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Monday, March 21, 2011

Chick Bullock Part 1..........

 Chick Bullock

Chick Bullock was a prolific vocalist from the '30s, whose entire career seems somewhat shrouded in mystery and confusion. Even the details of his birth provoke wide geographical disagreement, perhaps if only to preserve the reputation of a corrupt typesetter somewhere. A reliable jazz biographical source says he hailed from Butte, MT, adding another name to the list of musical talent proud to hail from a state better known for cattle ranching and remote speed labs. Before Montana gets too proud, however, consider an alternate version of his birth, which names a place called Mutte, MA as the spot. Commonly, Bullock is described as being particularly shy of publicity, a sort of Howard Hughes type who vanished into the Los Angeles real estate business rather than remain in the spotlight.

Such descriptions of Bullock's life tend to leave out the fact that he suffered from an eye disease that disfigured his face; obviously, something of a kiss of death for a performer in a genre known for handsome frontline singers. This meant that Bullock was banished to the recording studios. He made the most of it, and was responsible for some 500 sides. His group Chick Bullock's Levee Loungers was strictly a studio all-stars affair. Bullock's list of associates are top-flight indeed: he sang with Duke Ellington, but turned down Paul Whiteman. He also recorded with artists such as Luis Russell and Cab Calloway, and featured a host of jazz heavyweights on his own records including trumpeters Bunny Berigan and Bill Coleman, trombonists Jack Teagarden and Tommy Dorsey, saxophonist Jimmy Dorsey, violinist Joe Venuti, and guitarist Eddie Lang.

All this might excite the average jazz fan, but it wasn't what Bullock's proper British parents had wanted. Their goal was for him to become a doctor, a notion that vanished into thin air when the lad became fascinated with vaudeville. Initially, his singing skills led to engagements as an intermission singer in movie theaters, ironically leading to some parts in silent films. Once he got into the studios, he became so busy that he had to use pseudonyms to avoid flooding the market with his material. One such name was Sleepy Hall, with Bullock vocalizing on sides by Sleepy Hall & His Orchestra, Sleepy Hall & His Collegians, and Sleepy Hall and His Melody Boys.  He even performed on some recordings by Cuban rhumba band Antobal's Cubans.  For those recordings,  Bullock was credited under the pseudonym "Chiquito Bullo."

Chick Bullock was the house vocalist for the American Record Corporation (ARC), a company which found success in an industry devastated by the Depression through its "dime store" subsidiary labels which were sold at bargain prices through discount chains and mail order houses such as Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward.  By the mid 1930s, ARC had managed to acquire all of the surviving 1920s era American record labels with the sole exception of Victor.    Bullock recorded with a variety of  ARC bands as well as his own band, the Levee Loungers, which was comprised of ARC studio musicians. Bullock had an extremely prolific recording output. After ARC was acquired by the Columbia Broadcasting System in late 1938, Bullock continued to record for the company until early 1940s when the musicians' union went on strike against the record industry making solo work in the record studios almost impossible.

Bullock's career ended,  since he was unwilling to take to the live stage. His only option would have been to work only with vocal groups. Moving to California and selling real estate seemed more appealing to him.

 Another favourite vocalist long overdue for a list......I give you Part 1 :)

(Back home again in) Indiana 1
(Back home again in) Indiana 2
Ain'tcha glad
All I do is dream of you
Amapola (pretty little poppy)
Annie doesn't live here anymore
Any time, any day, anywhere
Are you makin' any money
As long as you're there
Bend down sister
Between the devil and the deep blue sea
Blue bayou
Blue moon
Blue prelude
Bubbling over with love
Come to me
Cryin myself to sleep
Cuban belle
Delta bound
Did you ever see a dream walking
Don't tell her
The better to love you my dear
The boogie man



  1. Hi there, a few days ago i posted a comment. Possebly somthing went wrong and you never saw it. So i'm giving it another try. Maybe you spotted me in the "live traffic feed "list" as that visitor from Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant. Love this Blog enormously. It just fits my taste of music and as a fusspot i am the discographics and bio's are very welcome. Like a hint? Over here in the Netherlands it's for one reason or another very hard to get W.C.Handy originals. So performed by the master himself. Maybe you......
    Thanks anyway, for all the good work, appreciate it very much. Greetings, Adrian.

  2. No, perhaps it didn't post, as I didn't see anything from you. Thank You so much! I'm glad you like the page. Hmmmm...W.C. Handy? I'll see what I can do. :)