Category Archives: Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers

Bill Phelan’s Muskrat Ramblers, Friday, 21st April 2017

Happy 91st birthday, to Your Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Band leader Bill Phelan, seen here playing trumpet with Johnny McCallum on banjo and Alan Cresswell on clarinet with ‘Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers’ at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) last 27th May 2016.    Photo by Mike Witt.

‘BILL PHELAN’S MUSKRAT RAMBLERS’ will be with us at FARNBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB tonight, Friday, 21st April 2017Band leader, BILL (trumpet & flugabone) will have with him   ALAN CRESSWELL (clarinet),  JOHN FINCH (trombone), ANDY LAWRENCE (double bass),  JOHNNY McCALLUM  (banjo & guitar) and PAUL NORMAN (drums).  Oh, I will be back hopefully later to tell you more, but Keith has just popped his head round the door to say car is not working and I have a school run today – before ‘running’ the club tonight, so need a car desperately today!!!!!!!!!!!  Back again and will leave the last sentence on, because the reason for a ‘dead car’ was I had left lights on last night!!!  My saviour was purchasing a great ‘Power Pack’ from Halfords a while back and am extremely  grateful today that I did.  So go and treat yourselves, buy one – you never know when you are going to need one.  Now about our Muskrat’s, well if you read my newsletter about the last time they played for us, you will get the gist of how much fun they have, ensuring audiences have fun too.  I just re-read it and thought I had better fill you all in (especially his wife) about Andy and my (innocent) ‘private country joke’, it conjures  pretty naughty thoughts.  I was going to dear ol’ Dipper’s funeral and was unable to find the crematorium (in Leatherhead, Surrey).  I had been going round and round in circles, so stopped a chap, walking his dog, to ask the way.  After he gave directions, we both suddenly realized we knew one-another, but when you meet someone out of context, well – yes, you’ve guessed, it was Andy – in his dog walking country gear ha ha – he thought he looked smart too.  Seriously, he did look lovely in his smart country-gent gear.  See you all tonight.

 

Hosts, Diane and Keith

‘Bill Phelan’s Muskrat Ramblers’, Friday, 27th May 2016

We welcomed ‘BILL PHELAN’S MUSKRAT RAMBLERS’ back again to FARNBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB on Friday, 27th May 2016   Band leader BILL PHELAN played both trumpet & flugabone.  He was joined by ALAN CRESSWELL, who played clarinet, JOHN FINCH was on trombone, ANDY LAWRENCE, double bass, JOHNNY McCALLUM, banjo & guitar and PAUL NORMAN who played drums.  It was another expected evening of super traditional jazz and they didn’t disappoint us.  Keith and I thought they played the best we had ever heard them too, because they were really enjoying themselves.

'Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers' at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on 27th May 2016. (LtoR) Andy Lawrence (double bass), John Finch (trombone &vocals), Paul Norman (drums), Bill Phelan (band leader, trurmpet & Flugabone), Johnny McCallum (banjo & guitar) and Alan Cresswell (clarinet), Photo by Mike Witt.

‘Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers’ at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on 27th May 2016. (LtoR) Andy Lawrence (double bass), John Finch (trombone &vocals), Paul Norman (drums), Bill Phelan (band leader, trurmpet & Flugabone), Johnny McCallum (banjo & guitar) and Alan Cresswell (clarinet), Photo by Mike Witt.

Paul Norman plays drums for 'Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers' at Farnborough Jazz Club on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

Paul Norman plays drums for ‘Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers’ at Farnborough Jazz Club on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

They played some good numbers and here are some of them.  Quite obviously, they always begin their evening with ‘Muskrat Ramble’ and although I was busy ‘on the door’, I recall they all excelled, Paul was brilliant on drums, with everyone taking thunderously good solos.  I also recall Bill joking that Paul doesn’t like the number – ha, he didn’t show it in his playing.

