Notebook Cover


  Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop

By Marv Goldberg


© 2017 by Marv Goldberg


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop



[AUTHOR'S NOTE: I didn't think this one would be too difficult although there are a lot of versions. However, it turns out that we're talking about two different songs that most people end up conflating into one. (I have to admit that I never really paid that much attention before starting this article and probably would have agreed that they were variants of the same song.) On top of that, unlike "Open The Door, Richard", little was ever written about the history (real or fanciful) of either song.]



      INTRODUCTION



Lionel Hampton's "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" was another musical phenomenon, predating "Open The Door, Richard" by a year (with some artists recording both tunes). The discography lists around 70 versions from 1946 through 2014 (and I'm sure there are others).

Just like "Open The Door, Richard", versions could be complex or simple. Many artists just sang "Open The Door, Richard" over and over as a break from the music; many artists just sang "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" over and over as a break from the music. Unlike "Open The Door, Richard", those who sang a full set of lyrics tended to use the same set. It was usually spelled the same by everyone, although the placement (or absence) of hyphens varies a lot.

The other song isn't as easy to talk about because each artist gave it a different title, such as "E-Bob-O-Le-Bob", "Be-Baba-Leba", "Ee-Bobaliba", and "Oo-Oo-Ee Bob A Lee Bob". Just to make it easy on myself, I'll refer to all the versions of that tune as "Baba Leba". Nevertheless, they were all essentially the same song, although lyrics were rarely consistent. To confuse things even more, when Helen Humes sang her "Be-Baba-Leba" in a 1947 movie, it was listed as "Hey Baba Leba". There are around a dozen versions through 2013.

Even worse, the two songs overlapped in time to some extent. Helen Humes' "Be-Baba-Leba" was still on the charts when Lionel Hampton released "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" in January 1946.

Again, I emphasize that we're talking about two songs that differ both lyrically and musically; they truly are different. However, I have to believe that the title "Be-Baba-Leba" influenced the title "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" (although it's possible that both were based on some undocumented song that was performed, but never recorded).

Supposedly, Jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton called Be-Baba-Leba's refrain "a riff so old it's got whiskers." Nice words, and they might even be true, but there was nothing ever in print prior to 1945 to indicate where the refrain might have come from. (And, I know I'm being picky, but it's probably important for me to point out that Morton died in July 1941, years before the song came out.) So what was he talking about? It turns out that the quote came from "The Fortunes Of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole And 'Inventor Of Jazz'", a 1973 book by famed musicologist Alan Lomax. This is the actual late 1930s quote from the book:

His diamond-studded grin lit up the sombre hall as he feathered his barrel-house rhythms out of the concert grand. "You hear that riff" he said. "They call that swing today, but it's just a little thing I made up way back yonder. Yeah, I guess that riff's so old it's got whiskers on it. Whatever those guys play today, they're playing Jelly Roll."

Clearly, Morton is talking about Swing music, not the Baba Reba refrain. The rest of the Baba Reba lyrics, on the other hand, were variations on standard Blues lines and probably did have whiskers.

The terms "be-bop" and "re-bop" appeared as musical nonsense syllables (like "doo wah") as early as the mid-1920s. The earliest example I can find is "Four Or Five Times" by McKinney's Cotton Pickers (Victor, 1928). It contains the lyrics "bih-bop one, bih-bop two, bih-bop three...". Washboard Sam's "Don't 'low" (Bluebird, 1936) has "We don't care what mama don't 'low, we gonna re-bop anyhow". Then, there was "Wham Re Bop Boom Bam", recorded by Glenn Miller (RCA, 1939) and Jimmy Lunceford (Vocalion, 1939), among others. Of course, the term "be-bop" as applied to a kind of jazz music was popularized by Dizzy Gillespie in the 1940s.

"Wham Re Bop Boom Bam" might rate a closer look. It was composed by guitarist Eddie Durham and trumpeter/vocalist Marion Joseph "Taps" Miller, both musicians in Count Basie's Orchestra. This is important because Helen Humes was one of Basie's vocalists at the time the song was written. Tina Dixon joined Lunceford's band a couple of years later and I'm sure they were still performing "Wham" then. Both Helen and Tina recorded the "Baba Leba" song (and each claimed to have written it). Musically, "Wham" has nothing to do with "Baba Leba", but the title is catchy.

I wish I could find out more about the song's origins, but there'll be enough work digging into all the versions. Let's start with "Baba Leba".



      BABA LEBA (my catch-all term for all the versions)



E-Bob-O-Le-Bob - Tina Dixon with Jimmie Lunceford - AFRS Jubilee 138 - 7/45

This was recorded in mid-June of 1945. Regardless of what title you may see attached to this, announcer Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman clearly introduces it as "E-Bob-O-Le-Bob". For more on this, see the entry on Tina Dixon, immediately after the one on Helen Humes.

AFRS Jubilee recordings were made by black entertainers and broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Service; the discs weren't meant for commercial release. It was probably aired in late June or July.


Be-Baba-Leba - Helen Humes, with the Bill Doggett Octet - Philo 106 - 8/45
      Reissued on Aladdin 106 - ca 3/46

Helen Humes was born in Louisville, Kentucky on June 23, 1913. In 1937, she was the vocalist with Prince Albert & His Singin' Sweet Orchestra. After that, it was Vernon Andrades' Band. By July 1938, she'd joined Count Basie's Orchestra, remaining with him until May 1941. Popular throughout the 1940s, her popularity waned considerably in the 1950s. In 1960, she was still being billed as "ex-Basie vocalist". She continued to cut albums and make appearances at jazz concerts throughout the 1970s. Helen died on September 9, 1981 (and her obituaries all mentioned her time with Basie 40 years previously).

Pianist Bill Doggett set up the August 1945 Los Angeles session and specially brought in tenor saxophonist Wild Bill Moore, who wasn't a member of his aggregation. Others on the session were Johnny Brown (alto sax), Ernest Thompson (baritone sax), Ross Butler (trumpet), Alfred Moore (bass), Charles Harris (drums), and Elmer Warner (guitar).

Since Helen's song became a hit, there was a big fight over who actually wrote it. Was it Helen Humes (whose name appears as writer on her record) or Tina Dixon (whose name appears as writer on her record)? While the answer is probably Dixon, it was Helen Humes who had the hit. Billboard (March 30, 1946) reviewed her appearance at the Orpheum in Los Angeles and said: "Her final number, Be-Baba-Leba, brings down the house and nets her a hand slightly short of a showstop."

"Be Baba Leba" was a #3 R&B record for Helen Humes. It entered the national charts on December 14, 1945 and remained for 8 weeks. It was the 21st most played R&B juke box record of 1946 (ironically Lionel Hampton's Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop was #1).

These are the lyrics to Helen Humes' "Be-Baba-Leba". (Note that she never once says "be-baba-leba"). Compare these with the Tina Dixon lyrics, below.

Oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
Oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
'Cause the man who sends me
Is comin' home to stay

Got a man over there, got a man over here,
But my man over there,
Oo, oo, oo, baba-leba
Oo, oo, baba-leba,
Ah, oo, baba-leba, laba-leba, laba-leba, laba-leba

Well, the man I love is built for speed,
He's got everything his mama needs.
Oo, oo, baba-leba,
Oo, oo, baba-leba,
Ah, oo, baba-leba, laba-leba, laba-leba, laba-leba

Now he thrills me in the mornin', thrills me in the night.
The way he loves me, makes me scream with delight.
Oo, oo, baba-leba,
Oo, oo, baba-leba,
Oo, oo, baba-leba, laba-leba, laba-leba, laba-leba

Comes in like a tiger, goes out like a lamb
Starts a-lovin' me, I holler oo, oo, oo
Oo, oo, baba-leba,
Oo, oo, baba-leba,
Oo, oo, baba-leba, oo baba-leba, baba-leba

It's possible that one reason this song resonated so strongly is because of the first stanza. World War 2 was finally over and men were starting to return home.


E-Bob-O-Le-Bob - Flennoy Trio (vocal by Tina Dixon) - Excelsior 130 - 9/45

The 1944 Billboard yearbook presented this press-agent-generated biography of Tina Dixon:

Tina Dixon, the 'Bombshell of the Blues,' was born in Detroit and started her singing career at 18. Her first club job was at the Club Ballyhoo, Detroit. Tina played de luxe theaters with Jimmie Lunceford and his ork. Night clubs where she has appeared are: Tic Toc Club, Boston; Zanzibar, New York; Bali, Washington. She is managed by Harold F. Oxley [who also managed Jimmie Lunceford and Mabel Scott]. She is in line for a forthcoming radio commercial. Besides her club and theater work she also appeared before television cameras. Tina Dixon has made color movie shorts for Pathe and has performed at many army and navy camps.

By October 1943, Tina Dixon was singing with Jimmie Lunceford's orchestra. She played the Apollo Theater several times, along with Lunceford (for example, the week of December 29, 1944) and her performances were generally well-received.

Tina's "E-Bob-O-Le-Bob" (with the Flennoy Trio) was issued slightly after Helen Humes' "Be-Baba-Leba". There are no available session dates, but it must have been recorded around the time Tina did the above-mentioned AFRS recording with Lunceford in June.

Humes and Dixon essentially sang the same song, but each woman claimed to have written it. It turns out that Tina's was the version originally recorded, but Helen's was the version that got to disc first. This was the subject of a January 26, 1946 Billboard article, at the time when Helen's version was really taking off. It said, in part:

[Charlie] Barnet [representing the Indigo Publishing Company] closed deal for Be-Baba-Leba with Harold Oxley, the agent, who controlled original copyright of the tune introduced in the first place by Tina Dixon, whom Oxley manages. Dixon also made recording of tune for Excelsior label. Her side, however, came out after the Humes version for Philo. Barnet dickered with Helen Humes on tune for a while until he learned that her recorded version followed Dixon's featuring of the song in night clubs, therefore making Dixon's a prior copyright.

It never seemed to have been brought out anywhere at the time that Tina had originally recorded the song in mid-June 1945 (with Jimmie Lunceford's band) for an AFRS Jubilee disc that was "released" (that is, broadcast over the Armed Forces Radio Service network) in June or July and easily makes her version earlier.

Billy Rowe's column in the February 2, 1946 Pittsburgh Courier said: "The publishing rights for 'Be-Baba-Leba,' the new swing tune which is sweeping the country, went to Charlie Barnet. Brought into popularity by Helen Humes, a Count Basie alumnus [sic], the ditty has many variations and just as many supposed authors. Notwithstanding, Harold Oxley, whose Tina Dixon waxed the number first, holds the initial copyright and made the deal with Barnet. Now the thing to do is just sit back and watch the feathers fly."

Note that Tina's sheet music had the title as "E-Bob-O-Lee-Bop", rather than "E-Bob-O-Lee-Bob". I guess spelling doesn't count.

The May 16, 1946 California Eagle wrote about Tina Dixon: "Her popular number 'E-Bob-O-Le-Bob' was first introduced in Brooklyn in 1942. Later, she presented it at Shepp's Playhouse and recorded it with the Flennoy Trio." I can neither confirm nor refute the story about Brooklyn. There's only a single mention of Tina in all of 1942, and that's in Detroit. No performance review prior to the release of the record ever mentioned that she'd sung the song, although they sometimes listed other tunes she'd done at shows.

Except for this song, Tina really was a minor character on the scene; almost nothing was ever written about her. She played the Apollo twice in 1938, but wasn't listed in the Apollo's ad for either show (but she was in 1944, 1946, and 1952). Both she and her husband, dancer Leon Collins (whom she married in 1939), were with Jimmie Lunceford's Orchestra for several years. By the 1970s, Tina was making off-color "party" records.

In subsequent recordings, only Charlie Barnet credited Tina Dixon and only Estelle Edson credited Helen Humes. The Bull Moose Jackson/Annisteen Allen disc gave credit to Walter Brown and none of the others listed a writer at all.

Here are the Tina Dixon lyrics to "E-Bob-O-Le-Bob", so that you can compare them to Helen Humes' (they're identical on Tina's Flennoy Trio and Lunceford recordings):

Oh well, oh well, I feel so good today
Oh well, oh well, I feel so good today
Got a letter from my daddy
He's comin' home to stay

He's a big bad man and he weighs 400 pounds
He's a big bad man and he weighs 400 pounds
I won't see you no more when my big bad man comes around

He's built like a sailor, fights like a marine
He's a big fat private but
Oo oo e-bob-o-le-bob [e-bob-o-le-bob]
E-bob-o-le-bob [e-bob-o-le-bob}
E-bob-o-la-bo de-bob-o-lab-o bob-a-le-bob

I got men over there, men over here,
But my man over there,
Oo oo e-bob-o-le-bob [e-bob-o-le-bob]
E-bob-o-le-bob [e-bob-o-le-bob}
E-bob-o-la-bo de-bob-o-lab-o bob-a-le-bob

He's got a head like a monkey
He looks like a frog
When he starts to lovin' me I holler oo-oo-oo
E-bob-o-le-bob [e-bob-o-le-bob*}
E-bob-o-le-bob [e-bob-o-le-bob*}
E-bob-o-la-bo de-bob-o-labo bob-a-le bob

      * Note that this particular echo isn't used in the Lunceford version.

