The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky


New page published today (Tuesday evening):

The new page is the third in my series of 12/8 and 6/8 time songs. As is the case throughout the series, the specific recording of a song selected is either the original recording, when it happens to be in 12/8 or 6/8 time, or the first recording of the song in 12/8 or 6/8 time that I’ve identified. I haven’t yet decided whether to continue the series to part 4.

Those of you who’ve been following the series may note that I’ve changed the phrase “12/8 time songs” to “12/8 and 6/8 time songs” in the previously published pages. A couple of months after I published the first two pages, while reviewing them one day I found that quite a few of the recordings that I’d identified as being in 12/8 time now seemed to me to be in 6/8 time, and there were at least a couple that I was now uncertain about. After considering for awhile breaking up each of the three parts into two sections, one for 12/8 and one for 6/8, eventually I decided to just change all the page titles.

The full series, to date:


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What a Wonderful World (George David Weiss, Bob Thiele)

Louis Armstrong All Stars — taped on 2 July 1968 at Shepherds Bush Studios, London (BBC)

Louis Armstrong (vocal), Tyree Glenn (trombone), Joe Muranyi (clarinet), Marty Napoleon (piano), Buddy Catlett (bass), Danny Barcelona (drums)


12/8 and 6/8 time were so ubiquitous in songs and recordings of the late 50s and early 60s that I’ve no intention of trying to compile a comprehensive list. Below is my present list, which certainly may be added to from time to time.

12/8 and 6/8  time songs: part 1, 1954-1959 – “Earth Angel” to “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”

12/8 and 6/8 time songs: part 2, 1960-1963 – “At Last” to “Surfer Girl”

  • 1960 – At Last (Etta James version), Get Well Soon, P.S. I Love You (Starlets version), White Christmas (Statues version), You Belong to Me (Santo & Johnny version)
  • 1961 – Can’t Help Falling in Love, Come Home Soon, Daddy’s Home, House of the Rising Sun (Bob Dylan version), I Love How You Love Me, A Moment Ago, My True Story, A Sunday Kind of Love (Mystics version), Till (Angels version), Tragedy (Fleetwoods version)
  • 1962 – Bring It On Home to Me, Cry Baby Cry, Don’t Make Me Over, The End of the World, Surfer Girl (demo), You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me
  • 1963 – Anyone Who Had a Heart, Go Now, I’d Die, In My Room, Surfer Girl

12/8 and 6/8 time songs: part 3, 1964-1978 – “The Warmth of the Sun” to “Good Timin’”

  • 1964 – The Warmth of the Sun
  • 1965 – Didn’t Want to Have to Do It, It’s Gonna Take a Miracle, Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers version), Yes, I’m Ready
  • 1967 – I’ve Gotta Be Me, What a Wonderful World
  • 1969 – Hot Fun in the Summertime
  • 1970 – Colour My World
  • 1973 – Sail On, Sailor
  • 1974 – Good Timin’ (unfinished version)
  • 1976 – Always and Forever
  • 1978 – Good Timin’

Armstrong and Holiday in the film New Orleans (1947)

To help us remember an important segment of our past musically, in 1947 will come, says the ball, a little film directed by Arthur Lubin titled New Orleans. Supporting players Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong will deftly portray characters who become romantically involved. And they will make some fine music together. The film is to be set in the red light district of New Orleans, called Storyville, during its final days. The district existed from 1897 to 1917; it was created in effort to limit prostitution to one area of the city.

Songbook has been warned that New Orleans historians might become irate at the suggestion that jazz was born in Storyville. That is not our purpose. But we shall sooner or later get the truth out them — the real birthplace. Vee haf vays uf making zem talk.

Where the Blues Was Born in New Orleans (w. m. Cliff Dixon, Bob Carleton) – Performed by Louis Armstrong and His Band, featuring introductions of each band member by Armstrong, in this order: Charlie Beal – piano, Kid Ory – trombone, Zutty Singleton – drums, Barney Bigard – clarinet, Bud Scott – guitar and cigar, Red Callendar – bass, and himself – cornet. He calls it Satchmo’s Happy Dixie Band.


(above) Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Barney Bigard perform the number “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans” in the 1947 film New Orleans

Each of the following three songs are performed by Louis Armstrong and His Band with vocals by Billie Holiday.

Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans (m. Louis Alter, w. Eddie DeLange) – According to IMDb, the song is performed in the film four times.


