From the Record Shelves #186

Bogalousa Strut

LP VJM Records VLP 32

I will not even try to put words to the magic of this band from New Orleans. You just have to listen and hear nine people working in the same direction with a perfect tempo.

Cornet player Sam Morgan (1887–1936) had been leading bands for a long time when a recording team in 1927 luckily documented eight numbers for posterity.

The music has had an influence on many bands to follow since the New Orleans Revival and thereafter. They were the first to record hymns such as Down by the Riverside and Over in the Glory Land. This was on request from Columbia, the record company, but came natural for the band since they played them in parades. Otherwise, the Sam Morgan’s Jazz Band seems to have had a large repertoire when they played in dance halls, with folk songs, rags and marches, and they also had the ability to swing waltzes and other popular tunes.

I have myself recorded the chosen tune a couple of times. Earl Foucher is the name of the alto saxophone player who takes the breaks in the stop chorus. Bogalusa (misspelled in the title of the tune) is a town north of New Orleans with a population of about 10,000 people, probably a bit more in the 1920s.

Even if the band, except trombonist Jim Robinson, doesn’t include any “name” musicians, it continues to inspire through their great example of intuitive ensemble work.