Although he had been one of the first jazz singers 30 years earlier, introduced "Singin' In the Rain," and in the late '30s had been the movie voice of Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, Cliff Edwards (best known as "Ukelele Ike") was down on his luck by the mid-1950s. His career was temporarily revived for this recording session (which in 1998 was reissued on CD), a surprisingly successful date from 1956. Edwards, still in prime voice despite years of being an alcoholic, is joined by the "Wonderland Jazz Band," a Dixieland group connected with Disney studios and including trumpeter Don Kinch, clarinetist George Probert, pianist Marvin Ash, bassist Jess Bourgeois, drummer Nick Fatool and leader George Bruns on trombone and tuba. Edwards performs a variety of songs from the 1920s, some of which he had helped make famous (including "Singin' In the Rain," "I'll See You In My Dreams," "At Sundown," "Sunday" and "Swingin' Down the Lane"). He sounds fine in the Dixieland setting, even taking a couple of his trademark scat solos. So joyful is the music (other than a couple of brief overly sentimental stretches) that it's sad to note that this historic outing was Ukulele Ike's final recording and last hurrah before he slipped permanently into obscurity.
Share this page