Ee-Bobaliba - Jim Wynn & His Bobalibans (vocal by Claude Trenier) - 4 Star 1026 - 10/45
      Also released on Foto 1026

Born on June 21, 1908 in El Paso, Texas, Jim Wynn was a saxophonist (tenor and baritone), pianist, and bandleader. His family relocated to Los Angeles soon after his birth and he started playing in clubs while still a teenager. On the radio with a dance orchestra in 1931, the following year he had Jim Wynn's Eleven Devils. Wynn became a session musician in the 1950s and died on July 19, 1977 in Los Angeles.

As far as I can tell, "Ee-Bobaliba" was his first recording (Los Angeles, around September 1945). Supposedly, this song was a crowd-pleaser, in which he invited audience participation. He claimed to have written it years before (although there's no writer credit on the label). Wynn insisted that Helen Humes got the "be-baba-leba" refrain from him, but, since he never took her to court, there's no proof of that.

Vocalist Claude Oliver Trenier was born on July 14, 1919 in Mobile, Alabama (along with his identical twin brother, Cliff). Claude joined the Jimmie Lunceford band in 1943 (and Cliff came aboard the following year). Leaving Lunceford in 1945, they did various things on their own before becoming the Trenier Twins in 1946, and later, the incredibly successful Treniers. (Like the Red Caps, the Treniers were a visual act. Sensational in person, they didn't do particularly well on records.) Claude died on November 17, 2003 in Las Vegas.

The Bobalibans were: Jim Wynn (tenor and baritone saxophone), Stanley Casey (trumpet), David Graham (alto saxophone), Freddie Simon (tenor saxophone), Luther "Lord" Luper (piano), Theodore Shirley (bass), and Robert "Snake" Sims (drums).

The December 22, 1945 Billboard said: "Paced by the sax blowing of Jim Wynn and his little jam band of Bobalibans, Claude Oliver Trenier does some earthy blues shouting for the jive-ridden Ee-Bobaliba, newest song craze in Harlem quarters.... The race locations will reap a harvest with these sides [the flip was "I Want A Little Girl", sung by Luther Luper], particularly 'Ee-Bobaliba'."

Wynn's version is mostly based on Tina Dixon's, but Claude's girl only weighs 300 pounds. Here's most of what Claude is saying:

Baba-leba, ee-baba-lee
Baba-leba, ee-baba-lee
Baba-leba, ee-baba-lee
Baba-leba, ee-baba-lee
Baba-leba, ee-baba-lee
Baba leba, baba leba

Oh well, oh well, I feel so good today
Oh well, oh well, I feel so good today
Got a letter from my baby
And she's comin' home to stay

Now she's a fly little chick and she weighs 300 pounds
Yes, she's a fly little chick and she weighs 300 pounds
She says 'be there baby' when she comes back to town

Now, she's got a head like a rooster
She's shaped like a frog
When she starts lovin' me oo-oo-oo
Ee-baba-leba [ee-baba-leba]
Ee-baba-leba [ee-baba-leba]
Ee-baba-leba ee-baba-leba baba-lee-ba

Now, I've got women over here, women over there,
But my woman down here,
Oo oo oo ee-baba-leba [ee-baba-leba]
Ee-baba-leba [ee-baba-leba]
Ee-baba-leba ee-baba-leba baba-lee-ba

[indistinct] don't you wanna take a ride
[indistinct] baby
Oo oo oo ee-baba-leba [ee-baba-leba]
Ee-baba-leba [ee-baba-leba]
Ee-baba-leba ee-baba-leba baba-lee-ba

Oo-Oo-Ee Bob A Lee Bob - Bull Moose Jackson and his Orchestra (vocal by Annisteen Allen) - Queen 4107 - 12/45
      With the discontinuation of Queen, it was reissued on King 4107 - 47

Singer/saxophonist/bandleader Benjamin "Bull Moose" Jackson was born in Cleveland on April 22, 1919. Originally a violinist, he switched to the saxophone when he started the Harlem Hotshots while in high school. In 1943, he joined Lucky Millinder's band. Millinder encouraged him to form his own band and, in 1946, he released "I Know Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well", an answer to Millinder's "Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well". He followed that with "I Love You, Yes I Do", which went to #1. Through it all, he remained with Millinder, at least through 1948. He later turned to more suggestive material, such as "Big Ten Inch Record", which couldn't get any airplay, but was quite popular at live shows. Bull Moose died, from lung cancer, in Cleveland on July 31, 1989.

Ernestine "Annisteen" Allen was born on November 11, 1920 in Champaign, Illinois. She was also a member of Lucky Millinder's aggregation and it looks like Millinder loaned her to Bull Moose for recordings, since she, too, remained with Millinder for several more years. Annisteen died August 19, 1992 in Harlem.

Recorded on December 19, 1945, it was released by the end of the month. Although it was pretty much Helen Humes' version, the composer credit went to Walter Brown, a singer in Jackson's band. Here are Annisteen's lyrics:

Oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
Oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
'Cause the man I love
Is comin' home to stay

Got a man over there, got a man over here,
But the man over there,
Oo oo oo oo-bob-a-lee-bob
Oo-oo-bob-a-lee-bob
Oo-oo-bob-a-lee, bob-a-lee, bob-a-lee, bob-a-lee-bob

Well, the man I love is built for speed
He's got everything his mama needs
Oo-oo-bob-a-lee-bob
Oo-oo-bob-a-lee-bob
Oo-oo-bob-a-lee, bob-a-lee, bob-a-lee, bob-a-lee-bob

He loves me in the morning, loves me in the night
The way he loves me is really all right
Ree-ee-bob-a-lee-bob
Ree-ee-bob-a-lee-bob
Ree-ree-bob-a-lee-bob, ree-bob-a-lee, bob-a-lee-bob

Oo oo oo [ee-bob-a-le-bob]
Oo oo oo [ee-bob-a-le-bob]
Oo oo oo [ee-bob-a-le-bob]
Oo oo oo [ee-bob-a-le-bob]
Oo oo oo [ee-bob-a-le-bob]
Oo oo oo [ee-bob-a-le-bob, ee-bob-a-le-bob]

Goes in like a tiger, goes out like a lamb
When he starts to lovin' me, I holler ee, ee, ee
Ee-ee-bob-a-le-bob
Ree-ee-bob-a-le-bob
Ree-ree-bob-a-lee-bob, ree-bob-a-lee, bob-a-lee-bob

Ree-bob-a-lee-bob

In the following year, Annisteen Allen and Her Home Town Boys (along with Bull Moose Jackson) would release "She Lost Her Re-Bop" (Queen, 7/46). Walking a fine line, they sing "hey baba lee bop", "ee baba lee bop", "hey baba leba", and "ee baba leba".


Be-Baba-Le-Ba - Estelle Edson (with Oscar Pettiford & His All Stars) - Black & White 760 - 12/45

Estelle was part of the Los Angeles music scene. She was with Ernie Fields' band in the early 1940s, and later with Jack McVea's All Stars and the Marl Young Combo. Other than that, I can't find out a thing about her. The song is mostly based on the Helen Humes version, but she throws in some lyrics that I can't understand at all.

Bassist/cellist Oscar Pettiford, an early exponent of Be-Bop, was born September 30, 1922 in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. He was a member of Charlie Barnet's band in 1942, and went on to record with Coleman Hawkins, Earl Hines, and Ben Webster. He and Dizzy Gillespie had a Be-Bop group in 1943. He moved to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1958 and died there on September 8, 1960.

The "All Stars" on this recording were Oscar Pettiford (bass), Karl George (trumpet), Jewell Grant (alto sax), Lucky Thompson (tenor sax), Leon Beck (baritone sax, clarinet), Wilbert Baranco (piano), Charles Norris (guitar), and, Roy Porter (drums). This is a jazzier recording than most.

These are Estelle's lyrics:

Oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
Oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
'Cause the man I love
Is comin' home to stay

Got a man over here, got a man over there,
But my man over here,
Ee, ee, ee, baba-leba
Ee, ee, baba-leba,
Ee, ee, baba-leba, ee-baba-le, baba-leba

Well, the man I love is built for speed,
He's got everything that his mama needs.
Now, ee-baba-leba,
Ee-baba-le, baba-leba

[Indistinct]
[Indistinct]
Now, ee-baba-leba,
Now, ee-baba-leba,
Now, ee-baba-leba, ee-baba-le, baba-leba

Comes on like a tiger, goes out like a lamb
Starts lovin' me, I holler oo, oo, oo
Ee-baba-leba,
Oo, ee, baba-leba,
Now, ee, baba-leba, ee-baba-le, baba-leba

E-Bob-O-Lee-Bob - Charlie Barnet (vocal by Peanuts Holland) - Decca 18761 - 1/46

Saxophonist/composer/bandleader Charlie Barnet was born in New York City on October 26, 1913. Forming several unsuccessful Swing bands in the 1930s, he finally achieved success in the 1940s with "Cherokee" and "Skyliner". In 1947, however, he'd switch from Swing to Be-Bop. Charlie played the Apollo on several occasions and had one of the first integrated bands. By the end of the decade, he seemed to lose interest in music, retiring in 1949. Charlie died in San Diego on September 4, 1991.

Herbert "Peanuts" Holland was a black American trumpet player who did a lot of recording in Europe after moving there in 1947. Born on February 9, 1910 in Norfolk, Virginia, he was briefly with Al Sears, Willie Bryant, and Jimmie Lunceford at various times in the 1930s. In 1939, he moved to New York and was with Coleman Hawkins and Fletcher Henderson. Finally, in 1941, he joined Charlie Barnet's band and remained with him until 1946, That year, he toured Europe with Don Redman, decided he liked it, and moved to Paris (later relocating to Stockholm). Holland died on February 7, 1979 in Stockholm, Sweden

Charlie Barnet was no fool. In spite of the negotiations that had gone on with Humes and Dixon, and in spite of him crediting the song to Dixon, the lyrics used were from Humes' hit version:

Oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
Oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
'Cause the gal I love
Is comin' home to stay

Got a gal over there, got a gal over here,
But the gal over there,
Oo oo oo oo bob-o-lee-bob
Oo oo bob-o-lee-bob
Oo oo bob-o-lee-bob, laba-leba, laba-leba, laba-leba

Now the gal I love is built for speed
She's got everything her daddy needs
Oo oo bob-o-lee-bob
Oo oo bob-o-lee-bob
Oo oo bob-o-lee-bob, laba-leba, laba-leba, laba-leba

Thrills me in the morning, thrills me at night
When she starts lovin' I scream with delight
Oo bob-o-lee-bob
Oo oo bob-o-lee-bob
Oo oo bob-o-lee-bob, laba-leba, laba-leba, laba-leba

Comes in like a tiger, goes out like a lamb
When she starts lovin' me I holler
Oo oo oo oo bob-o-lee-bob
Oo bob-o-lee-bob
Oo bob-o-lee-bob, oo bob-o-lee-bob, laba-leba

Note that this recording was made only four days after Lionel Hampton cut "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" (also for Decca).


Ee-Bobaliba - Teddy Bunn's Group (vocal by Monette Moore) - Gilt Edge 532 - 2/46

Theodore Leroy "Teddy" Bunn was born May 7, 1909 in Freeport, New York. He was a guitarist, vocalist, and composer, who specialized in jazz and Blues. In the 1930s, he was a member of the Spirits Of Rhythm. Bunn died on July 20, 1978 in Lancaster, California.

Monette Moore was born in Gainesville, Texas on May 19, 1902, but was raised in Kansas City. Self-taught on the piano, she was recording as early as 1923 for the Paramount label. In 1932, she recorded with Fats Waller, before opening up Monette's Place in New York City. Moving to Los Angeles in the early 1940s, she became a nightclub jazz and blues singer. Monette died on October 24, 1962 in California.

The February 16, 1946 Billboard had this to say about the song (although they called it "Be Bobaliba"): "... another version, a poor one at that, of the very popular fast blues written, recorded and introduced by Helen Humes. Her version, needless to say, is still the best." Sadly, I'd have to agree that this one is nothing special.

There's no writer credit on the label, but she's pretty much following the Helen Humes version.


E-Bob-O-Lee-Bop - Ali Baba Trio - Soundie - 3/46

The Ali Baba Trio consisted of Cleveland Nickerson (boogie woogie accordion), Mike McKendrick (guitar), and Calvin Ponder (bass; he'd go on to marry Martha Davis and be half of "Martha Davis And Spouse"). Filmed in February, "E-Bob-O-Lee-Bop was released on March 25. They follow Helen Humes' lyrics.

While the group made three other Soundies at that session ("Patience And Fortitude" and "If You Only Knew" [both with Valaida Snow] and "Your Feet's Too Big"), they only made a single record, a backup to Bert Wood: "Truly I Do" / "You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me" (Aladdin 532 - 1947). With many personnel changes, Cleve kept a group going until around 1970.


