Saturday, April 26, 2008

Keep It Clean!

While your regular editor of the Keepswinging blog is taking a break and spending his holidays walking the hills and dales of Southern Jutland together with his wife, I have promissed to maintain the daily feeding of the always hungry jazz cats at this spot. I'll keep it clean, so I need a washtub and a washboard, no, actually a washboard band to let it keep swinging, right?

This great music was performed by The Washboard Rhythm Kings, c.1930, amazing to notice the band making so much hot stuff at ease. The same impression comes to mind when listening to most of the recorded output by the Washboard Rhythm Kings.

According to Scott Yanow in AMG, "The Washboard Rhythm Kings (which had different personnel on each session) played jubilant jazz that defied the soothing musical trend of the early Depression years, featuring a washboard player and usually a couple of horns along with spirited group vocals. The emphasis was on basic goodtime music that fell between Dixieland and swing. It debuted as the Alabama Washboard Stompers in 1930, became the Washboard Rhythm Kings in 1931, and by 1934-1935 was known as the Georgia Washboard Stompers. Some of the personnel have never been identified, but among the known players are guitarist Teddy Bunn; trumpeters Taft Jordan and Valaida Snow; singer Leo Watson; and such regulars as singer Jake Fenderson, Steve Washington on banjo and vocals, and Ben Smith on clarinet and alto."

Washboard bands became very popular during the 1930s and the washboard had a revival through various dixieland and skiffle groups in the 1950s. I like the original bands, here is a filmed sequence of another popular group of the 1930s, the Washboard Serenaders performing a medley of "Dark Eyes & St.Louis Blues"

Perhaps you don't need a whole washboard band to keep it clean - and swinging. The one-man-band could reach for a rubbed off version of "Tiger Rag"


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