12 January 2016


Does your band play Postage Stomp? If not, how about giving it a try? It's a bright, chirpy, conventional 32-bar number, easy to pick up and improvise on. It has a familiar chord pattern - very similar to that of Has Anybody Seen My Girl?

Maynard Baird's 'Orchestra' - an obscure but very slick outfit - was based in Knoxville, Tennessee; and in April 1930 Postage Stomp was one of two tunes they recorded for the Vocalion label. I have been unable to discover beyond doubt who composed Postage Stomp. One source gives 'Goebel and Johnston'. So it seems a very reasonable inference that they were Sam Goble and Vic Johnston - trumpet player and pianist respectively in Baird's band. You can enjoy the recording (complete with some visual entertainment) by clicking on here. Impressive performances are given by Buddy Thayer on banjo, Harold Taft on baritone saxophone, Horace Ogle on trombone and Ebb Grubb on sousaphone. But the whole performance is polished, using a well-crafted written arrangement that treats the 32-bar theme in a variety of ways. Maynard Baird (who appears to have been the conductor and leader) chose to pitch the tune rather high - in the key of F.
From a newsreel (with no sound track):
A tantalising glimpse of Maynard and some members of his Orchestra
My attention was drawn to this tune because Tuba Skinny seem to have added it recently to their repertoire. But they have opted for the key of Bb, which strikes me as more comfortable. Listen to their delightfully brisk performance by clicking here.

(With thanks to my friend Carsten Pigott for supplying some of the historical information. In his turn, Carsten asks me to give the 'real credit to the majestic work of the great Brian Rust, without whose meticulous research we would all still be flailing around in the dark in these matters'. Thanks also to RaoulDuke504 - maker of the Tuba Skinny video.)