Then on announcing their next number, ‘Ciribiribin’, Alan called out (again jokingly) ‘he doesn’t like this one any better’ – ha.  You may recall I love this tune, as I wrote to one of the composers, Jack Lawrence, (first time ever writing to a composer).  I was contacted by his friend (also Diane), who explained that Jack had died a year before.  He had been answering everyone who wrote, right up until his demise, aged 96 (on 15th March 2009)!  She said it had felt like a time warp, so this number feels special to me (funny, my Mum’s birthday was 15th March).  Continuing on … Bill played wonderful trumpet, with John’s super singing to ‘Big Butter and Egg Man’, with all of us up dancing too.

'Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers' at Farnborough Jazz Club on 27th May 2016. (LtoR) John Finch (trombone), Johnny McCallum (banjo), Bill Finch (trumpet) and Alan Cresswell (clarinet). Photo by Mike Witt.

‘Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers’ at Farnborough Jazz Club on 27th May 2016. (LtoR) John Finch (trombone), Johnny McCallum (banjo), Bill Finch (trumpet) and Alan Cresswell (clarinet). Photo by Mike Witt.

Johnny McCallum plays banjo for 'Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers' at Farnborough Jazz Club on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

Johnny McCallum plays banjo for ‘Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers’ at Farnborough Jazz Club on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

 

Johnny McCallum plays guitar for 'Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers' at Farnborough Jazz Club on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

Johnny McCallum plays guitar for ‘Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers’ at Farnborough Jazz Club on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

Johnny showed his 20yrs with Chris Barber, when he played solo during the following tune ‘Canal Street Blues’, such a lovely banjo player, as well as guitarist.  Bill was brilliant on trumpet too.  The next tune, ‘Mood Indigo’, we were able to ‘smooch’ to – yes, there were some ‘smooching’ on the floor too, oh I mean dance floor – ha.

Alan Cresswell (clarinet), Pau Normanl (drums) and Johnny McCallum (banjo), three of Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers, playing at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

Alan Cresswell (clarinet), Pau Normanl (drums) and Johnny McCallum (banjo), three of Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers, playing at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

Band leader Bill Phelan, plays trumpet with Johnny McCallum on banjo and Alan Cresswell on clarinet with 'Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers' at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

Band leader Bill Phelan, plays trumpet with Johnny McCallum on banjo and Alan Cresswell on clarinet with ‘Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers’ at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

Following on, — Bill played his flugabone as a duet with John (F) on trombone, to ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’.  It was a super sound, then with everybody joining in.  Alan was featured next with ‘Petite Fleur’ and a damn good job he did, playing it so beautifully.

Andy Lawrence plays double bass for 'Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers' at Farnborough Jazz Club on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

Andy Lawrence plays double bass for ‘Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers’ at Farnborough Jazz Club on 27th May 2016. Photo by Mike Witt.

‘Too Busy’ is a lovely up-tempo number and about five of us performing our line-dance.  Not many aye, but that made it all the more fun and I can remember thinking how great all their solos were – Andy (my great country man – private joke) great on banjo.  I had put a couple of ticks against the following tune ‘Tie Me To Your Apron Strings Again’, because of the lovely sound of John (F) singing and everyone getting up to dance.  ‘Bourbon Street Parade’ is the tune they always like to end the evening with and I wrote the word ‘dynamite’ in my notes – surely I need no other words, do I.

Your hosts, Diane and Keith

‘Big Butter and Egg Man’ – Percy Venables & Louis Armstrong (1926)
‘Bourbon Street Parade’ – Paul Barbarin (c. 1953)
‘Canal Street Blues’ – Joe ‘King’ Oliver (1923)
‘Ciribiribin’ – (m&l) Harry James & Jack Lawrence (1939) (based on melody by Alberto Pestalozza -1889)
‘Mood Indigo’- (m) Duke Ellington & Barney Bigard, (l) Irving Mills (1930)
‘Muskrat Ramble’ – (m) Edward ‘Kid’ Ory (1926), (l) Ray Gilbert (added 1950)
‘Petite Fleur’ – Sidney Bechet (1952)
‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ – (m) Ben Bernie & Maceo Pinkard,(l) Kenneth Casey (1925)
‘Tie Me To Your Apron Strings Again’ – (m) Larry Shay, (l) Joe Goodwin (1924)
‘Too Busy’ – (m) Chester Cohn, (l) Ned Miller (1928)

