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Eddie Elkins Orchestra: The Sneak

June 4, 2010

Eddie Elkins Orchestra
The Sneak

Recorded in 1922

Eddie Elkins was a minor dance-band leader who was fairly successful in the early 1920s, but then retired from the musical world to go into the stock market in 1932. His obituary in the New York Times (he died in 1984) makes him sound like one of the great names in American musical history, but then that’s what obituaries are for.

Born in San Francisco, Mr. Elkins was among the first to develop the use of elaborately arranged dance numbers for orchestras. He was also alert to new talent and under his baton musicians such as Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Red Nichols, Oscar Levant, Mannie Kline and others honed their techniques.

It is at any rate interesting that a man who had been out of the music business for more than half a century nevertheless wanted to be remembered as a bandleader. The obituary says literally nothing about his life from 1932 to 1984. Children, learn this lesson from Mr. Elkins: Music is more important than the stock market.

This particular record is a clever novelty number, with an effective plodding beat that conjures up a musical picture of a Victorian melodrama villain peering out from behind his cape as he pauses in mid-stalk to twirl his mustache. It’s a bit scratchy from sitting in unsorted flea-market stacks, but not enough to ruin our enjoyment of the music.


From → Hot Dance

  1. Larry permalink

    Great stuff!

    Also children, realize you don’t make a decent living as a musician, but music is something you can do the rest of your life.

  2. Javier Soria permalink

    There’s also some versions of this tune recorded that year by Clyde Doerr’s Club Royal Band for Victor and Emil Coleman’s Society Orchestra for Vocalion and a Bernard Etté’s Orchestra version recorded for the german label Vox on 1923.

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