Maceo Pinkard

Discussion in 'Radio' started by Futwick, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

    [I have been trying to assemble a decent biography of Maceo Pinkard but there seems to be little to find. The following the best I've been able to come up with but some of you might have more info and might correct errors. Any help at all would be appreciated. Thanx.]

    With summer on the way, I thought it might be nice to remember the 115th birthday of a great American songwriter and composer—one of the best the world has ever produced. Maceo Pinkard was born June 27, 1897 in Bluefield, West Virginia. He was educated at the Bluefield Colored Institute from which he graduated at age 16. The following year, the enterprising young Pinkard founded his own orchestra and theatrical agency in Omaha and toured nearly nonstop. He had his first song published at 18 in 1915, "When He Sang That Baritone."

    In 1917, he founded Maceo Pinkard Music and sold his songs through Frank Root in Chicago and Leo Feist in New York before being hired by New York-based Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. in 1918. The following year, Pinkard found success with "Mammy O’ Mine" (erroneously assumed by some to be Al Jolson’s Mammy song, which it is definitely not).
    By 1940, he would publish over 200 songs, an untold number of which have been lost. Pinkard co-wrote with notables as Roy Turk, Ken Casey, Sydney Mitchell and Lois Reid. His most steadfast collaborator was William Tracey (1893-1957) with whom Pinkard teamed in 1919 and wrote his last known songs with in 1940. He often wrote under the alias of Alex Belledna which was likely a play on his wife's name, singer/songwriter Edna Alexander.

    In 1922, he wrote the music to a successful all-black musical called "Liza" with lyrics supplied by Nat Vincent (1889-1979 and who sometimes used the alias Jaan Kenbrovin). The show opened at Daly’s 63rd Street theatre in November and was so popular that it was moved after a few months to the Nora Bayes Theatre on 44th Street thereby becoming the first black musical to play on Broadway where it ran for 172 shows. Pinkard was very prolific. In 1919 alone, the year he moved to New York, Pinkard saw over 20 songs published. In only four years, Pinkard would publish over 50 songs.

    In 1923, Jimmy Johnson and Cecil Mack published their song "Charleston" which kicked off a dance craze of the same name. Not one to miss out on a good thing, Pinkard published "Sweet Man" with lyrics supplied by Roy Turk (in 1927, Roy Turk and Lou Handman would write "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" that made Elvis a bundle). Jelly Roll Morton liked "Sweet Man" so much that he cut a fabulous piano roll version of the song for the Capital Roll Company in December of 1925. Pinkard's next song, published that same year,would become one of the biggest jazz hits of all time and is still played today in every conceivable version, "Sweet Georgia Brown." There is scarcely a jazz band around that has not covered it—even the Beatles covered it. By this time, Pinkard had already published over 100 songs! Odd that by 1925, the KKK was 4 million strong nationwide and yet the two songs most characteristic of the 20s were Charleston and Sweet Georgia Brown both of which were written by black men (although Ken Casey, Pinkard’s collaborator, was white). That same year, 1925, Pinkard also published "Desdemona" a favorite among the more esoteric jazz fans.

    In 1926, Pinkard became one of the first black composers to join ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). Paul Whiteman’s band, which included Bing Crosby, Hoagy Carmichael, Frankie Trumbauer (idolized by the great Lester Young), Harry Barris (who wrote "Mississippi Mud") and cornetist extraordinaire Bix Beiderbecke, hired Pinkard to write material for them. Unable to hire black musicians due to segregation, Whiteman did the next best thing which was to play the music of black composers and Pinkard was among them. In 1927, Pinkard’s "Sugar" was published and, in 1928, Whiteman’s band had turned the song into a huge hit. "Sugar" has been done by everyone from Billie Holiday to Fats Waller (who performed it on the pipe organ for Alberta Hunter). To this day, modern jazz artists still cover it.

