Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bob Dunn

( Naar de Nederlandse vertaling.)

I played myself a compilation of Bob Dunn's 78 rpm recordings from the late 1930s and early 1940s: Bob Dunn and his Vagabonds. Bob Dunn is one of those almost forgotten steel guitar players that played in the so-called Western Swing style. He was born in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma (USA) February 1908 and became interested in the hawaiian guitar as a child. When he was 19 years old he started to play in the Panhandle Cowboys and Indians.
In the early 1930s he joined the Milton Brown Musical Brownies and made his first recordings January 1935, which would become the first recordings with an amplified steel guitar ever. These recordings are well known and available on a great 4 CD Proper box. Bob Dunn played until the death of Milton Brown, due to a traffic accident April 1936, in that band and he made various records for Decca. When Milton Brown passed away his brother Derwood took over the band. I discussed this period in a previous blog. Bob Dunn moved together with his fellow mate Cliff Bruner to Houston, where Cliff started his own group, the Cliff Bruner Texas Wanderers. Bob Dunn played in several groups, but finally joined Cliff Bruner. The recordings on this compilation are by Bob Dunn and his Vagabonds, but in fact Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers.
The hawaiian music was rather popular in those days, as I wrote in a previous blog. Bob Dunn played the hawaiian steel guitar in a different way. He didn't play like the other hawaiian guitarplayers, but played it as a jazz instrument. It is said that he had a style of playing far ahead of his time. A critic, Nick Tosches compares him with Django Reinhardt, who played the gipsy music in a modern jazzy way; Bob Dunn did do the same, but he played jazz on his steel guitar, years before Django Reinhardt introduced it. Some say that he played in a horn-like phrasing style like trombone players as Jack Teagarden. Bob Dunn had to stop playing early 1940s when he became a soldier in the US army. After the war he didn't play active anymore, studied at the Southern College of Fine Arts and started a music shop in Houston. He passed away May 1971.
The tunes from the Vagabond period are not as hot as the Milton Brown sides, I really enjoy, but they are a great historical document.

Thanks to Julian V. I can show you the recording dates:

  • basin street blues September 5 1939 (Decca 5733)
  • blue skies March 2 1939 (Decca 5676)
  • graveyard blues March 2 1939 (Decca 5707)
  • i found you out when i found you in somebody else's arms April 11 1940 (Decca 5848)
  • i want the world to know i love you March 2 1939 (Decca 5707)
  • i'll forget dear April 11 1940 (Decca 5828)
  • i'll tell the world September 5 1939 (Decca 5789)
  • it must be love March 2 1939 (Decca 5694)
  • juke box rag April 11 1940 (Decca 5828)
  • mama's gone goodbye March 2 1939 (Decca 5667)
  • marcheta April 11 1940 (Decca 5848)
  • mean mistreater March 2 1939 (Decca 5694)
  • meet me tonight in dreams September 5 1939 (Decca 5789)
  • round her neck she wears a yeller ribbon April 11 1940 (Decca 5868)
  • stompin at the honky tonk September 5 1939 (Decca 5772)
  • sweet bunch of daisies September 5 1939 (Decca 5746)
  • too long March 2 1939 (Decca 5667)
  • toodle-oodle-oo March 2 1939 (Decca 5676)
  • was that all i meant to you September 5 1939 (Decca 5746)
  • wendesday rag September 5 1939 (Decca 5772)
  • when nights falls March 2 1939 (Decca 5684)
  • you don't know my mind March 2 1939 (Decca 5684)
  • you'll pay some day March 2 1939 (Decca 5733)

Thanks Jo for sharing these recordings.


Time exposure for the 13th of October:
1927:

  • nothing could be sweeter / sweeter than you = earl burtnett los angeles biltmore hotel o

  • radio blues = sol hoopi novelty trio

1947:

  • manoir de mes reves = django reinhardt hot club de france

1957:

  • bebop / i didn't know what time it was / i'll remember april / softly as in a morning sunrise / tadd's delight/two bass hit = sonny clark trio

Keep swinging

Hans Koert


keepswinging@live.nl


PLAYLIST
paul chambers sextet/whims of chambers = fats waller/cd 02 = mccoy tyner/live at warsaw jazz festival (dvd) = bob dunn vagabonds/78rpm compilation

Nederlands ( To the English translation )

