|Here's one of the photos from the remnants of what must have been Count Rich's scrapbook. From left, Hurley Ramey, the Count, Raymond Nelson and Eugene "Scotty" Scott.|
The great street bazaar and music extravaganza known as Maxwell Street is – sadly – long gone. You've probably heard of it in connection with Chicago blues, and maybe you remember seeing the neighborhood as a backdrop to Aretha Franklin's cameo in the Blues Brothers movie. There was music at Maxwell Street every Sunday, to be sure, but the Windy City's massive flea market was so much more than just a place for the South Side's greats and near-greats to blow for the people. It was perhaps the closest thing to a black market that America has ever had.
|This is the way Maxwell Street looked when I was there|
– stuff of every imaginable variety everywhere. Photo
by Marko Mihailovich
|Yes, that's me, in my hirsute days,|
wandering around Maxwell Street in
1982. The attractive young lady to my
left is my kid sister, in town for a visit.
|The illustrious career of Count Rich and his Orchestra, as traced over a decade through yellowing posters, clippings, telegrams, night club programs and studio photographs.|
|The Count, circa 1937|
|Harry's NY Cabaret, top,|
and the Embassy Club.
|More clips. The marathon article, left, is at pains to point out how well-behaved Rich's "youngsters" are, clear evidence of racial pride in a "whites-only" situation.|
|A portion of a poster for an unknown venue, touting Rich's radio connections and his recent appearance at the famed Savoy Ballroom. Probably from 1935.|
OK, OK – I know this is supposed to be a recorded music blog with downloadable rarities for all. I apologize for being so verbose and for slagging you with so many images. To make amends, here are a couple of musical selections that feature Count Rich's guitarist, Hurley Ramey. The first is the famous "Jelly, Jelly, Jelly," by the Earl Hines Orchstra. It was a big hit for singer Billy Eckstine and was recorded for Victor in December 1940. You can hear Ramey playing electric Hawaiian-style guitar behind Eckstine's vocal. The other soloists include Scoops Carry, Budd Johnson (on clarinet) and the Fatha himself.