    Bix went off on his own, he recorded Pinkard's "I’ll Be A Friend With Pleasure" in 1930 (featuring Gene Krupa on drums). This was typical white fare with slick orchestration and megaphoned Rudy Vallee-type vocals. Pinkard, however, also wrote music that was unashamedly black. He wrote two marvelous numbers for Cab Calloway—"Is That Religion?" (1930) and "Strictly Cullud Affair" (1932) (Calloway also covered "Sweet Georgia Brown" but then so did everybody else). "Is That Religion?" starts off with a call-and-response famous in African-American churches. The song, however, is anything but a gospel as it mutates into gritty jazz with a growling trumpet.

    In 1930, Pinkard also penned his immortal classic "Them There Eyes" (co-written with William Tracey and Doris Tauber) which has been covered by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sara Vaughn, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Stan Kenton and dozens of others. In the 30s, Pinkard’s output slowed somewhat as he was busy in New York founding his own publishing concern, Pinkard Publications. During this period, many Pinkard songs were lost with only some being recently recovered. Pinkard’s last known songs were "Harlem’s Poppin’" and "I’m Contented Like I Am" both released in 1940 and co-written with William Tracey. After that, Pinkard appears to have retired permanently from songwriting. He remained in New York and continued running his publishing empire.

    In 1955, "Sugar" received a new surge of popularity after being featured in an excellent movie called Pete Kelly’s Blues which starred Jack Webb as a young jazz trumpter. Webb also directed the movie (Jack Webb was a fanatic jazzophile who knew all the biggest jazz artists in the business and many of them recorded and slept at his house when they were touring through, and them’s the facts, ma’am). Maceo Pinkard died July 21, 1962 at the age of 65 in New York City. He was largely obscure, his characteristic raggy themes lushly cascading around a little diamond of a melody carefully and lovingly wrapped inside, a victim of public apathy unable to recognize genius when they heard it. He was, however, inducted into the songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984. There are no complete Pinkard collections that I know of. One must simply rummage around and pick them up piecemeal. "Sweet Man" can be heard on Artis Wodehouse’s "The Piano Rolls" on Nonesuch but a better version can be heard on the Biograph CD "Jelly Roll Morton—Blues and Stomps From Rare Piano Rolls" assembled by ragtime scholar, Mike Montgomery. The CD "Come And Trip It" also features a full 20s dance band version of "Sweet Man" by Dick Hyman and orchestra.
  2. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

