A FEW weeks ago we went to the Rosstown Hotel in Carnegie to hear the last Syncopators’ gig at that watering hole for 2013. In the car on the way we listened to a 2011 CD produced by that wonderful institution, the Victorian Jazz Archive – Frank Traynor’s Jazz Preachers: The Roseleaf Sessions Out-takes, 1971 & 1977.
One of the tracks on this CD which has retained its popularity with fans who followed the Jazz Preachers since the 1950s was SWEET PATOOTIE.
The lineup for the 1977 version was Peter Gaudion (trumpet, vocals), Frank Traynor (trombone), Mike Longhurst (clarinet, tenor sax, vocals), Roger Hudson (piano), Joe McConechy (string bass, vocals), Don Boardman (drums, washboard). Peter Gaudion was lead singer with backing vocals by Joe McConechy and Mike Longhurst.
Click on the CD cover below to hear what they sounded like way back then.
So for old times sake we asked The Syncopators to play SWEET PATOOTIE with Peter Gaudion again on lead vocals, but this time supported by Chris Ludowyk and Richard Miller, and almost forty years later. By the way that’s Stephen Grant on piano, Rod Gilbert on drums, and Ivan Rosa on bass depping for James Clark who was away welcoming a new baby.
This (in)famous ditty was an enormous favourite when the Jazz Preachers played at the Wild Colonial Club at Lorne over summer from 1958 – 1962.
So much so that Frank persuaded record company W & G to release it as a single, which they did in 1962 where it climbed to the top 10 in the Australian Top 40 Hit Parade based on record sales, an extraordinary achievement for a jazz record. Perhaps the fact that it was banned from radio air-play may have helped!
And if you’re wondering who wrote it, various sources suggest that it was a joint effort of Clarence Williams (famous jazz pianist, singer, composer and music publisher), Alger “Texas Alexander (American blues singer who came to a sticky end in 1954) and Lucille Bogan (an American blues singer ranked by some with Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, who became renowned for raunchy, sexually explicit songs). It was first recorded in 1927 by the Triangle Harmony Boys from Birmingham, Alabama.
POSTSCRIPT: There have been some rumours flying about that the Rosstown will not be hosting jazz in 2014. However we have been assured by staff that the hotel will be undergoing renovations over January and will be back in the jazz business in February.