Bill Phelan’s Muskrat Ramblers, 11th December 2015

We have ‘BILL PHELAN’S MUSKRAT RAMBLERS’ to play for us at FARNBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB on Friday, 11th December 2015.  Band leader BILL PHELAN (trumpet & flugelhorn) has booked ALAN CRESSWELL on clarinet, JOHN FINCH on trombone, CHRIS THOMPSON on bass, JOHNNY McCALLUM on banjo&guitar and PAUL NORMAN will be on drums.  Don’t we always bring you fabulous bands, so Friday is a date, yes?  We bring you ‘live’ jazz to dance to, as well as to listen to.

Diane and Keith

P.S.  Change of plans for next week’s Party, Entrance £15, bring your own food (& candelabras if you want). Plus temporary times just  for the day – music 8:30pm till 11:30pm.

Bill Phelan’s Muskrat Ramblers, 2nd October 2015

BILL PHELAN’S MUSKRAT RAMBLERS’ made a return journey to our FARNBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB on Friday, 2nd October 2015. It was exactly a year ago they were exciting us (see back to that newsletter).   You were all having such fun and screaming for more at the end of that evening, likewise the same this time.  Band leader, BILL PHELAN (trumpet & flugelhorn) had joining him ALAN CRESSWELL (clarinet), along with JOHN FINCH (trombone/vocals),  ANDY LAWRENCE (double bass), JIM HEATH (banjo/vocals) and PAUL NORMAN (drums).  I said last week, all the more reason for joining us – being you called out for more last time!  Well, our audience was a little thin on the ground, but that didn’t deter this lovely band from playing their hearts out.

Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers played at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015. (LtoR) Andy Lawrence (double bass), John Finch (trombone&vocals), Paul Norman (drums), Bill Phelan (trumpet&flugalhorn), Alan Cresswell (clarinet) and Jim Heath (banjo&vocals). Photo by Mike Witt.

Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers played at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015. (LtoR) Andy Lawrence (double bass), John Finch (trombone&vocals), Paul Norman (drums), Bill Phelan (trumpet&flugalhorn), Alan Cresswell (clarinet) and Jim Heath (banjo&vocals). Photo by Mike Witt

Those who came, enjoyed every minute, because the band played many favourite tunes.   Bix Beiderbecke’s ‘Royal Garden Blues’ for one, with some great trumpet and clarinet playing from Bill and Alan.  We performed our line-dance to Alan’s fabulous clarinet notes and ‘Hiawatha Rag’ – we were exhausted afterwards, ha!  Then we continued dancing with the band’s rendition of ‘Magnolia’s Wedding Day’ – as we were still on the dance floor.

Bill Phelan on trumpet, John Finch on trombone, Alan Cresswell on clarinet, Andy Laurence on double bass and Paul Newman on drums playing as Bill Phenan's Muscrat Ramblers at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friady, 2nd October 2015. Photo by  Mike Witt.

Bill Phelan on trumpet, John Finch on trombone, Alan Cresswell on clarinet, Andy Laurence on double bass and Paul Newman on drums playing as Bill Phenan’s Muscrat Ramblers at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friady, 2nd October 2015. Photo by Mike Witt.

Bill Phelan's 'engine' to his band 'Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers' seen here at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015. (LtoR) Andy Lawrence (double bass), Paul Norman (drums) and Jim Heath (banjo&vocals).  Photo by Mike Witt.

Bill Phelan’s ‘engine’ to his band ‘Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers’ seen here at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015. (LtoR) Andy Lawrence (double bass), Paul Norman (drums) and Jim Heath (banjo&vocals). Photo by Mike Witt.