Hey Baba Leba - Helen Humes (with Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra) - from the movie "Jivin' In Be-Bop" - ca 8/47

This hour-long film is a revue (that is, it has no story, just a succession of acts). The movie showcases Dizzy Gillespie and his band, Helen Humes, comedian Freddie Carter, singer Kenny Hagood, and the usual talent-free dancers. Helen sings the song with the same lyrics as on her "Be-Baba-Leba" record (and, once again, never actually says "be-baba-leba"). The movie was filmed around September 1946, but, for unknown reasons, wasn't released for about a year. By the time the film came out, Lionel Hampton's "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" had been such a big hit that Helen's tune was advertised as "Hey Baba Leba".

And, speaking of dogs, here's a photo of a Finnish dog named "Hey Baba Leba".


Be Baba Leba - Thurston Harris - Aladdin 3415 - 2/58

Thurston Theodore Harris was born in Indianapolis on July 11, 1931. By 1952 he'd moved to Los Angeles, where he began singing with a group that would become the Lamplighters. After recording with them for a couple of years on and off, he went out on his own, having hits with "Little Bitty Pretty One" and "Do What You Did" in 1957/8. "Be Baba Leba" was his follow-up to "Do What You Did", but it didn't chart. He died on April 14, 1990 in Los Angeles.

His version has its roots in the Humes recording, but he uses mostly new lyrics. He begins with this:

Oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
Well, oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
'Cause the girl I love
Is comin' home to stay

And throws in this:

Now the girl I love is built for speed
She's got everything I need

But all the other lyrics are different.


Be-Baba-Leba - Lila Ammons - From the album "The Nearness Of You" - unknown label - 2013

Born in Chicago on May 18, 1958, Lila is the granddaughter of famed boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons. She has a wonderful voice and it's a nice jazzy version, using the Helen Humes lyrics.


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Mention should be made of Joe Turner's "Feelin' Happy" (Freedom 1540 - 9/50). Blues singers notoriously "borrow" from each other and this one starts off:

Oh yes, oh yes, I feel so fine today
Oh yes, oh yes, I feel so fine today
My baby's comin' home, this time she's comin' home to stay.

He continues: "she's a tall, skinny mama and she weighs 90 pounds", but after that, he wanders off to steal from several other songs, such as "Do You Want To Jump Children". He also cut this for Atlantic in 1954. Not a part of the series.

Speaking of "borrowing", I also have to mention Velma Middleton's "Velma's Blues" (which she sang using varying titles: "Big Daddy Blues", "Where Did You Stay Last Night", "Big Mama's Back In Town", "I Cried Last Night", and "Blues A La Hey-Bob-A-Rebob"). Velma was the vocalist with Louis Armstrong's All Stars from 1947 to 1961 and there are many live recordings of this song, the earliest from 1947. The lyrics changed somewhat each time she sang it and she managed to "borrow" bits and pieces from all over (even though Louis and Velma were given writer credit). Decca released it, as "Big Daddy Blues", on a 1954 EP ("Satchmo At Pasadena, Volume 2") Decca ED 664 (it's also on English Decca and Brunswick). That particular version had been recorded on January 30, 1951. Aside from Armstrong and his trumpet, the other musicians were Barney Bigard (clarinet), Jack Teagarden (trombone), Earl "Fatha" Hines (piano), Cozy Cole (drums), and Arvell Shaw (bass). Here's the Decca version; you'll recognize most of the pieces:

Big daddy, big daddy, where did you stay last night?
Hey baby, where did you stay last night?
I've got rocks in my bed and my pillow ain't sleeping just right

Say, I cried last night and I cried all the night before
Yes, I cried last night, all the night before
Come on home, baby, so I don't have to cry no more

'Cause, I ain't mad at you, pretty baby, I ain't mad at you
No, I ain't mad at you, tell me what you want poor me to do
I'll steal, beg, borrow, do any ol' thing for you

Yes, I love that man, he's built up from the ground
Yeah, he's long and tall, stacked up from the ground
I get so weak, whenever he comes to town

Got a man over here, got a man over there,
But the man over here
Woo-woo-woo woo-baba-reba, oo-oo-baba-reba
Oo-oo baba-re, baba-re, baba-re, baba-reba

Say, I love that man, tell the world I do
Yes, love that man, tell the world I do
If you knew him, say you're bound to love him too.
(what a guy; what a guy)

Now, I ain't good looking, I ain't built so fine
But all the boys like me cause I take my time

Sometimes she added these to the mix:

Oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
Oh well, oh well, I feel so fine today
Say that man of mine, he done come back home today

Hey baby, get your basket, let's truck down to the woods
Baby, go get your basket, truck down to the woods
Say we may not pick no berries
But we both sure will come back feeling good

Velma Middleton (September 1, 1917 to February 10, 1961) was a crowd favorite (although not with music critics). She weighed around 250 pounds, but usually did splits during her performances. She was still with Armstrong when she died.
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      HEY! BA-BA-RE-BOP



And now we come to the true phenomenon, "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop". This was the general spelling, although inclusion and placement of the hyphens varied and the "!" was sometimes omitted. There were a couple of variants (such as "Hey Ba Be Ri Ba" "Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bob", and "Hey! Ba-Ba-Ri-Bap"), but these were foreign language recordings, using phonetic spelling.

Just like with "Open The Door, Richard", the song could be sung using lots of lyrics or only the "hey ba ba re bop" refrain. Unlike "Open The Door, Richard", which could actually have a coherent storyline (although it rarely did), the lyrics to "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" didn't tell a story, as you'll see below. There was also never (as far as I can tell) any dispute over who wrote the song; it was almost always credited to Lionel Hampton and Curley Hamner (a couple of exceptions will be noted). And, unlike today, no one at the time seemed to confuse it with the "Baba Leba" tune already discussed, in spite of the similarities in title.



Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Lionel Hampton - Decca 18754 - 1/46
      Also issued as Decca 23837, part of the "Hamp's Boogie Woogie" album set (A-523) - 3/47
      It was released on 45 RPM (Decca 9-23837) in 1952

Lionel Hampton was born April 20, 1908 in Louisville, Kentucky, although he was brought up in Birmingham, Alabama, Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois. Master of several instruments, he played the piano, drums, and vibraphone. Hampton was a member of Les Hite's band at Los Angeles' Cotton Club in the late 1920s. When Louis Armstrong came to California and hired Hite's band; he specifically asked Hampton to play the vibes, which helped to popularize the instrument. In 1936 he became a member of the Benny Goodman Quartet (with Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa), a racially-mixed unit. Forming his own band in 1940, he became famous two years later for his version of "Flying Home" (with Illinois Jacquet on tenor sax). Over the years, Hamp went on to worldwide fame in the jazz field, playing for around 65 years. He died on August 31, 2002 in New York City.

Recorded on December 1, 1945 (although not released until around January 18, 1946), "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" would be Hampton's biggest hit (and, fortunately for him, he was one of its writers).

His co-composer was drummer/dancer William "Curley" Hamner (born around 1918 in Birmingham, Alabama). Note that his name is sometimes incorrectly seen as "Hammer", even on record labels. According to an April 2, 1949 article in the Pittsburgh Courier, Curley was half of the dance team of Red & Curley, who had been with Hampton since 1945. Hayward "Red" Granger quit when he became ill in 1949, and from then on Hampton and Curley did an act together onstage (drums, dancing, and singing).

The August 25, 1951 Pittsburgh Courier had a large article about Curley, which starts with this: "Somewhere along the line in practically every Lionel Hampton show a tall, dapper, wavy-topped young man of extremely handsome features makes his way on stage to do a fleet dance act and to play a frantic drum routine with the maestro [Hampton]. His performance never fails to wow fans." We learn that "... his father is a coal miner, his mother just a plain housewife." [Knowing how these things are written, I figured it was possible that his father was actually the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Strangely, his father (also named William) really was a coal miner.] Curley was a featured performer with Hampton until 1961, at which time he formed the Curley Hamner Quintet.

The recording was a #9 Pop hit for Hampton, entering the national charts on March 2, 1946 and remaining for 8 weeks. It was also a #1 R&B hit for 16 weeks, entering the national charts on the same date and remaining for 25 weeks. It was the #1 most played R&B juke box record of 1946, and was voted the fourth "Best Money-Making Record Of 1946" in a Cash Box survey (#1 was the Ink Spots' "The Gypsy", followed by Eddie Howard's "To Each His Own" and Frankie Carle's "Oh! What It Seemed To Be"). In a Billboard poll, Hamp lost out on the Top R&B Orchestra spot to Louis Jordan (whereas Hampton had two hit records that year, Jordan, a true powerhouse, had eleven).

In mid-May 1946, Hampton's "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop Revue" played the Howard Theater (Washington, D.C.) as a benefit to raise money to combat juvenile delinquency. In early July, the revue rolled into the Band Box in Chicago. With typical hype, the dance floor was re-named the "Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop spot" and the bar was preparing a special "Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" cocktail.

Just to show how out of hand these things can get (and to reiterate how useless some newspaper articles can be), there was a screaming headline in the July 27, 1946 Pittsburgh Courier: "Hey Baba Rebop Winners To Be Announced Aug. 14". It went on to speak about the "Hey Ba Ba Re Bop" contest, with $450 in cash prizes. Hampton would be at the Trianon Ballroom in Los Angeles with his "Hey Baba Rebop Revue" when he announced the winners. Judges would be "theatrical editors of six of the largest Negro newspapers" [unnamed] and the contest had, so far, "attracted thousands of swing fans who cast their lots in the interesting competition." Hampton said that "more than 1,000 entries have been received [not thousands] in the contest from points as far away as South Africa and Japan." Do you notice anything missing? For example, what was the contest about? Four paragraphs, loads of hype advertising Hampton, and not a word about the point of the contest itself. Fortunately, there'd been a one-sentence blurb in the May 18, 1946 Pittsburgh Courier that said" "All new lyrics for the nation-wide $450 'Hey Baba Rebop" contest should be sent to Hampton at the Palace [in Cleveland]." At least we now know that the contest was to submit new lyrics for the song.

The winners (but not their lyrics) were announced in the August 24, 1946 Pittsburgh Courier. First prize ($200) went to Gloria Patricia Boyd of Cleveland. The three other winners were Frederick D. Meredith of Columbus, Ohio ($125), Annabell Caldwell of Portland, Oregon ($100), and Joe Swift of Pasadena, California ($25). I just had a feeling you wanted to know that. (I suppose that, after blowing $450 on this hype, Hampton was obligated to use their lyrics in performances, but he never recorded any of them.)

Speaking of lyrics, there are a lot of ridiculous attempts on the Internet to figure out the words to "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" (especially the absurd "if you can't pay me five keep your big mouth shut"). Below are the actual lyrics from the 1946 sheet music (and, with one noted exception, they're exactly what Hampton is singing).

"Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop", copyright 1945 by Lionel Hampton and Curley Hamner

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop [Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop]
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop [Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop]
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop [Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop]
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop [Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop]
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop [Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop]
Yes, your baby knows

            [NOTE: the above lines are what I'll be referring to as the "refrain".]

Matilda Brown told Old King Tut
If you can't say re-bop keep your big mouth shut

Singin'
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop [Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop]
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop [Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop]
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop [Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop]
Yes, your baby knows

Mama's on the chair, papa's on the cot
Baby's in the crib blowin' his natural top

            (note that Hampton actually says "baby's on the floor")

Singin'
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop [Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop]
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop [Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop]
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop [Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop]
Yes, your baby knows

Up on the mountain, lookin' at the sea,
Lookin' for that cat that stole my baby from me

Sayin'
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop

Sayin'
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop
Yes, your baby knows

Other singers' versions would say "yes, your daddy knows" and "if you can't sing re-bop keep your big mouth shut", but those are minor differences.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Tex Beneke with the Glenn Miller Orchestra - RCA Victor 1859 - 4/46

Gordon Lee "Tex" Bereke (born February 12, 1914 in Fort Worth, Texas) became a saxophonist and singer with Glenn Miller's Orchestra in 1938. When Miller broke up the band in 1942 in order to join the Army Air Force, Beneke joined the Navy and led a band there, intending to re-join Miller after the war. (However, Miller was killed in December 1944 while flying over the English Channel.) When the war ended, Beneke took over Miller's Army Air Force Band, as "Tex Beneke with the Glenn Miller Orchestra". After doing nostalgia shows in the 1990s, he suffered a stroke, forcing him to give up the saxophone (although he could still sing). Tex Beneke passed away on May 30, 2000 in Costa Mesa, California.

Beneke mostly used Hampton's lyrics and the tune entered Billboard's national Pop charts on May 25, 1946. It remained for 9 weeks and rose to #4 nationally.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Louis Prima & His Orchestra (vocal by Louis Prima & The Boys) - Majestic 1044 - 4/46

Louis Prima, a wild man of music, was born in New Orleans on December 7, 1910. Originally a violinist and trumpeter, he mostly gave that up for singing. In the 1940s, the catchphrase for his orchestra was "the band that plays pretty for the people", although you usually don't equate Prima with "pretty" music. Louis died on August 24, 1978.

