Rollicking down the Deep River

by James E. Parten

My understanding--gleaned from reading Jim Walsh's column 'Favorite Pioneer Recording Artists" which appeared for more than thirty years in "Hobbies" magazine--was that the Rollickers consisted of Foster house (first tenor), Victor Hall (second or lead tenor), Kenneth Christie (baritone) and Lonnie McAdams (bass), with a fifth member that Walsh could not identify.

The Rollickers seem to have first appeared on record around the middle of 1927. They became Edison artists, but also appeared on other labels, primarily to sing vocal refrains

I believe that this is the same group that appeared on many sessions for Perfect and Pathe' records as the "Deep River Quintette". From the standpoint of this column, the most notable session on which they appeared is the Chicago Loopers sides, where the DRQ sings refrains on "Clorinda" and "I'm More Than Satisfied".

An interesting note is that the Rollickers recorded "Clorinda" as a vocal record (with piano accompaniment) for Edison.. One of our friends has the record in his collection.

Another desirable record by the Rollickers is "Lonely Little Cinderella", an otherwise-ordinary ballad, on which the group is backed by a group of trumpet, tenor sax, violin, piano and vibraphone. This record was issued as both a Diamond Disc and as a needle-cut record--and is highly desirable either way, especially as there is an eight-bar hot trumpet solo leading into the final chorus. Some folks, years and years ago, speculate that it was Bix. (Not blooming likely!)

It is possible, therefore, that Norman LeMoyne is the unknown fifth member of the group.

Subdivisions of the Rollickers occasionally appeared on Edison, usually to do vocal refrains. Victor Hall had at least one solo record for Edison. And "The Songsters--Ken and Vic" appeared on at least one vocal refrain for the same label.

In later years, a "Ken Christie" would be involved in radio, mostly working "behind the glass". Same guy?

Posted on Jun 29, 2017, 9:11 AM

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