Sunday, November 29, 2009
Norris Mayhams: The Early Years
Although I just featured a Norridge Mayhams single a few weeks ago, I'm returning to that well again today, because I've just obtained one of the earliest known Mayhams Co-Ed label singles. The AS/PMA site puts the date on this one at "1945?", and given the lyrics, it certainly seems to date from some time during WWII. It's also the second lowest number of the listed Co-Ed singles (most of which pre-date his Mayhams label records), meaning it is likely among his earliest self-released records. He made earlier records with the Blue Chips (and wondrous many of those are), but they were released on established labels.
I find the Mayhams story (what little I know of it) and his records endlessly fascinating. Today's feature carries the amazing name "The Hopewell Junction (To Wartime Function)" Those of you who have heard Mayhams later 78 - one with an far more amazing name - "Yamtang Yamtang Rankytang (No Meat Sweet Potato Swing", might notice a subtle similarity between the melody to the chorus and bridge of that record with the same sections of this record. For those of you not lucky enough to have heard "Yamtang...", here's a hint - the tunes to those sections of both songs are virtually identical. Please excuse the surface noise as you enjoy Carl Bostic and his Orchestra:
On the flip side is a real rarity on Mayhams' records - a song not written by the maestro himself. This song, "Married Man Blues", performed by "The Ministers of Melody", carries a writers credit to someone named "Lowe":