An outfit known as the Strand Roof Orchestra under the direction of bandleader Billy Fowler has been identified by swinging archaeologists as the earliest professional affiliation of Bobby Sands, a tenor and baritone saxophonist born in Brooklyn early in the 20th century. Fowler's group was active in 1927, but it is Sands' performances in the following decade that are flesh around the bone of this classic jazz performer's discography. Sands was more than just a grain in the operation of classy pianist and bandleader Claude Hopkins, sharing star soloing duties with the leader as well as clarinetist Edmond Hall in his early years.
Vintage jazz reissue collections such as Claude Hopkins: 1934-1935 feature a program of both high-spirited novelty songs and so-called "serious" jazz repertoire canons. "I Can't Dance, I've Got Ants in My Pants" and "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree" were the type of recordings Hopkins made in order to stay attractive to label producers throughout the '30s; a superb arrangement of Jelly Roll Morton's "King Porter Stomp" joins with Hopkins' own "Minor Mania" in the short list of highlights for traces of Sands in both section and solo capacity. The saxophonist also worked with bandleader Charlie Skeets in the late '20s. Sands retired from music in the '40s and became a printer.