One of the hottest bands of the late 1920s was the Missourians. The nine-piece group, which had earlier been Andy Preer’s Cotton Club Orchestra and had toured with Ethel Waters, was featured on three recording sessions during 1929-30 that resulted in 14 mostly memorable and often heated performances.
Highlights included “Market Street Stomp,” “Ozark Mountain Blues,” “Missouri Moan,” “400 Hop,” “Swingin’ Dem Cats,” and “Stoppin’ The Traffic.”
Although the soloists were excellent and the ensembles had plenty of drive and spirit, there were no major names in the Missourians. With the rise of the Depression, the group was on the verge of breaking up when the young Cab Calloway took it over and turned it into his backup band, expanding the unit to 12 pieces.
Cab Calloway & The Missourians 1929-30 has all of the Missourians performances and the first ten numbers under Calloway’s leadership. While his “Minnie The Moocher” was a year away, Calloway was already a charismatic and exciting performer.
His wild singing on “St. Louis Blues,” “Some Of These Days,” “Nobody’s Sweetheart,” and “St. James Infirmary” is particularly memorable While the Missourians would no longer have a separate identity and one-by-one the original members would depart during the next few years, they certainly helped get Calloway’s career off to an impressive start .
Cab Calloway & The Missourians
(JSP 328, 24 selections, TT = 73:44)