Here's Andy Lawrence playing double bass for Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015.  Photo by Mike Witt.

Here’s Andy Lawrence playing double bass for Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015. Photo by Mike Witt.

Alan Cresswell is  featured on clarinet, backed by Andy Lawrence on double bass, Paul Norman on drums and Jim Heath on banjo with Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015. Photo by Mike Witt.

Alan Cresswell is featured on clarinet, backed by Andy Lawrence on double bass, Paul Norman on drums and Jim Heath on banjo with Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015. Photo by Mike Wit

Then Alan was featured next to George Lewis’ composition of ‘St Phillips Street Breakdown’ (George renamed it ‘Burgundy Street Blues’).  Lovely job Alan.  Their next tune chosen was ‘Ciribiribin’, to which I have a special warm feeling about, having written to one of the composers, Jack Lawrence.  Bill played it beautifully.

Here is Jim Heath, playing for Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015. Photo by Mike Witt.

Here is Jim Heath, playing for Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015. Photo by Mike Witt.

Their next tune they dedicated to me, hmmm, the number was ‘Dinah’, sung by Jim – thanks Jim.  My next choice to mention is Louis’ ‘That’s My Home’, such a lovely tune and I had put three ticks against it, which meant everyone excelled playing it.

John Finch on trombone, Paul Norman on drums and Jim Heath on banjo play with Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers here at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015. Photo By Mike Witt.

John Finch on trombone, Paul Norman on drums and Jim Heath on banjo play with Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers here at Farnborough Jazz Club (Kent) on Friday, 2nd October 2015. Photo By Mike Witt.

We were up with a line-dance again to the next tune, ‘Move The Body Over’, sung by John (another great singer of the band), such a ton of fun again.  Their last number of the evening was ‘Buena Sera’, yes a lovely up-tempo number to ‘go out’ on.  Thanks for entertaining us so wonderfully boys – lovely jubbly

P.S.  I wrote the following, when I advertise this week’s gig, so still wish to include it:  “You probably will have read it was the first time last year for ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.  Yes and here I am moaning.  I watched once more to my horror, either the Band, or the Producers have chosen the wrong music again.  The very first number of the competition, was for a Tango – what did they use for the music? Namely THE KINKS “You Really Got Me Now” – not even a real tango beat AND IT’s NOT EVEN A POP NUMBER NOW!  I so want to watch the programme, but I fear I shall have to give it up!  (Oh, I know… I won’t though, but see you this Friday, for some real music.

Your hosts, Diane and Keith

‘Buena Sera’ – Peter DeRose & Carl Sigman (1950)
‘Ciribiribin’ – (m&l) Harry James &Jack Lawrence (1939) (based on melody by Alberto Pestalozza -1889)
‘Dinah’ – (m) Harry Akst, (l) Sam M. Lewis & Joe Young (1923)
‘Hiawatha Rag’ – (m) Chas N Daniels aka Neil Moret (1901), (l) James O’Deo (added 1903)
‘Magnolia’s Wedding Day’ – (m) Jimmy McHugh, (l) Dorothy Fields (1928) (Chris Barber)
‘Move The Body Over’ – traditional (composer unknown, possible ‘Fats’ Waller or George Lewis?)
‘Royal Garden Blues’ – Clarence Williams & Spencer Williams (1919) (not related)
‘St Phillips Street Breakdown’ – George Lewis (circa 1944) (re-named Burgundy Street Blues)
‘That’s My Home’ – Otis René, Leon René & Ben Ellison (1932)

Bill Phelan’s Muskrat Ramblers, 3rd October 2014

BILL PHELAN’S MUSKRAT RAMBLERS’ provided our entertainment at FARNBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB on Friday, 3rd October 2014. The musicians with band leader BILL PHELAN (trumpet & flugabone) were ALAN CRESSWELL (clarinet), JOHN HOWLETT (trombone), ANDY LAWRENCE (double bass), JOHNNY MCCALLUM (banjo), plus PAUL NORMAN (drums).