The Blues are Brewin’ (m. Louis Alter, w. Eddie DeLange)


Farewell to Storyville (w. m. Spencer Williams)


West End Blues (m. Joe Oliver, w. Clarence Williams) – published and first recorded in 1928

Armstrong and His Band, at the beginning of the film, after the opening credits/New Orleans Stomp — It starts at about 1:23

Louis Armstrong — live in Milan, Italy, 19 December 1955

Trumpet: Louis Armstrong
Trombone: Trummy Young
Piano: Billy Kyle
Drums: Barrett Deems


Basin Street Blues (Spencer Williams) – published in 1926 – IMDb suggests that the soundtrack of New Orleans might have included a recording of this song by Louis Armstrong and His Band. It’s one of several listed as “Possibly played instrumentally or cut from the movie.”

There are several other songs performed in the film but not yet included or mentioned here. I’m not holding out on you. I just haven’t found them. Later versions, perhaps, but not the film clips or soundtrack recordings. I’ll lay them out here just as soon as I catch ’em. The following are presently missing. (credits adapted from IMDb):

Hot Time in the Old Town (m. Theo. A. Metz, w. Joe Hayden)
Played as background music when the Dixie Bell riverboat is shown

Maryland, My Maryland – 1861
Music based on the German Christmas carol “O Tannenbaum
Lyrics by James Ryder Randall
Played by Louis Armstrong and His Band at the dock

Buddy Bolden’s Blues*
Played by Louis Armstrong and His Band and sung by Louis Armstrong

Fantasie-Impromptu in C Sharp Minor, Op.66 (Frédéric Chopin)
Played on piano by Richard Hageman (dubbed by Arthur Schutt)

Honky Tonk Train Blues
Written and played on piano by Meade ‘Lux’ Lewis

Endie (m. Louis Alter, w. Eddie DeLange) – 1947
Played by Louis Armstrong and His Band, vocal: Billie Holiday, in Paris


Other songs which IMDb lists as “Possibly played instrumentally or cut from the movie.” include:

  • Milenberg Joys (m. Leon Rappolo, Paul Mares, Jelly Roll Morton) 1923
  • Dippermouth Blues (King Oliver, Louis Armstrong) 1923
  • Beale Street Blues (W. C. Handy) 1916
  • Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble (Spencer Williams) 1917
  • Mahogany Hall Stomp (Spencer Williams) 1928(?)
  • King Porter Stomp (Jelly Roll Morton) 1923


Buddy Bolden’s Blues (see footnote below re: contested authorship)*

Jelly Roll Morton, two versions, dates unknown. The opening eight lines in the first recording go like this. These lines are varied somewhat in the second version.

I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say
You’re nasty, you’re dirty –Take it away
You’re terrible, you’re awful — Take it away
I thought I heard him say

I thought I heard Buddy Bolden shout
Open up that window, and let that bad air out
Open up that window, and let the foul air out
I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say



St. Louis Tickle (Theron Catlan Bennett)*

Dave Van Ronk arrangement performed by Michael Neverisky and posted on his Youtube channel, .


* ASCAP credits Jelly Roll Morton (MORTON, Ferdinand Joseph) as the sole author of Buddy Bolden’s Blues. However, there remains disagreement among other authorities as to who actually wrote the song. While numerous sites credit the composition to Morton, identifies a 1939 recording by Jelly Roll Morton as a traditional with an arrangement by himself. An article by Barbara White at names Bolden as the composer. Wikipedia notes that Bolden’s trombonist Willy Cornish claimed authorship, but they also point to an “early” ragtime song which incorporated the “strain” of  Buddy Bolden’s Blues or Funky Butt,** namely St. Louis Tickle.

According to folk and recorder music historian, discographer, and audio file compiler Geoff Grainger,

St. Louis Tickle, written under the pseudonym of Barney & Seymour, was [Theron Catlan] Bennett‘s contribution to a plethora of musical items celebrating the 1904 St Louis Exposition. Here he was in the notable company of ragtimers such as Scott Joplin (The Cascades (1904)), Thomas Million Turpin (St. Louis Rag (1903)), Kerry Mills (Meet Me in St Louis, Louis (1904)) and others.

** Wikipedia’s profile of Buddy Bolden seems to indicate that Funky Butt is the original title of the number later to be called Buddy Bolden’s Blues. Other alternate titles include The Funky Butt Blues, I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say, and I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Shout. All are derived from the lyrics.


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