It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.
This week’s musical:
Rhythm and Blues Revue (1955) – Musical #732
Studio Films Inc.
Host: Willie Bryant
Themselves: Faye Adams, Bill Bailey, Ruth Brown, Cab Calloway, Nat King Cole, Count Basie, Martha Davis, The Delta Rhythm Boys, Freddy and Flo, Lionel Hampton, Herb Jefferies, The Larks, Little Buck, Amos Milburn, Mantan Moreland, Nipsey Russell, Big Joe Turner, Sarah Vaughan
A musical revue of top performers of the 1950s.
• The film was edited from the made-for-television short films produced by Snader and Studio Telescriptions. The host segments with Willie Bryant were shot for the film.
• “Rock ‘n’ Roll Revue” was released the same year and was in a similar format.
• Only feature film appearance of Flo Robinson and The Larks
• Bill Bailey and Little Buck tap dancing
• Lionel Hampton
• “Jam Session” performed by Lionel Hampton and his band
• “Every Day” performed by Faye Adams
• “In My Heart (There’s a Song)” performed by Herb Jeffries
• “Bad, Bad Whisky” performed by Amos Milburn
• “Vibe Boogie”/ “Bongo Interlude” performed by Lionel Hampton
• “Shake Rattle and Roll” performed by Big Joe Turner
• “Basie’s Conversation” performed by Count Bassie
• “One O’Clock Jump” performed by Count Bassie
• “Dry Bones” performed by the Delta Rhythm Boys
• “Goodbye, Honey, Goodbye” performed by Martha Davis & Her Spouse
• “Minnie the Moocher” performed by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra
• “Perdido” performed by Sarah Vaughn
• “Calypso Blues” performed by Nat King Cole
If you feel like watching a concert from the comfort of your own home, RHYTHM AND BLUES REVUE (1955) will do the trick. Even better, you’ll see performances from some of the best performers of the past — from Count Bassie to Nat King Cole to Cab Calloway.
RHYTHM AND BLUES REVUE (1955) has no plot — not even a “backstage” story. But it really doesn’t seem to matter, because the music, comedy and dance performances are so enjoyable and flow seamlessly. Sixteen songs are performed in this 70-minute concert. What a treat this would have been to see live.
It’s difficult to pick a favorite moment. You get to see Nipsey Russell early in his career. I particularly loved seeing Lionel Hampton and His Band. He’s such a talented xylophone player and percussionist that I loved seeing him in the spotlight. Of course, I loved seeing Count Bassie and his combo play his famous “One O’Clock Jump” and Cab Calloway perform his signature song, “Minnie the Moocher.”
While watching Count Bassie, I couldn’t think of the time in high school that I was told the clarinet wasn’t a jazz instrument (I played the clarinet). Here was Count Bassie, one of the top jazz musicians of all-time, with a clarinet leading his jazz combo.
I previously wasn’t familiar with tap dancer Bill Bailey, and enjoyed seeing him dance. His steps look small and smooth, but nonetheless this was a difficult routine. I also wasn’t familiar with Martha Davis & Her Spouse, and I thought her performance was fun and comedic.
It was fun hearing great musical performances, while also coming away with some new-to-me performers that I want to delve into more like the Delta Rhythm Boys.
Relax and enjoy this musical revue of some of the greatest performers of all time.
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