Pete Dailey & His Chicagoans provide a live performance in the Snader Telescription Over the Waves (1952). The stage set is arranged to look like a beach or pier, an ocean painted on the backdrop.
Pete founded the Chicagoans not in Chicago but in California in 1946. Before the war, however, he'd bounced around in Chicago bands. He was never a particular success either before or after forming the group but he made a living & that's more than a lot of musicians could claim.
Handsome youthful & hip Hugh Allison appears first on screen with a drum roll, then rather generic Dixieland jazz begins, dominated by the cornet of Pete Daily, followed by a clarinet solo by Pud Brown & some nice tuba oomping by Bud Hatch attempting a tuba solo.
Late in the number Skippy Anderson gets a piano solo followed by a shining moment for Burt Johnson on trombone. Such a "round" of taking turns gets to seem like a very old act after a while, especially with Dixieland bands that follow such a rote system. And the Chicagoans offer up no surprises.
Dixieland bands need a rough & ready component to really sound authentic, & the "trained musicians from Chicago who like to play Dixieland" is never quite individualistic.
This problem lack of personal slant definitely afflicts The Chicagoans whose sound on the Snader telescriptions is indistinguishable from that of Red Nichols & his Five Pennies on Snaders of identical vintage. They're even wearing the same bowlers.
The Firehouse Five Plus Two on Snaders from the same period actually sound a little better because they're willing to get "down & dirty" having a lot of fun with it. Still, Dixieland enthusiasts love Pete Dailey & it's easy enough to tell he's a fine musician.
The Snader telescription Daily Double (1951) opens with one of the band members (Burt Johnson) reading a racing form, & then Pete Daily on his horn blows that bit which announces the beginning of the horse races, which ain't exactly high-end musicality. But hey, the daily double at the race track & the music of Pete Daily, get it get it. Sheesh.
Man by man, Pete Dailey & His Chicagoans begin to build a layered Dixieland instrumental from the racing blasts.
Although the copyright dates on the Snaders for this band vary from 1951 & 1952, they were filmed together & released at intervals. They're all filmed on exactly the same set.
Trumbone, cornet, & clarinet are out in front of the band. Piano, tuba, banjo, & drums are behind. The number is nothing special, though cuteness abounds, as when Daily blows a horse's whinny, or pretends to be winding pianist Skippy Anderson during his brief solo.
Late in the number we get the standard banjo solo which all top Dixieland banjoists do not one whit different from Len Esterdahl. I do always get a charge out of the only occasional tuba solos, & Bud Hatch gets his on this one.
Pete Daily & His Chicagoans are on exactly the same stage set for Goat Blues (1951), which opens with Bud trying to be melodic on his tuba, & blues on a tuba is pretty funny.
At first Bud is all alone performing, but Hugh on drums puts out a cigarette, & Skippy crosses the stage to seat himself at his upright piano, & banjo joins in.
Slowly the blues number is filled out. Finally cornet, trumbone, & clarinet players saunter center stage to hog the rest of the glory. It was better before they arrived, although there certainly is something to be said in favor of Pud's clarinet solo.
The blues goes hand in hand with Dixieland in being both a sound of New Orleans. I like the blues much better, however, so this was my personal choice for favorite among Pete Daily's soundies. I'll admit it, though. what I miss are singers. Instrumentation alone isn't enough when it's only competent but mediocre pop blues.
Dixieland is fun music but it can also be original & top-notch jazz if the right band is at it. Alas it is only generic from Pete Daily & His Chicagoans. Even the genre's tendency to take any old song & give it the Dixieland twist is just a decrepit routine.
For the Snader telescription O Tannenbaum (1952) the band is still on the same ol' beachfront. Director Duke Goldstone could make six of these films a day if they didn't try to vary the setting.
And even the arrangement seems familiar, starting with the same drum roll with which Hugh launched Over the Waves.
Then up come all the instruments at once for a just-so-jolly rendition of the crappy Christmas carol. Again, the clarinet solo comes off best, & the piano's cool for about ten seconds. I wouldn't leave it off the Christmas tape played in the grocery store isles or elevator, but I'll never again intentionally listen to this at home.
The Sam Stept/Sidney Clare composition selected for the Snader Telescription Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone (1951) is one that I always like when done well (think Billie Holliday or Ella Fitzgerald versions, or even Michigan J. Frog).
But I almost dreaded hearing it generically Dixielanded by Pete Dailey & His Chicagoans, having been so minimally impressed with them up to now.
Albert Frances "Pud" Brown strikes me as the band's best musician & the most authentic.
For this number he has the saxophone rather than his clarinet. And he's just as good as ever, much too good to be with this band. Plus his cheeks flare out in the weirdest damn way that is cute, cute, cute.
Pud's someone I would like to hear in an improved context. His sax solo doesn't last long enough as it's the usual trading-off for the solo moments.
The trumbonist & cornetist Burt & Pete respectively just aren't as enthralling for my taste, & I'd rather have seen more of the number divided between sax & piano.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl