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EMPIRICAL   #100(10”)      






Carl Halen (tp)  Jim Campbell (cl)  George Stell (tb)  Fred Gary (p)  Jon Carrll (bj, vcl)  Jack Polack (tu)  Tom Hayer (drs)

Dayton, Ohio; August 15, 1953


 (Side 1)

Tiajuana (3:40)

She’s Crying for Me (2:15) 

Wild Man Blues (5:12)

Corinne Corinne (2:28) 

 (Side 2) 

Salty Dog (Stell, vcl) (4:06) 

Strut Miss Lizzie (2:51) 

London Blues (3:25) 

Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave to Me (3:13)  



   Empirical Recording makes its debut with this album of the Gin Bottle Seven. It seems appropriate to take this occasion to present the work of a relatively unknown group whose music can stand upon its own merits.  Therefore, we take pride in our production of this album by a group of young musicians who are currently (1953) playing to audiences g in the hundreds each weekend. 

   Through the efforts of the Cincinnati Folk Art society a jazz series was started on a limited basis. Now, after five months, the Gin Bottle Seven have established themselves and the series, and have a very large regular following. 

   Recorded here is the happy sound of this group for which the music is a spare time activity for most of the mimbers. 



   The Music presented here represents a definite peak in the development of the Gin Bottle Seven as well as the end of one phase of its existence.  Since the recording session was held only a few days before Jim Campbell entered the Army, there was thegent feeling that “This one has to be right!” Adding to the tension (and the levity) at the session were several emergencies, starting with a broken spring on the clarinet and ending with a dead mike during a spirited number.  These inconveniences were taken in stride since the group preferred having a real tape to memories of a “legendary” session that was never recorded. 

   The tension of the situation seems to have been fortunate, since it provided the stimulation to keep the session moving and resulted in a set of recordings which represent the best performance of the band up to that time. 



   The happy sound of the Gin Bottle Seven is the product of a group playing more for fun than for an objective of achieving any particular sound. The group is not trying to emulate any one band or recreate the sound of any particular musical period, but instead is playing music which best satisfies the individual musicians’s creativity.  The net result is a very distinctive sound – lighter than that usually expected from a Tuba band. 

   The outstand features of the organization are the youth of the group and its evolution from the Dixieland Rhythm Kings, a band originally formed in 1948 by Carl Halen and Gene Mayl when most of the members were in their teens. Gin Bottle Seven Leader Carl Halen was one of the mainstays of the DRK before and immediately after his Army service.  Jim Campbell, Jan Carroll and Tom Hyer are also alumni of the original DRK group.  George Stell played occasionally with the original DRK and became a regular member late in 1852. Stell and Campbell also had their own band.  The Dixieland Five, for a period earlier in 1952. Fred Gary has had wide musical experience, playing many kinds of classical, modern jazz and traditional jazz.  He has also played many times with DRK with the other members of this band.  Jack Pollack makes his first jazz appearance with the Gin Bottle Seven.  He has played a wide variety of classical and brass band music. 


   The present personnel formed the Gin Bottle Seven during the Spring of 1953. We are sure that the listener will agree with our choice of this young band for our first record. 


Contemporary Dixieland Jazz with a happy sound

Empirical Recording P.O. Box 52, Yellow Springs, Ohio TEL. 7-2184 

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Bob Hodes (cnt)  Chas Sonnanstine (tb)  Joe Darensbourg (cl)  Jack Vastine (bj)  Robin Watterau (p)  Gene Mayl (tu) 

At the Turf Club, Dayton, Ohio: December 1953

 Side 1

Maple Leaf Rag (4:49)

Chattanooga Stomp (4:35) 

Wabash Blues (4:26) 

 Side 2

Buddy’s Habits (3:33)

Skid De Dot (4:23) 

Panama Rag (5:25) 



Organized in Dayton, Ohio I 1948. The Band has played mostly in Dayton, along with several tours in New York, Washington, and Boston.  The present personnel have been with the band since November 1953. 