    What follows is a complete song list of Pinkard’s material mostly assembled by Mike Montgomery and Bill Kenney at my request. This list was assembled from their own collection of sheet music and old record label ads and catalogs. You purists should definitely copy this list because, as far as I know, it is not available anywhere else. I’ve searched through dozens of books and countless websites and found precious little material about Pinkard (all of it, in fact, is condensed in this article). Apparently, Bluefield Institute is now Bluefield State College and they hold a Maceo Pinkard weeklong festival annually but inquiries to the college’s various officers and administrators for any more info or photos of Pinkard have gone unanswered for a very long time. Title, year of publication, co-writers and publishers are given (when known).
    1. When He Sang That Baritone (1915)
    2. When He Picks That Ragtime Music At Dawn (1916)
    3. Teach Me That Hula Hula Dance (1916)
    4. Chattanooga Blues (1916) w=Pinkard m=I. Seidel (instrumental by Seidel dates from 1914)
    5. Just Give Me Ragtime, Please (1916)
    6. I Want To See My Girl in London (1916)
    7. I’m Going Back Home (1916)
    8. Dip Me in Your Ocean of Love (1916)
    9. At That Darktown Cabaret (1916)
    10. Take Back Your Loving I’m Through With You (Mentioned in ad)
    11. Stockyard Blues (1917)
    12. I’m a Real Kind Mama (Looking For a Loving Man) (1917) w&m=Pinkard (Omaha, Nebraska, 1917 Root edition shows w=Roger Graham & m=Pinkard)
    13. Poor Cryin’ Baby (1917)
    14. Love Me in the Summertime (1917)
    15. If Your Papa Turns You Down (1917)
    16. Colored Song for Colored Folks (1917)
    17. The Blue Melody (1917) (Omaha Nebraska – Instrumental)
    18. You Look Like an Angel (But There’s a Devil in You) - with Nat Vincent (1918 - Chas K. Harris)
    19. Don’t Cry, Little Girl, Don’t Cry (1918 - Shapiro)
    20. Who’ll Love You While I’m Gone (1918 - Shapiro)
    21. Whiskey Blues (1918)
    22. Those Draftin' Blues (1918 - Griffin, Chicago; 1918 - Stern, NY)
    23. That Jazzy Melody (1918)
    24. Oh, You Darktown Regimental Band (1918) transferred to Handy 1919
    25. Mocking Bird Melody (1918)
    26. Down Where They Play the Blues (1918)
    27. Dearie (1918)
    28. Barefoot Boy (1918)
    29. Anti-Loafin’ Blues (1918)
    30. Why’d You Break My Heart? (1919)
    31. Time ‘n’ Again (1919)
    32. Sweet Baby (1919 - Shapiro)
    33. Since I Found a Jazzer (1919)
    34. Lull-a-by Land (1919)
    35. Love Me in the Same Old Way (1919)
    36. Let’s Turn to the Sunshine (1919)
    37. Let’s Have a Showdown (1919)
    38. Just Leave It to Me (1919 - Shapiro) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    39. Hot Foot Blues (1919)
    40. He’s Had No Lovin’ for a Long, Long Time (1919 - Broadway Music Corp) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    41. Has Anybody Seen My Corinne? (1919)
    42. Frenchy-Koo (1919 - Stern) w=Billy Baskette, m=MP
    43. Easy Pickin’s (1919)
    44. Cairo Land (1919 - Shapiro) w=Spencer Williams, m=MP
    45. Angel Divine (1919)
    46. Granny (1919 - Gilbert & Friedland) w =L. Wolfe Gilbert, m=Alex Belledna
    47. Dixie Is Dixie Once More (1919-Shapiro) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    48. You'll Be Sorry (But You'll Be Sorry Too Late) (1919 - Shapiro) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    49. Just Leave It To Me (1919)
    50. Mammy O’ Mine (1919 - Shapiro) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    51. Wonderful Pal (1919 -Shapiro) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    52. It’s Right Here For You (If You Don't Get It, 'Tain't No Fault of Mine) (1920 - Perry Bradford) w=Marion Dickerson, m=Alex Belledna
    53. You Can’t Go Wrong With a Girl From Dixieland (1920)
    54. Washington Johnny (1920)
    55. Waitin’ For Me (1920 - Fred Fisher) w=Bud Green & Jack McCoy, m=MP
    56. Waikiki Blues (1920)
    57. They’ll All Stop Off to See Venus (1920)
    58. That Rose Covered Shack O’ Mine (1920)
    59. Pshaw (1920)
    60. No One Else Can Take Your Place (1920)
    61. Lest We Forget (1920)
    62. Jazz Babies’ Ball (1920 - Shapiro) w=Charles Bayha, m=MP
    63. I’m Gonna Keep Alookin’ (1920)
    64. Gingham Girl (1920 - Fred Fisher) w=Darl MacBoyle, m=MP
    65. Dixie is Dixie Once More (1920)
    66. At the End of the Sunset Trail (1920 - Remick) w=Cal DeVoll, m=MP
    67. Honey Rose (1921 - Shapiro) w=Wm Tracey & Harry Tobias, m=MP
    68. With You, Sweetheart, With You (1921)
    69. Wild Weepin’ Blues (1921)
    70. Those Mean Blue Sunday Blues (1921 - Fisher) w=Wm Tracey m=MP
    71. This is the Day For Aunt Jemima (1921)
    72. ‘Tain't Nothin’ Else But Jazz (1921 - Remick) w=Wm Tracey & Alex Belledna, m=MP
