Tag Archives: the California Ramblers

78: “Arkansas Blues” b/w “The Wang Wang Blues” by The Goofus Five. Okeh 40817. Recorded in New York City, April 14, 1927.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

The California Ramblers were a successful dance band in the mid-1920’s. Managed by Columbia Records promoter Ed Kirkeby, the band was actually based in New York City. They adopted the California association (the band was sometimes known as The Golden Gate Orchestra) to appear exotic and fresh to East Coast audiences. A good example of their sound can be found here, in the jaunty, melodic little number called “Too Many Kisses In the Summer.”

Fun stuff. But the band wanted to also play jazz music, which, at the time, meant cutting down from an orchestra to a smaller combo. This group would need a new name. They were called The Little Ramblers when they recorded for Columbia. Kirkeby was smart enough to see that the same band could record under different names to get contracts with different record companies. When he signed them to Okeh Records, The Goofus Five were born. Why Goofus? Were they endearingly buffoonish? Continue reading

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