Dear friends,

Sorry for the break, but I needed one, and you probably did too!

I went on a cruise — almost the very last thing I ever expected to do in my life — but my friend Shakura S’Aida invited me as her guest on the “Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise” in the Caribbean, so how could I say no to that?

When I got back, there was (and still is) a mountain of work to do, and too little time to prepare these (almost) daily links.

To ease us back, here’s a quick reminder of the worth of Ken Whiteley’s maxim: “Discover old music — it’ll be new to you!”

Connie, Martha and Helvetia (Vet) were the Boswell Sisters, the queens of American radio in the 20s, and their close harmony singing was the model for many later groups, including the Andrews Sisters and — to bring this right up to date — Canada’s own Good Lovelies. Here’s the Boswells in 1932 singing “Heebie Jeebies,” which the Lovelies have expropriated as part of almost every show they do.

Just for fun, here’s the same song — and a slightly different arrangement — from Sue Passmore, Caroline Brooks and Kerri Ough, the Good Lovelies:

A year ago, Kerri was at the house, and I couldn’t resist the chance to play her the original version of “Heebie Jeebies,” recorded in 1926 by Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five. No film clip, alas, but this is THE version of the song, and it contains one of the very first scat vocals ever recorded. Armstrong always maintained that he dropped the lyric sheet during the take, and just made up vocal sounds — a fanciful tale, methinks, but what a magnificent vocal. Oh, and the cornet playing ain’t too shabby either, despite the (almost) screwed up ending!

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