Three Oldies But Goodies
The Knotts’ record collection contains many tunes that are still familiar. “Twelfth Street Rag” dates from 1914 and memorializes the Kansas City jazz district. It was widely performed in the twenties but never quite made it into the jazz or swing canon. This 1941 version by Frankie Carle reflects the style of the original:
Often, early jazz and ragtime has found its way into animated cartoons. Continuing that tradition, “Twelfth Street Rag” can be heard today performed on a steel guitar as background music for SpongeBob SquarePants.
“Ain’t Misbehavin’” is another survivor. In 1929, the year it was released, it was recorded six times. Now and then it gets rediscovered. Everyone from Sam Cooke to Willie Nelson has recorded it. Hank Williams Jr. got a Grammy nomination in 1985 for this recording:
From the Knotts’ collection, here is the composer Fats Waller at the keyboard:
Finally, we have a dance arrangement of “My Melancholy Baby” by Dick Robertson and His Orchestra. This recording can be considered a revival, since the song had already been around for almost thirty years when this was recorded:
“My Melancholy Baby” was first performed in 1912 by William Frawley. If that name seems familiar, he was a vaudevillian who made it into early television. For the bonus round, what familiar character did he play?
Dick Robertson and His Orchestra (1939)
A: My Melancholy Baby
Frankie Carle (1941)
Twelfth Street Rag
Fats Waller (1944)
A: Ain’t Misbehavin‘