While he did a lot of Italian-themed songs, something like "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" was tailor-made for Louis. The May 18, 1946 Billboard didn't have much to say about "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop", but summed up with "It's a wonderful side for Prima." The May 6, 1946 Cash Box said: "The Louis Prima band does a nice job with 'Hey Ba Ba Re Bop', with most of the spinning instrumental, although Louis and his boys chime in for a short spot with the pipes." (I suppose language like this keeps things from being boring. It says that most of the recording is instrumental, with a brief vocal section. And, in truth, there's a lot of Prima's trumpet playing on it). All the lyrics are Prima's own:

Said the little red rooster to the little red hen
You ain't been home since Lord knows when.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust
If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree

Now, mama's in the kitchen, papa's on the bed
Baby's in oo-oo-oo-oo-oo ba ba re bop


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Wynonie Harris with the Hamp-Tone All Stars - Hamp-Tone 100 - 5/46

Wynonie "Mr. Blues" Harris was born in Omaha, Nebraska on August 24, 1915. He was one of the most successful Blues and R&B singers of the 1940s. Many of his songs contained risqué lyrics and he became known for that kind of music. He started out as part of a dance team, with Velma Shannon, but soon began singing the Blues in New York, Kansas City, and Los Angeles. He first appeared with Lucky Millinder's Orchestra at the Apollo Theater in April 7, 1944, singing "Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well?". He and Millinder had a dispute, leading to Harris leaving in September 1945, after which he went on to have a string of hits on King Records. Harris died of cancer on June 14, 1969.

In either December 1945 or January 1946, soon after leaving Millinder, Harris recorded "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" in Los Angeles with members of Lionel Hampton's band (but not Hampton himself, probably because Hamp had just recorded his own version). The members of the Hamp-Tone All Stars were Wendell Culley (trumpet), Joe Morris (trumpet), Herbie Fields (clarinet and tenor sax), Arnett Cobb (tenor sax), Charlie Fowlkes (baritone sax), Milt Buckner (piano), Billy Mackel (guitar), Charlie Harris (bass), and George Jenkins (drums).

This two-part recording was released in May, on Hampton's Hamp-Tone Records, which had just been purchased by Musicraft (said the May 11, 1946 Billboard).

This is what the July 13, 1946 Billboard had to say:

... strikes hard at the race field and hits the jackpot.... this spinning adds up to something highly important in this field of disk endeavor. Supported by a small house band culled from the Hampton clan, ... Harris's vocal kicks are all the more brightened. It's a worthy mate to Hampton's own plattering that Harris makes of 'Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop' hogging the opening side and letting the horns play lots dirty for the mated side.

Aside from the "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" refrain (in which he says "yes, your daddy knows"), these are the lyrics on side one.

Matilda Brown told Old King Tut
Say, if you can't say re-bop keep your big mouth shut

Jack and Jill went up the hill to get a pail of water
Jill came down with a five-dollar bill [What! No water?]

Mama's on the chair, papa's on the cot
Baby's on the floor blowin' his natural top

Side two is strictly instrumental, except for this, near the end:

Get with it
Don't quit it
'Cause if you ever get it
You won't want to quit it.


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I'm not sure what this is about, but on May 22, 1946, someone named William E. King of Sherman, Texas copyrighted the words to "Hey Hey Ba Ba Re Bop". There's no other reference to a song by that title.
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Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Leon McAuliffe - ca summer 46
      Unreleased, it appears on Harlequin HQ CD 185 "Take It Away, Leon" - 2004

Steel guitarist William Leon McAuliffe was born on January 3, 1917 in Houston, Texas. Originally with the Light Crust Doughboys, in 1935 he joined Bob Wills' Texas Playboys. It was Wills who came up with the catchphrase "Take it away, Leon", when calling for a steel guitar riff. After the war, Leon formed his own Western Swing band in Tulsa. Oklahoma. It looks like the band's first recordings were the ones characterized as "1946 Big Band Sides". I don't know if the recordings were ever played on the radio, but as far as I can determine, they were never commercially released until the 2004 CD. Leon died August 20, 1988 in Tulsa.

McAuliffe's version has the "King Tut" stanza and the "baby's on the floor" stanza, along with another stanza whose words I can't make out.



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Actually, there must have been hundreds of radio performances of the song all over the world. The accompanying graphic shows a performance on São Paulo (Brazil) radio in June 1947 by Toddy Ryan, singing with Peruzzi and His Band.

In addition, there must have been hundreds of live show performances, such as Charlie Spivak's Orchestra (Memorial Hall, Chapel Hill, South Carolina on May 18, 1947). The vocal was done by trombonist Rusty Nichols, whose version was "fitted out with new verses" according to the May 18 Daily Tar Heel.
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Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Ray Ventura (vocal by Henri Salvador & the Bob Jacqmain Vocal Quartet) - Decca F 8666 (France) - 46

Ray Ventura was a French bandleader. A Sephardic Jew, he was born April 16, 1908 in Paris. Ray was one of the leading exponents of French jazz and helped to popularize it in the 1930s. With the onset of World War 2, he went to Brazil, where he led a band. Ray died in Palma de Mallorca on March 30, 1979.

Henri Salvador, guitarist, singer, and dancer, was born July 18, 1917 in Cayenne, French Guiana, although the family moved to France in 1929. Henri was the younger brother of singer André Salvador (who'll be along in a short while). Listening to Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong records, Henri discovered jazz. He left France with Ray Ventura in the early 1940s to appear in Brazil and ended up staying with him for many years. As "Henry Cording" he's credited with recording the first French Rock & Roll records in 1956. He later became well-known for novelty songs. Henri died in Paris on February 13, 2008.

This version faithfully follows Hampton's, although Salvador sings it with a heavy French accent.



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Note that there are French lyrics to the song ("Hey! Ba-Ba-Ri-Bop"), written by Marc Lanjean (Hampton and Hamner are also credited). The refrain goes:

Chantez [sing]
Hey! Ba-Ba-Ri-Bop!
Hey! Ba-Ba-Ri-Bop!
Hey! Ba-Ba-Ri-Bop!
Viv' la liberté! [long live Liberty]

The lyrics contain enough slang and contractions to stump the translator, but I'm guessing that it's got little to do with the English lyrics (although I imagine that "sauter la tête" means to blow your top). However, I don't know of any recordings that use these lyrics.
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Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Paul Fenoulhet with the Skyrockets Dance Orchestra (vocal by Doreen Lundy & Radio Revellers) - His Master's Voice B.D.5943 (United Kingdom) - 46

Paul Fenoulhet (born in 1906) formed his band, the Skyrockets, while he was doing military training. (The Skyrockets were members of the Royal Air Force.) A trombonist/trumpeter, he arranged for the Skyrockets, as well as for others, such as Jack Hylton. In 1946 the Skyrockets became the house band at the London Palladium, remaining until 1955. Paul died in 1979.

Doreen Lundy was born November 4, 1925 in Ireland, but raised in England. She became a singer for the Skyrockets in 1944, while she was in the WAAF (she also sang with Gerald "Geraldo" Bright's orchestra). Paul Fenoulhet and Doreen Lundy would marry in 1949.

The Radio Revellers were Freddie Holmes, Arthur Reed, Al Fernhead, and Stan Emeney.

This is another version that faithfully follows Hampton's.


Hey-Ba-Be-Ri-Rop [sic] - Filu and his Swingers - Durium Patria, D 46.437 (Hungary) - 46

Fülöp "Filu" Schenkelbach (1902 - 1981) was a Hungarian musician, who was born in Stanislav, Ukraine. There's not much information on him: Fülöp is Hungarian for "Philip"; he plays the saxophone and clarinet; he'd recorded with the Jolly Boys in 1929; and he had mostly combos, rather than full orchestras.

There are no lyrics at all except "Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" sung in a gritty voice (and it's only credited to Lionel Hampton, not Curley Hamner). The flip is "Lena From Palesteena", done in a Dixieland style. Both are nice recordings.


Hey-Ba-Ba Re-Bop - R.A.F. Dance Band (aka Squadronaires) - ENSA-ORBS Swingtime - (United Kingdom) - 46
      [It appears on Hep CD 44 "There's Something In The Air" (UK) - 92]

The Squadronaires are correctly called the "Royal Air Force Dance Orchestra", but are rarely referred to that way. During World War 2, they performed dances and concerts for servicemen throughout Britain, as well as on BBC broadcasts. After demobilization, the members formed a16-piece civilian band called the Squadronaires.

"Hey Ba-Ba Re-Bop" was recorded at the Levi Sound Studios in London in either March or April 1946. It was an ENSA-ORBS Swingtime recording, somewhat analogous to the AFRS series. (ENSA-ORBS [Entertainments National Service Association-Overseas Recording Broadcast Service] discs were recorded to be broadcast to troops stationed in Britain.)

This is strictly an instrumental version, no lyrics whatever.


Hey Ba Ba Re Bob [sic] - uncredited artist - Party Platters 310 - ca. 46

A thoroughly obscene version, perverting many of the original lyrics. It was done in a Western Swing style.


Hey Ba-Be-Ri-Ba - Kurt Widmann und sein Orchester - Odeon O-31 760 (Germany) - ca 12/46

Kurt Widmann was born on March 2, 1906 in Berlin. A drummer and accordionist, he had a Swing quintet in Berlin beginning in 1933. Using the names "John Webb", "John Weepster", and "Billy Blackmoore", Kurt began recording in the late 1930s, He was arrested for his music, but later released (at which time he said "Degenerate music has won!"). In the last days of the war, he put together a band that played in theaters between movies. After the war, he played jazz for American occupation forces and became the most popular big band leader in Germany. Kurt died, of a stroke, in 1954.

This record was also issued with the title "Hey-ba-ba-re-bop". Aside from the "Hey-ba-ba-re-bop" lyrics (repeated far too often), there are two stanzas which are so unintelligible that I can't even tell if they're in English or German.


Cafe Polka - Frankie Yankovic & His Yanks - Columbia 12314 - 1/47

Frankie Yankovic was born July 28, 1915 and was known as "America's Polka King". He played in the Slovenian Style (I neither know, nor want to, what that means, but I just thought I'd throw it in). A Grammy winner, he passed away on October 14, 1998.

This is a polka, and a completely different melody, but they do spend a good deal of time singing "Hey Ba Ba Re Bop", so it has to be listed here. As a matter of fact, he started a trend; several polka bands recorded it.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Eddie Brunner & His Original Teddies (vocal by Phyllis Heymans) - Elite Special 4576 (Switzerland) - 2/47

Eddie Brunner was a Swiss jazz saxophone/clarinet player and band leader, who was born on July 19, 1912 in Zurich, Switzerland. He was active in the 1930s with several bands and moved to Paris in 1936 (but once World War 2 started, he moved back to Switzerland). In 1941, he took over leadership of Teddy Stauffer's band (the Teddies), which he kept going until 1947, when he formed a smaller combo. Also a sound engineer, he died in Zurich on July 18, 1960..

Phyllis Heymans was born January 23, 1919 in Peking, but her family moved to Batavia in the Dutch East Indies. Relocating to Europe, she learned piano at a conservatory in Basel. Switzerland, where she also worked as a ballet dancer. In 1936, she became a chorus girl in the Netherlands and then a member of Teddy Stauffer's Teddies, making many recordings with him. Somewhere along the line, she seems to have introduced "Lili Marlene" to American troops in Europe. She continued on with Eddie Brunner when he took over the Teddies.

The song was recorded on January 2, 1947 in Basel, Switzerland. A nice jazzy version with Phyllis Heymans singing the "King Tut" and "up on the mountain" stanzas.


Hey-ba-ba-re-bop - Brita Borg - Sonora Swing 663 (Sweden) - 2/47

Brita Kerstin Gunvor Borg was born on June 10, 1926. A Swedish singer and variety show entertainer, she was active until the 1980s. Brita was married to Allan Johansson (both were in the Flickery Flies that recorded "Open The Door, Richard"). She died on May 4, 2010. Recorded on February 5, 1947, I haven't heard this one.


Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bob - The Ramblers (vocal by Ferry Barendse) - Decca M 32162 (Netherlands) - 47

The Ramblers (or De Ramblers) were a Netherlands big band that played both jazz and Pop music. Originally founded in 1926 as an orchestra for the La Gaîté cabaret in Amsterdam, the Ramblers became popular again after the war.

Ferry Barendse, a Dutch trumpeter, singer, composer, and arranger, was born in Poerwokerto, Dutch Indonesia on July 17, 1911. Arriving in the Netherlands in 1925, he initially studied law and economics. However, he turned out to be more interested in music and began his musical career in the 1930s with The Hague Amateur Orchestra (The Moochers). He decided to become a professional musician and performed with a series of orchestras. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was cruise director for the Holland America Line. Ferry died in Port Charlotte, Florida on September 13, 1991.