This happy band has been a big favourite with you on previous appearances and once again, they maintained that popularity contest. Lovely to see the party of ten new people arrive, brought by a couple who visited us a few weeks ago. We’d love to see you again, you are great dancers. The band usually starts off with their signature tune, but for a change, they decided to play ‘Royal Garden Blues’, an equally happy number. The next number I wish to mention is ‘See See (or CC) Rider’. It was the number to bring out plenty of dancers. ‘Bugle Boy March’ followed on and was another great tune to dance to.

Bill Phelan's Muskrat-Ramblers, featuring Alan Cresswell playing 'Petite Fleur' at Farnborough Jazz  Club, Kent.  3rd October 2014. Photo by Mike-Witt.

Bill Phelan’s Muskrat-Ramblers, featuring Alan Cresswell playing ‘Petite Fleur’ at the Farnborough Jazz Club, Kent.
3rd October 2014. Photo by Mike Witt.

Alan was featured next, playing his wonderful rendition of ‘Petite Fleur’, what a player. They finished the first section with a brilliant performance of ‘Hiawatha Rag’. I was glad they chose to do ‘Ciribiribin’ again, (see my notes about their gig with us on 15 November 2013), because they do play it with great feeling and what about ‘Bourbon Street Parade’! It was sung by Johnny and is such a grand number, bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. A must to mention is Bill’s feature on flugabone, namely ‘Star Dust’, so melodic. Bill plays it how it should be done, beautifully (sorry not to have a picture of him too).  It is so difficult to decide to cut out numbers that have been played so well, but my last choice is ‘Canal Street Blues’. I’m sure they were playing over time, we were all enjoying ourselves I didn’t notice the time and no-one wants to end a happy evening. The number is such a jaunty one, we were all up dancing, so ending on a high.

Bill Phelan's Muscrat Ramblers at the Farnborough Jazz Club, Kent. 3rd October 2014.  Photo by Mike Witt.

Bill Phelan’s Muscrat Ramblers at the Farnborough Jazz Club, Kent. 3rd October 2014.
Photo by Mike Witt.

Bill Phelan's Muskrat Ramblers, again featuring Alan Cresswell at Farnborough Jazz Club, Kent. 3rd October 2014. Photo by Mike Witt.

Bill Phelan’s Muskrat Ramblers, again featuring Alan Cresswell at Farnborough Jazz Club, Kent. 3rd October 2014. Photo by Mike Witt.

Thanks again guys for entertaining us.

Next Friday’s band is Les Hanscomb’s Tailgate Jazz Band, so see you all then.

Trad jazz – always fun – keep it ‘Live’.

Diane and Keith

P.S. ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ is back and although enjoyable, it is still irritating to hear them play pop music for Latin American dances. How do they expect the stars to learn to dance and put the oomph into a dance with the wrong rhythm or even the tempo! Please organisers, you obviously tell the band to play pop, you’ve got it wrong. Also, can you show your audience how to clap ‘OFF THE BEAT’? Now I know how irritating I was to band leader, Jeff Hatton, who many years ago, taught me how to clap ‘off the beat’. (There, I’ve got that off my chest!)

‘Bourbon Street Parade’ – Paul Barbarin (c. 1953)

‘Bugle Boy March’ – Francis Meyers ((1907)

‘Canal Street Blues’ – Joe ‘King’ Oliver (1923)

‘Ciribiribin’ – (m&l) Harry James&Jack Lawrence (1939) (based on melody by Alberto Pestalozza -1889)

‘Hiawatha Rag’ – (m) Chas N Daniels aka Neil Moret (1901), (l) James O’Deo (added 1903)

‘Petite Fleur’ – Sidney Bechet (1952)

‘Royal Garden Blues’ – Clarence & Spencer Williams (1919)

‘See See Rider’ (or ‘C.C. Rider’) – Traditional [see Ma Rainey & Lena Arant (1924)]

‘Stardust’ – (m) Hoagy Carmichael (1927), (l) Mitchell Parish (with Hoagy) (1929)