Leader of the DRK since its formation.  During the latter part of 1952 Gene took part I the Annual Dixieland Jubilee on the West Coast, and played with Lu Watters, Bob Scobey and with other West Coast groups 


A former member of the DRK during early 1952 who rejoined the band in January 1953. Bob was the leader of the Red Onion Jazz Band in New York in between his appearances with DRK. 


New to the DRK in November 1953, Joe came to the DRK from a long stay with Kid Ory’s Band in Los Angeles.  He is well known in West Coast. 


An original DRK member who rejoined the band in November 1953. Chas spent some of his time away from the DRK playing with the Red Onion Jazz Band, and on the West Cost at the Dixieland Jubilee. 


Has been with the DRK since January 1953, Robin came to the DRK from the Red Onion Jazz Band along with cornetist Hodes. 


Joined the DRK for his first professional appearance during the summer of 1953. Jack played preciously in the Cincinnati area with the Dixieland Ramblers, an amateur group.

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Recorded December 1953 at the Turf Club, Dayton, Ohio.

Recorder: Ampex 350 Microphone: Stephens C-2, OD-4  



Empirical Recoding

Yellow Springs, Ohio







Robin Wettrau (p)

Recorded Yellow Springs, Ohio: Dec. 1953 


 Side 1

Robin Wetterau (p) 

Oh, By Jingo (Brown-Von Tilzer) 

Trouble I Mind (R. M. Jones) 

St. James Infirmary (Primrose) 

Tishomingo Blues (S. Wolliams) 

 Side 2

Sunset Café Stomp (Venables) 

My Daddy Rocks Me (Traditional) 

Blues (Traditional) 

Of All the Wrongs (Payton – Smith – Dowell) 


   ROBIN WETTERAU is pianist with the Dixieland Rhythm Kings of Dayton, Ohio.  Before joining the DRK early in 1953, Robin was a member of the Red Onion Jazz Band of New York city. 

   The tunes presented here are from the regular repertoire of the DRK who play most of them as vocal numbers accompanied with the full band.  Here they are performed as piano solos. 


The cover sketch is by Charlie Sonnanstine, trombonist with the DRK.


RECORDING NOTES: Recorder: AMPEX 350 Microphone: Stephens C-2, OD-4

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Carl Halen (cnt)  George Stell (tb)  Martin Kollstedt (cl)  Fred Gary  (p)  Jan Carroll (bj, vcl-1)  Jack Pollack (tu)  Tom Hyer (drs)

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Dayton; July 3, 1954

Four or Five Times (2:10) 

Aggravation Mama (1) (5:13) 

Shake That Things (3:16)  

Nagasaki (1) (3:00) 

Angry (3:22) (EM5-3) 

Apex Blues (4:02) (EM5-3) 

Dayton; November 6, 1954

Eccentric (3:02)

Wolverine Blues (4:05) 

Pallet on the Floor (1) (4:22) (S-4)  

Dallas Blues (2:46) 

Oh Baby (1) (3:30) (RLP12-231) 

Milenburg Joys (3:09) (RLP12-231) 


RLP12-231              S-4

The Gin Bottle Seven 

  was organized during 1953 in Cincinnati with Carl Halen as leader.  The band played a long and successful

engagement for the Cincinnati Folk Art society at the Sinton and Netherland Plaza Hotels during 1953.   Since then, they have become well-known in the Turf Room at the Hitching Post in Dayton, and addition, they have many other engagements in the Cincinnati and Dayton. Area. 

  At the time of release of this record in late 1954, it is of great interest that this band is actually  a secondary activity for its members, all of them holding regular jobs or studying on a full-time basis.  Musical activity is usually confined totwo ro three evening per week. 

Carl Halen: trumpet and cornet

  Leader of the gin Bottle Seven, Carl is a former member of the Dixieland Rhythm Kings (DRK).  During regular business hours he is a production analyst for General Electric. 

George Stell: trombone 

  A charter member fo the Gin bottle Seven, George is a senior physics student at Antioch College. 

