THIS WEEK'S SELECTION PROVIDED BY DAVE SAVIET
"Tea For Two"
by Joe Mooney Quartet
on Decca 23842A
"Tea For Two"
Above: The Joe Mooney Quartet consisting of Joe Mooney (accordian, piano), Jack Hotop (guitar), Gate Frega (bass fiddle), and Andy Fitzgerald (clarinet). Mooney, who was blind, was the leader, arranger and main singer for the group. Here they are performing at Dixon's on 42nd Street in New York City in February 1947.
When they came on the scene in 1946, they became very popular quickly, lasted for a few years and then broke up when Fitzgerald left the music business and Frega quit to enter the ministry.
In 1951, The Joe Mooney Trio had at least three records released on the Carousel label. The personnel at this time were Mooney on Hammond organ, Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar, and Bob Carter on bass. The Billboard dated 5/30/53 mentions a record being cut for RCA Victor by the Sauter-Finegan orchestra with the Joe Mooney vocal group.
(Above: The Billboard - 10/5/46)
(At Left: The Billboard - 9/7/46)
(Detroit Free Press - 3/2/47)
(The Billboard - 9/20/47)
Above: From The Billboard dated 2/1/47. The Joe Mooney Quartet had five records released on Decca (January 1947-January 1949). The first eight released sides were also re-issued by Decca as an album in late 1948.
St. Louis Post Dispatch, December 18, 1946: The Joe Mooney Quartet may be the recording catch of the year. At least Decca hopes so, after inking the group in spirited bidding. This combo, now playing in New York, has been heralded by some as the brightest things to hit jazz since Ellington. Others say the King Cole Trio. Its first Decca sides, being released shortly, are "September Song," sung by Mooney in the hushed manner of King Cole but other ideas of his own, and "Just A Gigolo," with the others assisting Mooney on the vocal. This group has progressive ideas and keeps them fresh and alive. Records will play a big part in selling its music to those who can't hear in person.
St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 4, 1947: The Joe Mooney Quartet, great musical organization currently appearing here, pairs "I Can't Get Up The Nerve To Kiss You" and "Meet Me At No Special Place" (Decca). Tunes are a bit late, but the Mooney touch is fresh and alive. Joe sings them both, adding humor to his jazz style. Catch that tricky little figure Clarinetist Andy Fitzgerald and Guitarist Jack Hotop use on the first one. Mooney plays accordian. (Please, Joe, the piano on some of your future releases.)
(NOTE: "I Can't Get Up The Nerve To Kiss You" had already been released by Savannah Churchill And The Five Kings, as well as "Meet Me At No Special Place" by The Five Kings. Both in March 1947 on the Manor label.)
(Joe Mooney - June 1947)
(Advertisement - February 1948)
Above: Label image of Decca 23842A recorded on November 10, 1946 and released in March 1947. The flip does not have vocal group singing.
The Billboard Review (4/5/47):JOE MOONEY QUARTET — DECCA 23842....
Tea For Two—The closely and finely knit Joe Mooney Quartet, singing in unison in their intimate whispering style, spin out a striking version of the everlasting "Tea For Two." Particularly in their revised lyrical refrain that finds the girl still baking those knocked-out cakes. And just as exciting as their rhythm chanting is the interweaving of Mooney accordian and clarinet, with bass and guitar rounding out the quartet. "Tea For Two" is tops for the intimate phono locations where they can hear the lyric.
Listen to this week's selection featuring Joe Mooney Quartet on Decca 23842A from 1947:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
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