Gisteren heb ik een verzameling 78 toeren opnamen van Bob Dunn gedraaid uit eind jaren dertig begin jaren veertig: Bob Dunn and his Vagabonds. Bob Dunn is één van die bijna vergeten steelguitarspelers, die in de zgn. Western Swing stijl speelden. Hij was geboren in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma (VS) in februari 1908 en raakte als kind geinteresseerd in de hawaiian gitaar. Toen hij 19 jaar oud was ging hij spelen in de Panhandle Cowboys and Indians.
Begin jaren dertig kwam hij bij Milton Brown en zijn Musical Brownies terecht en maakte hij zijn eerste opnamen in januari 1935. Deze opnamen zouden de geschiedenisboekjes in gaan als de eerste registratie van een versterkte steelgitaar. Deze opnamen zijn welbekend en te koop in een prachtige 4CD Properbox. Bob Dunn bleef bij Milton Brown tot diens dood door een noodlottig verkeersongeluk in april 1936 en maakte met die band veel platen voor Decca. Na de dood van Milton nam broer Derwood de band over. Over deze periode heb ik eerder in een bijdrage wat verteld. Bob Dunn verliet samen met zijn bandvriend Cliff Bruner de groep en verhuisde naar Houston. Cliff begon zijn eigen groep, de Cliff Bruner Texas Wanderers. Bob Dunn speelde eerst wat bij andere groepen voordat hij definitief bij Cliff Bruner aanhaakte. De opnamen die ik beluisterde zijn uit deze periode. De band, Bob Dunn and his Vagabonds, is in feite Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers.
De hawaiian steel guitar was een tamelijk populair instrument in die dagen. Over de populariteit van de hawaiian muziek kon je al eerder meer lezen. Bob Dunn bespeelde echter zijn instrument niet in de traditie van de andere steelguitarspelers. Hij bespeelde het instrument meer op een jazzy-manier en was zijn tijd ver vooruit. Men vergelijkt zijn manier van spelen wel met Django Reinhardt, die de zigeunermuziek ook op een jazzy-manier veranderde; alleen, Bob Dunn deed het jaren eerder dan Django. Anderen vergelijken de manier waarop Dunn gitaar speelt met de manier waarop Jack Teagarden de trombone bespeelt, maar dat gaat me allemaal iets te snel. Bob Dunn stopte met spelen toen de Amerikanen betrokken raakten bij de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Hij ging in dienst en toen hij na de oorlog weer vrij man was, ging hij studeren aan de Southern College of Fine Arts en begon een muziekwinkel in Houston. Hij overleed in mei 1971.
De opnamen van Bob Dunn uit zijn Vagabond periode zijn niet zo "hot" als de Milton Brown platen. Ik heb ervan genoten uit historisch oogpunt.

Thanks to Julian V. I can show you the recording dates:

  • basin street blues September 5 1939 (Decca 5733)
  • blue skies March 2 1939 (Decca 5676)
  • graveyard blues March 2 1939 (Decca 5707)
  • i found you out when i found you in somebody else's arms April 11 1940 (Decca 5848)
  • i want the world to know i love you March 2 1939 (Decca 5707)
  • i'll forget dear April 11 1940 (Decca 5828)
  • i'll tell the world September 5 1939 (Decca 5789)
  • it must be love March 2 1939 (Decca 5694)
  • juke box rag April 11 1940 (Decca 5828)
  • mama's gone goodbye March 2 1939 (Decca 5667)
  • marcheta April 11 1940 (Decca 5848)
  • mean mistreater March 2 1939 (Decca 5694)
  • meet me tonight in dreams September 5 1939 (Decca 5789)
  • round her neck she wears a yeller ribbon April 11 1940 (Decca 5868)
  • stompin at the honky tonk September 5 1939 (Decca 5772)
  • sweet bunch of daisies September 5 1939 (Decca 5746)
  • too long March 2 1939 (Decca 5667)
  • toodle-oodle-oo March 2 1939 (Decca 5676)
  • was that all i meant to you September 5 1939 (Decca 5746)
  • wendesday rag September 5 1939 (Decca 5772)
  • when nights falls March 2 1939 (Decca 5684)
  • you don't know my mind March 2 1939 (Decca 5684)
  • you'll pay some day March 2 1939 (Decca 5733)

Bedankt Jo voor de opnamen.

Tijdopname voor 13 oktober:
1927:

  • nothing could be sweeter / sweeter than you = earl burtnett los angeles biltmore hotel o

  • radio blues = sol hoopi novelty trio

1947:

  • manoir de mes reves = django reinhardt hot club de france

1957:

  • bebop / i didn't know what time it was / i'll remember april / softly as in a morning sunrise / tadd's delight/two bass hit = sonny clark trio
Keep swinging

Hans Koert


keepswinging@live.nl

SPEELLIJST
paul chambers sextet/whims of chambers = fats waller/cd 02 = mccoy tyner/live at warsaw jazz festival (dvd) = bob dunn vagabonds/78rpm compilation

Keep Swinging Oscar Aleman Flexible Records Choro Music Hit of the week - Durium

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2 Comments:

Blogger Jo said...

Thanks for this contribution, good to see a forgotten wizard of the steel guitar being exposed to readers of this blog. - Thanks also to Julian V. for supplying discographical details regarding the original discs.

Jo

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Cary said...

Note that Origin Jazz Library is working on a 2 CD set of Dunn's works, including restorations of most of the Decca 78s. It should be available in early 2008.

Cary G.
Origin Jazz Library

5:47 PM  

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