Today a few words about a rare 'celebrity' album that is actually good. No surprise really, because it comes from musician-actor Benjamin Sherman 'Scatman' Crothers. Crothers started entertaining by playing drums, guitar and piano (as well as ukulele) in the 1930's and '40's, moved on to acting in films and even leant his voice to everything from Saturday-morning kid's cartoons to Ralph Bakshi's Coonskin.
I had wanted to put this whole lp online a year ago or so, but then it came out on CD combined with other tracks of his and I put it aside as a post idea. The re-release unfortunately left off some cuts from the original record Rock and Roll with Scatman, on Tops records (home of the infamous DJ favorite If the Bomb Falls), and now, even though my copy isn't in the greatest shape (I prefer to call ones like this 'well-loved') I want to play you the three cuts that I believe are missing from the re-release, and that, due to the overall good quality of the record, should be heard a little more. I've enjoyed this one for years and years, particularly the lead-off cut of 'Ghost Riders in the Sky', which invites frequent DJing with its unusual take on the song.
A friend of Jack Nicholson for years, Crothers appeared in four movies with him, culminating in The Shining, one of the best thrillers ever. Imagine the amusing jams they must have had at Jack's pad (at least in my mind). Anyhoo, this record doesn't so much rock with Scatman as it instead Swings Really Hard, which is just as good or better in my book. His backing is first-rate, and in particular note the lovely soft-beater tom work by either Milt Holland or Jack Sperling on the moving version of St. James Infirmary. These three songs are some of the slower/softer cuts on the lp and I can see how they got left off of the reissue in favor of the more uptempo numbers. I hope you enjoy 'em, and if so definitely look into getting the rest of the album, really a very fun jazz record from the 1950's.