Irrefutable evidence that McKinney's Cotton Pickers did NOT record Birmingham Bertha

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 18th, 2018, 5:52 pm #1

In 2011 we published in VJM magazine the two-part article Jean Goldkette’s Post-Bix Recordings: the Don Redman Arrangements.
 
http://www.vjm.biz/159-goldkette.pdf
http://www.vjm.biz/160-goldkette.pdf
 
We presented evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that the July 27, 1929 recording of Birmingham Bertha was recorded in Chicago by the Jean Goldkette Victor Recording Orchestra, not McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. In spite of the definitive documentation presented in the article, several jazz/dance band enthusiasts refused to accept our incontrovertible conclusion.
                                                                                                  
In this posting, we present newly discovered documentation that provides further conclusive evidence that McKinney’s Cotton Pickers were NOT in Chicago on July 27, 1929 and thus could not have recorded Birmingham Bertha.
 
The historical evidence we have uncovered comes from The Michigan Daily, and more specifically their issues of May 17, 1929, May 21, 1929 and May 22, 1929, which carried the announcement that McKinney’s Cotton Pickers were opening at the Blue Lantern, Island Lake, MI on May 22, 1929. In addition, we present scans of advertisements for the band's daily appearances at the venue during May, June, July and August of 1929. McKinney's Cotton Pickers played at the Blue Lantern throughout the summer months, when dancers would head away from the muggy heat of Chicago and Detroit to dance at the cooler lake-side venue. During this season, the band played each evening of the week at the Blue Lantern, except Mondays, when they would return to their base in Detroit and play at either the Graystone Ballroom or the near-by Edgewater Ballroom, which was yet another Goldkette venue.
 
McKinney’s Cotton Pickers appeared daily (except Mondays) at the Blue Lantern, Island Lake, Michigan from May 22 to Aug 2, 1929. On Saturday July 27, 1929, McKinney’s Cotton Pickers were therefore at Island Lake, Michigan, some 340 miles away from Chicago and obviously could not have recorded Birmingham Bertha in Chicago on that date. Thus, the theory offered by some that Birmingham Bertha was recorded by McKinney’s Cotton Pickers or a mixed McKinney-Goldkette group holds no credibility and, therefore, all discographies that follow this unsustainable claim should be corrected.
 
Albert Haim, Nick Dellow May 18, 2018
 
 
Scans of advertisements in The Michigan Daily, the student newspaper of the University of Michigan. 

 May 17, 1929. 

MichiganDaily17May1929.JPG

 May 21, 1929. 

MichiganDaily21May1929.JPG

May 22, 1929. 
MichiganDaily22May1929.JPG

 May 24, 1929. 
MichiganDaily24jMay1929.JPG

 May 30, 1929. 

MichiganDaily30May1929.JPG

Jun 17, 1929.  
MichiganDaily17jJUN1929.JPG

Jun 25, 1929.
MichiganDaily25jJUN1929.JPG

Jul 12, 1929.  
MichiganDaily12JUL1929.jpg

Jul 17, 1929.  
MichiganDaily17jJUl1929.JPG

Aug 2, 1929.  
MichiganDaily2Aug1929.JPG


  
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 18th, 2018, 9:10 pm #2

Speaking of the Blue Lantern, here is a posting titled "Bix at the Blue Lantern, Island Lake, Brighton, MI, July 1925."

viewtopic.php?f=27140&t=8022&p=43957&hi ... ake#p43957
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:56 pm

May 19th, 2018, 6:34 pm #3

Golly, the Cotton-Picker's advocates are amazingly strident. I don't find the sound particularly McKinney-ish. Except for Don Redman's writing.
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Joined: March 24th, 2018, 11:32 pm

May 22nd, 2018, 11:52 pm #4

This isn't the first time a white band appeared on record disguised as a Black one. Remember the Original Memphis Five's recordings for Gennett as "Ladd's Black Aces"? Or Eddie Lang billing himself as "Blind Willie Dunn"? Obviously the connection was because Goldkette's organization also managed McKinney's Cotton Pickers. Does anyone have a label scan of this record? I'd be curious as to whether it was billed on the label as being by McKinney's Cotton Pickers even though it wasn't.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 23rd, 2018, 12:49 am #5

 The record label can be seen in page 17 of part 2 of our article. The credit is to Jean Goldkette.
http://www.vjm.biz/160-goldkette.pdf
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Joined: March 24th, 2018, 11:32 pm

May 26th, 2018, 1:40 am #6

Thanks for the info. It seems like the only evidence that a record by Jean Goldkette's recording orchestra with their name on the label was by someone else was a recollection by Don Redman, and he could have had it confused with some other occasion on which he or other members of McKinney's Cotton Pickers subbed for Goldkette's players on records or radio.
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:56 pm

May 26th, 2018, 2:05 am #7

Sudhalter's Carmichael biography mentions how much the different Goldkette-managed groups cross-pollinated. The Redman group's early recording of 'Stardust' is almost an extension of Carmichael's original.

Of course, the Challis book for Goldkette is supposed to have been stolen by a resentful road manager. But I wonder how much the Cotton Pickers and the Victor Recording Orchestra may have shared.
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Joined: March 17th, 2018, 5:01 am

May 26th, 2018, 3:15 am #8

The Paul Barnes material of 1930s... yes... I've read about that.
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