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In 1937 Ben Pollack moved to Los Angeles where he led a new band filled with fine local players plus the great cornetist Muggsy Spanier. In addition to a series of big band titles, he led a small-group from the orchestra, called Ben Pollack’s Pick-A-Rib Boys (featuring Spanier), and accompanied Connee Boswell on some of her recordings. Spanier stayed with Pollack until a serious illness knocked him out of action.

Ben Pollack Pick-A-Rib BoysThe hot trumpet chair was taken by Clyde Hurley in 1938 (who later joined Glenn Miller) and finally by Andy Secrest who is on the last Pollack big band recordings. It is ironic that while many of his former sidemen (Goodman, Teagarden, James, Slack, and much of the Bob Crosby Orchestra) were major names, Pollack (who was still only 36 in 1939) was becoming increasingly forgotten by the end of the 1930s.

In 1947 Pollack was back playing drums, leading a Dixieland combo with the revived name of the Pick-A-Rib Boys. Pollack ran the Pick-A-Rib restaurant in Hollywood during the 1950s and early ’60s, leading a Dixieland group to perform at his establishment. His sidemen included clarinetist Barney Bigard and, for three months in 1956, his old friend Jack Teagarden.

Excerpts from Ben Pollack: Profiles in Jazz, by Scott Yanow

ddd discography

TitleRecording DateRecording LocationCompany
Alice Blue Gown
(Joseph McCarthy / Harry Tierney)
9-11-1937Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
1546 B
Boogie Woogie9-11-1937Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
California, Here I Come
(Buddy Desylva / Al Jolson / Joseph Meyer)
9-11-1937Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
Can’t You Hear Me Calling, Caroline?9-11-1937Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
1458 A
Cuddle Up A Little Closer9-11-1937Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
1546 A
If It’s The Last Thing I Do
Vocal Chorus by Peggy Mann

(Sammy Cain / Saul Chaplin)
9-21-1937Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
1465 A
I’m In My Glory
From Universal Production “Merry Go Round of 1938”)
Vocal Chorus by Peggy Mann

(Harold Adamson / Jimmy McHugh)
9-21-1937Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
1488 B
Morocco4-9-1938Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
1851 A
My Wild Irish Rose
(Chauncey Olcott)
9-11-1937Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
1458 B
Nobody’s Gonna Take You From Me4-9-1938Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
1851 B
The Snake-Charmer
(Leonard Whiteup / Teddy Powell)
9-21-1937Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
1488 A
You Made Me Love You
(I Didn’t Want To Do It)
Vocal Chorus by Peggy Mann

(James V. Monaco / Joseph McCarthy)
9-21-1937Los Angeles, CaliforniaDecca
1465 B

Paula GayleVocals
King GuionTenor Saxophone
Bob HemphillGuitar
Clyde HurleyTrumpet
Ben KanterClarinet
Bob LainePiano
Charles LaVerePiano
Happy LawsonTenor Saxophone
Peggy MannVocals
Garry McAdamsGuitar
Francis PalmerString Bass
Ben PollackDrums
Muggsy SpanierTrumpet
Slim TaftString Bass
Ted VesleyTrombone
Joe YuklTrombone


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