Greg Poppleton

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19 March 2024

(Until 19 March)

Joe Liggins – The Honeydrippers – Phantom Dancer 19 March 2024

Greg Poppleton's Phantom Dancer swing jazz radio show

Joseph Christopher Liggins, Jr. was an American R’n’B, jazz and blues pianist and vocalist who led Joe Liggins and his Honeydrippers in the 1940s and 1950s. His band appeared often on the Billboard magazine charts. Joe Liggins was the older brother of R’n’B performer Jimmy Liggins. Joe is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist.

The Phantom Dancer is your weekly non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week.

LISTEN to this week’s Phantom Dancer mix (online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 19 March) and weeks of Phantom Dancer mixes online at, at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

JOE

Joe Liggins biggest hit was “The Honeydripper”, in 1945.

After high school, Joe Liggins, performed with local bands at clubs and naval bases in San Diego. He wrote arrangements on a freelance basis for Curtis Mosby’s Blue Blowers, and in 1935 Liggins joined the Creole Crusaders, led by the drummer Ellis Walsh.

He moved to Los Angeles in 1939, where he played with Sammy Franklin’s California Rhythm Rascals and other groups.

When Franklin turned down a chance to record Liggins’ song “The Honeydripper”, Liggins decided to start his own band. Joe Liggins’ Honeydrippers was formed in the basement of the Los Angeles home of the saxophonist Little Willie Jackson.

“The Honeydripper” topped the R’n’B chart for 18 weeks in 1945. More than 60 years later, It sold two million records.

LIGGINS

The Honeydrippers performed at five of the Cavalcade of Jazz concerts, all of which took place at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles.

In the Honeydrippers were:
Little Willie Jackson – alto saxophone, baritone saxophone
James Jackson, Jr. – tenor saxophone
Joe Liggins – piano, vocal
Frank Pasley – guitar
Eddie Davis – bass
Preston “Peppy” Prince – drums

The first Cavalcade of Jazz concert was on September 23, 1945, and included Count Basie, The Peters Sisters, Slim and Bam, and Big Joe Turner to a crowd of 15,000.

The second Cavalcade of Jazz concert was held on October 12, 1946, and included Jack McVea, Slim Gaillard, T-Bone Walker, Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra and Louis Armstrong.

The third Cavalcade of Jazz was held on September 7, 1947, and included Woody Herman, The Valdḗs Orchestra, T-Bone Walker, Slim Gaillard, Johnny Otis and his Orchestra, Toni Harper, The Three Blazers, and Sarah Vaughan.

The fourth Cavalcade of Jazz was held September 12, 1948, and included Joe Adams as Emcee, Dizzy Gillespie, Frankie Lane, Little Miss Cornshucks, the Sweethearts of Rhythm, Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Witherspoon, the Blenders and the Sensations.

The seventh Cavalcade of Jazz was held on July 8, 1951, and featured Billy Eckstine, Lionel Hampton, Percy Mayfield, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Roy Brown.

Joe Liggins and his Honeydrippers were on the program for more Cavalcade of Jazz concerts than any other artist. In the program description it was noted that band critics called Joe Liggins and his Original Honeydrippers, “The Hottest Little Band in the Land.”

Liggins had a series of further R’n’B chart hits on the Exclusive label, including “Left a Good Deal in Mobile” (#2, 1945); “Got a Right to Cry” (#2, 1946); “Tanya” (#3, 1946); and “Blow Mr. Jackson” (#3, 1947).[14] He signed with Specialty Records in 1950, where he gained more hits, including “Rag Mop” (#4, 1950), “Boom-Chick-A-Boogie”, “Pink Champagne” (#1 for 13 weeks in 1950), and “Little Joe’s Boogie”. “Pink Champagne” also reached number 30 on the pop chart,[14] and both “Pink Champagne” and “Got A Right To Cry” sold over one million copies and were awarded gold discs.

His songs were mostly a blend of jump blues and basic R’n’B. With Roy Milton, he was an architect of the small-band jump blues of the first post-war decade.

Liggins often toured with such acts as Jimmy Witherspoon, Amos Milburn and the jump blues shouter H-Bomb Ferguson.

In March 1954, the band took part in a benefit show held at the Club 5-4 in Los Angeles for the wife of Stan Getz.

In 1946, before the concept of rock music had been defined, Billboard described the group’s song “Sugar Lump” as “right ryhthmic rock and roll music”.