    73. Plantation Blues (1921 - Shapiro) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    74. Night After Night I Think of You (1921)
    75. A Little Kind Treatment (Is Exactly What I Need) (1921 - Mills) w =Howard Rogers m=MP
    76. I'm A Dog-gone Struttin’ Fool (1921)
    77. Down Where They Play the Blues (1921)
    78. Dinty (1921)
    79. Charming Someone (1921)
    80. Caroline (1921)
    81. Aunt Jemima's Jubilee (1921 - Fred Fisher) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    82. Another Mule Hitched in Your Stall (1921 - Shapiro) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    83. I’m Always Stuttering (1922) Broadway) w=Sidney D. Mitchell, m=MP
    84. Liza (1922 - Harms) w=Nat Vincent, m =MP (from Liza)
    85. Planning (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    86. Tag Day (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    87. I’m the Sheriff (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    88. Pleasure (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    89. Just a Barbershop Cord (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    90. That Brownskin Flapper (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    91. On the Moonlit Swanee (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    92. Essence (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    93. Forget Your Troubles (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    94. I’ve Got Those Runnin’ Wild Blues (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    95. My Old Man (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    96. My Creole Girl (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    97. Paul Whiteman Blues (1922)
    98. Oh, What a Regular Feller (1922)
    99. My Dixie (1922 - Broadway) w=Sidney D. Mitchell, m=MP
    100. Dandy (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    101. Don’t Be Blue (1922 - Harms) (from Liza)
    102. ‘Bammy (1922 - Goodman &Rose) w=Wm Tracey m=MP (‘Bammy, The Land That Gave Me Mammy)
    103. That’s Your Hips (1923)
    104. My Man, He Knows How to Love (1923)
    105. Mummy Glide, The Tutankamen Fox Trot (1923)
    106. Love Me (1923) (from Liza)
    107. It’s the Last Time, Daddy (1923)
    108. Potomac River Blues (1923 - Down South Music Pub Corp)
    109. Headin’ Home (1923)
    110. He May Be Your Good Man Friday (But He’s Mine On Saturday Night) (1923 - Kay Stern) w=Jillie Raskin, m=MP
    111. When Love Comes Along (1924)
    112. What Makes You Hold It? (1924)
    113. Tight Oscar (1924)
    114. Some Day (1924)
    115. Smiles and Kisses (1924)
    116. Just a Little Movement (1924)
    117. I’ve Fallen in Love with Somebody Else (1924)
    118. I’m Satisfied Beside That Sweetie O’ Mine (1924 - Ager, Yellen, Bornstein) w=Jack Yellen, m=MP
    119. I’ll Tell My Mama If You Don’t Behave (1924)
    120. Hot Tamale Baby (1924)
    121. Falling in Love (1924)
    122. Carolina Man (1924)
    123. Cage of Apes (1924)
    124. Livin’ High - Sometimes (1924 - Clarence Williams) w=Alex Belledna, m=MP
    125. You’re in Wrong With the Right Baby (So You’d Better Kiss Yourself Goodbye) (1925 - Handy) w=Spencer Williams & Alex Belledna, m=MP
    126. Sweet Man (1925 - Feist) w=Roy Turk, m=MP
    127. Sweet Georgia Brown (1925 - Remick) with Ben Bernie & Kenneth Casey
    128. Wait’ll It’s Moonlight (1925 - Broadway) w=Frank Bannister, m=MP
    129. Somebody’s Stolen My Sweet, Sweet Baby (1926 - Remick) w=Lew Brown & Sidney Clare, m=MP
    130. Sincerely Yours (1925 - Remick) w =Alex Belledna & Kenneth Casey, m=MP
    131. Say! Who Is That Baby Doll? (1925)
    132. Pile of Logs and Stone Called Home (1925 - Clarence Williams)
    133. Oh, Molly, Oh Stop Jollyin’ Me (1925)
    134. Make Those Naughty Eyes Behave (1925 - Marks) with Edna Alexander
    135. Just Like a Fool (1925)
    136. I’m a Real Kind Mama (Lookin’ For a Lovin’ Man) (1925 - Triangle) w=Roger Graham, m=MP (no reference to earlier copyrights on the music)
    137. Esmerelda, Who’s Your Beau? (1925)
    138. Does My Sweetie Do - And How (1925 - Shapiro) with Sidney Holden, Alex Belledna & MP
    139. Desdemona, That Personal Friend O’ Mine (1925 - Remick)
    140. Da Da Da Dum Dum Da Dum (1925)
    141. You’re Lovely (1926)
    142. “Gimme” A Little Kiss, Will “Ya” Huh? (1926 - Berlin) with Roy Turk & Jack Smith
    143. Why Did I Go Wrong? (1926)
    144. She Takes Along Her Roller Skates (1926)
    145. Mary Ryan (1926)
    146. Make Me Happy (1926)
    147. Li’l Brown Baby (1926)
    148. I Wonder What's Become of Joe? (1926)
    149. I’ll Get Along as Long as I Have You (1926)
    150. How’d Ya Like to Meet Me in the Moonlight (Aw Come on Let’s Do) (1926 - Bibo, Bloedon & Lang) w=Gene Austin & Sam Coslow, m=MP
  3. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

