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Hitch's Happy Harmonists

Hitch's Happy Harmonists
Hitch’s Happy Harmonists 1924, Left to right: Haskell Simpson, Maurice May, Harry Wright, Early “Buddy” McDowell, Arnold Habbe, Hoagy Carmichael, Curtis Hitch, and Fred Rollison.

Curtis Hitch led his band the Happy Harmonists from 1922 to 1927 in Indiana. While playing at Indiana University in Bloomington they met a young law student by the name of Hoagy Carmichael and recorded two of his songs “Bone Yard Shuffle” and “Wash Board Blues” which were Hoagy’s first recordings. Carmichael joins them at the piano.

Curtis Hitch’s Happy Harmonists were very much influenced by Bix Beiderbecke and the Wolverines who were playing a lot in Indiana at that time. Hoagy and Bix became friends when the Wolverines were playing at Indiana University. The Wolverines had recorded Hoagy’s song Riverboat Shuffle the previous year. If you listen to the piano solo in “Wash Board Blues” you recognize it has the theme from Carmichael’s later song “Lazybones“.

discography

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
Baptistown Crawl
(Mays / Hitch / Neal)
2-23-1924 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
5402-A
Champion
15030
Bone Yard Shuffle
Under Direction & Accompanied by Hoagy Carmichael

(Hoagy Carmichael)
5-19-1925 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
3066-B
Buddy
8042
Cataract Rag Blues
(Hampton)
1-19-1925 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
5633-A
Cruel Woman
(Hugh / McDowell / Neal)
9-19-1923 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
5286-A
Ethiopian Nightmare
(Neal / Bump)
2-23-1924 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
5402-B
Champion
15039
Home Brew Blues
(Neal / May / Rollison)
9-19-1923 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
5286-B
Nightingale Rag Blues
(Joseph Lamb)
1-19-1925 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
5633-B
Steady Steppin’ Papa
(Spindler / Rollison)
2-23-1924 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
5518-A
Claxtonola
40353-A
Temple
544
Wash Board Blues
Under Direction & Accompanied by Hoagy Carmichael

(Hoagy Carmichael)
5-19-1925 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
3066-A
Buddy
8005
Brunswick
02206

Hitch's Happy Harmonists

Artist Instrument
Jerry Bump Trombone
Hoagy Carmichael Piano, Vocals, Cornet
Curtis Hitch Piano, Leader
Maurice Mays Banjo
Earl McDowell Drums
Dewey Neal Baritone Saxophone
Rookie Neal C-Melody Saxophone
Fred Rollison Cornet
Harry Wright Clarinet

 

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