From the Record Shelves #70

Try and Treat Her Right

LP Yazoo L-1054

Louisville, Kentucky had two band leaders in the twenties who were fighting to get the recording contracts. Still they depended on each other and played with each other’s groups. Clifford Hayes who played violin had a reputation of cheating with money among the musicians while Earl Mc Donald the jug player always paid what was agreed even if he had to take the money out of his own pocket.

The bands operated in many ways the same way as I and some pals used to do in the seventies and like some musicians in New Orleans still do today. They performed at street corners, played a few numbers, passed the hat and moved on continuing for a couple of hours.

Then they had a steady gig at the Kentucky Derby at the Churchill Downs racetrack. The main purpose there was to expose the band and secure contacts to play at private parties.

In the studio the producers often added a piano to give the group a more polished sound I suppose, but I have chosen one without so that I can imagine them in the street corners of Louisville. For the street you need a strong singing voice and Ben Ferguson is in possession of one. I do not know if he actually performed with the group except here, he may be a guest artist and the tune was released under his name. A clarinet is also welcome and it’s played by George Allen, and the rhythm with open guitar chords is provided by Cal and Freddie Smith with a solo by Cal. The recording was made in the summer of 1931.