    151. Just Another Love Affair (1928)
    152. Come on, Baby (1928 - Ager, Yellen & Bornstein) with Archie Gottler & Sidney Clare
    153. The Whole World Knows I Love You (1928 - Berlin) with Archie Gottler & Sidhey Clare
    154. I'm Feelin' Devilish (Oh By Golly Oh) (1928 - Handy)
    155. Jo-Anne (1928 - Shapiro) with Abner Silver & Joe Ward
    156. Joan (1928)
    157. I Won't Give Up 'til You Love Me (1928)
    158. I Wonder (1928 - Berlin) with Abner Silver & Benny Davis
    159. Give and Take (1928)
    160. Down Yonder (1928)
    161. Adorable Dora (1928 - Waterson, Berlin & Snyder) with Archie Gottler & Sidney Clare
    162. You'll Never Be Forgotten (1928) Only organist's copy survives
    163. When I'm Up To My Knees in Clover (1929)
    164. At Twilight (1929 - Gene Austin) w=Wm Tracey m=MP
    165. That Wonderful Boyfriend of Mine (1929 & 1930 - DB&H) w=Wm Tracey m=MP
    166. Never -(1929)
    167. I'll Be a Friend With Pleasure (1930 - Mills)
    168. Congratulations (1930 - DB&H, 1929 - Green & Stept) with Coleman Goetz, Bud Green & Sam H. Stept
    169. Them There Eyes (1930 - Berlin) with Wm Tracey & Doris Tauber
    170. Is That Religion? (1930 - Mills) with Mitchell Parish
    171. The Land Where the Cotton Grows (1930)
    172. Okay, Baby -(1930 - Mills) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    173. Our Cottage Isn't for Sale Anymore (1930)
    174. Tail-Spin (1930)
    175. When You See Lucy (1930)
    176. You Can't Tell the Difference After Dark (1930)
    177. For Me, It's Just Too Bad (1931)
    178. Have You Forgotten the Land Where the Cotton Grows? (1931)
    179. I'm So Sorry (1931 - Pinkard, Inc.) with Murray Rich
    180. Try Getting a Good Night's Sleep (1931)
    181. Strictly Cullud Affair (1932 - Mills)
    182. You Slay Me (1931 - Pinkard Inc. Music Publishers) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    183. Hikin' Home to Hannah (1932)
    184. I Love to See the Evenin' Sun Go Down (so I Can Be With You) (1932 - Harms) with Jack Palmer
    185. I'm Just a Singer of Songs (1932)
    186. I've Formed a Fancy for You (1932)
    187. A Little Like You and a Little Like Me (1934)
    188. It's Just a State of Mind (1935 - Handy) with Bob Shurr & Bob Bricken
    189. I Got Nothing to Do But Love (1936)
    190. Anytime (1937)
    191. Keep Your Chin Up (1937)
    192. Mose Jackson Jones (1937 - Rossiter)
    193. So What? (1937)
    194. Under A Spreading Chestnut Tree (1937)
    195. Sam (That Man What Am) (1939 - Pinkard Publications)
    196. There's No Tellin' (1939 - Pinkard Publications)
    197. Harlem's Poppin' (1940 - Pinkard Publications) w=Wm Tracey, m=MP
    198. I'm Contented Like I Am (1940 - Pinkard Publications) w--Wm Tracey m=MP
    199. New Additions (based on ads for more Pinkard tunes in late publications)
    200. South Seas - foxtrot - w&m= MP and Lois Reid; c. May 23, 1939 E pub 77237 Pinkard Pub, NY (a blue Pacific love song)
    201. You are So Consoling - waltz - w&m= MP and Lois Reid; c. May 23, 1939 E pub 77239 Pinkard Publications, NY
    202. Way Back Home - fox trot ballad - w&m= MP; c. Sept. 25, 1939 E pub 79707 Pink. Pub., NY
    203. That's Music To Me - the rhythm of a big bass drum - foxtrot - w&m= MP and Lois Reid c. Sept. 25, 1939 E pub 79705
    204. Mecca - a fox trot song of the orient - w&m= MP and Maceo Jefferson; c. Sept. 25, 1939 E pub 7970, Pinkard Publications, NY
    205. West Wind - a fox trot ballad - w&m=MP; c. 1 copy Dec 15, 1939, Pinkard Publications, NY c. April 12, 1940 E pub 84348, Pink. Pub, NY
  4. Maceo kin

