Timely Tunes C-1585 – Henny Hendrickson’s Louisville Serenaders – 1931

Another entry in Old Time Blues’ continuing series on the territory jazz bands that once dotted the United States, we look upon the obscure history of Henny Hendrickson’s Louisville Serenaders.

Details about the Louisville Serenaders are scarce, it would appear that the band made little mark on history.  They were led by reed man Clarence “Henny” Hendrickson.  In spite of their name, they did not hail from the vicinity of Louisville, Kentucky, but rather toured the Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey area.  The same stunt was pulled by Johnny Hamp’s Kentucky Serenaders, who also hailed from Pennsylvania.  Perhaps the Louisville Serenaders chose their name in an attempt to emulate the successful Victor recording orchestra (purely speculation).  In any event, they had three sessions for the RCA Victor Company in Camden, New Jersey in 1930 and ’31, yielding a total of fourteen sides, eight of which were released.  Half of those were issued on the Victor label, while the other half appeared on their short-lived budget label Timely Tunes.  No sides from their first session on July 21, 1930 were issued, while all of those recorded at their second and third sessions, on June 10 and 17, 1931, were.  Among those sides are a memorable rendition of “I Ain’t Got Nobody” and a peppy version of Harold Arlen’s “Buffalo Rhythm”.  I can find no information concerning the life and times of bandleader Clarence “Henny” Hendrickson.

Timely Tunes C-1585 was recorded on June 10, 1931 at Victor’s church building studio near their Camden, New Jersey headquarters.  Among the Louisville Serenaders are Herb Facemyer and an unknown player on trumpets, Johnny Lingo on trombone, Clarence “Henny” Hendrickson on clarinet, soprano sax, and alto sax, Don Shook on alto sax, Eddie Friebel on tenor sax, Bill Wallace on piano, Wyatt Haynes on banjo and guitar, Art Maxwell on tuba and and unknown drummer.  The trio that sings on both sides is made up of Facemyer, Maxwell, and Friebel.

The first song which the Serenaders will serenade us with is Cliff Friend and Dave Dreyer’s “I ‘Wanna’ Sing About You”.

I "Wanna" Sing About You

I “Wanna” Sing About You, recorded June 10, 1931 by Henny Hendrickson’s Louisville Serenaders.

Next, they play a mighty fine rendition of the old classic “I Ain’t Got Nobody”.

I Ain't Got Nobody

I Ain’t Got Nobody, recorded June 10, 1931 by Henny Hendrickson’s Louisville Serenaders.

Timely Tunes C-1564 – Jim New – 1929

In 1931, Victor introduced their first budget label, Timely Tunes in an attempt to cope with the economic downturn. Timely Tunes was apparently not much of a success, as only about forty were issued over a period of about three months. In that short time, however, quite a bit of fascinating material was issued, including this intriguing pair of Dallas, Texas recorded folk songs by Newton Gaines under the pseudonym “Jim New”.

A listing for one of Gaines' records in a 1930 Victor supplemental.

A listing for Gaines’ other record in a 1930 Victor supplemental.

The colorful character of Dr. Samuel Newton Gaines (sometimes called Newton C. Gaines), born in 1890, was a professor of physics at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth noted for his work with sound waves, and long time member of the Texas Folklore Society, serving as president in 1929. Besides physics, Gaines had a passion for Western folklore and cowboy songs, and also enjoyed throwing boomerangs and wearing kilts and colorful caps. In the 1920s, Gaines served as the first chairman of the fledgling physics department at TCU, and dedicated himself to ensuring the department’s excellence. In October of 1929, Newton Gaines recorded four cowboy songs in one session for the Victor Talking Machine Company on their Dallas field trip. One pair of sides was issued on Victor’s V-40000 rural series and the other two were pseudonymously released on their short-lived Timely Tunes budget label in 1931. Gaines was an associate of John A. Lomax, recording several cylinders for the Library of Congress under his supervision, and receiving mention in Lomax’s 1934 book American Ballads and Folk Songs. Gaines retired from TCU in 1958 and died in 1963.

Timely Tunes C-1564 was recorded October 12, 1929 in Dallas, Texas, and this issue dates to 1931. While the label credits the fictitious “Jim New” as the artist, Newton Gaines is credited as the arranger on both sides.

On the first side, Gaines sings a railroad ballad, “Wreck of the Six Wheeler”, which bears some lyrical resemblance to Richard M. Jones “Trouble In Mind”.  This one’s not a very cheerful song, and Gaines’ mournful voice certainly doesn’t add any joy to the mix!

Wreck of the Six Wheeler

Wreck of the Six Wheeler, recorded October 12, 1929 by Jim New.

On the flip side, Gaines sings a considerably less depressing version of the classic Texas folk song, “For Work I’m Too Lazy”, also known as “Rye Whiskey” or “Jack o’ Diamonds”.

For Work I'm Too Lazy

For Work I’m Too Lazy, recorded October 12, 1929 by Jim New.

Another Bluebird Dance Band Double Feature – B-5049 & B-5053 – 1933/1931

As I’m in the process of uploading this duo of early Bluebirds to my YouTube channel (which you should most definitely take a look at if you like this kind of music), it seems like a fine time to do another Bluebird Dance Band Double Feature.  Last time, I featured some of the sweet style of music that dominated pop music in the early 1930s, but this time I’ve got a couple of hotter bands for you, led by Paul Tremaine and Gene Kardos.

Bluebird B-5049 was recorded April 14, 1933 in New York City by Paul Tremaine and his Orchestra.  On the first side, they play sweeter on Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler’s “Stormy Weather”, which had recently been debuted in the Cotton Club Parade of 1933.  On the reverse, they play “Hand Me Down My Walkin’ Cane”, a remake of the rendition they had recorded for Columbia in February of 1930 (I’ll post the original sometime, too).

Bluebird B-5049, recorded April 14, 1933 by Paul Tremaine and his Orchestra.

Stormy Weather & Hand Me Down My Walkin’ Cane, recorded April 14, 1933 by Paul Tremaine and his Orchestra.

The two sides of Bluebird B-5053 were recorded on two different occasions.  The first side is another by Paul Tremaine, a wild “She’ll Be Comin’ Around the Mountain”, recorded at the same April 14, 1933 session.  That one is also a (considerably more frenetic) redo of one of their 1930 Columbia recordings. Be sure to listen for the little bit of “hinkle dinkle rooty too” between two of the choruses.

On the flip-side, Gene Kardos and his Orchestra play a hot rendition of Carson Robison’s “Left My Gal in the Mountains”, recorded June 10, 1931 and originally issued on Victor’s short-lived Timely Tunes budget label.  This was Kardos’ first session.  The band consists of Sammy Castin and Willie Mayer on trumpets, Milt Shaw on trombone, Gene Kardos on alto sax, Joe Sagora on clarinet and alto sax, Morris Cohen or Nat Brown on clarinet, alto sax, and tenor sax, Joel Shaw on piano, Albert Julian on guitar, Danny Bono or Ben Goldberg on tuba, and Saul Howard on drums.  The vocalist is Albert Julian

Bluebird B-5053, recorded

She’ll Be Comin’ Around the Mountain & Left My Gal in the Mountains, recorded April 14, 1933 and June 10, 1931 by Paul Tremaine and his Orchestra and Gene Kardos and his Orchestra.

Updated on June 24, 2016.