Recorded in Holland on January 6, 1947, it follows the Hampton version, but Barendse has a heavy Dutch accent and, if I didn't know the words, I probably wouldn't be able to make them out.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Horst Winter & Wiener Tanz-Orchester (vocal by Horst Winter) - Elite Special 8080 (also Elite Special 8186) (Austria) - 5/47

Horst (later "Harry") Winter was born on September 24, 1914 in Beuthen, Uper Silesia (today Bytom, Poland). A German/Austrian singer, musician, and bandleader, his family moved to Berlin after the Silesian Uprisings in 1921. Here, he studied violin and clarinet at the Academy of Music and played in jazz and swing dance orchestras to earn a living, later becoming a bandleader. During the Nazi era, Winter adjusted to the strict regulations about what kinds of music could be played and concentrated on singing and light dance music. In World War 2, he joined the Wehrmacht (German army) and was taken prisoner by American forces. After the war he went to Vienna, forming his own dance orchestra in 1946. His swing concerts became increasingly popular in Allied-occupied Austria. Horst Winter died in Vienna on December 3, 2001. I haven't heard this one.


Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Orquesta Los Clippers (vocal by Antonio "Chispa" Bardají) - Gramófono Odeon (Spain) - 47

The Clippers (Orquesta Los Clippers) were formed around 1945 in Barcelona, Spain by Antonio Bardají with musicians from other groups. They played all over Europe, concentrating on Swing, Dixieland, and Be-Bop. Aside from Bardaji, the members were: Juan Torres, Damián Cots, Miguel Manzano, Manuel Biete, Juan Boldú, and Antonio Lizandara.

Drummer/violinist/composer Antonio "Chispa" Bardají Durán was born in 1919 and was also known as "Leo Martin". He died in 1967. "Chispa" means something like "Sparky".

This follows the Hampton version (leaving out the "up on the mountain" stanza), but Bardaji has a heavy Spanish accent and, if I didn't know the words, I probably wouldn't be able to make them out. I can't imagine that his Spanish audience could make much out of it either, but the music is great.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - André Ekyan et son orchestre (vocal by André Salvador) - Odeon 281.770 (France) - 47

André Ekyan was born in Meudon, France on October 24, 1907 to a Hungarian mother and an Armenian father). Playing the saxophone and clarinet (sometimes simultaneously!), he was one of the most important pre-war pioneers in the emerging French jazz movement. After the war, he played with famed jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. He died in Alicante, Spain on August 9, 1972.

Simon André Salvador, older brother of Henri Salvador (whom we met above), was born in Cayenne, French Guiana on October 27, 1913, but the family moved to France in 1929. A cousin introduced him to jazz and both he and Henri took up the guitar. During World War 2, he was part of the French Resistance, but later turned down medals. He returned to Paris theaters after the war. André died June 24, 2003 in Paris.

It follows the Hampton version, but Salvador has a heavy French accent and, if I didn't know the words, I probably wouldn't be able to make them out. I can't imagine that his French audience could make much out of it either. [Is this beginning to sound familiar?]

However, I guess someone could make something out if it. The record earned the 1947 Grand Prix du Disque (similar to a Grammy).


Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Leo Mathisen og hans Orkester - Tono Z 18051 (Denmark) - 47

Leo "The Lion" Mathisen, born on October 10, 1906, was a Danish jazz pianist, composer, arranger, singer, and bandleader. Heavily influenced by Fats Waller, Leo was at the forefront of the Danish jazz scene around World War 2. He died on December 16, 1969.

The record features some really good piano work. The only Hampton stanza is the "King Tut" one. All the other lyrics, in heavy Danish-accented English, are Mathisen's own (although the only writer credits are Hampton and Hamner). The only ones I could decipher are:

East and west and north and south
Everywhere you will hear them shout.

Near the end, he throws in "Go to hell! Yeah!" for reasons that totally escape me.


Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Thore Jederbys Orkester (vocal by "Tompa" Jahn) - Odeon D-5279 (Sweden) - 47

Bassist John Tore "Thore" Jederby was born in Stockholm on October 15, 1913. He had his own orchestra in the 1940s and then became a studio musician and a music producer. He died on January 10, 1984 in Stockholm.

Torbjörn "Tompa" Jahn, drummer and singer was born October 12, 1921 in Stockholm. He started on the clarinet, but switched to the drums, eventually forming his own orchestra. He died in Stockholm on December 28, 2003.

Tompa sings all three of Hampton's stanzas (although in a different order). It's a nice jazzy version.


Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Aimé Barelli et son Orchestre (vocal by Jo Bartel) - Pathé PA 2369 (France) - ca. 47

Aimé Barelli (born March 1, 1917) was a French jazz trumpeter, vocalist, and bandleader. Barelli moved to Paris at the beginning of the 1940s and started his own group in 1943. He played with many famous musicians, such as Sidney Bechet, Charlie Parker, and Django Reinhardt. Barielli died on July 13, 1995 in Monaco.

José "Jo" Bartel was born February 24, 1932 in Lille, France. A singer and composer, he made his singing debut with Barelli in 1947, at the age of fifteen. He died on January 26, 2010.

Bartel only sings the "King Tut" and "up on the mountain" stanzas in (you guessed it) heavily French-accented English. The label only credits Lionel Hampton, not Curley Hamner.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Jo Privat et l'ensemble Swing du Balajo - Pacific MC 737 (France) - 47

Jo Privat, born April 15, 1919 in Paris, was a singer/accordionist/composer. He played at the Balajo Club for many years and worked with guitarist Django Reinhardt. He died in France on April 3, 1996.

It's Jo's accordion leading a small combo. He sings "Hey! Ba-Ba-Ray-Bop" with a thick French accent, but there are no other lyrics.


Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Louie Williams (with Tony Proteau and his Orchestra) - Blue Star B.S. N 22 (France) - 47

Louie Williams, born in New Orleans in 1917, was the brother of Walter Williams of the 3 Peppers. Probably in 1929 (at age 12), he became a member of a very popular dance team called Pops & Louie ["Pops" was Albert Whitman, who was also around 12 when the act started.] They were subsequently in a Broadway show ("Harlem Cavalcade", 1942) and a movie ("Hit Parade Of 1943" aka "Change Of Heart", with Count Basie). In 1946, Pops & Louie began a tour of Europe that lasted until Pops suddenly died in July 1950. I don't know how he managed it, but while performing with Pops, Louie made some recordings (such as the one with Proteau) and became leader/vocalist of a combo called the Crazy Rhythm. In 1948, Louie wrote to his brother, Walter, describing how lonely he felt being a black musician in Paris.

Antoine "Tony" Proteau was born in France in 1921 and was a saxophonist, composer, arranger, and conductor in the field of French jazz. He died in New York in 1988,

This could be the most interesting one of all. He's the only singer who attempts to combine both the "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" and the Baba Reba lyrics. It begins with:

I got a gal over here, I got a gal over there
But my gal over here, ee-ee-ee
Hey-ba-ba-re-bop [Hey-ba-ba-re-bop]
Hey-ba-ba-re-bop [Hey-ba-ba-re-bop]
Hey-ba-ba-re-bop [Hey-ba-ba-re-bop]
Yes, your daddy knows

He goes on to scat "Jingle Bells" and "The Wedding March" before throwing in the "baby's on the floor" stanza.


Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bob - Georgie Kay et son Orchestre du Jazz Club Français (vocal by Georgie Kay) - ABC Jazz Club JC 165 (France) - 47

I've been unable to find out anything about Georgie Kay. If he's French, there's nothing written about him anywhere I have access to. If he's American, it's more complicated. There were two different bands in the 40s called "Georgie Kay [or Kaye] & His Orchestra", one on the East Coast, one on the West. There was also a singer/dancer/MC with that name, and also a comic.

Kay made two known records on ABC Jazz Club and one on French Decca. It looks like all the tunes came from the same session.

It's mostly a jazz instrumental with the band throwing in the obligatory "Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bob" lyrics and Georgie Kay doing some scatting.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Kramer e la sua orchestra (vocal by Natalino Otto) - Fonit 12534 (Italy) - 47

Francesco Kramer Gorni (aka Gorni Kramer), was born on July 22, 1913 in Lombardy, Italy. An accordion and bass player, he was also a bandleader and composer. In 1933 he formed his first orchestra, a jazz group. However, jazz was banned by Mussolini's regime and he had to learn it and play it on ocean liners. Because of his jazz leanings, he couldn't be heard on Italian radio until after the war. Kramer died on October 26, 1995.

During the war, Kramer began working with Natalino Otto (real name Natale Codognotto). Otto was born in Cogoleto, Italy on December 24, 1912 (hence his given name "Natale"). Working on transatlantic cruise ships prior to World War 2, he learned jazz and swing arrangements. Just like Kramer, he was banned from Italian radio until after the war. Natalino died in Milan on October 4, 1969.

The song is sung in English and I'm happy to report that Otto's Italian accent is pretty easy to understand. (However, his lyrics were followed by Kramer's accordion solo.)



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The song swept Europe (I've just listed more than 15 foreign versions). But not everyone was happy. There was a big article in the August 27, 1947 Daily World (Opalousas, Louisiana) concerning Otto Hein (of the Austrian firm, Wiener Bohême Verlag), a prominent European publisher. He was bewailing the nonsense songs that America was cranking out and how they were having a negative impact on European songwriters. He directly blames Lou Levy (of Leeds Music, publisher of both "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" and "Open The Door, Richard") for this sorry state. It's far too long for me to re-type, so I'll just attach the entire article. (Is it all true? You know how cynical I am about things like this. However, Hein and Levy were real, so I suppose the story, although probably embellished, could be also. It was printed in papers all over the U.S.)
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Hey, Ba-Ba-Re-Bop Polka - Victor Zembruski & His Polka Kings - Continental 1263 - ca 5/48

Victor Zembruski was born on September 1, 1912. He was an American drummer and bandleader known as "The Polka King" and "The Drummer Boy In The Band". He originated the "Polish Eagle Show" on WATR (Waterbury, Connecticut) in 1934. Victor died on November 19, 1976 in Waterbury. I haven't heard this one, but it's a follow-up to his "Be-Bop Polka".


Hey! Ba-Ba-Ri-Bap - El Negrito Chevalier y Orquesta Chamaco Dominguez - RCA 23-1164 - 3/49

Wilfredo "Willy" Gómez Chevalier (known as "El Negrito Chevalier") was an actor, radio announcer, and comic on New York's Spanish Vaudeville circuit. He was born on July 29, 1917 in the Canary Islands (Spain), although he moved to Cuba at a very young age and thereafter always identified with that country, even after coming to New York in the early 1940s. Long after television killed off Spanish Vaudeville, Chevalier continued working at New York's Teatro Latino, a theater that he owned at 125 Street and Third Avenue. He died in New York on August 4, 1983.

A 1961 RCA Camden LP (CAM-09), made in Mexico, collects a half-dozen RCA songs by Negrito Chevalier and another six by Mr. Lee. The infuriatingly vague liner notes (in Spanish) say nothing useful about either artist and don't indicate which songs are by whom. (In spite of the way the liner notes are laid out, there's even a chance that "Mr. Lee" was another persona of Chevalier. The photo on the LP could certainly be him.) It was released with two covers: one is titled "Recordando [recalling] Negrito Chevalier / Mr. Lee" and the other is "Los Exitos del [the hits of] Negrito Chevalier y Mr. Lee".

In June 2015, all 12 songs from the LP were released on a series of EPs on the Dizzy label. Each credits "Negrito Chevalier y [and] Mr. Lee".

Recorded November 12, 1948, the song starts off as "Babalú" and, as he sings "Babalú-Ayé", brilliantly morphs into "Babalú-Ayé Ba Ba Ri Bap" (and then morphs back at the end). The lyrics, all in Spanish and written by Chevalier, seem to have nothing to do with Hampton's. According to Billboard, this was a smash hit in the Spanish community.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Ri-Bap - Cuadritos, with Juanito Sanabria y su Orchesta - Ansonia 5320 - ca 49

I can't find out anything about Cuadritos, except that his name might have been Miguel A. Rodriguez Cuadritos, an artist who was recording for Cenit around the same time.

Juanito Sanabria was a Puerto Rican singer, guitarist, and bandleader, who helped introduce the merengue to New York.

"Hammer", "Hampton", and "Chevalier" were listed as the writers. He follows the lyrics (as far as I can tell) sung by El Negrito Chevalier.


Hey! Ba-Ba Re-Bop - Bernard Hilda et son Orchestre (vocal by Hilda? and Jane Morgan) - Polydor 590.191 (France) - 49

Bernart "Bernard Hilda" Levitzky was born into a family of musicians in Paris in 1914. After World War 1, his family moved to Virginia, but returned to Paris in 1926 so that Bernart could continue his musical education on the violin. Bouncing between classical music and jazz, he decided on the latter and changed his name to "Bernard Hilda". He worked all over France and Monaco, but left France for Spain during World War 2. He returned to France in 1947 and did some touring with Jane Morgan.

