Theodore Dudley "Red" Saunders was a Jazz drummer and bandleader born in Memphis, Tennesee. Over the course of his long career he worked with such notables as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Woody Herman, and recorded with Big Joe Turner. There is an amazing write-up on Red and his discography here that I won't even try to touch: http://hubcap.clemson.edu/~campber/saunders.html
|Promo for the original Hambone release|
"More correctly, it's the 'patted juba' rhythm, which got it's first airing in this country as the popular "shave and a haircut, two bits" beat when it was popularized by black shoeshine boys. Kids would slap the rhythm, using their legs, stomachs and chests as drums. Because the hambone off the hog was a popular item in poor Southern households for flavoring and thickening a pot of greens, the name somehow got attached to the juba rhythm by the time it reached Southside Chicago's schoolyards."
- "What Was The First Rock N' Roll Record?", Jim Dawson and Steve Propes
By the way, What Was the First Rock 'N' Roll Record? is a great book and I highly recommend it for those you you looking to learn more about early Rock. Spoiler alert: there is no first Rock N' Roll record! Now back to Hambone..
After "Hambone" popularized the juba rhythm, it was famously used by Bo Diddley in 1955 for his "Bo Diddley" on Checker - openning the floodgates for juba-based Rock songs. To name a few: Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away", Johnny Otis's "Willie and The Hand Jive", the Strageloves' "I Want Candy", and The Stooges "1969". And the kids still love that crazy beat!
|The Hambone Kids with Red on the drums|
The other side of this record is a rather odd pairing - a version of Link Wray's "Rumble" titled "Rumble Mambo". Since we already talked about Link a bit here, I'll skip the biographical info. Link Wray released a few versions of "Rumble" over his career in an attempt to capitalize on it's popularity. This particular version has a great flavor that sets it apart from the others.
|Flier for one of Link Wray's last gigs|
And now, the clips!
Hambone (Alternate Take)