The Dukes also did the Dean Martin show in ' Frank named his son Frank Jr. Frank and Joan were big Martin fans. The album entitled We Gotta Shout features a collection of gospel and spiritual favorites. Boston's Buzzy Drootin, another Condon alum comes in on drums. Buzzy's nephew Sonny, a great pianist recalls seeing Buzzy and the Dukes on the Tonight Show around this time.
This is something different for Dukes fans, but Frank and the boys get in some good licks. The last album for Columbia was Struttin' at the World's Fair This was to promote the New York World' Fair. The theme song of the fair, Fair is Fair is the title track. The next series of albums would be on the Decca label. The band kept their loose, swing feel, but with more of the dixieland sound. The Deccas have very short running times.
These selections were meant for radio play. Also more pop and contemporary tunes were used. This album was recorded during the band's stay at the famous Chicago club. Freddie was ill and was replaced by popular Chicago trombonist Dave Remington. Frank takes a nice solo on Bourbon St. Blues and sings the band's theme Miss New Orleans. However he gets a bit too fancy, with behind the beat phrasing a bad habit of pop singers. Otherwise, a nice debut for the band on Decca.
Cinecon 48 Labor Day weekend at the Egyptian - Cinema Without Borders
Come on and Hear has Freddie back and a nice mix of pop and traditional. Franks gets off one of his best vocals on My Kind of Town and almost tops Sinatra, himself. A good album! In April of , Freddie Assunto passed away from a heart attack. He had been fighting cancer and was only 36 years of age. It was a big blow to Frank and Papa Jac. Still the show went on and the band continued to appear and record, with Ed Hubble replacing Freddie.
The next Decca album was Sunrise, Sunset , another pleasant mix of dixieland and current pops. Frank takes nice vocal on Mame and Them There Eyes. Ed Hubble does a very credible job in Freddie's chair. Next up were songs from Thoroughly Modern Millie This film had some nice original songs and some good period tunes. Besides the title tune, the song Jimmy is a lovely ballad, played beautifully by Frank, Jerry and the band.
Jerry gets to do his B. Not a bad album for a potentially weak concept. A good friend and wonderful trombonist, Charlie Bornemann worked with the band from July '67 to Nov. Charlie provided me with some personal insight to the band's activities and working with Frank.
Almost too easy. He let the guys play and ran a great show. He had an uncanny ablility to remember people, from celebrities to casual fans. Frank didn't talk about Freddie's passing, but it must have been a difficult situation for him. Freddie's death was very hard on him. The band kept up a busy schedule. Frank preferred to mix in the new tunes he was recording at Decca, but his audiences wanted to hear the old trad classics. I noticed Frank's appearance had changed.
He was going with a "mod" look of long hair and mustache. This was nothing radical.
But it was a far cry from the clean cut, young guy on the Audio Fidelity covers. I guess Frank was going through a stage. I recall seeing him on a Boston TV show around this time. I was impressed with his musicianship, but his appearance didn't seem to fit the style of the music. This was a bad era for style. I have some band photos of my own that haunt me.
Cabaret is an entertaining album, although it jumps back and forth between pure dixie and more modern mainstream. However the musical quality is very high. New pianist Johny Varro sparkles on a Basie-like Foolin' Around and contributed some nice arrangements. The old studio pro Art Ryerson was added for banjo and guitar. An interesting sidelight-Louis Armstrong also recorded Cabaret, Rosie, Wilkommen and Hellzapoppin' from this album in Charlie reminded me of the connection with Joe Glaser handling Louis and the Dukes.
He probably wanted a cover version of Louis' renditions. Franks takes excellent vocals on How come you do Me? Stanley Dance's excellent liner notes praise Frank as vocalist and trumpeter, along with nice words for Charlie and Johnny Varro. The album was recorded in New Orleans during the beginning of the band's stay there.
Rudy Aikels had come in on bass. Paul Guma, from Pete Fountain's group handled banjo and guitar. This would be the last studio recording of the Dukes. The early 70s saw Frank concentrating on New Orleans as band's homebase. Freddie's death had soured him on touring.
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Frank had been drinking a lot and put on quite a bit of weight, along with dealing with Joan's being very ill. That dream wouldn't come to fruition as on Mardi Gras Eve, Feb 25, , Frank died of a massive coronary. How ironic for one of New Orleans' favorite sons.
It was a great shock to the family and the music world.
Frank was only 42 years of age at his passing. He had crammed a lot of great music and brought happiness to countless fans in that short life span. Papa Jac died in at the age of Betty Owens is the sole survivor of the original band.
The Onward Brass Band played at Frank's funeral, the only time the band had played for a white musician. Frank, Freddie and Papa Jac brought the great art form of New Orleans jazz to many happy listeners yours truly, included. Their flair for showmanship and entertainment introduced this music to many casual listeners not familiar with the idiom.
It's a great tragedy that Frank and Freddie left us so young, but we can give comfort in all the great albums and filmed appearances they left.
Cult Movies #23
I've always been a big Tarzan fan. It comes with the territory of being a Baby Boomer. Edgar Rice Burrough's jungle hero has been played by many actors and athletes, but Johnny Weissmuller will always be Tarzan. The powerfully built Olympic swimming champ had the look and physique to make him the definitive Tarzan. I've always been partial to the RKO series of The RKOs are more campy and silly at times, but still great entertainment. This post is an affectionate look at the series. Maureen O'Sullivan passed as Jane. The first two entries had her character in England nursing soldiers for the war effort.
Tarzan Triumphs , the first of the series is a top notch adventure, also full of camp and wartime propaganda. Tarzan battles an army of Nazis, who have taken over a jungle city. Weissmuller, approaching 40, is still powerfully built and commanding as the jungle lord. Young Johnny and Cheeta are along for their usual adventures and monkeyshines. To fill Jane's absence Lesser cast beautiful Frances Gifford as Zandra, princess of the captive city. Frances had earlier played Nyoka, the Jungle Girl another Burroughs creation in a serial.