From the Record Shelves #237

Here Comes My Ball and Chain

LP RCA Vintage Series LPV-511

I treasure this RCA Vintage Series LP record. The Coon-Sanders Nighthawk Orchestra from Kansas City became famous through national radio broadcasts, starting in 1922. A couple of years later they moved their activities to Chicago, and their recorded output for Victor which then followed comprised about 80 titles.

Behind their success was the work of drummer Carleton Coon and pianist Joe Sanders, who met in a music store at the end of World War I. Sanders introduced new ideas in the genre that has come to be called “hot dance music,” and his arranging skills gave the orchestra a personal sound and had a big influence on other orchestras as well. With varied scores, attention to dynamics, and good vocals by the two leaders on their records, their fame justly grew.

As the band continued their activities in New York in the beginning of the 30s, tragedy struck when Carleton Coon died from a jaw infection in 1932. After his demise the public ceased to support them, and Joe Sanders started his own group in 1935 and later found work as a studio musician.

Following the band’s success, their fan club had yearly meetings until as late as 2016.

On the chosen track Sanders does an impressive vocal, and if I were to single out just a few names from the strong collective, it would be Bob Pope on trumpet and “Pep” Estep on tuba.

The expression “ball and chain” is here used lovingly, referring to the wife, fiancée, or girlfriend.