Sphinx / Deep Blue Sea Blues

The Vitality Five presents a new series of monthly releases which harks back to the custom of releasing music on double-sided 78rpm shellac records.  The band now presents a series of “e-78”s every month, of two tracks each.  This month’s release is now available from:


This month’s release kicks off with a composition originally recorded in London in 1919 by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and written by one J Berni Barbour, who was, interestingly, the first African-American to run his own music publishing company.  His “Sphinx” is a early jass-style romp through a variety of sections fitting in with the exotic motif of the 1920s.  David Horniblow is featured on clarinet and Michael McQuaid on very authentic period cornet playing, along with well researched and exciting late teens drumming from Nick Ball.  For contrast, the “flip side” is “Deep Blue Sea Blues,” a lovely blues number written by the blues singer Clara Smith.  The Five’s version is inspired by the Goofus Five, a late 1920s small group made of members of the famous California Ramblers, one of the most prolific recording bands of the era.  Michael McQuaid demonstrates his versatility here with a beautiful alto sax style in the style of the nearly forgotten Bobby Davis along with a typically masterful banjo solo by Martin Wheatley and some lovely clarinet and bass saxophone solos to conclude the track.

Posted in e78

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