The Complete 6 and 7/8s String Band of New Orleans Discography ( Joergen Larsen)
The 6 & 7/8s String Band of New Orleans
ECHOES OF THE PAST
Earlier Hans Koert introduced the readers of the keepswinging blog to the great Six & Seven Eights String Band of New Orleans in a blogentry that also mentioned the then available 17 recordings of the group on the Folkways label. The blog had some comments from ardent readers concerning the exact recording dates of the Folkways issue that included material recorded by Samuel Charters in the mid-1950s, but it was not until a little later that the question about recording dates would be solved intermediately with the release of a cd by 504 Records that had the same material as the Folkways-issue plus a couple of additional sessions and in fact stated the dates of recording. I supplied this info in another blogentry after having aquired the cd.
However, in 2007 the American Music label realesed a 2 cd-set ( AMCD 125/126) (see picture above) that contains all the August 1954 sessions (19 tracks) recorded by Sam Charters and further has the 5 tracks recorded March 1949 and originally released as 2 78 rpms on the New Orleans Originals label (- this is on AMCD 125). - The AMCD 126 has an additional session by the 6 & 7/8s String Band, a radio broadcast from March 1950 featuring 9 tracks recorded at "The New Orleans Opera Auditions On The Air" program. AMCD 126 further has the 16 tracks of private recordings from December 1955 featuring Edmond Souchon and uke player Charles Hardy Jr. originally issued on a private LP recording by Edmond Souchon. Finally, the AMCD 126 closes with two original recordings from 1926 & 1927 by The New Orleans Owls featuring solo spots by a couple of the original members of The Invecibles string band who also played with the 6 & 7/8s string band early on. - The AMCD 125 further has 5 tracks featuring finger picking guitarist Frank Amacker recorded by Samuel Charters in New Orleans February 1958 to complete the picture of the New Orleans string band tradition - a branch of early original New Orleans jazz music finally documented sufficiently through this enjoyable and highly recommended 2 cd-set . The complete list of recordings enclosed is stated at the end of the blog, listen to sound clips of the recordings by clicking here
A few details about the band from Samuel Charters' sleeve notes summarize the story of this remarkable branch of New Orleans jazz tradition. Edmond Souchon (g, ldr) organized the band from the beginning in 1911 when he, still a schoolboy, would practice string band music together with two friends, the brothers Harry Reynolds (mandolin) and Bob Reynolds (g), in after-school sessions at the brothers' home. The three friends were ardent amateurs and tried to capture the sounds of the various jazz bands active in New Orleans at the time and transfer these impressions to their stringed instruments, thus creating a different sound but played with the same concept of collective performance as the common brassband jazz of the day. However, string band music was common in New Orleans at the time, although no recordings are available, but it is known that the famous Tom Anderson's café of Storyville had a string trio of mandolin and two guitars performing regularly in the backroom. The boys may have learnt tips and tricks from such an ensemble i.e. by offering drinks in return (- at least this is what is assumed in the sub-title and notes of the 2 cd-set, "Echoes of Tom Anderson's"). When Edmond Souchon later entered the Tulane University as a student, he met Bernie Shields, who played the Hawaiian guitar, and from around this time the 6 & 7/8s string band came together as a more or less organized group of fellow students and friends. They took their name from their seventh member, violinist Hilton "Midget" Harrison, who was considerable shorter than the other six (- a photo of the band 1915 from the cd sleeve notes is shown above).
Samuel Charters further states in the sleeve notes: "Edmond [Souchon] recalled that when the band was most active he would see another musician practicing the mandolin on his porch across the street. It was Bill Kleppinger, who played with his own band, the Invicibles [see photo above]. When the United States entered the first World War in the spring of 1917, Kleppinger, Souchon, and two other members of the 6 & 7/8s found themselves in the same artillery battery, and began playing together. After the war, most of the musicians scattered. Edmond was studying medicine in Chicago and Bernie [Shields] was in South America. Bill [Kleppinger] continued playing with the Invicibles, which also included [bassist] [Frank] Red Mackie, but when the band changed to dance instruments to become The Owls, Bill [Kleppinger] dropped out. Edmond called him, and they began playing as a duo, though only for themselves. In the late 1920s Bernie [Shields] returned to New Orleans and joined them, and two or three years later Red [Mackie] became their permanent bass player."
