Rewriting The Record For The Electric Guitar

The book was called: Discography Of Western Swing And Hot String Bands, 1928-1942 by Cary Ginell and Kevin Coffey. It had been published in 2001.

I found it one afternoon a few months ago in the Performing Arts Reading Room, located in the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The original subject of my research that day was Muryel “Zeke” Campbell. Mr. Campbell was an electric guitarist who had played and recorded in the 1930’s with the Texas-based Western Swing band known as The Light Crust Doughboys. (More on Zeke Campbell in a future post!)

Having found the information I was looking for about a 1937 Doughboys’ session featuring Mr. Campbell, I decided to look up a recording session by Roy Newman & His Boys that had been held on September 28, 1935.

Longtime readers of sixstr stories might remember that on September 28, 1935, Roy Newman and His Boys recorded “Hot Dog Stomp”: the first recording to feature a Spanish (not Hawaiian) electric guitar! Jim Boyd was the electric guitarist on “Hot Dog Stomp.”

Well, I found the entry for the September 28th session in the discography.

But I also found something else!

The discography showed that Roy Newman and His Boys had also done a recording session on September 27, 1935. And, during that session, the band recorded two songs – “Rhythm Is Our Business” and “Slow And Easy” – that featured Jim Boyd on electric guitar!

What?!?!?

Moving into the Reading Room’s Recorded Sound Reference Center, I sat down at a computer station, slipped on a set of headphones and went online.

YouTube.

Search: “Rhythm Is Our Business” by Roy Newman and His Boys.

Bingo!

I eagerly pushed “play.”

First, Roy Newman on piano, then His Boys. Vocalist Ray Lackland sings: “Rhythm is our business, rhythm is what we sell…” Next verse: “He’s the guitar man in the band…” and, sure enough, right at the 0:48 mark, there’s Jim Boyd letting loose on his electric guitar!

Listen for yourself!

 

Ok. Stop the presses! Time to rewrite the history books! (Or at least, my blog.)

“Hot Dog Stomp” by Roy Newman and His Boys is no longer to be known as “The First Recording To Feature A Spanish Electric Guitar.”

Henceforth, the holder of that title is… (drum roll, please)…

“Rhythm Is Our Business” by Roy Newman and His Boys.

Ta Da!

“Rhythm Is Our Business” b/w “Slow And Easy” was released in December, 1935 by Vocalion Records, on a 78-rpm disc, #03103.

“Rhythm Is Our Business” was written by Saul Chaplin, Jimmie Lunceford and Sammy Cahn. It was first recorded and released by Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra in 1935.

The line-up of Roy Newman and His Boys for the September 27 & 28, 1935 recording sessions in Dallas, Texas was: (Standing, left to right, in the photo below)

  • Walter Kirkes, tenor banjo
  • Buddy Neal, guitar
  • Thurman Neal, fiddle
  • Ish Erwin, upright bass
  • Jim Boyd, electric guitar
  • Ray Lackland, vocals
  • Earl Brown, guitar
  • Jesse Ashlock, fiddle
  • Holly Horton, clarinet
  • Roy Newman, band leader and pianist, seated in the front.

 

If you would like to learn more about other early recordings featuring the electric guitar, see my blog post of June 15, 2010 called Recent Discoveries.

If you would like to learn more about – and listen to – “Hot Dog Stomp” and Roy Newman and His Boys, see my blog post of June 23, 2013 called Hot Dog!

If you would like to learn more about Jim Boyd, see my blog post of June 27, 2013 called Hot Dog! P.S.: Jim Boyd.

If you’re reading this on your phone, enter “Jim Boyd” into the search function and you’ll get all three of those posts!

P.S.: Help! I have been completely unable to find and/or listen to “Slow And Easy” by Roy Newman and His Boys online. If you can find this recording and would be kind enough to send me a link to it, I would be eternally grateful.

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