Born in 1905 in Indiana but raised in the Chicagoland area, Eddie Condon cut his musical teeth on the ukulele. He soon switched to banjo and had turned pro by the age of sixteen. Guitar, piano and singing were soon added to his repertoire, and it wasn’t long until Condon found himself playing alongside such greats as Jack Teagarden and Bix Beiderbecke.
We hear Jack Teagarden singing and playing trombone on “Makin’ Frien’s,” with Condon providing able support on banjo.
Teagarden was black and Condon was white, and in 1928 it was still pretty unusual to have a “mixed” band. Condon had moved to New York City in 1928 and quickly established himself as someone with a talent for assembling bands for recording sessions, and in so doing found himself playing alongside future giants Henry ‘Red’ Allen, Louis Armstrong, and Fats Waller.
“I’m Sorry I Made You Cry” features Condon himself on vocals, which didn’t often happen at this stage of his career. He wasn’t too happy with the results, supposedly, saying that he “mangled it” in his autobiography We Called It Music: A Generation of Jazz. The personnel listing on record says that we hear Johnny Powell on drums, though Condon would later say that it was, in fact, a young Gene Krupa. Either way the song has a nice, easy going swing to it.
Condon would find success in the 1930s playing at New York jazz hotspot Nick’s. His band’s elegant take on Dixieland music was soon called “Nicksieland” in tribute to the venue. By the 1940’s, he was putting on popular weekly concerts at Town Hall that were broadcast over the radio. This one definitely features Krupa on drums.
Eddie Condon continued to tour and perform until 1971, two years before his death.