In another installment in Old Time Blues continuing series on territory jazz bands, let us turn our attentions to a hot little group from deep down south: Jack Linx’s Society Serenaders.
Scarcely any information seems to be available regarding Jack Linx and his Society Serenaders. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, they formed in the first half of the 1920s and played gigs around town. In 1924, they traveled to Atlanta for the first of several sessions for the Okeh record company. They returned to Atlanta every subsequent year until 1927—twice in 1925. In that three year recording career, they cut a total of twenty-three sides for Okeh—including jazz standards like “Tiger Rag” and “Sweet Georgia Brown”, and original compositions like “Don’t You Try To High-Hat Me“—of which all but four were released. When the Starr Piano Company brought their Gennett mobile recording laboratory down to Birmingham, Linx’s band cut three more sides, though all were rejected, this time calling themselves the “West Lake Ramblers”. In 1929, the band secured a position as the house band of Birmingham’s stately new Thomas Jefferson Hotel and adopted the name “Jeffersonians” accordingly, and they played on local radio station WAPI the same year.
Okeh 40188 was recorded in Atlanta, Georgia on August 28, 1924 by Jack Linx and his Society Serenaders, their first released record from their first session, consisting of their second and third recorded sides. It was also released in the United Kingdom on Parlophone E 5263. The Society Serenaders consist of Coleman Sachs on cornet, Jack Linx on clarinet, soprano sax, and alto sax, Sidney Patterson on clarinet and alto sax, Seibert Traxler on clarinet, tenor sax, and baritone sax, Eph Tunkle on piano, Maurice Sigler on banjo, Frank Manning on tuba, and Carroll Gardner on drums.
First up, they play hotter than you might expect from a band called the “Society Serenaders” on an out-of-this-world rendition of Wendell Hall’s hit “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo'”, with a low-down and slightly raunchy vocal by banjoist Maurice Sigler. Interestingly, it seems to be the only side they recorded to have a vocal.
On the “B” side, they play the Art Kassel and Mel Stitzel novelty composition “Doodle Doo Doo”—which served as the theme song for the former’s Chicago-area band—featuring a dandy rag-style piano solo by Tunkle.