Six Minutes With Satch: Knockin' A Jug / Muggles

On Monday, we saw how Tommy Rockwell paired two love songs with beautiful vocals, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "No One Else But You." Yesterday, Rockwell selected two hot instrumentals that paved the way for the Swing Era with "Beau Koo Jack" and "Mahogany Hall Stomp." But today's offering is all about the blues, OKeh's bread and butter in many ways.

"Knockin' a Jug" was Armstrong's first integrated recording, a slow, mystical blues created--despite Rockwell's hesitations--by three African Americans (Armstrong, Happy Caldwell and Kaiser Marshall) and three whites (Jack Teagarden, Eddie Lang and Joe Sullivan). If you know your lore about this date, they attempted "I'm Gonna Stomp Mr. Henry Lee" after but apparently the effects of that jug of gin were a little strong and OKeh couldn't issue it (looks like it must have been destroyed or it would have turned up by now.....oh well.....).

Rockwell probably wasn't too upset about "Mr. Henry Lee" because he had the perfect pairing, "Muggles," a slow blues recorded in Chicago in December with a similarly-sized small group. Named in honor of Armstrong's favorite type of (illegal) cigarette, the recording featuring a dazzling Earl Hines solo and truly one of Louis's greatest offerings, as he bends minds with what he does with a single note of double-timed backing, before falling back on his mentor, King Oliver, quoting the master's "Jazzin' Babies Blues" solo from 1923.

Once again, this was issued solely on OKeh's race series, OKeh 8703. It was also the first release billed to "Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra" (ironic since these are small group sides and the two previous discs featured big band music and were credited to the "Savoy Ballroom Five"!). We're three-for-three...but come back tomorrow for something completely different!

Louis Armstrong (tp), Jack Teagarden (tb), Happy Caldwell (ts), Joe Sullivan (p), Eddie Lang (g), Kaiser Marshall (d).
OKeh recording session - New York City, NY March 5, 1929

Louis Armstrong (tp), Fred Robinson (tb), Jimmy Strong (cl), Earl Hines (p), Mancy Carr (bj), Zutty Singleton (d).
OKeh recording session - Chicago, IL December 7, 1928

And for those who don't use Spotify, I'll start including YouTube links:


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