This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
In the late fifties and the early sixties when the original rock & roll was on the wane and The Beatles hadn't yet resuscitated it, traditional jazz had a huge resurgence in Britain and Australia (and elsewhere as well).
This, of course, was the style of music played in New Orleans in the early years of the century (and elsewhere later). Today's column will feature music from that revival rather than the originators of the style, and they will be artists with whom I'm very familiar.
Thus you're getting mainly British and Australian acts today. If nothing else, this music will get your toes a'tapping.
I'll lead off with a group from England, CHRIS BARBER'S JAZZ BAND.
Like a couple of others featured today, they were blessed with having a fine female singer fronting the group, in this case it was OTTILIE PATTERSON.
Ottilie started as a blues singer in Northern Ireland and then joined Chris's band. She also married him (and later divorced him). She was one of the best at this kind of music. Here they are with Beale St. Blues.
One of the finest exponents of this style at the time, and even today, came from the Netherlands and they are THE DUTCH SWING COLLEGE BAND.
The group began in 1945 and quickly gained an international reputation and following. There has been, by necessity, a large turnover in membership - after all they've been going for almost 70 years. That's nearly as long as the Rolling Stones have been performing.
The College performs Willie the Weeper.
Acker's first taste of this music was with Ken Colyer's band in London. He wasn't too impressed with the big smoke and went to Bristol where he became a member of the Bristol Paramount Jazz Band.
This group got a gig in Düsseldorf where they had to play for hours on end (and thus honing their skills), pretty much what The Beatles did a few years later.
On returning to Britain, Acker was the de facto leader of the group (and soon the real leader) and they recorded a tune called Stranger on the Shore which became a world-wide hit.
NOTE: For those who couldn't play this earlier, it now works.
KENNY BALL took up the trumpet as a teenager during the war.
He worked semi-professionally at the time and started playing music full time in 1953. Kenny was a member of several bands until he started his own. He was one the leading lights of the revival and kept the flag flying for this music until he died in 2013.
He had a huge international hit with Midnight in Moscow.
THE TEMPERANCE SEVEN usually had Plus Two added to their name. I guess because there were nine of them.
The Temps didn't take themselves too seriously, not surprising really, as they have links to a number of people who later became the Monty Python Flying Circus.
The three founder members were Paul McDowell who originally played trombone, Philip Harrison, who originally plucked the banjo, and Brian Innes. Quite obviously, more members joined over the years.
Here they play You're Driving Me Crazy with vocal refrain by Mr. Paul McDowell, as it says on the disk.
Now to the real thing. One of the few Americans I can remember playing in this style at the time (well, there was Louis too) is SIDNEY BECHET.
Sidney was one of the real genuine Dixieland players from New Orleans and had a huge influence on the style. Alas, he died in 1959 but his records were still being played (perhaps because of that).
One of his most famous tunes is Petite Fleur.
In the early days of the sixties, we who lived south of the Yarra - that's the river that splits Melbourne in two - would take the train to South Yarra, there to visit the Yarra Yarra Jazz Club to see and hear the YARRA YARRA JAZZ BAND.
We (the males) were snappily dressed in black tight pants, black pointy shoes, black socks and black skivvy. In winter we'd add a cardigan and if it was really cold, a black duffle coat.
We also affected a hair style that The Beatles stole from us a couple of years later. That is, those with straight hair did that. We curly tops did the best we could. Of course, when Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix made it big, we were the cool dudes.
An added attraction of the Yarra Yarras was the singer of the band, JUDY JACQUES. She was an extraordinary performer but that wasn't the only attraction she held for young lads.
Only a hint of Judy's live performances was captured on record – a slight glimmer towards the end of this tune, the old gospel standard, Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen.
These days JUDITH DURHAM is best known for her years as the singer for The Seekers.
Before that she was more recognised in these parts as a jazz singer, particularly for her time with FRANK TRAYNOR'S JAZZ PREACHERS.
Frank started his own club called, not too surprisingly, Traynor's. I guess he figured he'd always have a place to play. It's still going today, although Frank died in 1985, and is still the go-to place for fine jazz in Melbourne.
Here is Frank and the band, with Judith singing Trombone Frankie, which references the man himself.
Every weekday here in Melbourne in the early sixties, radio station 3XY had a jazz program at 7PM. Fortunately for my musical development, they weren't discriminating about what they played – Coltrane, Miles, Ray Charles, Lambert Hendricks and Ross and FRANK JOHNSON'S FABULOUS DIXIELANDERS. Many others as well, of course.
Frank played regularly around the traps back then – well, all those mentioned did that. We teenage lads really liked it when the station played Frank's version of Sweet Patootie (which was quite regularly – they knew their audience) as we thought it rather risqué.
THE RED ONIONS JAZZ BAND was a Melbourne institution.
However, when The Beatles and Stones hit, they saw the writing on the wall and put down their clarinets and trumpets and picked up electric guitars and basses and became The Loved Ones.
They were a lot more musically proficient than others who started playing rock & roll at the same time as they were already trained musicians. They were also blessed with having a lead singer who was as good as anyone in rock music.
The Loved Ones recorded a hugely influential album, had several top 10 records and imploded, not to be heard from again. This, though, is about the Red Onions with Buddy's Habit.