13 January 2016


That spirited song Everybody Loves My Baby is in the repertoire of most traditional jazz bands. It is one that has stood the test of time. Why? Because it has a neat, memorable, repetitive melody, making clever use of a minor chord and its related major. The words are appealing and easy to learn. It even has a far better verse than many of the popular songs of its time.

Everybody Loves My Baby was composed in 1922 by Jack Palmer and Spencer Williams. Looking at a copy of the original piano sheet music, I'm impressed at how faithfully today's bands keep to the original, even many decades later. This is something rarely achieved!

I think it is partly because most musicians know the lyrics; and those lyrics fix in our minds the correct notes of the tune.

We find that Williams and Palmer published it in the key of G (with much use of the related E minor chord). Our jazz bands tend to prefer the key of F (with D minor), because this is easier for tuning and fingering.

The original sheet music offers an eight-bar Introduction and a couple of bars or repeatable 'patter' before the Verse. We now tend to discard these. But we play the 16-bar Verse (I'm as happy as a king, feelin' good 'n' ev'rything) pretty much as written.
The Chorus has a standard  A - A - B - A structure, with the A Sections dominated by that 'Minor' flavour.

The 'Middle Eight' is very effective, with the repeated, stuttering, notes (mainly on the tonic, though with changing chords beneath them.)

And the tune ends well.

'Fine,' you say. 'But is there any chance of hearing a really great band such as Tuba Skinny playing this tune?'

Yes, there is! It's on YouTube and we must be grateful to that excellent video-maker codenamed WildBill for putting it there. It's a storming performance (in the key of F). Shaye sets a cracking pace and is on her very best form, both in playing and in directing the traffic (note the Chorus in which she trades fours with Barnabus). Erika provides the vocal. There's even the bonus of Ben Polcer playing superbly on piano. In this version, they have chosen to omit the Verse, but who cares about that? CLICK HERE TO VIEW IT.