I ain't got nobody, Red MacKenzie

bob erwig
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I ain't got Nobody McKenzie Red 1929

Here's how Red Mckenzie tells of the birth of The Mound City Blue Blowers. In 1923, Red "was back in his home town, St. Louis, the 'Mound City' from which the Blue Blowers got their name. "I was a bellhop in the Claridge Red said, ". . . and across the street was a place called Butler Brothers Soda Shop. Dick Slevin worked there and there was a little colored shoe-shine boy who used to beat it out on the shoes. Had a phonograph going. I passed with my comb, and played along. Slevin would have liked to play a comb but he had a ticklish mouth, so he used a kazoo. He got fired across the street and got a job in a big soda store. He ran into Jack Bland, who owned a banjo (now known for his guitar), and one night after work they went to his room. He and Slevin started playing. They got me. Gene Rodemich's was a famous band at that time. His musicians used to drop in at the restaurant where we hung out. They were impressed and told their boss. He took us to Chicago to record with his band, as a novelty. When we got to Chicago we went down to the Friars' Inn. About 1924 it was. Volly de Faut and Elmer Schoebel were there. Isham Jones was at the place and he asked us what instruments we were playing. He had us come to his office next day, and set the date for Brunswick. That was the time 2-23-'24 we made "Arkansas Blues" and "Blue Blues". They say it sold over a million copies. Brunswick put us in a cafe in Atlantic City called the Beaux Arts. I met Eddie Lang in Atlantic City. In New York, The Mound City Blue Blowers played the Palace in August, 1924." Subsequently, Red's band played at the Stork Club in London. Upon returning to America McKenzie joined the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, but kept the band going on the side, with personnel changes. In 1935 he revived the Mound City Blue Blowers for a series of recording sessions.

2 comments

you go Uncle Red. I never met you but what a treat seeing my great uncle sing in his day.
By Cathy 6 years ago
A classic!!!
By Bill Lowden 7 years ago