Frances Catherine "Jane Morgan" Currier was an American singer born May 3, 1924 in Newton, Massachusetts. She studied at the Juilliard School Of Music and appeared with Art Mooney's Orchestra at Manhattan's famed Roseland Ballroom. (Mooney was the one who changed her name to "Jane Morgan".) However, she didn't gain any fame until she was selected to appear with Bernard Hilda in Paris in 1948, so that she could sing American songs to French audiences. Hilda and Morgan began recording together in 1949 and she subsequently returned to the United States a star. At the time of this writing, Jane is still alive.

A male voice (probably Hilda's) does the "King Tut" stanza; the rest of the song is sung by Jane Morgan.



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Then, things were quiet on the recording scene for the next half-dozen years (with one 1952 exception), when the craze began all over again. Of course, in the intervening years, the song never really faded from view. Chubby Silver sang it with Sammy Kaye's Orchestra throughout 1952. It was also done in the Franklin High School Musical Broadcast (Franklin, Pennsylvania) on February 5, 1953. (This was really considered a Big Deal and had several newspaper articles devoted to it, listing all the numbers to be performed.) Naturally, Lionel Hampton performed it at every show.
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Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Fred Kinglee und die King-Kols - Austroton 5179 (Austria) - 52

Fred "Kinglee" Preusser and the King-Kols were a German swing trio formed in 1946. They consisted of: Fred P. Kinglee (piano and vocals), Ary See-Kolsen (guitar), and Mackie Ruff (bass). They played in Germany and the Netherlands and made several recordings, which were collected into a Bear Family LP called "Lachen Sie Mit" ("Laugh Along With Us"). Note that Fred had a brother, Gustl "Gus P. Kinglee" Preusser, who had his own trio, but wasn't part of Fred's. I haven't heard this one.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Lola Dee (with the Jack Halloran Singers) - Wing 90035 - 10/55

Lorraine "Lola Dee" DeAngelis was born in Chicago around 1928. Her father was a drummer, and she began performing at an early age. Calling herself Lola Ameche (her mother's maiden name), she was part of the "Teen Town" radio program (Saturday mornings on ABC) that first broadcast in February 1946 and subsequently changed its name to "Junior Junction". (One of her co-stars was Mary Hartline, of future "Super Circus" fame.) By 1948, no longer a teenager (the point of "Junior Junction" was that it was produced strictly by teenagers), she embarked on a singing career in Chicago clubs. (It was "somehow" leaked to newspapers that she was the sister of actor Don Ameche, something that wasn't retracted until 1950.) In 1950, she was the vocalist with Jerry Glidden's Orchestra. From there, she went on to Al Trace's Orchestra and with him recorded "When Lola Plays The Pianola" for Columbia in 1950. A year later, she and Trace switched over to Mercury Records. Lola would record for Mercury until 1954, when she became "Lola Dee" and was switched to Mercury's Wing subsidiary. Her only national chart hit was 1955's "Paper Roses" (in spite of many sites saying that the flip side, her version of "Only You", was the song that sold a million copies).

While the label credits Hampton and Hamner, all the lyrics (other than the refrain) are new and of the "dumb teenage Rock 'N Roll" variety. As an example:

I met a square who wasn't bright
He couldn't rock 'til I learned him right [groan]


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In 1956, 30 seconds of "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" was sung by Gloria Rios in the film "Juventud Desenfrenada" ("Reckless Youth"). The movie seems to have no purpose other than to demonstrate that the Mexicans were capable of making Rock 'N' Roll films that were just as dumb as ours.
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Hey ! Ba Ba Re Bop - Jacques Hélian et son Orchestre (band vocals) - Pathé G 1242 (France) - 57

Saxophonist/clarinetist and orchestra leader Jacques Mikaël Der Mikaëlian ("Jacques Hélian") was born in Paris on June 7, 1912 to an Armenian father and a French mother. He was enrolled in dental school, but left to pursue music, ending up with several orchestras, including Ray Ventura's. In the French army during World War 2, he was captured and became a prisoner of war. After his release, he formed a small orchestra and performed on radio. Jacques died on June 29, 1986

For some reason, the writer credits were to Bernard Michel and Sherman Edwards. Edwards had written Georgia Gibbs' "Rock Right" and Michel had penned its French lyrics. It's possible that it was just an error at Pathé, although, other than the chanted call and response refrain, the music was totally different.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Lillian Briggs - Sunbeam 114 - 10/58

Lillian Briggs was born Lillian Biggs on June 3, 1932 and grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Before becoming a singer, she drove a laundry truck and played the trombone in a band called the Downbeats. She then joined Joy Cayler's All-Girl Orchestra in the early 1950s. After going out on her own, her big hit was 1955's "I Want You To Be My Baby". Lillian died on April 11, 1998.

The October 27, 1958 Billboard gave a glowing review to "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop": "The Lionel Hampton oldie is given new excitement by chick, group and organ. A highly listenable, danceable rocker, with some coin indicated [expect a lot of juke box play]."

It's a frenetic vocal that follows the Hampton lyrics, except for the line before "If you can't say re-bop, keep your big mouth shut", which has nothing to do with Matilda Brown or King Tut, but is unintelligible to me.


Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Andy Doll Band (vocal by Donnie [White?]) - Audio-Deluxe AD 101 - 8/58

Andrew Joseph Doll was born in 1921 in Wauzeka, Wisconsin, but moved to Oelwein, Iowa. His band became popular all over the Midwest. Audio-Deluxe Records was also from Oelwein (pressed by RCA), and may have been owned by Doll.

The singer is probably Donnie White, who wouldn't have been fully named because he was under contract to King at the time.

This is a rockabilly version with "7 men playing 17 instruments". It has the "up on the mountain" stanza followed by the "King Tut" stanza.


Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Lionel Hampton - Audio Fidelity AFSD 5913-2A - 10/59

A single from the Audio Fidelity LP AFSD 5319 "Hamp's Big Band". Most of this 6-minute version is instrumental and scatting. There are only two stanzas. The first is the familiar "King Tut", but the second is new:

Now, Mama, Mama, look at sis,
She's out in the back yard doin' the twist

Where did these lyrics come from? Since Chubby Checker's monster hit of "The Twist" wasn't released until June 1960, Hampton had to have been familiar with the December 1958 version by Hank Ballad & the Midnighters (and also think that his audience would be). I have a lot of trouble believing that, however. There's only a single mention of "The Twist" in 1959 newspapers (and that's only in a list of records for sale). Beats me.

Or, not. Thanks to Charles Ulrich, I've learned that Jelly Roll Morton's 1939 recording of "Winin' Boy Blues" (General 4004) contains these lines:

Mama, mama, mama, look at sis
Mama, mama, won't you look at sis
Mama, mama, look at sis
She's out on the levee doin' the double twist.

And, in 1926, Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five (vocal by Lil Hardin) did the "Georgia Grind" (Okeh 8318), which began:

Papa, papa, just look at sis
Out in the back yard shakin' like this.
Don' that Georgia Grind; that old Georgia Grind.

There's nothing new under the sun. (I just made that up.)


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Louis Prima (with Sam Butera & the Witnesses) - Dot 16009 - 11/59

This was a remake of his 1946 Majestic recording. He does the "King Tut" and "baby" stanzas.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Sal Mayo - Columbia 4-41706 - 6/60
      Also on Philips 322 633 BF (Germany) as "Hey ba-ba-re-bop" - 9/60

Tenor Salvatore "Sal Mayo" DiMaio had been one of the 4 Voices ("Honest Darling Believe Me"), along with Bill McBride (baritone), Al Chase (tenor), and Frank Fosta (bass/baritone). They got a contract with Columbia Records after appearing on the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts show. Supposedly they formed in Tennessee, but a December 11, 1955 column ("On The Town With Will Leonard") said: "The foursome ... got their start when Fosta, determined to start a quartet, looked up singers in the New York City classified directory."

Mayo follows the original Hampton version.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Bill Ramal and His Twist Band - Warner Bros. A-5515 (Germany) - 60
      Also on a Warner Bros EP from Spain "Everybody Loves To Twist" - ED 1102-1 - 62

Bellino "Bill Ramal" Ramaglia was a tenor sax player and arranger who worked with Dickie Goodman on "Flying Saucer", Del Shannon (producing "Runaway"), and Johnny & the Hurricanes. By the 1990s, he had a PhD and was part of the Music Department at the University Of Georgia. I haven't heard this one; it's probably mostly an instrumental in the Twist mold.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Ted Herold - Polydor 2459 246 (from the album "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop") - Germany) - 61

Harald Walter Bernhard "Ted Herold" Schubring, German singer and actor, was born September 9, 1942. He's also a tenor sax player and arranger. Called "The German Elvis", he released German versions of American hits like "The Wanderer" and "Da Doo Ron Ron".

He faithfully re-creates the Lionel Hampton version, with some nice band work.


Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Big Brown featuring the Gamblers and the 230' - Palette PB 40126 (Belgium) - 10/62

Roger "Big Brown" Sauvenier was born in Liège, Belgium on February 27, 1927 and died in Loncin, Belgium on December 6, 2016. Until 1960, he concentrated on Dixieland, but then he and the Gamblers switched to Rock & Roll. I have no idea what "the 230'" is (or are). (Note that the title was spelled "Hey Ba Ba Re Bop" on the record, but "Hey Babarebop" on the record sleeve.)

I've only heard part of this, in which he did the "up on the mountain" stanza.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Blue Diamonds - Decca AT 10 039 (Netherlands) - 63
      Also issued on Fontana 266 449 TF (Netherlands) - ca 64

The Blue Diamonds were the Dutch-Indonesian duo of brothers Ruud and Reim de Wolff (born in Jakarta, Indonesia on May 12, 1941 and April 15, 1943 respectively). They immigrated to the Netherlands in 1949 and have been called the "Dutch Everly Brothers".

Other than the refrain, all the lyrics (in English) are new.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - 5 Elite Boys - Triola TD 223 (Denmark) - 2/64

They're Danish. That's all I could find out. I haven't heard this one, but it's characterized as an instrumental.


Hey Bob E Re Bob - Cadillacs - Lana 119 - 65

No one seems to know what group was on this record, although I can give you a list of singers who weren't on it. I contacted Roland Martinez, who wasn't on it (and he said Bobby Spencer and J.R. Bailey weren't either). Ray Brewster listened to it and said "I didn’t sing on this one and don’t recognize the lead." Leroy Binns couldn't recognize the lead either. It was probably a group that Esther Navarro threw together for a couple of Lana sides.

I wouldn't have guessed that any group called the Cadillacs could present a sound like this. I like it. Other than the refrain, all the lyrics are new.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Tony Sheridan & The Big Six - Polydor International - 421 009 (Germany) - 65

Tony Sheridan McGinnity was born May 21, 1940 in Norwich, England and died on February 16, 2013 in Hamburg, Germany. Tony was a singer/guitarist who appeared with (although not part of) the early Beatles in Hamburg in 1961.

He sings all of Hampton's lyrics. Strangely, however, the label credits the song to Hampton, Hamner, and [Horst?] Winter. The beat is typical dance club of the era.


Hey Baberiba - Burken (with Fridens Kilowatt & Rivaler) - Polydor 2053.097 (Sweden) - 1972

Leif "Burken" Björklund was born March 27, 1943 in Stockholm. He was a Swedish singer, accordion player, municipal politician, and one of the members of the Rock People. "Hey Baberiba" was his signature song. Burken died April 7, 2011 in Nacka, Sweden.

Aside from the refrain, the song is mostly nonsense syllables, although there's a single stanza in what I assume is Swedish.


Hey! Baba Re-Bop - Kalle (from the album "hey-baba-re-bop") - Finnlevy SFLP 9562 (Finland) - 75

Pertti Antero "Kalle" Fält is a Finnish saxophonist and vocalist. He was born in Oulu, Finland, but moved to Helsinki in the early 1970s, where he played with several groups before forming the Kalle Fält Band. His self-titled album was recorded for Finnlevy (which means "Finnish Discs"). Today, Fält works in amateur theater.

Note that song title is spelled "Hey! Baba Re-Bop", but the title of the album is "hey-baba-re-bop" (all lower case). I haven't heard this one.


Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Peter Alexander (from the album "Das Peter Alexander Konzert Live") - Ariola 27 937 XDU (Germany) - 76

Peter Alexander Ferdinand Maximilian Neumayer was born June 30, 1926 in Vienna, Austria. A singer and entertainer, he was popular from the mid-50s to the mid-90s, and was the host of a television show for over 30 years. He was named the biggest singles artist ever (by the German Media Control Charts), for having placed 459 songs on German charts. Peter died February 12, 2011. I haven't heard this one, but it's part of a medley and is only about 30 seconds long, so it can only be the refrain.


Hey Baba Rebop - Milt Buckner (from the album "Dansez-vous Le Bop?") - Black And Blue 333.095 (France) - 76

Pianist Milt Buckner was born in St. Louis on July 10, 1915. He'd been a member of McKinney's Cotton Pickers and Cab Calloway's Orchestra. He joined Lionel Hampton in 1941, staying for seven years. In the early 50s, he helped to popularize the Hammond organ. Milt died on July 27, 1977 in Chicago.

