On June 15, 2010, I wrote and posted an essay called “Recent Discoveries.” In it, I relayed the story behind my exciting discovery of the very first use of an electric guitar – “Spanish,” not “Hawaiian” – on a commercially-released record!
I had found out that the first electric guitarist on record was not, as I’d thought, Charlie Christian. It was not Eddie Durham or George Barnes. (Those three had made their first recordings respectively on October 2, 1939; March 18, 1938; and March 1, 1938.)
The very first electric guitarist on record was Jim Boyd.
On September 28, 1935, in Dallas, Texas, Jim Boyd recorded three sides playing the electric guitar as a member of the Dallas/Fort Worth-based band known as Roy Newman and His Boys.
The pieces that Roy Newman and His Boys recorded that day were: “Corrine, Corrina,” “Shine On Harvest Moon” and “Hot Dog Stomp.” At the time of my writing in June, 2010, I was only able to find one of those recordings to hear and share with you and that was “Corrine, Corrina.”
Well, guess what?!?
Just yesterday, I discovered videos on YouTube for both “Shine On Harvest Moon” and “Hot Dog Stomp!”
I couldn’t hit “play” fast enough.
But… after carefully listening several times to both “Shine On Harvest Moon” and “Hot Dog Stomp,” I found that Jim Boyd’s electric guitar is prominently featured only on “Hot Dog Stomp.” The recording of “Shine On Harvest Moon” showcases the classic song in a most impressive rendering by the very fine vocalists in Roy Newman and His Boys. It is well worth listening to.
“Hot Dog Stomp” is a swinging, up-tempo little number featuring the instrumental and improvisatory skills of the members of the band. Clarinetist Holly Horton takes the lead on the opening statement of the main, rather humorous melody and continues through as the first soloist. Acoustic rhythm guitarist Buddy Neal and fiddler Thurman Neal step up, in that order, for the next two solos and finally, at 2:02, Jim Boyd takes the spotlight and more than holds his own on that electric guitar.
Check it out!
That video was produced and posted by Lloyd T on December 14, 2012. Lloyd T is also responsible for posting videos of the weekly Sunday services from the Utica Baptist Church in Utica, Mississippi.
Many thanks, Lloyd, for all of your good work!
Thanks as well to AllMusic.com for some biographical information about band leader Roy Newman.
Roy Newman (11/12/1899-2/23/1981) was a Texas born and based musician who played piano, accordian and guitar. Now considered to be one of the pioneers of Western Swing (music that merges elements of Jazz and Country), Roy and His Boys recorded 72 sides between 1934 and 1939 before disbanding in 1940. Several of those recordings are available for your listening pleasure on YouTube and a handful can also be purchased on iTunes.
However, in the humble opinion of yours truly, the most important two of those 72 recordings by Roy Newman and His Boys are: “Hot Dog Stomp” and “Corrine, Corrina,” recorded in Dallas, Texas on September 28, 1935 and featuring Jim Boyd on the electric guitar.
Good music doesn’t get old, and when it’s so historically important… it doesn’t get much better.
I just love this stuff!