THE BOB CROSBY ORCHESTRA was formed shortly after the disbanding of Ben Pollack's group in the autumn of 1934. The core of the Pollack band operated for a spell as Clark Randall's Orchestra before Bob came in to take over, using the best of the Pollack solo men for his new line-up.
George Robert Crosby was born in Spokane, Washington on August 23 1913, nine years after his famous crooning brother Harry Lillis. His singing career began with the Anson Weeks Orchestra but it was not until 1934 that the opportunity presented itself for Bob to front his own co-operative group. Pollack had been a busy and uncommonly thorough talent scout with the result that Crosby found himself furnished with a worthy bundle of experienced musicians who were already used to playing together. Upon this solid foundation, Bob Crosby constructed his historic big swing band to specialise in the playing of orchestrated Dixieland.
This album preserves a dozen of the finest Crosby recordings made between November 1937 and February 1942 when Ec-stacy was recorded at one of the last sessions undertaken by the orchestra that year. Apart from the session labelled Lt. Bob Crosby (USNCR) And His V-Disc Bob Cats three years later and the comparatively unimportant 1950 dates, these were the last occasions upon which any of the original 1934 Crosby personnel played together.
Two tracks—Spain and Big foot jump—rate special attention because they feature that lively and unique band-within-a-band, THE BOB CROSBY BOB CATS.
A glance through the fascinating personnel lists will reveal a number of interesting names. One of the principal Bob Crosby solo stars was Nashville clarinet man MATTY MATLOCK who was a fluent musician when he was twelve years old and who replaced Benny Goodman in the Pollack band during the last months of 1929. New Orleans drummer RAY BAUDUC, trumpeter YANK LAWSON (who deserted Crosby to play with Tommy Dorsey between 1938 and 1940) and that stalwart tenor ace EDDIE MILLER were also amongst Bob's most valuable Pollack legacies. Like Matlock, BILLY BUTTERFIELD reached the early heights of his career with Crosby. From Ohio he came to join the orchestra when he was in his twenty-first year and his clean, pure Hackett-styled trumpet became an integral part of the Crosby sound during the last three years of the thirties. Other outstanding names which cannot escape notice on this LP include ZEKE ZARCHY, New York City trumpet player who came to Crosby from the bands of Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman, New Orleans trumpet wizard STERLING BOSE, who recorded with the Arcadia Serenaders in the middle of the twenties when he was in his late teens, that indispensable bassist BOB HAGGART and New Orleans clarinettist IRVING FAZOLA.
- STOMP OFF, LET'S GO (Schoebel)
- SMOK EY MARY (Bauduc, Matlock, Haggart)
BOB CROSBY AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Zeke Zarchy, Sterling Bose, Billy Butterfield (trumpets) Ward Silloway, Jimmy Emmert (trombones) Irving Fazola (clarinet) Matty Matlock (alto-saxophone, clarinet) Joe Kearns (alto-saxophone) Eddie Miller (tenor-saxophone, clarinet) Gil Rodin (tenor-saxophone) Bob Zurke (piano) Hilton 'Nappy' Lamare (guitar) Bob Haggart (bass) Ray Bauduc (drums)
- SPAIN (Jones, Kahn)
BOB CROSBY'S BOB CATS: Billy Butterfield (trumpet) Warren Smith (trombone) Irving Fazola (clarinet) Eddie Miller (tenor-saxophone) Jess Stacy (piano") Hilton 'Nappy' Lamaze (guitar) Bob Haggart (bass) Ray
- GRAND TERRACE RHYTHM (Henderson)
- WOLVERINE BLUES (Morton, B. & J. Spikes)
BOB CROSBY AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Personnel as for STOMP OFF, LET'S GO with these changes:- Charlie Spivak and Yank Lawson (trumpets) replace Zarchy and Bose, Warren Smith (trombone) replaces Emmert. Fazola out.
- VULTEE SPECIAL (Crosby)
BOB CROSBY AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Yank Lawson, Lyman Vunk, Max Herman (trumpets) Elmer Smithers, Floyd O'Brien, Buddy Morrow (trombones) Matty Matlock (clarinet) Art Mendelsohn, Arthur Rando (zlto-saxophones) Eddie Miller, Gil Rodin (tenor-saxophones) Jess Stacy (piano) Hilton 'Nappy' Lamare (guitar) Bob Haggart (bass) Ray Bauduc (drums)
- PANAMA (Tyers)
BOB CROSBY AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Personnel as for WOLVERINE BLUES
- BIG FOOT JUMP (Zurke)
BOB CROSBY'S BOB CATS: Personnel as for SPAIN with this change:- Yank Lawson (trumpet) replaces Butterfield.
- I'M FREE (Haggart)
BOB CROSBY AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Personnel as for STOMP OFF, LET'S GO with this change:- Warren Smith (trombone) replaces Emmert. If
- EC-STACY (Stacy)
BOB CROSBY AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Personnel as for VULTEE SPECIAL
- LITTLE ROCK GETAWAY (Sullivan)
BOB CROSBY AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Personnel as for STOMP OFF, LET'S GO with these changes:- Yank Lawson (trumpet) replaces Bose, Warren Smith (trombone) replaces Emmert. Fazola out.
- EYE OPENER (Zucke, Matlock)
BOB CROSBY AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Personnel as for STOMP OFF, LET'S GO.
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