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Interesting 1999 interview with Hal Singer, one of the early R&B "honkers". He had a big hit in 1949 titled "Cornbread".

ORGANICA: And what's your opinion of "Cornbread?" It was such a big hit.

I never liked the song.

ORGANICA: Really? That's still a rocking instrumental. But you're glad it happened, right?

Hell, yeah. I'm stupid, but I ain't a fool. "Cornbread" gave me an opportunity that I never would have had otherwise. When you have the number one (R&B) record, and it stays there for months, well, it opened so many doors that wouldn't have happened for me. But the thing that I was probably most happy for at the time was I was the one to get (pianist) Wynton Kelly his first record date on that one. And so, after that recording session, before the record came out or anything, I went to work for Ellington.

The rest of the interview is at
http://www.organicanews.com/news/article.cfm?story_id=50

:cool:
 

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Great article, thanks!

Here's my favourite:

Well, we had several guys who knew something more about music than I did. We formed a little band. We were greatly influenced by Count Basie. Basie had a band called the Oklahoma City Blue Devils. We tried to copy them. That was about as much imagination as we had in those days. Finally, I went away to college.

Who says there's not one true path!

Rory

Don't you hate it though when interviewers feel they have to use "hip" talk:D
 

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Hey XAX,

I've been listening to "Cornbread" a few times and I think I can sort of see where Singer is coming from. Even making all possible allowances for the idiom, it's just not that great a honkin' blues number. The big bflat octave jumps are okay, and the percussive, rhythmic playing is fine, but really nothing jumps out at you. He really gets stuck on that bis key! Technically speaking, Big Jay doesn't do anything really different on Deacon's Hop, but his intro break is way more interesting and he really honks out when he's supposed to.

Another example kind of like this is Paul Williams' eponymous "The Hucklebuck." I think Williams was a great musician, but his playing on that song is really very mediocre. I guess it's better to have a signature song, even if you don't like it, than none at all!

Fame is weird eh? How many people can name a Red Prysock classic, or know who the sax players are with Joe Liggins on "The Honey Dripper"?

Thanks again for posting that article.
R.
 
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