Saturday, 4 February 2012

Big Fat Mama Mystery Disc



El Enmascarado has acquired another load of 78 rpm discs and among the shellac stash was this intriguing item.

According to The Masked One (currently recovering from his latest defeat at the hands of Manolito The Mighty Midget - height 3 feet 6 inches) many of the items he purchased came from a radio station. He thinks it may be possible that it was a test pressing dropped off by a promo man way back in the distant past. Who knows? There is no identification of the artist on the label and neither El Enmascarado nor myself knows who it might be. Can anyone out there help? One possible clue is that the disc was in a King label cover, but of course that might not mean anything.

One side is a cracking little version of "(I Want A) Big Fat Mama". This is a much recorded song and I've listened to versions by Lucky Millinder, Roy Milton, King Perry, Rozelle Gayle, Cousin Joe and Gene Phillips and it doesn't match any of them. El Enmascarado has also listened to the Millinder and Milton versions as well as one by Tommy Johnson and the mystery remains.

One other puzzle - why is the band chanting "Rigoletto, Rigoletto" at the beginning of the song?

The other side of the disc is a performance of "P.S. I Love You" - not the Beatles song but a ballad composed by Gordon Jenkins and Johnny Mercer. It was performed by Frank Sinatra on his "Close To You" LP.

So rhythm fans, can anyone solve the mystery? Who is performing on this record? Listen here:





5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rigoletto is a very odd word for the background vocalists to repeatedly sing in an R&B tune from this period. I wonder if it's a reference to the old expression- "It's not over until the fat lady sings"....

billybob said...

The singer on "Big Fat Mama" sounds like Tiny Bradshaw.

chu said...

Big Fat Mama Mystery Disc

I have searched in various ways in the Tom Lord discography and can't find any other version from that era than the ones you already have listened to and dismissed. The same goes for "P.S. I Love You".

I have also searched on AMG and Google, but come up empty on anything that can match.

It's annoying, isn't it!? This version of "Big Fat Mama" is pretty good actually, so one would really want to know who it is.

It is of course possible that this was a test pressing that never was officially released and then we may never know.

boogiewoody said...

Thanks guys. Billybob - I'm not convinced it's Tiny Bradshaw but I'll have another listen or two!

Thanks for your efforts Chu. I agree that it's a good version of "Big Fat Mama." Looks like it will be included in the next volume of "Jump & Jive on 78" as "Mystery Artist." Perhaps more experienced R&B researchers out there can help?

BW

Anonymous said...

Those are *exactly* like disks my mother made in the 1940s or 50s on her "portable" disk recorder. She would record songs on blanks just like those, by dubbing off other disks or off the radio. So they could be one-offs or copies of commercial disks.