Washboard Blues


Washboard Blues (Hoagy Carmichael, Fred B. Callahan, Irving Mills)

From The Red Hot Jazz Archive (defunct website):

While studying to be a lawyer at Indiana University, Hoagy wrote a couple tunes for a band called Curtis Hitch’s Happy Harmonists. The songs were “Washboard Blues” and “Boneyard Shuffle” and they were recorded in 1924* for Gennett records with Carmichael on piano. Through his association with this band he meet Bix Beiderbecke, who was a member of the Wolverine Orchestra at that time. The two became close friends and the Wolverines went on to record Carmichael’s “Riverboat Shuffle”. Music publisher Irving Mills heard the Wolverine’s record and wrote Carmichael asking if his company could publish the song, to which Hoagy agreed. Carmichael himself led several other sessions at Gennett, where he recorded the first version of “Stardust” in 1927. But Carmichael took a job in Florida as a law clerk after graduating. While there, he unexpectedly heard a recording of his song, “Washboard Blues,” by Red Nichols and his Five Pennies.

Hitch's Happy Harmonists, with Hoagie Carmichael at the piano

(above) Hitch’s Happy Harmonists (l-r): Haskell Simpson, Maurice May, Harry Wright, Earl McDowell, Arnold Habbe, Hoagy Carmichael Curt Hitch, and Fred Rollison — source: The Hoagy Carmichael Collection at http://www.dlib.indiana.edu

Red Nichols + FivePennies-1926-1930-crop1

Red Nichols & his Five Pennies – musicians: Red Nichols, t / Jimmy Dorsey, cl, as / Arthur Schutt, p / Eddie Lang, g / Vic Berton, d. recorded New York, December 8, 1926.


Paul Whiteman and His Concert Orchestra, featuring Hoagy Carmichael on piano and vocal — recorded on 18 November 1927; issued on the 78 rpm single Victor 35877, as the B-side of “Among My Souvenirs”



Conny Boswell and the Casa Loma Orchestra – 1932

presently unavailable


From the 1939 short film Hoagy Carmichael, also known as Hoagy Carmichael featuring Jack Teagarden and his Orchestra

“Washboard Blues” features vocals by Carmichael and Teagarden



Art Hodes – piano solo; dated 1939 by the provider (unconfirmed)


Hoagy Carmichael with Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra — from the compilation album Decca presents a collection of Hoagy Carmichael Songs played by Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra, date unknown


* There is disagreement between the year given in the Hoagy Carmichael profile at The Red Hot Jazz Archive (1924), and the dates given by the same site for the two recordings mentioned, “Washboard Blues” (Gennett 3055-A), and “Boneyard Shuffle” (Gennett 3066-B). According to the page on Hitch’s Happy Harmonists, each of the songs were recorded,” under the direction of & accompanied by Hoagy Carmichael,” on 19 May 1925.


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