Was Eddie King --

by Laura Demilio

putting on a good face since he'd gotten such a deservedly bad rap at Victor?

When one thinks of his despotic stuffiness, quashing anything "jazzy" and remotely individual among creative artists at Victor, it's no wonder a free-spirited, easygoing person like Bix would find in King a surly nemesis -- having all those creative ideas stomped on (and possibly King resentfully detesting a likeable personality as well?), and the fact that the Goldkette guys, instead of their accustomed hot dance tunes, had to play some real glop sometimes (c'mon, do any of you REALLY like "I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover"? How about some of the stuff the Keller Sisters and Lynch snarled through their noses which was recorded around that time? Only Bix weaving something decent into those songs redeems, if not totally rescues, those hokey tunes).

Bill Challis found a lot of it loathsome, referring to those songs as "some real dogs; we all hated them," but Eddie King and the Victor execs made them record that instead of the hot music the Goldkette band was famous for -- insisting that the bourgeois, white-bread, fustily middle-aged American taste was what everyone listened to, as if those were the ONLY people buying the records!

Think of what the Goldkette band would have turned out if they hadn't been forcibly repressed by the Victor big-shots. I still gnash my teeth to think that Stampede would have been a wow of a side on the "My Pretty Girl" disk -- but no one has ever been able to find even a discard/rejected take of the recording. Weren't they all destroyed?

The Trumbauer Okeh sides and the fanciful ventures Whiteman encouraged with "From Monday On" "Lonely Melody" and so forth lets us know what Bix was supposed to ALWAYS have been meant to be doing. It's just too bad that Eddie King had to be terrorizing the Victor studios in the mid-1920's, and we don't have much in the way of "real Goldkette" recordings of the era.


Posted on Mar 21, 2012, 9:41 AM

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