I haven't heard this one, but I've heard a live version with Buckner on the organ and Jo Jones on drums. It's long, with many lyrics, some of them quite raunchy. It was filmed in France on July 17, 1971 for inclusion in a movie called "Jazz en Provence".


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Father Abraham & The Smurfs (from the album "Father Abraham In Smurfland") - Decca Smurf-R-1 (United Kingdom) - 12/78

Petrus Antonius Laurentius Kartner (born 11 April 1935) is a Dutch musician who sings under the alias "Vader Abraham" (Father Abraham). The sound of the Smurfs is kind of like the Chipmunks. As dumb as this sounds, he's reported to have sold over 25 million records featuring Smurfs.

He follows the Hampton lyrics (except for saying "that's my baby now" instead of "yes, your baby knows"). The Smurfs also throw in "we're gonna jive" and "hey, baby, you want to cut a rug?". The whole thing is actually more pleasant than you'd suppose. (And, I love the German word for Smurf: Schlümpfe.)


Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Johnny Shines (from the album "Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop") - Rounder 2020 - 79
Hey Bobba Re Bop - Johnny Shines & Snooky Pryor (from the album "Back To The Country - Blind Pig BPLP 4391 - 91

John Ned Shines, born April 26, 1915 in Memphis, was a Blues singer/guitarist. He was taught to play the guitar by his mother. Around 1935, he met bluesman Robert Johnson and toured with him. His first recordings (for Columbia and Chess) were never released. His 1952 J.O.B. recordings were released, but didn't sell, which discouraged him to the point where he quit the music business for many years, not recording again until 1966. He died on April 20, 1992 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

This recording seems to have been done live. There's only his guitar and some clapping in the background. The only lyrics are the refrain and the "King Tut" stanza. However, he doesn't say "Matilda Brown", although I can't make out exactly what he does say.
.
Johnny reprised the song in 1991 (as "Hey Bobba Re Bop") on the "Back To The Country" album that he did with Snooky Pryor. [James "Snooky" Pryor, a Blues singer and harmonica player, was born in Quitman, Mississippi on September 15, 1921 and died in Missouri on October 18, 2006.] I still can't understand what he says in place of "Matilda Brown"..


Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Eighty One (from the album "Columbia - Second Trip") - Bunny BRS 1982/10 (Belgium) - 82
      It's also on the album "Medley Twist" - Torch 8301 (Belgium) & ARC 8301 (Netherlands) - 83

You've got me on this one. I can't find out anything about Eighty One (even if it's an actual band). The tune is only credited to Lionel Hampton. This is an album of non-stop dance music (with singing). All the releases are 12-inch 45RPM records ("maxi-singles"). I haven't heard this one, but, because it only lasts for one minute, I have to assume it's just the refrain done to a twist beat, as part of a medley.


Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Renzo Arbore & New Pathetic Elastic Orchestra (from the album "Quelli Della Notte N. 2") - Fonit Cetra LPX 146 (Italy) - 11/85

Lorenzo Giovanni "Renzo" Arbore was born June 24, 1937 in Foggia, Italy. Aside from being a singer and clarinet player, he's a TV host, actor, and film director. This was recorded live in the Roma TV Production Center's studio. Quelli Della Notte means "Those Of The Night". I haven't heard this one.


Hey Baba Reebop - Holger Czukay (from the album "Rome Remains Rome") - Virgin V2408 (United Kingdom) - 87

Bassist Holger Czukay was born in Danzig, Poland on March 24, 1938. He was an early exponent of sampling in musical creation (that is, looping sections of tape to create a recurring sound).

"Hey Baba Reebop" is very electronic-sounding club dance music. The writer credit is only to "Czukay" and, in truth, there's no connection to the original song other than someone repeating "Hey Baba Reebop" over and over.



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In May 1990 there was a 4-hour Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop cruise around the Sydney (Australia) Harbor on the Richmond Riverboat. The craze had even made it Down Under. You got to "Jump & Jive With The Big Band" (and, there was even a "Jitterbub" [sic] contest). It turns out that Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop was the name of an Australian Swing band that was active from around 1988 through 1993.
----- TIME IN -----



Hey Baba Rebop - King Pleasure & Biscuit Boys (from the album "Better Beware!") - Big Bear CD 35 (United Kingdom) - 91

King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys are an R&B, jive, and swing band from the West Midlands in the U.K. In their 30-year history, they've opened for Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, and B.B. King (and recorded with Charles Brown). Mark "King Pleasure" Skirving plays the baritone saxophone and does vocals. Their repertoire includes such numbers as "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens", "Let 'Em Roll", "Since I Fell For You", "Tequila", "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash", and "Walking With Mr. Lee".

Their version only includes two stanzas, starting with "King Tut". The second stanza begins with "Papa's in the ..." and quickly becomes unintelligible (although they're definitely not Hampton's lyrics).


Hey Bop A Re Bop - Jive Aces (from the CD "Jumpin' With The Aces") - Mumbo Jumbo MJM 11176 (Germany) - 92

The Jive Aces are a jive and swing sextet from the U.K., formed in 1989. The members are Ian Clarkson (trumpet, ukulele, and vocals), Ken Smith (bass), Vince Hurley (piano, Peter Howell (drums), John Fordham (saxophone), and Alex Douglas (trombone, bongos, harmonica, and kazoo).

The "King Tut" stanza is followed by one introducing the drummer and one introducing the bassist.


On N'entend Plus Que Ça (Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop) - Sacha Distel (from the album "Sacha Distel Et Ses Collégiens Jouent Ray Ventura") - Carrere Music 4509-92649-4 (France) - 93

Alexandre "Sacha" Distel, a French singer and guitarist, was born on January 29, 1933 in Paris. His father was Russian; his mother, the sister of bandleader Ray Ventura, was French. Ventura introduced Sacha to jazz, leading him to become a guitarist. He was the composer of "La Belle Vie", which was a hit for Tony Bennett as "The Good Life". In the 1970s and 1980s, he made many appearances on British television, while continuing to record French versions of English-language hits. Sasha was one of those honored to perform at Queen Elizabeth's 80th birthday celebration in 1980. He died on July 22, 2004 in Southern France.

The song's French title translates to something like "We Only Hear The Words (Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop)". The album's title is "Sacha Distel and his Collegians play Ray Ventura". ("The Collegians" was the name of Ray Ventura's band in the 1930s.)

This version, sung in French, is pretty tame, but enjoyable. It doesn't use the French lyrics I mentioned above, but seems to try to translate Hampton's somewhat.


Hey Bob-A-Ree-Bop - Cleveland Fats (from the album "The Other Side Of Midnight") - Blue Swayed BS 10632 - 96

Mark "Cleveland Fats" Hahn, from Ravenna, Ohio is a guitarist and harmonica player. Fats' playing is strongly rooted in the 1950s blues stylings of Muddy Waters, Albert King, B.B. King, Freddie King, Earl Hooker, and T-Bone Walker. He began with Otis Trotter's band while in high school. After graduation, he met bluesman Robert Lockwood, Jr. and joined his band as rhythm guitarist, remaining for 17 years. I haven't heard this one.



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There was an American racehorse named "Hey Bob A Reba" born in 1997. Unfortunately, she didn't seem to have much of a winning career.
----- TIME IN -----



Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - New York Allstars (from the CD "The New York Allstars Play Lionel Hampton") - Nagel Heyer NH047 (Germany) - 3/99

This tribute album to Lionel Hampton is led by trumpeter Randy Sandke and vibraphonist Lars Erstrand. The rest of the group is composed of a mixture of American and European musicians: Antti Sarpila (tenor saxophone), Roy Williams (trombone), Thilo Wagner (piano), James Chirillo (piano), Dave Green (bass), and Ed Metz (drums).

This version is almost five and a half minutes long. It's really good music, but there's no vocal whatever, not even a single "hey ba-ba-re-bop".


Hey Baba Reba - The Original Band (from the album "Still Rockin' Around The Clock") - Rollin' Rock CD-103 - 99

Amazingly, this is by Bill Haley's 1955 Comets: Joey "Ambrose" D'Ambrosio (saxophone, at the time of this recording, he was 65), Frank "Franny" Beecher (guitar; 77), Johnny Grande (piano; 69), Marshall Lytle (bass; 65), and Dick Richards (drums; 75), with Londoner Jacko Buddin (62) on vocals. Lytle, D'Ambrosio, and Richards left Haley in 1956 to form the Jodimars. Beecher has since passed away (in 2014, at age 92). I haven't heard this one.


Hey Babareeba! - Zoppo & Truetones (from the CD "Trippin' The Light Fantastic") - unknown label - 2000

"Zoppo" is California's Jimmy Gimelli and the CD features Swing and Jazz arrangements. I haven't heard this one.


Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Swing Cats (from the album "Swing Cats Stomp") - Cleopatra CLP 0592-2 - 2000

The Swing Cats is a trio made up of two former members of the Stray Cats: Leon Drucker ("Lee Rocker") on bass and James McDonnell ("Slim Jim Phantom") on drums. The third member is ex-Polecats guitarist Danny B. Harvey on guitar, piano, and vibes..

They faithfully do Hampton's lyrics and I like the music. However, I find the vocalist (not identified) to be annoying. [Note: there'll be a version by a different Swing Cats group coming up next.]


Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Søren Sørensen's Swing Cats (from the album "From New Orleans To Rock 'n' Roll") - Music Mecca CD3055-2 (Denmark) - 2001

This Swing Cats group is from Denmark and has no relation to the one I just talked about. The members are: Søren Sørensen (tenor and baritone sax), Niels Holleufer (guitar), Peter Sørensen (bass), Claus Lauesen (drums), and Søren Kirk (trumpet). Søren Sørensen and his brother Peter formed the group in 1976.

They sing all of Hampton's lyrics, although out of order. It's got a driving beat and could have been played by someone like Big Al Sears in the 50s.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Steve Lallier's Tuxedo Junction (from the CD "Up In Harlem On A Saturday Night") - self-published - 2002

Steve Lallier’s Tuxedo Junction, based in Dallas, Texas, recreates big band music of the 1930s and 1940s with up to 17 musicians, plus vocalists. A nice job using Hampton's lyrics.


Hey Baba Re Bob - Lad'a Kerndl & Big Band Filixe Slováèka (from the album "Love Songs") - Multisonic (Czech) 0741941058926 - 2002

Vladimir "Lad'a" Kerndl is a Czech singer, guitarist, and drummer, who's been called the "Czech Sinatra". He was in several dance music groups before becoming a musician on cruise ships. Since the mid-1990s, he's concentrated on old standards, as well as contemporary jazz.

The accent is thick, but he's doing Hampton's lyrics in English. I'm not sure, however, how the tune qualifies for inclusion on a "Love Songs" album.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Terry Gibbs (from the album "From Me To You - A Tribute To Lionel Hampton") - Mack Avenue 31008 - 2003

You probably know Terry Gibbs; as Benny Goodman's vibraphonist, he played the vibes behind the Ravens on some of their Columbia ides (such as "Midnight Blues"). Julius "Terry Gibbs" Gubenko was born on October 24, 1924 in Brooklyn and, as of this writing, is still alive.

Gibbs, a wonderful vibes player, does the vocal (although he doesn't really have much of a voice), following Hampton's lyrics. The rest of the musicians on the tune are Anthony Wilson, guitar; Dave Carpenter, bass; Jeff Hamilton, drums; Joey DeFrancesco, organ; Mike Melvoin, piano, and Pete Christlieb, tenor sax.


Hey Baba Leba - Wild Willie & Big Deal - Thousands R-04A0049 (Japan) - 2004

A quartet from Finland that specializes in Rock 'N Roll, R&B, and Rockabilly. Formed in 1991, the members are: Willie (Esa Hämäläinen; vocalist and guitar), Pate (Petri Friman; guitar), Lade (Mika Karjalainen; bass), and Tutka (Tuukka Riikonen; drums). I haven't heard this one.


Hey Baba Reba - Uncle Mike & His Polka Band (from the album "Pint Size Polkas, Volume 1") - Pint Size Polkas (no number) - 2008

Uncle Mike is Mike Schneider, an accordionist from Milwaukee, who was heavily influenced by Frankie Yankovic. The Pint Size Polka project is intended to instill an appreciation of polka music in children, but it's a good version for anyone who likes this genre.


Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Wim Leys - L&T no # (Belgium) - 2012

His real name is Wim de Kerpel. Unfortunately, his Dutch Wikipedia entry doesn't translate to anything even vaguely approaching English. He has a very energetic and pleasant live version of the song (sung to a very enthusiastic audience). Strangely, although he's singing in Dutch, he sounds more "American" than many American singers who've done this song.


Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Elvin Bishop (from the CD "Can't Even Do Wrong Right") - Alligator ALCD 4963 - 2014

Elvin was born in Glendale, California on October 21, 1942, but grew up on a farm in Iowa, before relocating to Oklahoma when he was ten. He began immersing himself in Blues when he attended the University Of Chicago. Elvin had a big 1976 hit with "Fooled Around And Fell In Love".

