THIS WEEK'S SELECTION PROVIDED BY DAVE SAVIET AND LOU RALLO
"Onion Breath Baby"
by Elroy Peace
on Swing Time 334A
"Onion Breath Baby"
From Pittsburgh Courier:
(Left) 5/8/54 (Above) 2/19/55
(From Pittsburgh Courier dated 8/3/40)
Pittsburgh Courier, October 12, 1940: ....SECOND PLACE on Major Bowes' September 26th radio program was won by Elroy Peace, Jr., Kansas City's tap-dancing marvel. Elroy, eleven years old, has been trained by his aunt, Mrs. Williams....
(From Daily Capital Journal, Salem, Oregon, dated 1/9/41.)
(From Brooklyn Daily Eagle dated 2/16/50.)
(From Monroe Morning World, Louisiana, dated 11/2/52.)
FROM PITTSBURGH COURIER NEWSPAPER DATED 5/8/54:
ELROY PEACE FINDS BEING SHADOW NO BAR TO FAME
Ted Lewis, in show business for forty-five years, has worn out three 'Shadows" and is currently working on young Elroy Peace, who is appearing with the "Tragedian of Jazz" on tour. Lewis has been strutting about the nation as a headliner for years and years at peak popularity and his shadows have included Snowball Whittier, Teddy Hale and Paul White. But our story concerns Elroy Peace, his latest shadow, who celebrated his birthday May 1. He was a mellow 25.
Elroy first got steamed up about show business when he was seven years old. He won second prize imitating Cab Calloway on the West Coast and Elroy, under the tutelage of his aunt, Roxy Williams, took the plunge. He won a spot with a Major Bowes' unit and traveled about the country with the Major. He was a pro for real. Elroy was born in Kansas City, Mo., but his big break came when his family moved to Los Angeles.
The late movie actor Ben Carter helped draw Ted Lewis' attention to the artistry of young Elroy and all that can be said is that Elroy has been walking in Lewis' shadow for eleven years and may do so for another eleven. Lewis appears to be ageless. Elroy says Ted is a swell fellow to work with and this means a lot to a young performer. Elroy was so young when he joined Lewis that the bandleader had to hire a tutor for the lad. Everyone who has seen or heard of Ted Lewis knows the rest: Elroy Peace is doing okay. Ted will see to that.
In his spare time the quiet and affable Elroy writes (surprise) songs. He says the Mills Brothers are considering one of his tunes, "I Couldn't Speak." Peacock Records are expected to release two sides sung by Elroy, "Tarzan's Signifyin' Monkey" and "Where Are You Going?" the latter with Willie Mae Thornton.
(NOTE: Peacock 1654, released in 1955, is "Tarzan And The Dignified Monkey" by Willie Mae Thornton and Elroy Peace.)
Elroy says he admires his good friend, Sammy Davis Jr., for his great artistry among the new stars. They've known each other "for years" (it says here). Neither is particularly ancient, but that's what Elroy said....
Everything moves right along with Elroy, and when Ted Lewis struts out singing "Me And My Shadow... strolling down the Avenue," the future looks good to a young man who doesn't mind being in another's shadow.
FROM PITTSBURGH COURIER NEWSPAPER DATED 1/28/50: SWING TIME RECORDS
INDIE WAX FIRM—Swing Time Recording Company of Los Angeles is one of the few race owned and operated record companies in the nation. It was formerly known as Down-Beat Recording Company. The firm has an interracial staff of fifteen persons and handles all phases of the business with the exception of pressing records. Top Left: Jack Lauderdale, firm president, is shown with his secretary, Miss Loretta Martin. Bottom Left: Max Bray, Swing Time print show foreman makes tests of freshly printed record labels. Right: Stock Clerk L.C. Lauderdale, one of four brothers associated with the company, stacks labels and sorts records for shipment.
Swing Time Recordings Make Strides In Tough Wax Field:
LOS ANGELES—Swing Time Recording Company is one of the most successful of the independents. The company is located in Los Angeles and is race owned and operated. Jack Lauderdale, capable young business executive, founded the firm five years ago, on a shoe string. He is a native of San Angelo, Texas, and has been in Los Angeles since 1934.
Today he has a crew of some fifteen persons on the staff and handles every phase of the multi-operations needed for the finished product, except the actual pressing of records.
Originally known as Down Beat Recording, the firm has changed its name to Swing Time so as not to be confused with a magazine. Prexy Lauderdale has three brothers, Harold, Pete, and Luther, associated with him in the business.
(NOTE: Down Beat became Swing Beat and then Swing Time.)
Lloyd Glenn, Kid Ory band pianist, is musical director for the company. Among the recording artists under Swing Time's banner are the Maxim Trio, Felix Gross, Lucky Thomas, Jay McShann, Pete Johnson, Maxwell Davis, Pilgrim Travelers, Soul Stirrers, and Sister Emily Bram.
Tops as an all-time hit seller for the waxery was "Hot Biscuits," featuring Jay McShann's orchestra. Nearly 200,000 platters of the waxing were sold, Lauderdale revealed.
Swing Time sells records in each of the forty-eight states and abroad. At times, shipments have gone to Honolulu, Paris, Mexico City, and London.
(NOTE: Swing Time Records closed it doors at the end of 1954.)
Above: Label image of Swing Time 334A released in 1953. It is unknown to me who is verbalizing with Elroy on this side. Is it "Davis," who is credited, along with Peace, as co-composer? And who is Davis anyway? Is it Maxwell Davis, the sax player and orchestra leader? Nothing could be found at the BMI website relating to this song or, for that matter, any compositions by Elroy Peace. Are members of the orchestra providing the vocal group singing behind Elroy and his accomplice? And is this uncredited-on-the-label orchestra actually Maxwell Davis' Orchestra?
Listen to this week's selection featuring Elroy Peace on Swing Time 334A from 1953:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
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Onion Breath Baby
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