Recently Hans Koert received a message by Rick Mackie, nephew of bass player Frank "Red" Mackie, with additional information I love to share with you in the next contribution, titled; Red Mackie and the 6th and 7/8th string band
The 6 & 7/8s String Band of New Orleans "Echoes of Tom anderson's - the New Orleans String Jazz Traditions. (AMCD 125/126)
Tracks 1 to 24 Bill Kleppinger (mandolin), Bernie Shields (Hawaiian steel guitar), Edmond Souchon (guitar and vocals 19 & 21), Frank “Red” Mackie (bass)
THE 1949 78s (originally released on the "New Orleans Originals" label), recorded March 20, 1949:
1. Tiger Rag, 2. Clarinet Marmalade, 3. High Society/ Maryland my Maryland, 4. Tico Tico, 5. That Old Gang Of Mine
THE 1954 SESSIONS (recorded in Edmond Souchon's living room, Metaine, LA, August 1954 by Samuel Charhters)
6. Winter Night/Stumbling, 7. Who’s Sorry Now, 8. Clarinet Marmalade, 9. Dixieland One Step, 10. Jealous, 11. Muskrat Ramble, 12. Tico Tico, 13. Floating Down That Old Green River, 14. Bei Mir Bist Du Schön, 15. Sunrise Serenade, 16. Medley In D, 17. My Josephine, 18. High Society/Maryland My Maryland, 19. Lazy River/ Changes Made, 20. Donna Clara, 21. Floating Down That Old Green River, 22. Raggin’ The Scale (2 incomplete takes), 23. At Sundown, 24. When The Saints Go Marching In
FRANK AMACKER (guitar), recorded by Samuel Charhters, February, 1958
25. A Handful Of Cards, 26. Gettysburg March, 27. Lover Come Back To Me, 28.“A” Rag, 29. Liebenstraum.
Tracks 1 to 9 Bill KKleppinger (mandolin), Bernie Shields (steel guitar), Bill Kleppinger (mandolin), Edmond Souchon (guitar & voc. 7), Frank “Red” Mackie (bass)
Tracks 10 to 25 Charles Hardy Jnr. (ukulele and voc.13), Edmond Souchon (guitar and voc.17 & 22). Possibly Frank “Red” Mackie bass on 24.
Tracks 26 & 27 “The New Orleans Owls” featuring Rene Gelpi (banjo) and Lester Monk Smith (ukulele).
RADIO BROADCAST, MARCH 1950: "The New Orleans Opera Auditions on The Air", Hostess: Mrs. Edward Ludwig, Guests: the 6 & 7/8s String Band
1. That Old Gang Of Mine, 2.Floating Down That Old Green River, 3. High Society, 4. Who’s Sorry Now, 5.Tiger Rag, 6. Tico Tico, 7. Up A Lazy River, 8. Donna Clara, 9. When The Saints.
CHARLIE & SOU: recorded by Edmond Souchon, December 1955, privately released on LP
10. Ukulele Marmalade, 11.Dixieland One Step, 12.Tea For Two, 13. At The Storyville Ball, 14.Opus 4 (Ragtime Gal), 15. Little Coquette, 16. I’m Nobody’s Baby, 17. Bill Bailey, 18. High Society, 19. I Had A Dream Dear, 20. Ida, 21. Who’s Sorry Now, 22. Walkin’ The Dog, 23. That Old Gang Of Mine, 24. Little Coquette (trio only), 25. Little Rock Getaway
NEW ORLEANS OWLS: #26 recorded 4/14/1926; #27 recorded 4/14/1927
26. West End Romp, 27.That’s A Plenty
Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Keep Swinging News Letter Keep Swinging Contributions