    Maceo kin New in Town

    What a treasure-trove of fascinating information about my great-uncle! Thank you!
    Maceo Pinkard was the half-brother of my grandfather, Herman Huff, and together they owned Pinkard Publications.

    Here is a picture of Maceo Pinkard with his mother, Mary Pinkard (later Huff). I haven't figured out who the woman on the right is.
    I'm sure we have more photos. This is a snapshot of one that is hanging in my house now.
  5. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Small Town Ohio, USA
    Now that's cool. Small World.
  6. One of my favorite Maceo Pinkard compositions.

  7. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

    Thank you for the photo, Maceo kin! I will pin it to my Pinterest board! And, yes, I would appreciate any more photos that you can find and I will pin them all up so that it is preserved online for anyone's use and research.

    This is the only photo I've found online and I'm not sure if it is your Uncle Maceo or not:


    So did you actually know him?

    Please keep in touch.
  8. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

  9. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

  10. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

  11. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

  12. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

  13. Jack Hylton and his Orchestra -- Come On, Baby
    vocal by Sam Browne

  14. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

    Gopher Prairie, MI
    isn't that just a bit -POLITE-?

    [video=youtube;FaXWSz_yJis] [/video]
  15. Maceo kin

    Maceo kin New in Town

    What fabulous video links! Thanks for sharing them.

    Yes, that photo is definitely him. We're going to have to excavate my mother's attic to find more. I'll keep you posted on the progress. She was 22 when Uncle Maceo died.
  16. Stormy

    Stormy A-List Customer

    460 Laverne Terrace
    WOW! Now, this is why I love The Lounge soooooooo much!

    People have asked me questions about events, places, and people in history. If I don't have answers, I don't tell them to search online or go to the library. I insist they go to
  17. JuLINDY

    JuLINDY New in Town

    Hi Futwick. I've just joined Fedora Lounge. Fantastic post this. Thanks for sharing your research. I'm only beginning to understand the amount of material that Maceo Pinkard composed. May I ask you, for some reason I cannot find the full score (not just a guitar tabs version) to Sugar (That Sugay Baby Of Mine) anywhere on the internet, which I think is very strange seeing as it's a standard. Have you any idea where I might find a copy?
    Thanks millions
  18. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

    Hi JuLindy, here's the best I can do for right now but I'll keep digging.

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