Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ernie Fields Orchestra - In The Mood/Christopher Columbus

Ernie Fields (August 28, 1904 – May 11, 1997) was an African American trombonistpianistarranger and bandleader. He first became known for leading the Royal Entertainers, which were based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and toured along a circuit stretching from Kansas City, Kansas, to Dallas, Texas.

In the late 1950s Ernie Fields moved to Los AngelesCalifornia, joining Rendezvous Records, for whom he ran the house band. This included pianist Ernie Freemanguitarist Rene Hall (who had previously worked with Fields in the 1930s), saxophonist Plas Johnson, and drummer Earl Palmer. In 1959 this band had an international hit with an R&B version of Glenn Miller’s "In the Mood", credited to the Ernie Fields Orchestra, which reached #4 on the Billboard Charts. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold discThe band, with minor changes of personnel, went on to recordinstrumentals under many different names, including B. Bumble and the StingersThe Marketts and The Routers.
Rendezvous Records folded in late 1963, and Fields retired soon after.
His son is saxophonist and bandleader Ernie Fields, Jr.
Here is the original Rendezvous 45 for your enjoyment.

1 comment:

  1. So this record solves a long-standing mystery for me.

    There's a track from about 1960 by Sandy Nelson called "Big Noise From The Jungle". The songwriting credit on that one is Hall/Palmer/Johnson. Now, it really does sound like Rene Hall on that track (or else he lent his trademark Danelectro six-string bass to someone!); I read somewhere that the saxophonist is Jackie Kelso, but he and Plas subbed for each other so many times that even the studio documentation can't be relied on to tell you which of them is on a particular cut.
    But one thing I can guarantee is that Sandy's not using Earl Palmer to play drums on his own track. So it's a cover.

    Which brings up the question: Who recorded it first?

    Now this record shows up and answered the question. Rene, Earl and Plas wrote the intro and coda to Fields' version of "Christopher Columbus", but had to credit the original songwriters. Then Sandy comes along and covers their cover, with a new piece in the middle replacing the original song. Since all they have left is Hall/Palmer/Johnson's intro and coda, that's who Sandy credited.