Shuffle Along of 1950
Continuing with Harbinger Records’ acclaimed series of CDs devoted to jazz pianist, composer, Broadway songwriter, and black music pioneer Eubie Blake, we proudly present the original demo to the proposed Broadway musical Shuffle Along of 1950.
Harbinger’s recording of Sissle and Blake singing the score to the original production of Shuffle Along won the 2017 Grammy Award for its brilliant liner notes by Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom, authors of an upcoming biography of Eubie Blake published by Oxford University Press. They’ve repeated the assignment with liner notes for this recording of Shuffle Along of 1950 and tell the fascinating story of the production and its eventual premiere on Broadway as Shuffle Along of 1952. It’s a story of great highs and the lowest of lows: a tale that both Broadway acolytes and jazz fans will find fascinating.
The 1921 all-black musical comedy Shuffle Along was the most successful Broadway show of its time. The score contained the future standards “I’m Just Wild About Harry” and “Love Will Find a Way.” It marked the emergence of a new black musical theater. It desegregated theaters in New York and across the country. Years later in 1950, songwriters Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle devised a revision of their original hit and made an acetate recording to interest potential backers. This recording contains narration by lyricist Noble Sissle explaining the plot of the new show. Several of the songs from the original Shuffle Along are included, as are new songs written especially for this production by Sissle and Blake. Later, others augmented the score and their songs are also included.
Also included as bonus tracks is a remaster of the only surviving acetate of a historical “Tribute to Ruth King.” Ruth King was a famed Cleveland DJ who celebrated black musicians. Notables as Sissle and Blake and the legendary W.C. Handy, composer of “St. Louis Blues” play for Ms. King.