About this Recording
8.120658 - HERMAN, Woody: Get Your Boots Laced Papa! (1938-1943)

Woody Herman, Vol. 2
Get Your Boots Laced Papa! –
Original 1938-1943 Recordings


A major player in the broader, commercial canopy of jazz, during his long career Woody Herman underwent several metamorphoses and, surviving various vicissitudes remained in the vanguard of American popularity as "the best white band of the Big Band Era". In his youth almost universally recognised as an ace clarinettist, during the Swing Era he was admired for his individuality of style and for the innovation, versatility and distinctive timbre of his playing. Latterly, and perhaps more famously still, this noted "talent-spotter" converted Dixieland to Progressive and went on to structure and organise the longest-running, most innovative big-band in jazz history. Between 1937 and 1952, he charted with more than fifty hits.

Woody was born Woodrow Charles Herman in Milwaukee on 13 May 1913, the son of a shoemaker. Encouraged in music by his family, he also had from the start the advantage of a precocious musical talent which showed itself simultaneously in more than one direction. After early experience as a child-singer and tap-dancer on the vaudeville stages of his native-town and music-hall circuits of the Midwest from the age of eight, he at last came face to face with jazz in his own home town. At twelve he had already mastered the saxophone prior to taking up the clarinet with even greater distinction. Billed 'The Boy Wonder Of The Clarinet', he quickly evolved a solo routine and at fourteen, while still a high-school student, joined his first band.

Woody studied at the Marquette School of Music in Milwaukee and from his mid-teens onwards played in a variety of locally active commercial society outfits, including Myron Stewart's at the Blue Heaven Club and, in 1930, Tom Gerun's at the Schroeder Hotel (in this last his fledgling fellow vocalists included Ginny Simms and saxophonist Tony Martin). Soon in demand himself not only as a clarinettist-saxophonist but also as a vocalist in his own right, from 1931 he toured with Gus Arnheim's Los Angeles-based Cocoanut Grove Orchestra in both capacities. Following a spell in Chicago with Harry Sosnik, in 1934 he was appointed saxophonist-vocalist with Isham Jones's renowned 'sweet' band and, more significantly, became a member of Isham Jones' Juniors, the small jazz group within the band with whom he made his first records, eight sides for Decca, early in 1936. When Jones retired later that same year to his Colorado ranch, the band temporarily folded until resurrected — at first as a co-operative — by a nucleus of its leading former sidemen with Herman at its helm.

The Jones style was initially still apparent in Herman's first outfit, 'The Band That Plays The Blues' but by 1937, the high summer of Swing, thanks largely to Woody's outstanding skill as an organiser and integrator of talent, the band was playing alternately sweet and hot with equal success. Effectively a swing big-band with a superimposed Dixieland flavour comparable to that of Bob Crosby, it held its own with the competition. During 1937 Herman gave the world a first inkling of his native talent for fronting a band and in December of that year his first hit "I Double Dare You" charted at No. 18. In purely discographic terms, however, his first true milestone was reached in 1939 with his trademark hit "At The Woodchoppers' Ball". A collaboration by Herman and his flugelhorn-player and arranger Joe Bishop (1907-1976), this provided him with a recognisable signature-tune and (by 1948) his first Golden Disc.

The first Herman band housed two noted jazz small groups within its larger framework: The Four Chips (a quintet comprising Herman, Linehan, White, Yoder and Carlson, heard here on Chips' Boogie Woogie, Elise and Yardbird Shuffle) and The Woodchoppers (a septet featuring Herman, Lewis, Reid, Linehan, White, Yoder and Carlson, on South and Fan It). However, while consistently never less than jazz-inspired, Herman kept an eye firmly fixed on other more commercial requirements. With this full-scale pre-1944 (i.e. pre-First Herd) band he steadily carved a reputation with a succession of other jazz-swing titles in the American popular charts, including, in 1940, "Blues On Parade", "Looking For Yesterday" and Get Your Boots Laced, Papa (No. 27); in 1941, "Frenesí" and his other theme-tune "Blue Flame"; in 1942, "By-U, By-O" and Amen (No. 5) and, during 1943, Four Or Five Times (at No. 14) and, both at No. 21, I Dood It and a chart re-entry of "At The Woodchoppers' Ball" during the musicians' strike.

In addition to blues and jazz-orientated items, a staple early-1940s Herman programme also featured a significant cross-section of popular Tin Pan Alley war-effort and film repertoire. Into these categories fall his fine versions of "Rose O'Day" and "Someone's Rockin' My Dreamboat" as well as two hit songs from the 1941 Oscar-winning Abbot & Costello-Andrews Sisters vehicle Buck Privates and, one of his greatest — if uncharted — successes: the Academy Award-nominated Johnny Mercer—Harold Arlen title-song from the 1941 Warner melodrama Blues In The Night.

Peter Dempsey, 2003



The Golden Wedding (La Cinquantaine) (Gabriel Marie, arr. Jiggs Noble)
Decca 3436, mx 68328-AA
Recorded 9 November 1940, New York

Indian Boogie Woogie (Woody Herman)
Decca 2250, mx 64632-A
Recorded 22 December 1938, New York

Big-Wig In The Wigwam (Roe Alexander - Kenneth Case - Byron Bradley)
Decca 2440, mx 65380-A
Recorded 12 April 1940, New York

Get Your Boots Laced Papa (Woody Herman - Joe Bishop)
Decca 3187, mx 67589A/90-A
Recorded 18 April 1940, New York

Five O'Clock Whistle (Kim Gannon - Josef Myrow - Gene Irwin)
Decca 3436, mx 68160-A
Recorded 27 September 1940, New York

Chips' Boogie Woogie (Woody Herman)
Decca 3577, mx 68057-A
Recorded 9 September 1940, New York

Everything Happens To Me (Matt Dennis - Tom Adair)
Decca 3693, mx 68806-A
Recorded 11 March 1941, New York

South (Bennie Moten - Thamon Hayes)
Decca 3761, mx 68699-A
Recorded 13 February 1941, New York

Fan It (Frankie Jaxon - Dan Howell)
Decca 3761, mx 68700-A
Recorded 13 February 1941, New York

Misirlou (N. Roubanis - Fred Wise - Milton Leeds - S.K. Russell)
Decca 4024, mx DLA 2735-A
Recorded 5 September 1941, Los Angeles

Elise (Beethoven - James A. Noble)
Decca 4353, mx DLA 2709-A
Recorded 28 August 1941, Los Angeles

Yardbird Shuffle (James A. Noble)
Decca 4353, mx DLA 2750-A
Recorded 10 September 1941, Los Angeles

Amen (Roger Segure - Bill Hardy - Vic Schoen)
Decca 18346, mx 70619-A
Recorded 2 April 1942, New York

Ten Day Furlough (Lowell Martin)
Decca 18544, mx DLA 2737-A
Recorded 5 September 1941, Los Angeles

Ooch Ooch A Goon Attach (The Backward Song) (Yad O Esor) (Sbocaj Yor)
Decca 18364, mx 70694-A
Recorded 23 April 1942, New York

I Dood It (Jack Owens)
Decca 18506, mx L 3168-AA
Recorded 31 July 1942, Los Angeles

Four Or Five Times (Marco H. Hellman - Byron Gay)
Decca 18526, mx L 3123-A
Recorded 24 July 1942, Los Angeles

Who Dat Up Dere? (Walter Kent - Bob Russell)
Decca 18619, mx 71503-A
Recorded 8 November 1943, New York

Jukin' (Woody Herman - Bob Mersey)
Decca 3272, mx 67588-A
Recorded 18 April 1940, New York


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