If it is July—and sure has been hot enough to be July—then it must be time for Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus to make a guest DJ appearance at Lincoln Center’s fantabulous Midsummer Night Swing series of dance concerts held in Damrosch Park in Midtown Manhattan. Last year—and especially the year before—The Boog’s MSNS night was rained on. This time the weatherman went the other way: a very clear sky with hot, hot heat that made one burning, swingin’ night!
On July 6, the evening started with a DJ set by The Boog that included some jumpin’ and swingin’ numbers. Then dance instructor Eva Carrozza and her crew broke quite a sweat as they taught the audience how to Lindy hop. Once the folks on the dance floor were fully in command of their dance steps, The Boog returned to the turntables as they were able to Lindy hop to more jump and swing music, commencing with the great Wynonie Harris’ version of “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (and including Joe Turner’s “Boogie Woogie Country Girl” in a small tribute to Doc Pomus, who was honored at last year’s rainy event).
The headliner for this evening was the pre-Beatles, Philadelphia teen sensation Bobby Rydell.
From 1959 to 1963, Mr. Rydell released more than two dozen teen pop hits, including “We Got Love,” “Swingin’ School” and “Forget Him.” But Bobby Rydell—much like all the “Bobbies” of the time: Bobby Darin, Bobby Vinton, Bobby Vee—aspired to be a vocalist in the mold of Frank Sinatra. (Even the “anti-Bobby,” Bob Dylan, eventually had such aspirations!) Thus, ably backed by Philadelphia’s City Rhythm Orchestra, Mr. Rydell presented a set of mostly songs from the great American songbook, sung in a very Sinatra-like manner.
If you are familiar with Bobby Rydell from just a handful of his hits (“Kissin’ Time,” “I Dig Girls,” “Ding-A-Ling”) you may scoff at the idea. Don’t. Mr. Rydell has a commanding voice and he was able to carry this off much better than any lounge singer. Although he did not sing any of our favorites (“The Fish,” “The Cha Cha Cha,” and his cool version of The Kinks’ “When I See That Girl of Mine”), he did perform “Wild One” and “Sway,” ending his portion of the show with “Volare.” Once he was off the stage, The City Rhythm Orchestra continued to swing for another half hour or so, much to the delight of the dance floor inhabitants. When the big band was through, soaking with sweat every one of them, The Boog barely had time to play four more songs.
Here’s a list of all the 45s played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at this year’s Midsummer Night Swing event:
- Earl Bostic–Summertime (King)
- Aki Aleong and His Licorice Twisters–Tonight [from EP Twistin’ the Hits] (Reprise; France)
- Bobby Bland–Blue Moon (Duke)
- Fats Domino–I’m in Love Again (Imperial)
- The Five Keys–It’s a Groove (Capitol)
- Sam Price and His Texas Bluesicians–Rib Joint (Savoy)
- Gene Krupa; vocal by Anita O’Day–Let Me Off Uptown (Gold Mor)
- Ralph Marterie and His Orchestra–Ring Dang Doo (Mercury)
- Amos Milburn–Chicken Shack Boogie (United Artists Silver Spotlight Series)
- LaVerne Baker and the Gliders with Orchestra–Tweedle Dee (Atlantic)
- Pearl Bailey; Orchestra conducted by Don Redman–I Can’t Rock and Roll to Save My Soul (Mercury)
- Wynonie Harris–Good Rockin’ Tonight (King)
- Johnny Hodges and his Orchestra–Castle Rock (Verve Clef Series)
- Don and the Upbeats–Night Train (Lana)
- Quincy Jones–Choo Choo Ch’Boogie (Mercury)
- Count Basie & his Orchestra–Beaver Junction (Columbia)
- Ray Charles and His Orchestra with the Raelets–Smack Dab in the Middle (ABC-Paramount)
- Jackie Verdell–Bye Bye Blackbird (Peacock)
- Louis Jordan–Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens (Tangerine)
- Louis Prima–Jump, Jive an’ Wail [from EP The Wildest!] (Capitol; France)
- Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra–Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop (Decca)
- Joe Turner and Orchestra featuring Van ‘Piano Man’ Walls–Boogie Woogie Country Girl (Atlantic)
- Dud Bascomb and His Orchestra–Tuxedo Junction (Savoy)
- Bill Doggett–Honky Tonk (Part 2) (King)
- Dakota Staton; Benny Carter Orchestra–Hey Lawdy Mama (Capitol)
- Harry James–Two O’Clock Jump (Gold Mor)
- Ernie Field’s Orch.–In the Mood (Rendezvous)
- Frankie Lymon–Goody Goody (Gee)
- Bobby Darin–Splish Splash (Atco)
- Eddie Cochran–Summertime Blues (Liberty)
None of these records are for sale.