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The Recordings of Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy$
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George Burrows

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199335589

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199335589.001.0001

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‘Until the Real Thing Comes Along’

‘Until the Real Thing Comes Along’

Pop Songs and Authenticity, 1936–1949

(p.128) Chapter 3 ‘Until the Real Thing Comes Along’
The Recordings of Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy

George Burrows

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the recordings of Kirk’s band from ‘Until the Real Thing Comes Along’, a ‘special’ ballad that Kirk convinced Decca to record in 1936, to the disbanding of the Clouds of Joy in 1949. It primarily addresses the band’s commercial successes with vocal records, which increasingly dominated their Decca releases after 1936. The chapter shows how the popular vocals speak (or sing) loudest of the position and actions of a black band operating within a racist music industry and society. By considering the sweet-styled vocals relative to the band’s rapidly diminishing hot jazz output, this chapter challenges the enduring critical notion that Kirk’s band sold out on black-jazz authenticity with their turn to popular vocal recordings. Instead, it suggests how they found new ways to Signify on their situation within the racist culture in which they operated.

Keywords:   ballads, ‘Until the Real Thing Comes Along’, Pha Terrell, falsetto, jazz singing, crooning, June Richmond, ‘McGhee Special’, Jubalaires, Killer Diller

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