How About Some Jazz Vocals

Original jacket cover of STASH ST-100

It took a while, but today (1/12/24) F.D.A. scientists have recommended that the federal government remove marijuana from its most restrictive category of drugs and make it a Schedule III drug (may have medical uses and is less likely to cause harm than drugs like heroin). To commemorate this ridiculously overdue decision, and as a memorial of the thousands sentenced to reprehensible jail terms for simple possession, here’s a fun playlist. Featured are classic jazz vocalists singing openly about a not-so-transparent element of the jazz culture—thriving, incidentally, upwards of 80 years ago. In the album’s liner notes, the author Bil Farrar wrote, “You can draw your own social conclusions, if any, but please don’t forget to listen to the music.”


Jazz Reefer Songs


Liner notes from the original STASH recording (ST-100):

THE MAN FROM HARLEM: Cab Calloway Orch. – Lamar Wright, Doc Cheatham, Edwin Swayzee, (tpts) DePreist Wheeler, Harry White (tons) Eddie Barefield (clt/Alt) Andrew Brown (alt/Bar) Arville Harris, Walter Thomas (clts/Tens) Benny Paine (pno) Morris White (bjo/gtr) Al Morgan (sbs) Leroy Maxie (dms) Rec. Nov. 30, 1932 vocal by Cab Calloway.

HERE COMES THE MAN WITH THE JIVE: Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys – Stuff Smith (vin) Jonah Jones (tpt) James Sherman (pno) Cozy Cole (dims) Bobby Bennett (gtr) Mack Walker (sbs) Rec. Aug. 21, 1936 vocal by Stuff Smith.

IF YOU’RE A VIPER: Bob Howard and his Boys – Frank Froeba (pno) Teddy Bunn (gtr) Haig Stephens (sbs) O’Neil Spencer (dms) Rec. Feb 7, 1938 vocal by Bob Howard.

TEXAS TEA PARTY: Benny Goodman and his Orch. – Manny Klein, Charlie Teagarden (tpts) Jack Teagarden (tbn), B. Goodman (clt) Arthur Karle (ten) Frank Froeba (pno) Dick McDonough (gtr) Artie Bernstein (sbs) Gene Krupa (dms) Rec. Oct. 27, 1933 vocal Jack Teagarden.

LIGHT UP: Buster Bailey’s Rhythm Busters – Frankie Newton (tpt) Buster Bailey (clt) Russell Procope (Alt) Billy Kyle (pno) Danny Barker (gtr) Johnny Williams (sbs) O’Neil Spencer (dms) Rec. Dec. 7, 1938 vocal by Buster Bailey.

JACK I’M MELLOW: Trixie Smith acc. by Charlie Shavers (tpt) Sidney Bechet (clt/ss) Sammy Price (pno) Teddy Bunn (gtr) Richard Fullbright (sbs) O’Neil Spencer (dms) Rec. May 26, 1938 vocal by Trixie Smith.

SWEET MARIJUANA BROWN: Barney Bigard Sextet – Joe Thomas (tpt) Barney Bigard (clt) Joe Thomas (ten) Art Tatum (pno) Billy Taylor (sbs) Stan Levey (dms) Rec. Jan. 5, 1945 vocal by Joe Thomas (Ten).

THE “G” MAN GOT THE “T” MAN: C.P. Johnson and Band – J. Brukner (tpt) E. Hale (alt) R. Ross (dms) W. Woodman Jr. (Ten) E. Brooks (pno) D. Russell (sbs) Rec. Nov. 2, 1945 vocal by C.P. Johnson.

ALL THE JIVE IS GONE: A. Kirk and his Twelve Clouds of Joy – Paul King, Earl Thomson, Harry Larsen (tpts) Ted Donnelly (tbn) John Williams (clt/alt) John Harrington (alt/bar) Dickie Wilson (ten) Andy Kirk (bar/Idr) Claude Williams (vin) Mary Lou Williams (pno) Ted Robinson (gtr) Booker Collins (sbs) Ben Thigpen (dms) Rec. Mar. 3, 1936 vocal by Pha Terrell.

THE STUFF IS HERE: Georgia White, Richard M. Jones (pno) Ikey Robinson (gtr) John Lindsey (sbs) Rec. Oct. 5, 1937 vocal by Georgia White.

WACKEY DUST: Chick Webb and his Orc. – Mario Bauza, Bobby Stark, Taft Jordan (tpts) Sandy Williams, Nat Story, George Matthews (tbns) Garvin Bushell, Hilton Jefferson (alto) Ted McRae (ten) Wayman Craver (ten/clt) Tommy Fulford (pno) Bobby Johnson (gtr) Beverley Peers (sbs) Chick Webb (dms) Rec. Aug. 17, 1938 vocal by Ella Fitzgerald.

WHO PUT THE BENZEDRINE IN MRS. MURPHY’S OVALTINE: Harry “The Hipster” Gibson – Harry Gibson (pno) John Simmons (sbs) Big Sid Catlett (dms) Rec. Aug. 21, 1944 vocal by Harry ‘The Hipster” Gibson.

JERRY THE JUNKER: Clarence Williams and his Orch. – Ed Allen (cnt) Cecil Scott (clt/ten) James P. Johnson (pno) Floyd Casey (wbd) Rec. July 6, 1934 vocal by Clarence Williams.