Martin Kollstedt: clarinet 

  Recorded with the Gin Bottle Seven for the first time on this record, Martin demonstrates a delightful feeling for the music played by the band, With a background of concert and dance bands, small combos and jazz groups, he is very well-known as a music instructor.  A number of his former students are now very successful on their own. 

Fred Gary: piano 

    Fred brings to the Gin bottle Seven a background f music from modern and traditional jazz through study of serious music.  At the Cincinnati College of Music he is well along with his master’s thesis on the subject of Rhythms in Contemporary Music. 

Jan Carroll: banjo 

 Jan is another charter member of the GB-7.  His banjo is one of the best we have heard.  In business for himself, he is notable for his craftsmanship in the design and production of jewelry and ceramics. 

Jonnie Pollack: tuba 

  Johnnie joined the GB-7 almost as soon as it was formed.  He was leader of his own dance band, and has had great amount of concert and brass bad experience.  Beyond his musical activities, he is manager and and mechanic at his own garage. 

Tom Hyer: drums 

  Also a charter member of the GB-7 and a former member of the DRK, Tom gibes the GB-7 its steady, solid beat.  During the weekdays, he is found in an insurance office. 

Vocals: Aggravatin’ Mama – Jan Carroll 

Pallet on the Floor – Jan Caroll 

Nagasaki – Jan Caroll and Carl Halen 


Recoding Notes: Recorder: Ampex 350, Microphone: Stephens C-2, OD-4



P. O. Box No. 52, Yellow Springs, Ohio 






Bob Hodes (tp)  Charlie Sonnanstine (tb)  Joe Darensbourg (cl)  Robin Wetterrau (p)  Jack Vastine (bj, vcl)  Gene Mayl (b, tu)


Dayton; December 28 & 30, 1953

Trouble In Mind (3:04) (1) 

Careless Love Blues (3:59) (1) 

Ain't Gonna Give You None (3:09) (1) 

Bourbon Street Parade (4:55) 

High Society (4:54) (1) 

Dippermouth Blues (2:51)

Yellow Dog Blues (2:39) 



  Well-known in Dayton and Cincinnati, the Sixieland RhythmKIngs were organized in Dayton some years ago under the leadership of Gene Mayl. 

This recording was made late in 1953, with most of the numbers coming from takes made while the band was on the job.  The customers are apparent from time to time. 

  As was EM-102, this recording was made in the Turf Room at the Hitching Post, Dayton, Ohio. 

At the time of the release of this record in early 1955, the DRK’s are familiar to the fans in such places as Milwaukee, New York, Kingston, New Orleans, Wheeling and Boston in addition to the home stamping grounds.  Their reception has been enthusiastic. 


DRK Personnel 

  Gene Mayl: tuba, Bob Hodes: cornet, Joe Darensbourg: clarinet, Charlie Sonnanstine: trombone, Robin Wetterau: piano, 

Jack Vastine: banjo 


RECORDING NOTES: Recorder: Ampex 350, Microphone: Stephens C-2, OD-4 



P. O. Box Number 52, Yellow Springs, Ohio 


NOTE: (1) RLP12-259 “Gene Mayl’s Dixieland Rhythm Kings: at the Hi-Fi Jazz Band Ball”

 Produced by Empirical Records; recording Engineer: Dave Jones

 Empirical EM-102 “Gene Mayl + Dixieland Rhythm Kings” 

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Jim Heanue (cnt)  Dick Brady (tb)  Joe Muranyi (cl)  Hank Ross (p) Mike Steig (bj)  Bill Stanley (b, tu)  Bob Thompson (drs)


NYC; September 1954 

Susie (2:57) 

Is It True What They Say about Dixie? (1) (3:46) 

Yellow Dog Blues (4:09)  

Too Much Mustard (1) (3:46) 

Why Do I Love You? (2:56) 

Song of the Island (1) (5:00) 

Red Onion (4:10) 

Oriental Strut (1) (3:19) 

Beadle - Um - Bum (3:22) (2)

I'm Nobody's Baby (2:52) (2) 

Sobbin' Blues (1) (3:08) (2) 

Mr. Jelly Lord (3:38) (2) 


NOTE: (1) B. Stanley on (tu)

Empirical EM-106 “Dance Right Out of Your Shoes!”

