1958   2 comments

This is another very early album that is mainly the Buttondowns, singing the sort of light a capella and barbershop tunes that were the mainstays of university glee clubs. But don’t confuse the clean harmonies with clean living — many of these are drinking songs (what do you think “Landlord Fill the Flowing Bowl” is all about?), and refer to all manner of vices. In “Daddy Get Your Baby Out of Jail,” for example, listen for the line “they’ve been treating me so mean/took away my cigarettes and my morphine.”

But one song here — “The Battle of Jericho” — would return again and again over the years in these recordings, becoming a mainstay of Pingry singing groups.

A surprise comes at the end. The final four tracks are attributed simply to “Band.” What a band it is — this group plays an impressive kind of Dixieland sound that could step right in with a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade. The piano, banjo, trumpet, trombone and percussion bring an infectious vibrancy to the album. Were these performers members of the Buttondowns too? UPDATE: Tom Behr gives credit where credit is due in a comment below.

  • 1. Aura Lee and Bandolero
    2. Heart of my Heart
    3. Aj, Lucka, Lucka Siroka
    4. Daddy Get Your Baby Out of Jail
    5. Shall I, Wasting in Despair
    6. Gaudeamus
    7. Landlord Fill the Flowing Bowl
    8. The Halls of Ivy
    9. Daddy Is a Yale Man
    10. George Jones (quartet)
    11. Away to Rio
    12. Saloon
    13. Alice, Where Art Thou Going?
    14. The Battle of Jericho (quartet)
    15. Blue Moon
    BAND
    16. I Want a Girl
    BAND
    17. Basin Street Blues
    BAND
    18. Birth of the Blues
    BAND
    19. Darktown Strutters Ball

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  • Posted September 3, 2011 by kjgranville

    2 responses to “1958

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    1. Yes, “the Band” were all Buttondowns. Bob Cubbage, of course, on piano, Pete Behr (banjo) Tom Behr (percussion) and I think – subject PLEAS to correction — this 73-year-old memory thing is a drag — Terry Ackerman and Bill Montfort (trumpet and trombone)

      • Hi Tom,
        Your memory is better than you think. I just discovered this website the other day and, boy does it bring back memories! I still can’t believe how a little guy like Bill Montfort could play that trombone as well as he did. Frankly, I think the whole group was outstanding.
        Incidentally, I was going through some old papers last night and came across a handwritten arrangement of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” I am certain that it’s the arrangement that Tony DuBourg wrote for the Buttondowns. In fact, I remember the group singing it. Beautiful piece.
        After I discovered the website, I sent Kevin an email containing information about the early recordings themselves; namely, the recorder that was used, as well as the microphones. Tony had some interesting recording equipment in those days.
        Best,
        Bob Cubbage

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