Bill Phelan’s Muskrat Ramblers, 30/05/2014

BILL PHELAN’S MUSKRAT RAMBLERS’ played for us at our FARNBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB on Friday, 30th May 2014. Leader BILL PHELAN, trumpeter, had booked ALAN CRESSWELL on reeds (Alan was with Max Collie Rhythm Aces for 18months), JOHN HOWLETTon trombone, ANDY LAWRENCE on double bass, JOHNNY MCCALLUM on banjo (who was with The Chris Barber Big Band for 22years), plus PAUL NORMAN on drums. I missed the first number, but my first note was of the tune ‘1919 March’, a rousing number that we all recognise when it is played and has been played by so many top bands, although I was unable to find out the true origin, hence ‘traditional’ for composer and date. If anyone can enlighten us, please email any information, thanks. The band continued with an ODJB famed number, ‘Clarinet Marmalade Blues’, another rip-roaring number too. Following on, both Johnny and Andy gave great performances to ‘See See Rider’ (or ‘C.C. Rider’). [Alan and Johnny both featured with Django Reinhardt famed number, but have to update later – wonderful stuff. Another number, which John H sang to, was ‘All the Girls Go Crazy about the Way I Walk’. Paul’s brilliant drum solo resulted with his drum stick flying out of his hand, through the air, hitting John H in the chest at such a force, nearly leaving us without a trombonist- ha! (Of course John was ok). ‘Ciribiribin’ followed, which they dedicated to me (nice). Bill had read my write-up about its composer Jack Lawrence (with Harry James) – see our newsletter 15Nov2014. I wrote ‘brilliant’ against the next number to mention. It featured Alan, namely ‘Saint Phillip Street Breakdown’. Likewise the next Sidney Bechet number, ‘Dans les Rues d’Antibes’, they all played marvellously. [This number brings back fond memories of when Keith played with dear and talented friends, Mack White and Charlie Connor]. The last number I wish to mention featured Bill. He is such a lovely unassuming person, which shone out big time, when he played flugelhorn to Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Stardust’. It is a beautiful song and Bill gave it wonderful justice. Their next date with us will be 3rd October 2014.

Trad jazz – always fun – keep it ‘Live’!

Diane & Keith

‘All the Girls Go Crazy about the Way I Walk’ – Kid Ory (1945) disputed earlier by Buddy Bolden (1944)?
‘Ciribiribin’ – (m&l) Harry James & Jack Lawrence (1939) (based on melody by Alberto Pestalozza -1889)
‘Clarinet Marmalad’ – Larry Shields & Henry Ragas (1918)
‘Dans les Rues d’Antibes’ – Sidney Bechet (c1952)
‘See See Rider’ (also ‘C.C.Rider’) – Ma Rainey & Lena Arant (1924)
‘Stardust’ – (m) Hoagy Carmichael (1927), (l) Mitchell Parish (with Hoagy) (1929)
‘Saint Phillip Street Breakdown’ – George Lewis (c1950?)
‘1919 March’ – traditional

Bill Phelan’s Muskrat Ramblers, 15/11/2013

‘BILL PHELAN’S MUSKRAT RAMBLERS’ returned on Friday, 15th November 2013 at Farnborough Jazz Club.  They played as a six-piece band, with leader BILL PHELAN on trumpet, what a lovely guy.  The rest of the gang were ALAN CRESSWELL on reeds (Alan was with Max Collie Rhythm Aces for 18months), GRAHAM WISEMAN on trombone, CHRIS THOMSON on double bass, JOHNNY MCCALLUM on banjo (who was with Kenny Ball for 20years), plus PAUL NORMAN on drums.  Of course, they began their repertoire with ‘Muskrat Ramble’, which was followed with ‘Beale Street Blues’.  To begin with, our audience were all more talkative than usual, but I think the band felt a little mystified as to why it was only the usual four dancers for a bit.  It was our first really cold Friday evening of the year, so I think they were all trying to warm themselves up.  The band just kept playing their wonderful music.  However, the audience soon relaxed and got up to dance and our real atmosphere blossomed.  The next number I wish to mention is Alan’s feature song, namely ‘Petite Fleur’.  How beautifully he played it too.  Another great number was ‘Buona Sera’.  Johnny sung this and certainly our dancers flooded the dance floor (I jotted down ‘lovely muted trombone from Graham’).  ‘The Loveliest Night of the Year’ came next.  This song was adapted for the film ‘The Great Caruso’ sung by Mario Lanza.  Obviously, we all remember this song well, so we all sang it too.  Bill asked us to take our partners for a waltz.  Then the tempo stepped up to a quickstep.  Lovely jubbly.  They also played Buddy Bolden’s number called ‘Careless Love’.  Then came ‘Ciribiribin’, a beautiful number and when it ended, I asked to speak on the mike.  I told everyone that whilst doing my research, I came across the song writer (good looking too) called Jack Lawrence (www.jacklawrencesongwriter.com ).  Aged 95yrs, Jack was still answering commenters.  I am not in the habit of commenting on websites, but felt compelled to do so (was it his age, or his good looks!).  Unfortunately I realised as I pressed ‘send’ that Jack had died two years earlier in 2009 (one month off his 97th).  I quickly sent an apology in case of any upset to his family members.  Back came a reply from a dear friend of Jack’s who said it had been like a time-warp.  I am now in contact with this lovely lady – also called Diane.   To continue … Bill himself, featured beautifully with the next Hoagy Carmichael number called ‘Stardust’.  I remember Johnny played a wonder solo on guitar.  It is such a fabulous number, with plenty of audience participation and at the end, they called out for ‘more’.  It’s been a long time since that was called out (even if many wanted to do so on previous occasions, they haven’t!).  Fats Waller’s ‘Black and Blue’ came next, then they ended the evening with ‘Creole Love Call’.  Again, such a lovely evening and once again, due to the magic, I forgot to record. 

Diane & Keith

‘Beale Street Blues’ – W.C. Handy (1916)
‘Black and Blue’ – (m) Fats Waller, (l) Harry Brooks & Andy Razaf (1929)
‘Buona Sera’ – Peter DeRose & Carl Sigman (circa 1956)
‘Careless Love’ – Obscure origins (first association found Buddy Bolden Band (circa 1890’s)
‘Ciribiribin’ – (m&l) Harry James&Jack Lawrence (1939) (based on melody by Alberto Pestalozza -1889)
‘Creole Love Call’ – © Duke Ellington (1928) (lost court case by Joe ‘King’ Oliver (1923)
‘Muskrat Ramblers’ – (m) Edward ‘Kid’ Ory (1926), (l) Ray Gilbert (added 1950)
‘Petite Fleur’ – Sidney Bechet (1952)
‘Stardust’ – (m) Hoagy Carmichael (1927), (l) Mitchell Parish (with Hoagy) (1929)
‘The Loveliest Night of the Year’ – (m) originally Juventino P Rosas (1888), then (m) adapted by Irving Aaronson, (l) Paul Francis Webster (1950) for film ‘The Great Caruso’

So sorry to tell you, we lost a dear friend, Graham, (friend of Stella and Doug).  “Enjoy all those lovely musicians in the greater playing fields Graham”.  I’m very sorry not to have let everyone know about Graham before now.  Also, lovely Adrian Cox attended his funeral and I just want to say ‘Hi Adrian, glad to hear you look in at our website and well done for paying your respect to Graham’.

This terrible storm in the Philippines is so very upsetting and have donated for myself.  I am also asking you all, if you haven’t done so yourself, to bring a £1 or two and we will donate it to Red Cross from Farnborough Jazz Club.  They need as much help as possible.  We are all feeling the pinch, but they have been conducting themselves so gracefully, even in their terrible plight, but they are desperate now.  We must help … please … thank you.

See you all Friday.

Diane and Keith