else, let alone spot it myself. We can safely add it to what we know Hoagy called the "one-two-three".

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Frank van Nus
Frank van Nus

July 3rd, 2004, 1:32 pm #6

I'm not too sure about that one. But here's something to listen to. Listen to the first four bars of the verse to Davenport Blues, after the intro. Then give a listen to the last four bars of the bridge to "Skylark". What do you think?
Here's one for you - and all forumites - to ponder: listen to the chords and melodic material in the first eight bars of "After You've Gone", and then do the same with the first six bars of the chorus of "Stardust".
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Hans Eekhoff
Hans Eekhoff

July 3rd, 2004, 2:03 pm #7

There is some similarity between the chords of "After You've Gone" and "Stardust" but that is a very common thing in music.
There are hundreds of examples of tunes being similar to a degree - sometimes they are almost identical.
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OK8818
OK8818

July 3rd, 2004, 2:12 pm #8

Two unrelated songs that I've always thought had similar chords are "We're in the Money" and "I Got Rhythm". Listen to the first 8 bars of the chorus of each song and just try telling me that the chords aren't nearly identical. Of course, the bridges are different. However, many songs rip off I Got Rhythm's chord progression, bridge and all, so I guesss this is not unusual.

And let's not forget all the ripping off that occurs among jazz musicians. ("Ooh, look, I like these chords, but I don't want to pay for the rights to the song. I know! I'll steal the chords, give it a crazy title, and make it my own song!")

"Black and Blue Bottom", anyone? (Although admittedly, chord stealing became most popular during the '40's, what with bebop and all. But that's all well beyond anyone's period of interest. )
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Albert Haim
Albert Haim

July 3rd, 2004, 2:59 pm #9

So it is, of course! "I'se Coming" leading into the "Toddlin' Blues" trombone break, and appearing in the coda. Thanks, Scott!

Still, I have one question left: what about the Davenport Blues intro reappearing in the "Gimme A Little Kiss" coda?

Judging by the "Davenport Blues" version edited by Bill Challis (which I only know in its guitar arrangement), the intro that Bix recorded (and, according to Mertz, outlined himself) seems to be part of his composition, not a borrowed fragment. Is it? Does the intro (as can be expected) appear in the piano arrangement too?

Another possibility: could Paul Mertz simply be the arranger of "Davenport Blues", using this strain again a year later in a novelty arrangement for his boss, Goldkette? The off-hand treatment the strain gets in "Gimme A Little Kiss" (quoted once, then again but sorta reversed) occurs to me like Mertz humor; perhaps a reminder of that strange session he'd done with Bix and his Goldkette colleagues?

Looks as if I asked an impossible question here, or at best one which only can be answered hypothetically....
The "Gimme A Little Kiss" coda is undoubtedly lifted from the intro to Davenport Blues. There are too many identical notes in sequence: the probability of "accidental" repetition is practically zilch. I have not detected these notes anywhere else. I do not have the Challis' arrangement for piano, but I have Mike Polad's version in his CD "Piano Deco" volume 1. The intro is included in Polad's version.

I listened to other versions. Red and Miff's Stompers' version does not have the intro. The Charleston Chasers version doesn't either and neither does the excellent version by the great Miff Mole and His Little Molers [get a load of the great Bixian solo by Miff with Ray Bauduc keeping the beat behind him]. I have Adrian Rollini's version somewhere, but I can't find it right now.

Albert
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David Logue
David Logue

July 6th, 2004, 3:42 pm #10

There is some similarity between the chords of "After You've Gone" and "Stardust" but that is a very common thing in music.
There are hundreds of examples of tunes being similar to a degree - sometimes they are almost identical.
I always thought that the song "Blue Because of You" sounded remarkably like "Stardust".
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