American Fingerstyle Guitarist

The King Of Bongo Bong

The King Of Bongo Bong


Sonet SNKF 137

Kicking Mule KM 144

Re-released on CD  8 January 2011
Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop


CD available from the Online Store

For MP3 Download version Click Here




01 New Righteous Blues  3:25
02 Crazy Rhythm  3:09
03 I Found A New Baby  3:52
04 No Love  2:00
05 There’ll Be Some Changes Made  3:10
06 See You In My Dreams  2:45
01 I Ain’t Got Nobody  3:17
02 Mama’s Getting Younger Papa’s Getting Older Each Day  3:05
03 Immaculate Conception Rag  2:35
04 River Blues  3:21
05 Chicken Ain’t Nothin’ But A Bird  3:13
06 King Of The Bongo Bong  3:18
07 Business As Usual  2:22


Duck Baker – guitar and vocals
Stefan Grossman – lead guitar on New Righteous Blues and River Blues
Mike Piggott – Violin
Sleeve design and illustration bt Bob Wagner
Recorded at Livingston Studio, London, England
Engineered by Nic Kinsey
Produced by Stefan Grossman

Rightous BIues is a deeply spiritual testimonial composed by the great blues-ragtime guitarist Blind Blake, who was active in Chicago at a time when a great spiritual awakening was sweeping that city (the late twenties.) The version features some new verses which are the fruit of many hours of meditation and inner searching on my part. This is not to make claims concerning my own high level of spiritual developement, but if anyone is interestqd in purchasing indulgences, they should contact me do Juan Tibet, General Delivery, West Derush, New Mixico. Rates are more than competitive, and installment plan financing is available in most cases.

I have heard that Crazy Rhythm was originally a protest song against the birth position of the Catholic Church on birth control, but this may not be entirely accurate. In any case it’s a great tune to play on. This arrangement was worked up with San Francisco guitarist Thorn Keats. I think too we both were into a recording that featured Django Reinhardt with Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter.

I Found A New Baby and There’ll Be Some Changes Made are both what might be called typical swing-type tunes, though both a actually a bit older than the so-called “age of Swing”. As you might expect, Changes has some nice chord changes, and New Baby features an interesting progression as well. However, as popular as this song has been over the years, it took some digging to find a recording with a vocal. I was finally aided in my quest by John Norris of Toronto, who played an old Clarence Williams recording of it for me.

Probably the only composition of my own that I can actually put a date on is No Love, which sort of wrote itself the evening of Feb. 23, 1976, when I would rather have been doing some-thing else. This one is dedicated to Marge Poole, because she liked it so much.

See You In My Dreams is a very old pop tune which has been recorded by relatively few jazz musicians. Django Reinhardt recorded it, and recently R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders did a version.The definitive treatment, however, was that given by Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra with Louis Armstrong in 1923.

One of the few songs to work its way into both the jazz and Country-Western Repertoire is I Ain’t Got Nobody, which has been recorded by folks as diverse stylistically as Fats Waller and Merle Haggard. Actually, Haggard’s version comes from an old Bob Willis rendition, which in turn was a cover of an even older recording made by Emmett Miller and Dan Fitch.

About my favorite Western Swing band is a group of intellectuals who shook up the Southewest thirty or forty years ago under the name of Bill Boyd and His Cowboy Ramblers (actually a group of philosophy professors from Harvard.)
Mama’s Getting Younger and Papa’s Getting Older Each Day is indicative of the topical songs that this very socially-aware group came up with. River Blues, on the other hand, was done in.a very straightforward way. An excellent cross-section of The Ramblers’ music is currently available on Bluebird records.

I made up Immaculate Conception Rag while living in San Francisco in early 1975. Actually, the conception of this piece wasn’t that spotless —I was reworking Dill Pickles Rag when it started to go off on its own.

Chicken Ain’t Nothing But a Bird may seem an obvious conclusion on the surface but the deeper metaphysical ramifications of this “ditty” have fascinated some of the great minds of our time. Louis (Choo-Choo-Cha-Boogie) Jordan and Cab Calloway waxed provocative versions in the 50’s and 30 s respectively, and we can assume from George Lewis recordings that some of the subtler minds in New Orleans, La. were into this song much earlier. In fact, Dan Sadowski, the controversial professor of anthropology at the Coal Creek Canyon Institute of Humanities in Colorado has told me that cave drawings near Cheatonia, Texas depict some of the dramatic events referred to here. So it’s a real folk song.

The original King of Bongo Bong was the great swing-era trumpeter, Roy Eldridge who never made a commercial recording of it. In fact, “Little Jazz” got into the studios but few times during his prime years, which makes a record like ‘Live at the Arcadia Ballroom’ on Jazz Archives, from which I learned this one, all the more valuable.

I’ve had the chord progression forBusiness As Usual in mind for years, and when we finished up with extra time in the studio (nothing usual about that) I laid it on the National Bohemian Orchestra and the results made me think I shouldn’t have bothered with pre-set arrangements at all. This one’s dedicated to Tony Russell, at whose home I worked up the hangover I had at this session.


The King Of Bongo Bong 1977
Sonet SNKF 137
Kicking Mule KM 144
Kicking Mule Records distributed for Sonet in the U.K. by Pye Records