Rare Bob Scobey Recordings: Feelin’ The Spirit

Bob Scobey Feelin' the SpiritBob Scobey (1916-63) was a solid trad jazz player who initially gained some recognition for his playing as second trumpeter with Lu Watters’ very influential Yerba Buena Jazz Band in the 1940s. After going out on his own in 1949, Scobey had success with his own Frisco Jazz Band before cancer cut short his life in 1963.

Scobey made most of his recordings as a leader for the Good Time Jazz, Verve, RCA, and Jansco (the latter was later reissued by Jazzology) labels. However the performances on Feelin’ The Spirit are mostly a mystery. They are transcriptions from 1958 that were recorded for SESAC (information not included in the CD’s liner notes) and were probably never released before.

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No discographies show Scobey recording with this particular lineup (trombonists Ralph Hutchinson and Doug Skinner, clarinetist Jack McConnell, pianist Floyd Bean, Bob Short on tuba, drummer Dave Black, and Clancy Hayes on banjo, guitar and vocals) although Hayes was an important part of his band for five years.

Bob Scobey Band
Bob Scobey Band: Jack Buck, Gordon Edwards, Bob Scobey, Clancy Hayes and Burt Bales. Stanford West Coast Jazz Archive.

The repertoire, other than “Too Much Mustard” (the two versions of the ragtime era standard are sung by Hayes), is comprised of obscure originals. Has anyone ever heard of such songs as “Frisco Jazz Parade,” “There’s Nothing In Dixie,” “Don’t Count Your Kisses,” or “Tailgate Romance?” Perhaps these originals (there is no mention as to who the composer was) were put together to avoid paying royalties.

The songs, which include a few blues, often sound as if they could have come from a long forgotten Broadway show. In any case, Scobey and his fine musicians give the music plenty of enthusiasm and the flavor of Dixieland. While I would recommend Scobey’s Good Time Jazz recordings first, his fans will enjoy this unexpected addition to his musical legacy.

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Feelin’ The Spirit
(Sounds Of Yesteryear, DSOY 817, 25 selections, TT = 67:48)
www.cityhallrecords.com

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