Mingus, Big Maybelle and Other Points of Interest

We all appreciate knowledgeable dealers who understand what they’re selling and can provide us with insight about the collectibles market. Here’s an example: I was recently looking through eBay and saw a Charles Mingus record I had never seen before. The title is “Music Written For Monterey, 1965. Not Heard … Played In Its Entirety at UCLA,” East Coasting 12.001.

 The dealer offering this LP was Stereojacks, which I happen to know through my many travels to Boston.  Stereojacks is based in Cambridge and is one of the more reputable and knowledgeable dealers in the country. This is their explanation of the record:

 “In 1966 Charles Mingus offered four privately released LPs on his Charles Mingus label through mail order. Three of them were subsequently re-released nationally by Fantasy, but this one never was. Reportedly only a few hundred of the UCLA album were sold. In the early 1980’s, East Coasting’s Fred Cohen collaborated with the Mingus estate to make this album available once again, albeit very briefly. In addition to reproducing the original cover art (and a gatefold cover not on the original), a 7″ EP of “They Trepass the Land of the Sacred Sioux,” recorded at Monterey 9/18/65, and never released elsewhere, was included. The performance features Mingus rehearsing the ensemble and performing the pieces “Meditations On Inner Peace,” “Once Upon a Time There Was a Holding Corporation Called Old America,” “Ode To Bird and Dizzy,” “They Trespass the Land of the Sacred Sioux,” “The Arts of Tatum and Freddie Webster,” “Don’t Be Afraid The Clown’s Afraid Too,” and “Don’t Let It Happen Here.” The band includes Lonnie Hillyer, Hobart Dotson, Jimmy Owens (trumpets), Howard Johnson (tuba), Julius Watkins (French horn), Charles McPherson (alto sax), Charles Mingus (bass & piano), Dannie Richmond (drums). This is a fascinating and essential document of the true original that was Charles Mingus.”

 The record sold for a price of $92. Here’s the original listing and our thanks to Stereojacks for the insight.

 In the same spirit, we were listing some records yesterday and ran into gaps in our knowledge. One was a simple fix. The record was Billie Holiday, Stay With Me, Verve 8302. As sometimes happens with the Verves, the musicians were not listed. We consulted with The Jazz Discography by Tom Lord for the answer. Accompanying Billie on this date are Charlie Shavers, Tony Scott, Budd Johnson, Billy Taylor, Billy Bauer, Leonard Gaskin and Cozy Cole. Here’s the listing.

 The other record that tested our knowledge was called The Blues, Mamie Webster Sings W.C. Handy, Cub 8002.  Not only had we never heard of Mamie Webster, we’d never even seen a record on the Cub label. We did a few searches on the Internet for answers.

 Mamie Webster, it turns out, was a pseudonym for the blues singer Big Maybelle. Big Maybelle’s real name was Mabel Louise Smith, so how she because Mamie Webster is anybody’s guess. But, apparently, it’s a name she used more than once. The Cub label, from what we can tell, was a subsidiary label to MGM. We could only find a list of nine LPs, plus 78s and 45s, mostly early rock and R&B. We tried to find other copies of the record on eBay, but there weren’t any. We were able to locate one copy on GEMM, which was being offered for $150. We put a start price of $30 on our copy, with no reserve. Here it is if you want to see what a Cub record looks like.

 That’s it for today. See you tomorrow with a newsletter and our weekly give-away. — Al

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