In AC/DC era Australia, a Sydney band called the Ted Mulry Gang recorded a rocking version of a song first published in America in 1917.
It’s had many manifestations through the last 100 years – one by Fats Domino around 1958 – but Ted Mulry’s 1976 version of “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” is rock & roll pop at its most glorious.
Follow the song’s variations through the twentieth century as it finally explodes into the Australian pop charts at number three.
But what makes this film a “must see” is footage of some simply amazing rock & roll dancing from 1916 San Francisco. This is some 20 years before the Lindy Hop is supposed to have originated in Harlem in the 1930s.
And the Lindy Hop, as you may know, was the precursor to the jitterbug, which was the precursor to the jive and rock & roll dancing of the 1950s.
You’ve just got to see these two wild dancers in action. They’re about half way through the video, and dancing so hard it looks like they’re melting the film.
As this was my first homemade film, be kind and overlook an excess of titles. If you see the word ‘move’ which doesn’t make sense, please note this should be ‘movie’.
As a footnote, I say in the film, “Is that a trombone or tuba bass line?”
Blues and roots musician Stevie Gurr thinks it’s probably an Eb (E flat) Contrabass saxophone.
“I actually became aware of it from hearing Roger Ruskin Spear play it in the Bonzos,” Stevie says. (English comic rockers the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band). “Maybe Spike Jones (used it) as well.”
Hit the film below and just wait for those 1916 dancers to get rocking.