Practically nothing is known about Joseph Samuels aside from the recordings he made with the Synco Jazz Band from 1919-1926, the Tampa Blue Jazz Band from 1921-1923, and the band he led under his own name from 1919-1925. Records by Joseph Samuels' Jazz Band were issued on the Apex, Banner, Domino, Okeh, Paramount, Perfect, Puritan, and Sunshine labels, sometimes appearing under the names of the American Jazz Band, the Banner Dance Orchestra, the Bell Syncopators, Earl Randolph's Orchestra, the Frisco Syncopators, Joseph Franklin's Orchestra, and the Tampa Blue Jazz Band, among many others. The Joseph Samuels name was also used as an alias on some labels for the Original Memphis Five and the California Ramblers. Samuels worked and recorded in New York except for four sides waxed in Montreal on February 11 and 12, 1923. The personnel of the bands led by Joseph Samuels was similar to that of the Synco Jazz Band and the Tampa Blue Jazz Band, but with additional players: Jules Levy, Jr. played cornet, Hymie Farberman the cornet and trumpet. Ephraim Hannaford was the trombonist, while Samuels himself played clarinet, baritone sax, and violin. The pianist was Larry Briers and Herman Berkin was the drummer. Guy Shrigley is listed as alto and tenor saxophonist in July of 1922, and Nathan Glantz sat in periodically playing alto sax in 1923 and 1924. In addition, this band had unidentified persons playing banjo, tuba, and even an oboe at one point. Ernest Hare, half of a vaudeville act known as the Happiness Boys, recorded with the Samuels band on June 20, 1923, using the alias Bob Thomas and singing "My Sweetie Went Away." Like the other bands associated with Joseph Samuels, this organization was not afraid to handle hot jazz or "low-down blues" material. In 1920 they came out with "Slim Trombone," "Marriage Blues," and "Zowie!" The recordings made by this band in 1921 indicate a desire on the part of Samuels to keep up with the latest developments in hot music. They include the "Crazy Blues," "Home Again Blues," "Dangerous Blues," "Mysterious Blues," "The Wabash Blues," "Oh Boy!," and a song brought out on player piano rolls at this time by James P. Johnson, "I've Got My Habits On." Their two hottest records of 1922 were the "Houston Blues" and "Runnin' Wild." Highlights from 1923 are "Nuthin' But," "Farewell Blues," "Bugle Call Rag," "The Sobbin' Blues," "You've Got to See Mama Every Night," and the alarming title "If I Can't Get the Sweetie I Want (I Pity the Sweetie I Get)." The last noteworthy title in this part of the Joseph Samuels story is a recording of "Choo Choo (Gotta Hurry Home)," a hot novelty tune also utilized in 1924 by Duke Ellington & the Washingtonians. This little number, then, exists at the end of Samuels' discography and at the very beginning of Ellington's.
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