Issued by arrangement with Dave Jones and Empirical Records, recording Engineer: no credit. 

Empirical EM-106 + (2) = RLP12-260 

RLP12-260 “Dance Off Both Your Shoes in Hi-Fi” Produced by Empirical Records and recording Engineer: Dave Jones

EM-106 RLP12-260 


   The Red Onion Jazz Band was formed in New York City in 1952 by a number of young musicians who sought more from traditional jazz than the prevalent “jam session” school had to offer. The band developed its own “sound” consisting of a well-structured combination of the individual styles of the musicians.  This “sound” has changed along with the changes in personnel. But it has remained representative of the philosophy of the band as a group effort. 

Well-known to jazz club and collegiate students in the New York and New England area, the band was originally under the leadership of Bob Hodes, now with the Dixieland Rhythm Kings.   There have been a number of personnel changes, and bob Thompson has assumed leadership.  The current “Onions” range in age from 18 to 31.  Three of them (Thompson, Stanley and Muranyi) have been twice nominated in the “New Star” category of Down Beat magazine’s “Jazz Critics Poll.” 


Bob Thompson: drums

  Leader of the ROJB, Bob has been with the band from its start.  He is also well-known (or possibly notorious) as a jazz critics, and as a musician he has made recordings with Turk Murphy’s Jazz Band and with Bob Helm’s Washoboard Band in addition to his work with the Red Onions. 

Jim Heanue: cornet 

  Jim has been with the “Onions” since 1953, and has also played with a number of jazz groups in Pennsylvania. As a writer and poet, he has been quite successful in having various magazines publish his work. 

Joe Muranyi: clarinet

  Joe is another charter member of the band.  While retaining his standing among jazz traditionalists, he also plays with concert and “modern” groups. 

Dick Brady: trombone 

  A newcomer to the group, Dick is one of the outstanding young musicians in New York area.  His background is wide in dance bands, as well as in dixieland and modern jazz bands. 

Hank Ross: piano

  One of the most popular jazz players in New York, Hank has played with several well-known bands, including Bob Helm’s Washboard Band.  He studied with James P. Johnson and is a master of ragtime and barrelhouse piano. 

Bill Stanley: tuba 

  Bill is a musicians’s musician, having played throughout the country with all kinds of bands, from circus to symphony. 

Mike Steig: banjo 

  A newcomer to jazz and the Red Onion Jazz Band, mike has background in folk music and some jazz groups.  We are happy to report that he certainly belongs. 



Organized in Dayton, Ohio I 1948. The Band has played mostly in Dayton, along with several tours in New York, Washington, and Boston.  The present personnel have been with the band since November 1953. 



Leader of the DRK since its formation.  During the latter part of 1952 Gene took part I the Annual Dixieland Jubilee on the West Coast, and played with Lu Watters, Bob Scobey and with other West Coast groups 



A former member of the DRK during early 1952 who rejoined the band in January 1953. Bob was the leader of the Red Onion Jazz Band in New York in between his appearances with DRK. 


RECORDING NOTES: Recorder: AMPEX 350, Microphones: Stephens C-2, OD-4, Electro-Voice 655



P. O. Box Number 52, Yellow Springs, Ohio 

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Avery "Kid" Howard (tp)  Jim Robinson (tb)  George Lewis (cl)  Alton Purnell (p)  Lawrence Marrero (bj)  

Alcide "Slow Drag" Pavageau (b)  Joe Watkins (drs, vcl) 


Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Oxford; February 21, 1954 

In the Sweet Bye and Bye (1) 

The Old Rugged Cross (4:59) (1,2)

Bye and Bye (7:12) (1,2) 

