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28 April 2017


The morning started with a run through the new additions to YouTube from some of our favourite video-makers.

I soon had a very pleasant surprise. Louisiana-based RaoulDuke504 had filmed Maddy and Her Jazz Friends in the French Quarter on 27 April 2017, performing Call Me Back, Pal o' Mine. I do not think I had ever heard this song before, and certainly not played by a jazz band.
So it is yet another obscure tune from long ago. Maddy has a knack for unearthing really good ones. Remember Hold You Hand, Madam Khan, Baltimore and Buy Me a Zeppelin?

This tune, Call Me Back, Pal o' Mine, struck me as very pleasant indeed. It has a good melody and it feels as though it is based on familiar chord changes that should present no difficulty to jazzmen. So I hope very much that other bands will adopt it - with or without the vocal. You can watch Maddy's performance BY CLICKING HERE.

I immediately contacted that great benefactor of traditional jazz musicians the world over - Lasse Collin. He has made leadsheets for hundreds of tunes freely available to us on his website. I was so pleased that he also liked the tune and promised to produce a leadsheet for it without delay. A few hours later, he had completed the job, and he let me know that the result can be found at:
Meanwhile, I had sought out the origin of the song and found that it was recorded in 1922, having been composed in 1921 by Harold Dixon, with words by Lawrence Perricone.

Maddy sings and plays it (in the key of Bb) in 4/4 time. But it seems it was composed as a WALTZ (as, indeed several of our 4/4 tunes originally were).

To hear a lovely but ancient piano roll recording of it (played in Ab) in lilting waltz time, CLICK HERE.

There is also an early Gennett waltz-tempo recording available BY CLICKING HERE.

In 1949, the song was recorded (this time in the key of F) by blues guitar legend Blind Willie McTell. You can hear it BY CLICKING HERE. My guess was that Maddy had probably learnt the song from this version; and indeed she has kindly confirmed this was so. In an email she kindly told me: 'Yes, I did learn it from the Blind Willie McTell recording which was on a compilation my dad listened to all the time when I was growing up.'

Conclusion: let's start playing this tune, with a big thank you to Maddy for reviving it, to Randy for filming it, and to Lasse for working out a leadsheet.


Do not confuse this song with Dear Old Pal of Mine, composed during the First World War by Lieutenant Gitz Rice while he was serving in Belgium - though his song also went on to be famous at the time. If you seek it out on YouTube, you will find it is a quite different song from the one sung by Maddy.