Hal KEMP & His Orch. - Remember Me?
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In 1922 young Hal entered UNC university where he soon met three freshmen who were to become important to him a few years later - Horace Dowell, Robert Ennis and John Trotter. In 1924 Kemp assembled a ten-piece band and secured an engagement to play on ocean liners. Kemp returned to UNC in 1926 but the lure of music was too great and along with Dowell, Ennis and Trotter, he put together another band. Then in 1932 yet another long engagement came their way when they opened at Chicago’s famous Blackhawk Restaurant. They broadcast four nights a week, usually for two hours at a time, over the powerful WGN station which could be heard on the West Coast. It was during the time in Chicago that the band’s unique style was perfected. John Trotter (the middle ‘Scott’ came later) left the band at the end of 1935 to go to Hollywood, as did Skinnay Ennis in late 1937 to form his own band. There was a brief foray into Hollywood when the band appeared in the moderately successful RKO movie "Radio Revels", released early in 1938. Kemp’s last engagement was at the Cocanut Grove in Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel in 1940. The band closed on December 19 and Hal decided to drive overnight to be in San Francisco the next day where they were due to open at the Mark Hopkins Hotel. He was fatally injured in a head-on crash and died two days later. Trotter and Ennis rushed to San Francisco to help out with the band during its appearance at the Hopkins, and singer Bob Allen also took over for a short while afterwards, followed by Art Jarrett, but without the man himself leading, the Kemp magic had gone.
Some of the magic created by that tall, slender, softly-spoken Southern gentleman and his orchestra can be heard once more in the recordings in this collection. Those stuttering, staccato trumpets are particularly prominent on such titles as "Shuffle Off To Buffalo", "Got A Date With An Angel" and "Pocketful Of Dreams", as well as the intricate reed figures. Trotter’s piano is simplistically displayed on "Torch Song", "Heart Of Stone" and "Strange". What a delight it is to hear Skinnay Ennis at his out-of-breath best on "Hands Across The Table" and "Remember Me", whilst still in the vocal department, note Fredda Gibson on "If It’s Good" - she later became known as Georgia Gibbs. The last track was Kemp’s sign-off. Never again will it be ‘The same time, the same place’.
1. SHUFFLE OFF TO BUFFALO
2. WHEN THE MORNING ROLLS AROUND
3. HEY! YOUNG FELLA
4. HAPPY TIMES
5. I'VE GOT TO SING A TORCH SONG
6. A HEART OF STONE
8. GOT A DATE WITH AN ANGEL
9. HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE
10. YOU'RE THE TOP
11. LULLABY OF BROADWAY v. Bob Allen
12. THE MUSIC GOES 'ROUND AND AROUND v. Saxie Dowell
13. IT'S THE NATURAL THING TO DO
14. REMEMBER ME?
16. GOODNIGHT ANGEL v. Bob Allen
17. I'VE GOT A POCKETFUL OF DREAMS v. Judy Starr
18. BLUE MOONLIGHT
19. THREE LITTLE FISHIES v. The Smoothies
20. IF IT'S GOOD (THEN I WANT IT) v. Fredda Gibson
21. LOVE FOR SALE v. The Smoothies
22. LET'S DO IT v. The Smoothies
23. IT ALL COMES BACK TO ME NOW v. Bob Allen
24. THE SAME TIME, THE SAME PLACE / HOW I'LL MISS YOU WHEN THE SUMMER IS GONE
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