by Hans Eekhoff
(from the liner notes of Jazz From Atlanta 1923-1929 on Timeless Records)

Several dance bands were active in Atlanta in the 1920's but Warner's Seven Aces were the most famous and, as a result, made the most records, first for Okeh and later for Columbia. Led by pianist Byron H. Warner they were not only a jazz outfit but a society band as well, playing regularly at spots like the Atlanta Howard Theater and the Piedmont Golf Club. The band consisted originally of seven men but it gradually grew until in the late 1920's the group was billed as 'Warner's Seven Aces, All Eleven Of Them!'.

From as early as 1922 the Aces began to broadcast over WGM and later over WSB, both Atlanta radio stations. The Aces remained the number one band in Atlanta for many years and in 1927 also fulfilled engagements in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. In 1928 and '29 the band toured and broadcasted extensively all over the U.S.. After they returned from a trip to Europe in 1930 the Wall Street crash had also hit the entertainment industry and the Aces disbanded.

Click Here To OrderOf the six titles recorded by Warner's Seven Aces in June 1923, we've only selected two for reissue because of their jazz content. Lonesome Lovesick Got-To-Have-My-Daddy Blues is a wonderfully relaxed performance in the true jazz style of the early 1920's. It starts with a beautiful alto sax solo changing into an alto/clarinet duet after the first chorus. A nice ensemble with the clarinet prominent and several different breaks rounds off the number. Mean Eyes (subtitled Too Late Blues) is a similar performance again with an outstanding clarinet solo over a tight rhythm and alto sax in the lead before the end.

Bessie Couldn't Help It became a major hit in 1930 when Hoagy Carmichael (with Bix Beiderbecke on cornet) and even Louis Armstrong recorded it. The tune was, however, a composition by the Aces themselves and later copyrighted by Byron Warner. The story goes that Bessie was the daughter of the mayor of Dayton Beach, Florida, whom several of the band members dated while they were there on tour. This original version is not only pure jazz with outstanding solos from clarinet, baritone sax and trumpet but also has a hilarious vocal. It is quite amazing that the tune fell into oblivion for six years and became so popular after that. When My Sugar Walks Down The Street, a great hit in 1925, is the Aces' first recording for Columbia. The sound is quite different from the earlier Okeh's, a little thinner perhaps. Recorded without the usual vocal choruses (that were all the rage by this time) the tune gives room for a long clarinet solo (with trombone in the background) and solos by alto sax, soprano sax, trumpet and trombone. A nice hot last chorus rounds it off.

The Blues Have Got Me is the unlisted (and according to the Columbia files unmissed) take-1. It has a rather complicated arrangement, probably by Warner himself. Nice ensemble play and a trumpet duet. Four bars played in double tempo give an extra effect towards the end. Cheatin' On Me, another hit of the day (and again performed without a vocal) features good alto sax in the first chorus and after the verse a chorus partly arranged in minor. Following an excellent muted trumpet solo is a very hot last ensemble chorus.

In early 1925 Columbia adopted the electrical recording method and the next title, Go Get 'Em Caroline, was made using this new technique. The difference between the two systems is remarkable and from this time on the quality of sound recordings by most labels (but especially by Columbia) is quite startling. Go Get 'Em, Caroline is an out-and-out jazz side with much solo work, a fluid, almost Henderson-like arrangement and bouncing rhythm. By this time Ralph Bennett had taken over leadership of the band from Byron Warner but the band's name stuck. Breakin' The Leg, a little known title, has again good ensemble work with solos by baritone sax, alto sax, trumpet and trombone.

Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle-Doo is about as jazzy as the title suggests but the Aces' rendering is probably the best of the handful of recordings made of this number in the 1920's. After the rather dreadful vocal there is a fine last chorus though. Hangin' Around is a different piece of cake altogether. It starts with an extremely fine bit of blues piano, which sounds much like a black musician, followed by an increase in tempo by the whole band. Although the rest of the number is largely ensemble it is so well arranged that it again has much of a Henderson performance. Although the rest of the number is largely an ensemble effort it is so well arranged that it has much in common with a Henderson performance. Who'd Be Blue? is in the same style as the previous tune. Again very good ensemble work, but this time with solos by trumpet, trombone and particularly inspired alto sax. These last two titles show the Aces in their best form.