Although Liggins’ success stopped in the late 1950s, he continued to perform until his death at age 71

19 Mar PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney
LISTEN ONLINE
Community Radio Network Show CRN #645

107.3 2SER Tuesday 19 March 2024
12:04 – 2:00pm (+11 hours GMT)
National Program
5UV Adelaide Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4am
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4am
2BRW Braidwood Monday 3 – 4am
2YYY Young Monday 3 – 4am
7RPH Hobart Monday 3 – 4pm
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Monday 3am – 4 and 6 -7pm
2MCE Bathurst Wednesday 9 – 10am
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am
and Sunday 11pm
Reading Radio (QLD) Friday 1am – 2
2RRR Ryde Friday 11am – 12
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Saturday 4am – 5am
Denmark FM (West Australia) Saturday 10 – 11am
Repeat: Wednesdays 10 – 11pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm
2SEA Sapphire Coast Eden Sunday 9 – 10pm

Set 1
Duke Ellington
Take the A-Train (theme) + Perdido
Duke Ellington Orchestra
Hurricane Restaurant
WOR Mutual NYC
5 Jun 1944
Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Duke Ellington Orchestra (voc) Al Hibbler
Hurricane Restaurant
WOR Mutual NYC
5 Jun 1944
My Gal SalDuke Ellington Orchestra
Hurricane Restaurant
WOR Mutual NYC
5 Jun 1944
Sentimental Lady + Take the A-Train (theme)Duke Ellington Orchestra
Hurricane Restaurant
WOR Mutual NYC
5 Jun 1944
Set 2
DJ Chiquita
Theme + Cose Cose
Orchesta Sagata
‘Guest Star America Latino’
AFRS Hollywood
1955
Entre Hamaca
Maria Luisa Aldi
‘Guest Star America Latino’
AFRS Hollywood
1955
Canta Canta
Miguel Asesas Marheras

‘Guest Star America Latino’
AFRS Hollywood
1955
El Carosero + Close
Unannounced

‘Guest Star America Latino’
AFRS Hollywood
1955
Set 3
Joe Liggins
How Come?
Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers (voc) Joe Liggins
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
11 Jun 1945
The Honeydripper
Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra (voc) Effie Smith
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
11 Jun 1945
Boodle-Do-Da-Deet
Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers (voc) Joe Liggins and Band
Comm Rec
Los Angeles
20 Apr 1945
Sugar Lump
Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers (voc) Joe Liggins and Band
Comm Rec
Los Angeles
20 Apr 1945
Close
Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
11 Jun 1945
Set 4
Dixie Swing from ‘The Voice of Labour’ WCFL Chicago
Open + Chinatown My Chinatown
Jack Kelly’s Swing Ensemble
WCFL Chicago
1942
My Melancholy Baby
Jack Kelly’s Swing Ensemble
WCFL Chicago
1942
Exactly Like You
Jack Kelly’s Swing Ensemble
WCFL Chicago
1942
Tangerine + Runnin’ Wild + Theme
Jack Kelly’s Swing Ensemble
WCFL Chicago
1942
Set 5
Teddy Wilson
Hallelulujah
Paul Baron Orchestra (piano) Teddy Wilson
‘Music in the Air’
WABC CBS NYC
4 Sep 1944
Body and Soul
Paul Baron Orchestra (piano) Teddy Wilson
‘Music Till Midnight’
WABC CBS NYC
1944
Come Out Wherever You Are
Paul Baron Orchestra (piano) Teddy Wilson
‘Music in the Air’
WABC CBS NYC
4 Sep 1944
I Used to Love Ypu
Paul Baron Orchestra (piano) Teddy Wilson
‘Music in the Air’
WABC CBS NYC
4 Sep 1944
Set 6
Martha Tilton
If It’s The Last Thing I Do
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) Martha Tilton
‘Camel Caravan’
WABC CBS NYC
16 Nov 1937
Gotta Get Some Shuteye
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) Martha Tilton
‘Camel Caravan’
CBS Hartford Conn.
7 Feb 1939
Mama That Moon’s Here Again
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) Martha Tilton
‘Camel Caravan’
WABC CBS NYC
16 Nov 1937
Cuckoo in the Clock
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) Martha Tilton
‘Camel Caravan’
CBS Hartford Conn.
7 Feb 1939
Set 7
Bunny Berrigan 
Trees
Bunny Berrigan Orchestra
Trianon Ballroom
WCLE Cleveland OH
9 Apr 1939
This Night
Bunny Berrigan Orchestra (voc) Danny Richards
Trianon Ballroom
WCLE Cleveland OH
9 Apr 1939
I Cried For You
Bunny Berrigan Orchestra (voc) Kathleen Lane
Trianon Ballroom
WCLE Cleveland OH
9 Apr 1939
Runnin’ Wild + Chicken and Waffles (theme)
Bunny Berrigan Orchestra
‘Staurday Night Swing Club’
WABC CBS NYC
31 Oct 1936
Set 8
Bix Biedebecke 1920s Sides
Lonely MelodyPaul Whiteman Orchestra (cnt) Bix BeidebeckeNew York City
4 Jan 1928
Three Blind MiceThe Chicago Loopers (cnt) Bix Beidebecke
New York City
Oct 1927
That’s My Weakness Now
Paul Whiteman Orchestra (cnt) Bix Beidebecke (voc) The Rhythm Boys
New York City
17 Jun 1928
All Gigs
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
2SER Radio 107.3 Sydney
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