DB Hall of Fame



DB Hall of Fame



NOVEMBER  18,  1939     Saturday “CAMEL CARAVAN”
NBC Radio Network / WEAF
Radio City Studios,  NYC

  64  BARS    (A/A/B/A+C) Key of   E Quarter Note =   150 Time:   3:25

MC:   “Here's a tune they’ve been buying up big on every record machine for the past three months.
Nearly every band and singer in the country has taken a crack at it.  But here’s the famous Goodman
sextet’s version of it — South of the Border.”
Goodman quips;   Hampton:  “Hi-Ho, Silver.”


  8-Bar Intro  +  2  CHORUSES  +  8-Bar Coda:
    8  bars  –  CC chords (ampl) & piano (Intro)
  32  bars  –  clarinet (melody – over CC boogie riffs) [ A/A ]
    8  bars  –  CC (melody – w/ clt, vib;  rhumba rhythm) [ B (bridge) ]
  16  bars  –  clarinet (melody – over CC boogie riffs) [ A ]
    32  bars  –  vibes   [ A/A ]
      8  bars  –  bass (melody) [ B (bridge) ]
    16  bars  –  clarinet (melody – w/ vib obbl) [ A ]
    8  bars  –  CC chords (ampl) (behind clt & vib melody) [ C (coda) ]



  Benny Goodman Sextet
  BENNY GOODMAN clarinet

Composed by: Jimmy Kennedy - Michael Carr
©   VALDÉS   9/9/18


First Page:        Guitar Intro / Riffs

First Page:        Guitar Solo / Riffs / Coda



South of the Border had just been published earlier in the year, a country-pop Hollywood ditty with a Latinish-rhythm bridge, especially written for a popular western movie of the same name so it’s understandable why this particular song came to be played on the “Camel Caravan” show.  The sextet seems to have taken it with a bit of a light-hearted attitude right off with the spoken introduction on this radio broadcast.  Certainly one would not have anticipated boogie (!) riffs upon the statement of the melody – but they did it.  Somehow, they made it work well – brilliantly, actually.  Sure beats the syrupy movie version.

Fats Domino later did the song using his usual New Orleans R&B rhythm.  Sam Cooke’s version was not nearly as good as might be expected from him – cloying strings, but he’s not suited for it anyway (whereas Moonlight in Vermont suited him to a tee).  Slim Whitman’s is not all that bad, specially compared to his Indian Love Call (WMD in “Mars Attacks”).  Our favorite pop singer, Nat Cole, was only okay with it.  Willie Nelson does it full justice though.  Sinatra, another favorite pop singer, sang it really well, with Nelson Riddle’s help;  his buddy, Dean Martin, yet another favorite, kinda parodies himself on this one.  Cline was her dependable self.  Then there’s Chuck Berry’s soft, uniquely reworded rendition.  This is just not the best song ever written but, if done right, a good one.

I must say, our Charles makes this song and the sextet (horsey/Tiroleanish clarinet trills aside) sound awfully good.  There are no CC solos here:  there are chords on the intro, boogie riffs twice, straight melody on the bridge albeit employing his inimitable approach, more chords on the ‘tag’ with a four-note, south-of-the-border conclusion;  other than an appreciable vibes solo (vacuous hi-yo exclamation aside) where the rhythm-guitar chording is very prominent, the whole thing is mostly melody – but ya gotta love Charles’ contribution.  Some of those chords on the coda may remind you of his accompaniment to Lionel Hampton’s vocal a couple of months earlier on One Sweet Letter.  A year and a bit later, he would again record extensive boogie riffs on Celestial Express, on acoustic guitar.  This aircheck wasn’t commercially released until 1997, on Jazz Band.

  COMPLETE TAKE                 

Issued Recordings:
  [ CD ] Collectors’ Choice CCM-392-2 (track 22)
    Definitive DRCD11386 (track 4)
    Fuel 2000 302 061 755 2 (track 5)
    Jazz Band EBCD 2139-2 (track 15)
    JSP Records JSP909 (disc 1, track 16)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 189 (track 7)
    Mr. Music MMCD-7040 (track 12)
    Phoenix 131606 (track 4)


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