Soul Station Feature: Wynonie Harris

Oh Babe!

Wynonie Harris was a great and important singer for jazz, jump blues, r&b, and rock'n'roll. He had many huge hits from the mid 1940s into the early 1950s. Oh Babe! was one of his last, from 1950. It also reunited him with the Lucky Millinder Orchestra, the band that had backed him on his first successful releases. Oh Babe! did not come to him from blues or r&b writers and artists, as it was written by Louis Prima, a jazzy trumpeter and band leader from New Orleans. Prima had been performing since the late 1920s and began recording in 1934. During the mid 1940s his big band records had the energy and verve of nascent r&b and he made many fine records in this vein. Oh Babe! was released on his own Robin Hood label, and cut with Keely Smith, whom he would marry in 1953. Prima's record was popular but not as much as the Harris disc. But it is just as good, featuring tart, flag waving trumpet (and two trumpets toward the rousing end) a very solid beat and fine vocals from Prima and Smith. This is the original 78 version; there are several others out there, some shorter and all slightly different. I do not know what their sources are. But please, enjoy this great original!

DJ π a.k.a. Paul Yamada