Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boots and his Buddies RCA-Victor test pressing

Boots and his Buddies - The Vamp (RCA-Victor test pressing)

"The Vamp"

A strong version of Coleman Hawkins' "Hocus Pocus" is delivered here in fine style by Boots and his Buddies. Although this tune is readily available on the Classics reissue, the sound quality of this vinyl test press pretty much blows the CD version (taken from a Bluebird 78) away. This is as close as you can get to actually being at the Texas Hotel ballroom in San Antonio on February 25, 1936. Thanks to the John Carr Collection for making this available.

Boots and his Buddies ad in the Houston Informer, October 24, 1936.

Although born the same year (1908) as fellow San Antonio bandleader Don Albert, we know far, far less about Boots Douglas and his band than we do Albert. That's because Boots made the mistake of being born in Temple, Texas, instead of New Orleans. He never recovered from this unfortunate career move, and thus today, we have a 290-page book on Don Albert, while pretty much everything that's known about Boots and his Buddies is nicely encapsulated in this three-paragraph summary from the New Handbook of Texas. The fact that Boots's early Bluebird sessions were sometimes as good or better than Albert's Vocalion session from the same time frame was of no apparent concern to jazz historians.

Below: The Houston Informer, January 3, 1942.