We have a mystery to deal with this Saturday on SWING ON THIS, and I hope someone out there will be able to help me figure it out. John Hamill, who has been supplying the show with wonderful (and sometimes weird) slabs of vinyl for our “Hamill Time” entries, has come up with a doozy for this week.
Here’s what we know: It’s on a 78 rpm disc from Campbell Records, which at the time had headquarters at 210 S. Emporia in Wichita, Kansas. We know that it’s the vocal version of “South,” which, as an instrumental, was a staple of the Bob Wills repertoire — and, before that, a jazz tune played often by its co-writer, Bennie Moten, and his Kansas City Orchestra.
And that’s pretty much all we know. Neither vocalist nor band is named on either side of the single. This indicates that it may have been one-of-a-kind, or possibly some sort of master recording. But neither John nor I know.
It’s a long shot, but maybe, just maybe, one of you SWING ON THIS listeners will recognize the vocalist and solve this little mystery. If anyone can do it, you can.
In addition to the mystery recording, I’ve got a good little show going for you on Saturday. It begins with a 1938 release written by the Texas Playboys’ announcer/trumpeter and sung by bassist Joe Frank Ferguson, who usually got to do the poppier tunes with the band. And we end with a great rendition of the theme song from a 1950 Tin Pan Alley biopic, reimagined by our friend the Hot Club of Cowtown. In between, of course, plenty more.
So join me at 7 p.m. Saturday on KWGS, 89.5 FM, or pick up the live stream at publicradiotulsa.com, for an hour of Western swing, cowboy jazz, and the usual surprise or two. It’ll be great to have you along.
1. “Little Red Head,” Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys (for TOM & FRANCIE BOMER)