Sissle & Blake Sing
Winner of the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Album Notes
“A treat that bubbles over with energized performances and sprightly melodies. Affection, pride, and nostalgia are palpable when we hear the writers perform these numbers.”- Rob Lester, Talkin’ Broadway
“This 64- minute CD is A MUST for theater and early jazz collectors.” – Steve Ramm, Anything Phonographic The only available archival recording of the groundbreaking musical, available for purchase or download.
1921’s all-black musical comedy, Shuffle Along, was the most successful Broadway show of its time. The score contained the future standards “I’m Just Wild About Harry” and “Love Will Find a Way.” It marked the emergence of a new black musical theater, and desegregated theatres in New York and across the country.
A new Broadway revival of Shuffle Along opened in April of 2016 with Tony Award-winning stars Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell, but sadly, a cast album was never recorded. Instead, Harbinger Records offers the only available archival recording of the original 1921 groundbreaking musical.
The recording features the show’s composers, Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, as well as members of the original cast. This is the show exactly as heard on Broadway in 1921 though many of the cuts were recorded by the composers in 1950, making the sound exemplary.
The show transformed Broadway. Business was so good that three weeks into the run the company cancelled the Wednesday matinees and added Wednesday midnight performances that were heavily attended by theatrical folk. A few weeks later, all the matinees were cancelled. Shuffle Along soon grew into the most successful show playing on Broadway with a weekly gross averaging $13,000 a week against $7,500 in weekly expenses (once the show was a verified smash the top ticket price was raised to $3.00). Shuffle Along finally closed after playing 504 performances, an astounding run at the time. It was so successful that the 63rd Street, where the show played, was made into a one-way street to alleviate the traffic jams along Broadway and Central Park West.
“Sissle and Blake are amazingly magnetic even when they’re tossing off renditions not meant for release. Content to play professional, elegant accompaniment most of the time, Blake seems to relish these breaks, leaping out like a rodeo bull from the gate, transitioning in an instant to the most intricate, bouncy and unmistakably authentic Harlem stride piano.” – David R. Adler, New York Jazz Record
1. Shuffle Along Medley
2. Election Day*
3. Election Day in Jimtown
4. I’m Just Simply Full of Jazz
5. Love Will Find a Way
6. Bandana Days*
7. Mirandy/In Honeysuckle Time*
8. Gypsy Blues*
9. Shuffle Along Medley (Entr’actre) (Love Will Find a Way, Baltimore Buzz, Bandana Ways, I’m Just Wild About Harry, Gypsy Blues, Love Will Find a Way)
10. Shuffle Along*
11. I’m Just Wild About Harry
12. Jimtown Fisticuffs
13. If You’ve Never Been Vamped by a Brownskin*
14. Oriental Blues
15. I’m Craving for That Kind of Love*
16. Low Down Blues
17. Ain’t You Comin’ Back to Maryland, Mary Ann?*
18. Baltimore Buzz
19. Pickaninny Shoes
20. Daddy Won’t You Please Come Home
21. Fourth of July in Jimtown
* Recorded for the Shuffle Along of 1950 demonstration recording.