Thursday, May 8, 2014

Eddie Bush & The Biltmore Trio

Eddie Bush (1911-1969)
(photo featured at STYLO MAGIC SM 2002 cd)
Eddie Bush (1911-1969) was born in Milwaukee as son of Hawaiian parents, who were entertainers in a Hawaiian show on the mainland, and young Eddie began his own career performing with them. In 1924 the family moved to Los Angeles where Eddie was spotted playing by two local youngsters, Bill Seckler and Paul Gibbons, who invited him to join them to form a trio. In 1927, the trio had an audition with bandleader Earl Burnett and was hired as members of his orchestra that performed at the prestigious Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel Trio
L-R: Paul Gibbons (g, lead voc), Eddie Bush (steel g, falsetto voc), Bill Seckler (uke, voc)
The trio soon became a major attraction within the orchestra and had their solo spots during the orchestra's performance featuring Paul Gibbons on guitar and lead vocal, Eddie Bush on steel guitar and falsetto vocal and Bill Seckler on ukulele and vocal. The trio mainly performed and had success as a vocal harmony ensemble with Burnett's orchestra, however, when the trio made their first recordings for Okeh in April 1928 as Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel Trio, two sides were instrumentals showcasting Eddie Bush's remarkable and tasteful steel guitar playing. Bush's own "Clowin' the Frets" and the popular Tin Pan Alley tune "Hard to Get Gertie" were recorded as instrumentals on April 6th and issued on OK 41064, while two other sides recorded at the same session had vocals on "Coquette" and "Indian Craddle Song" issued on OK 41043. Here is a YouTube audio video of "Clowin' the Frets"

The other instrumental recorded on April 6th, 1928 for Okeh was "Hard to Get Gertie" inserted below from another YouTube audio video

The above two instrumentals featuring Eddie Bush on acoustic lap steel guitar were the only two instrumentals recorded during his career, however, a new CD released by Grass Skirt Records on the STYLO MAGIC label reveals more tasteful steel guitar playing on recordings with vocal harmony singing in focus among the twenty featured tracks on the CD.

CD front cover, STYLO MAGIC SM 2002
As members of Earl Burnett's Orchestra Bush, Seckler and Gibbons would be featured regualarly on Burnett's Brunswick records as a vocal trio labeled Earl Burnett's Biltmore Trio. On the shown CD are reissued ten of these sides recorded 1928-30, here's an example of the trio's sophisticated vocal arrangement of "Love Me Or Leave Me" as recorded April 1st, 1929 on Br 4336

In 1930, Eddie Bush left Burnett's band and performed for some time at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles followed by nationwide tours as a member of Henry Busse and Buddy Roger's orchestras, but in 1934 he revived the Biltmore Trio name and recorded some sides for Victor labeled as Eddie Bush' Biltmore Trio, among these sides was the popular "My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii", also featured on the CD above.
In 1934, Eddie Bush switched to electric lap steel guitar and recorded two sides for Decca in November that year, again as Eddie Bush's Biltmore Trio; one of the tunes was "The Object of My Affection" also featured on the CD. Five years later, in 1939, Eddie Bush is featured on recordings with trumpeter Mannie Klein's Hawaiians at the Bluebird label, three sides from October that year are reissued on the CD and one of them, "Maori Brown Eyes" features Bush's falsetto vocal while the two others have short statements by his steel guitar.
Tracklist with discographical info, STYLO MAGIC SM 2002
The above info is extracted from the featured notes at the STYLO MAGIC SM 2002 CD which gives the listener an outlook of recordings made by Eddie Bush at the peak of his career. The CD is released in limited numbers, only 100 copies are made available for purchase, a true collectors' item designated for people with a general interest in the Hawaiian steel guitar legacy and a special interest in the career of Eddie Bush. Sound restoration is provided by Bill Dalton at Earwig Studios that distributes the CD by contact here. The CD may also be ordered from Grass Skirt Records, here.

A new CD from Grass Skirt Records, STYLO MAGIC SM 2002, featuring 20 tracks of 78 rpm recodings by Hawaiian steel guitar ace Eddie Bush compiles examples of Bush's work with the Biltmore Trio 1928-34 and with Mannie Kleins Hawaiians 1939. The CD showcasts a repertoire of music popular at the time of recording mainly with focus on close harmony vocals but also with some interesting spots of tasteful steel guitar playing. The CD is released in a limited numbers, only 100 copies are available for purchase designated for collectors of historically important material. Recommended!

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1 comment:

  1. As always .... great Jo - very imformative! I'm anxious to hear the full album. Keep (it) Swinging Hans