Don't Take That Black Bottom Away was one of the greatest hits of 1926 and the fact that Columbia's version was recorded by the Aces proves the big name they had made for themselves. Without the usual vocal chorus this version leaves room for a lengthy alto sax solo and some powerful trumpet. That's My Girl ( another commercial tune of the day is treated more like a dance number by the band but with some nice tenor sax, a vocal and good ensemble arrangements.

With When Jenny Does That Low Down Dance we're back at a pure jazz number. From the first note the tune is played in a distinct style, sounding much like a black jazz band, complete with a Henderson-like clarinet trio and even a 'jive-talk' vocal. It's a fitting close for this outstanding and versatile orchestra from Atlanta.

If you would like to order the Timeless Records' CD of Jazz From Atlanta 1923-1929 you can do so through Worlds Records or direct from Timeless Records.

TitleRecording DateRecording LocationCompany
Ace of Spades 4-9-1924 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
40080
Bessie Couldn't Help It
(Byron H. Warner / J.L. Richmond)
8-27-1924 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
40198
Breakin' The Leg
(Henry Creamer / J. Turner Layton)
10-1-1925 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
605-D
Cheatin' On Me
(Lew Pollack / Jack Yellen)
1-30-1925 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
305-D
Don't Take That Black Bottom Away (The Seven Aces)
(Coslow / Britt / Link)
11-1-1926 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
816-D
Dream Girl of Pi K. A. 6-1-1923 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
4911
Eddie Steady 6-1-1923 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
4888
Go Get 'Em, Caroline
(Henry Creamer / Meyers)
9-30-1925 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
491-D
Hangin' Around
(Gardner / Hamm / Harris)
4-19-1926 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
752-D
Have You Forgotten? (The Seven Aces) 11-1-1926 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
863-D
I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me (The Seven Aces) 3-28-1927 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
1001-D
I'd Like To Be Your Sheik For Awhile 4-9-1924 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
40080
In a Tent 6-1-1923 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
4888
Lonesome Lovesick Got-To-Have-My-Daddy Blues
(Ernie Erdman / Chester Cohen / Richard M. Jones)
6-1-1923 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
4924
Longing For You
(Westphal / Robinson)
8-27-1924 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
40198
Love Time 8-29-1924 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
40201
Mean Eyes (Too Late Blues)
(Bob Miller)
6-1-1923 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
4924
Rock-A-Bye My Baby Blues
(Hill / Yoell)
8-30-1924 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
40201
So Is Your Old Lady
(Burke / Dubin)
4-19-1926 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
656
That's My Girl (The Seven Aces)
(Gold / Davis)
11-2-1926 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
816-D
That's My Hap-Hap-Happiness (The Seven Aces) 3-28-1927 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
1046-D
The Blues Have Got Me
(Turk / Silver)
1-28-1925 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
336-D
There's Everything Nice About You (The Seven Aces) 3-28-1927 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
1001-D
Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle-Doo
(Art Kassell / Mel Stitzel)
10-1-1925 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
491-D
When Jenny Does That Low Down Dance (The Seven Aces)
(unknown)
3-29-1927 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
1046-D
When My Sugar Walks Down The Street
(Gene Austin / Jimmy McHugh / Irving Mills)
1-28-1925 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
305-D
Who'd Be Blue?
(Woods)
4-19-1926 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
752-D
Who'll Be The One? (The Seven Aces) 11-1-1926 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
863-D
Wonder If She's Lonely Too? 6-1-1923 Atlanta, Georgia Okeh
4911
You've Got Those "Wanna Go Back Again" Blues
(Handman / Turk)
4-19-1926 Atlanta, Georgia Columbia
656-D
ArtistInstrument
Ralph Bennett Clarine, Violin, Leader, Vocal
J. T. Bourne Trumpet
Tom Brannon Trumpet
C. J. Buckner Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Russ Crump Trombone
Ed Lally Piano
George MacMillan Tuba or Sousaphone
George McCullough Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Don McIlvaine Trombone
Jim O'Neal Trumpet
M. C. "Shucks" Park Drums, Vocal
The Peabody Trio Vocal
Bob Pittman Banjo, Vocal
Ed Pritchett Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
J. L. Richmond Vocal
Byron H. Warner Piano, Director