Just A Little While to Stay Here (5:15) (1,2) 

Sometimes My Burden Is So Hard to Bear (2:19) (1,2) 

Take My Hand Precious Lord (1,2)

Lord, You've Been Good to Me (3:37) (1,2) 

Down by the Riverside (5:01) (2,3)

Just A Closer Walk with Thee (6:19) (2) 

Just A Closer Walk with Thee (A) (4) 

Streets of the City (A) (4)

When the Saints Go Marching In (6:53) (2) 


   This record is very special music.  As the face of the album suggests, George Lewis and his Ragtime Band played it as a vesper service at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Oxford, Ohio, an unusual happening, to say the least.  This happy event came to pass through a lucky cancellation of a contract, and through the efforts of The Reverend Al Kershaw, rector of the church and a great friend of the band, and of Dr. John Ball, Associate Professor of English at Miami University in Oxford. 

   During the previous two years the band had played successful engagements while guests in Oxford, and had made many lasting friendships among students and faculty at the university.  In 1953 they had played a short program of spirituals as a part of the regular Sunday morning service at the church. 

   When the band ,not scheduled for Oxford in 1954, received notice of a cancellation in Cincinnati, Nick Gagliano, their manager, called Dr. Ball to see if something might be arranged in Oxford with only ten days’ notice. First on the docket came Mr. Kershaw’s invitation to play a program of spirituals as the regular Sunday evening vesper service.  What an opportunity for the band – a chance to play their favorite religious music for their own church service.  The result is the sincere music on this record, which is a recording of part of the service.  The church was packed, and while the audience was quiet because of the surroundings, its enthusiastic presence certainly contributed to the spontaneity of the music. 

   The welcome given the band by the regular congregation of church might seem surprising owing to the great contrast between the formal Episcopalian liturgy and the emotional approach of the jazz band.  However, as one of them put it: “At first the music seemed out of place with our Elizabethan traditions and prayer.  But the more they played, the more I knew it was right.” The essential factor uniting this music to such church seems to be the fundamental sincerity in both.  Further, the emotion offered by the jazz augments the old traditions toward a fuller presentation of the universal truth.  Suffice it to say that this service was a truly great experience for the congregation and for the musicians. 

   The service was recorded by the Ohio Folklore Archive.  The original recording was made with an Ampex 401 recorder using a variety of microphones individually controlled though a mixer.  Empirical’s master tape was taken from the original on Ampex 350 recorders.  For playback, the RIAA settings come quite close, although our best advice is to adjust the controls for the most pleasing sound.  For some reasons, the recording equipment was not started until after the first number (In the Sweet Bye and Bye) had started.  We retain the flavor of the original master tape by releasing that part of the number which was recorded.  While it  would have been possible to “improve” this record by including some of the old standards which have been recorded many times by the band, this selection of tunes was chosen both for musical quality and freshness in the recorded repertoire of the band. 

   Introducing the Band: (As if it needs introducing) George Lewis and the members of his band are all natives of New Orleans and grew up in its musical tradition.  At the time of the “rediscovery” of Bunk Johnson in 1942, George, Jim and Lawrence were all chosen to play in the recording band which was formed to play with him.  The band has retained its identity, and George assumed leadership after Bunk’s death.  Thanks to a great amount of travelling and recording, George and the band are well-known to the jazz fans over the country, as firm friends, and for their spirited jazz. 



P. O. Box Number 52, Yellow Springs, Ohio


NOTE:    (1)  Empirical EM-107 “George Lewis and His Ragtime Band: Spirituals in Ragtime”  all 10 titles (except (4)) of this session also on VIJ-6343 

 (2) RLP12-230 “Jazz at Vespers”: Issued by arrangement with Dave Jones and Empirical Records. 

 (3) S-4 “A Date with Riverside” 

    (4) All 12 titles reissued as AMCD-37 (CD) "The George Lewis Ragtime Jazz Band of New Orleans" 


       RLP12-230               S-4             AMCD-37

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