He follows the Hampton lyrics, although the music is much different, being a Blues-Rock combination.



      THESE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH EITHER SERIES



Heyboblebip - Velvetones - Coronet 1 - 3/46

Not a part of the series, in spite of the title, which, I suppose, was constructed to take advantage of "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop". The Velvetones explain: "it's just the way people say you feel OK".


The Story Of Ee Bobba Lee Bob - Deep River Boys - RCA 20-1863 - 3/46

Interesting, but it's a totally different melody and the song tries to explain things, rather than be a part of the series. It begins "There's a brand new style of singing and it's spreading like the wind. If you haven't tried it, you might as well be dead". The group at this time was: Harry Douglass, Edward Ware, George Lawson, Vernon Gardner, and Ray Duran.


Be-Bop-A-Lula - Gene Vincent Capitol 3450 - 56

The name of Vincent's hit may have been influenced by Hampton's title (or even Humes'), but it has nothing to do with the series either musically or lyrically.


Hey Bobba Needle - Chubby Checker - Parkway P-907 - 64

This one starts out "This is a sad story about a girl named Mary Mac and her wandering lover, Bob Needle". It has nothing to do with the series except for the similarity in titles (which I'm sure was deliberate). A minor hit for Chubby (Ernest Evans), it reached #23.


Wonderful - Beach Boys (from the album "Smiley Smile") - Brother T-9001 - 67

While having nothing to do with the series, in this version of "Wonderful", the Beach Boys sing a muted "Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" (over crowd noises) in part of the song. It's out of place here and really makes no sense.


Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop - Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band (from the album "Lick My Decals Off Baby") - Straight RS 6420 - 70

Nothing at all to do with the series. Captain Beefheart (Don Vliet) just keeps repeating "Woe is uh me bop; O-bop-a-re-bop-oh" over and over and over [and over]. It's quite annoying.


Klap Maar In Je Handen - Peter Koelewijn & His Rockets - Philips 6017 185 (Netherlands) - 81

This (the title means "clap your hands") appears in several "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" write-ups, but it has nothing whatever to do with the series, either lyrically or musically. I've also listened to a version by Wim Leys, and a different song with the same title by Samson & Gert (stars of a Flemish television series). There's no trace of anything even approximating "hey ba ba re bop" in any of them (although you have to like Samson, the talking puppet sheepdog).


He Baba Re Baba - Kavita Krishnamurthy & Amit Kumar (from the album "Jeevan Ek Sanghursh") - Saregama (India) - 90

In spite of the similarity in titles, this is a totally different song.


Hey Bop A Re Bop - Deep Purple (from the CD "The Book Of Taliesyn") - EMI 5216082 (U.K.) and Eagle ER202222 (U.S.) - 2000

When Deep Purple originally released the LP "The Book Of Taliesyn" in 1968, it didn't contain this song, which was recorded in early 1969 and included as a bonus track on the CD. It has nothing at all to do with the series (and he never once says the words "hey bop a re bop"; he keeps talking about waiting at the station for Gloia). But at least it's loud.


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Ernest Léardée (from the CD "Rythmes Des Antilles 1951-1954") - Fremeaux 2 (France) - 2007

Lots of sources say that Léardée (a singer from Martinique in the Caribbean) recorded this song with André Salvador as vocalist. However, this CD has Salvador's original 1947 Odeon recording (with André Ekyan's orchestra). Léardée helped to popularize André Salvador in Martinique, which led to the song's inclusion on this CD.


Baba Ryba - Polemic (from their album titled "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop") - DoubleMann 1737 001-1 (Slovakia) - 2015

In spite of the album and track titles, the song has nothing to do with the series. According to my translator, "baba ryba" means "hagfish" in Slovak. (They're slimy, eel-like critters and probably have little to do with Lionel Hampton.) Nice sound, though (and the singer does occasionally say "hey baba ryba")..



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I'm not going to document them, but there are many live performances of "Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" (spelled in many strange and wondrous ways) on YouTube. They're by artists that don't seem to have recorded the song. Examples are the Abbey Town Jazz Orchestra; the Blue Baba Swing Big Band; Igor; Miki Volek; the Continentals Of Washington, DC (another polka); Banda Do Caneco (a German "oom-pah" band from Brazil); and Jazzsle Dixieland Zuš Krnov (a Czech group).
----- TIME IN -----



      CONCLUSION



In conclusion, I like "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop". It's pure nonsense and, unlike "Open The Door, Richard", it lends itself to some great band music. It's just a fun song to perform and audiences still love it after more than 70 years, even if they have no idea of its history or the original lyrics. Go listen to a bunch of versions; I'm sure you'll agree.



Special thanks to Mark Cantor, Neil Hirsch, Bob Davis, Jay Bruder, Jean-Cristophe Piazza, Bertrand Hervy, Hans-Joachim Krohberger, and Billy Vera.

Mention should be made of "Joop's Musical Flowers", a blog that had a write-up of the songs (although he conflated the Humes/Dixon and Hampton versions). The site has links to many of the versions.


BABA LEBA


E-Bob-O-Le-Bob - Tina Dixon with Jimmie Lunceford - AFRS 138 - 7/45

Be-Baba-Leba - Helen Humes, with the Bill Doggett Octet - Philo PV 106 - 8/45
      Reissued on Aladdin 106 - ca 3/46

E-Bob-O-Le-Bob - Tina Dixon, with the Flennoy Trio - Excelsior 130 - 9/45

Ee-Bobaliba - Jim Wynn & His Bobalibans (vocal by Claude Trenier) - 4 Star 1026 - 10/45
      Reissued on Foto 1026

Oo-Oo-Ee Bob A Lee Bob - Bull Moose Jackson and his Orchestra (vocal by Annisteen Allen) - Queen 4107 - 12/45
      Reissued on King 4107 - 47

Be-Baba-Le-Ba - Estelle Edson (with Oscar Pettiford & His All Stars) - Black & White 760 - 12/45

E-Bob-O-Lee-Bob - Charlie Barnet (vocal by Peanuts Holland) - Decca 18761 - 1/46

Ee-Bobaliba - Teddy Bunn's Group (vocal by Monette Moore) - Gilt Edge 532 - 2/46

E-Bob-O-Lee-Bop - Ali Baba Trio - Soundie - 3/46

Hey Baba Leba - Helen Humes (with Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra) - from the movie "Jivin' In Be-Bop" - ca 8/47 (although filmed about a year earlier)
      This is Helen's "Be-Baba-Leba", but using the "Hey Baba Leba" title.

Be Baba Leba - Thurston Harris - Aladdin 3415 - 2/58

Be-Baba-Leba - Lila Ammons - From the album "The Nearness Of You" - unknown label - 2013



HEY! BA-BA-RE-BOP


Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Lionel Hampton - Decca 18754 - 1/46
      Also issued as Decca 23837, part of the "Hamp's Boogie Woogie" album set (A-523) - 3/47
      it was later released on 45 RPM (Decca 9-23837) in 1952
      It also came out on many other labels all over the world.

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Tex Beneke with the Glenn Miller Orchestra - RCA Victor 1859 - 4/46

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Louis Prima & His Orchestra (vocal by Louis Prima & The Boys) - Majestic 1044 - 4/46

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Wynonie Harris with the Hamp-Tone All Stars - Hamp-Tone 100 - 5/46

Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Leon McAuliffe - possibly recorded for a radio show - ca summer 46

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Ray Ventura (vocal by Henri Salvador & Bob Jacqmain Vocal Quartet) - Decca F 8666 (France) - 46

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Paul Fenoulhet with the Skyrockets Dance Orchestra (vocal by Doreen Lundy & Radio Revellers) -
      His Master's Voice B.D.5943 (United Kingdom) - 46

Hey-Ba-Be-Ri-Rop [sic] - Filu and his Swingers - Durium Patria, D 46.437 (Hungary) - 46

Hey-Ba-Ba Re-Bop - R.A.F. Dance Band (aka Squadronaires) - ENSA-ORBS Swingtime - 46

Hey Ba Ba Re Bob [sic] - uncredited artist - Party Platters 310 - ca. 46

Hey Ba-Be-Ri-Ba [sic] - Kurt Widmann und sein Orchester - Odeon O-31 760 (Germany) - ca 12/46
      It was also issued as "Hey-ba-ba-re-bop"

Cafe Polka - Frankie Yankovic & His Yanks - Columbia 12314 - 1/47

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Eddie Brunner & His Original Teddies (vocal by Phyllis Heymans) - Elite Special 4576 (Switzerland) - 2/47

Hey-ba-ba-re-bop - Brita Borg - Sonora Swing 663 (Sweden) - 2/47

Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bob - The Ramblers (vocal by Ferry Barendse) - Decca M 32162 (Netherlands) - 47

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Horst Winter & Wiener Tanz-Orchester (vocal by Horst Winter) - Elite Special 8080 (also Elite Special 8186 - Austria) - 5/47

Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Orquesta Los Clippers (vocal by Antonio "Chispa" Bardají) - Gramófono Odeon (Spain) - 47

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - André Ekyan et son orchestre (vocal by André Salvador) - Odeon 281.770 (France) - 47

Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Leo Mathisen og hans Orkester - Tono Z 18051 (Denmark) - 47

Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Thore Jederbys Orkester (vocal by "Tompa" Jahn) - Odeon D-5279 (Sweden) - 47

Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Aimé Barelli et son Orchestre (vocal by Jo Bartel) - Pathé PA 2369 (France) - ca. 47

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Jo Privat et l'ensemble Swing du Balajo - Pacific MC 737 (France) - 47

Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Louie Williams (with Tony Proteau and his Orchestra) - Blue Star B.S. N 22 (France) - 47

Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bob - Georgie Kay et son Orchestre du Jazz Club Français (vocal by Georgie Kay) - ABC Jazz Club JC 165 (France) - 47

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Kramer e la sua orchestra (vocal by Natalino Otto) - Fonit 12534 (Italy) - 47

Hey, Ba-Ba-Re-Bop Polka - Victor Zembruski & His Polka Kings - Continental 1263 - ca 5/48

Hey! Ba-Ba-Ri-Bap - El Negrito Chevalier y Orquesta Chamaco Dominguez - RCA 23-1164 - 3/49

Hey! Ba-Ba-Ri-Bap - Cuadritos, with Juanito Sanabria y su Orchesta - Ansonia 5320 - ca 49

Hey! Ba-Ba Re-Bop - Bernard Hilda et son Orchestra (vocal by Hilda? and Jane Morgan) - Polydor 590.191 (France) - 46

Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Fred Kinglee und die King-Kols - Austroton 5179 (Austria) - 52

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Lola Dee (with the Jack Halloran Singers) - Wing 90035 - 10/55

Hey ! Ba Ba Re Bop - Jacques Hélian et son Orchestre (band vocals) - Pathé G 1242 (France) - 57

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Lillian Briggs - Sunbeam 114 - 10/58

Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Andy Doll Band (vocal by Donnie) - Audio-Deluxe AD 101 - 8/58

Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Lionel Hampton - Audio Fidelity AFSD 5913-2A - 10/59
      A single from Audio Fidelity LP AFSD 5319 "Hamp's Big Band". The mono version was AFLP 1913.

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Louis Prima (with Sam Butera & the Witnesses) - Dot 16009 - 11/59

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Sal Mayo - Columbia 4-41706 - 6/60
      Also on Philips 322 633 BF (Germany) as "Hey ba-ba-re-bop" - 9/60

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Bill Ramal and His Twist Band - Warner Bros. A-5515 (Germany) - 60

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Ted Herold - Polydor 2459 246 (from the album "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" - Germany) - 61

Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Big Brown featuring the Gamblers and the 230' - Palette PB 40126 (Belgium) - 10/62
      (Note: Spelled "Hey Babarebop" on the record sleeve)

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Blue Diamonds - Decca AT 10 039 (Netherlands) - 63
      Also issued on Fontana 266 449 TF (also Netherlands) - ca 64

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - 5 Elite Boys - Triola TD 223 (Denmark) - 2/64

Hey Bob E Re Bob - Cadillacs - Lana 119 - 65

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Tony Sheridan & The Big Six - Polydor International - 421 009 (Germany) - 65

Hey Baberiba - Burken (with Fridens Kilowatt & Rivaler) - Polydor 2053.097 (Sweden) - 1972

Hey! Baba Re-Bop - Kalle (from the album "hey baba re bop") - Finnlevy SFLP 9562 (Finland) - 75

Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Peter Alexander (from the album "Das Peter Alexander Konzert Live") - Ariola 27 937 XDU (Germany) - 76

Hey Baba Rebop - Milt Buckner (from the album "Dansez-vous Le Bop?") - Black And Blue 333.095 (France) - 76

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Father Abraham & The Smurfs (from the album "Father Abraham In Smurfland") - Decca Smurf-R-1 (United Kingdom) - 12/78

Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Johnny Shines (from the album "Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop") - Rounder 2020 - 79
Hey Bobba Re Bop - Johnny Shines & Snooky Pryor (from the album "Back To The Country - Blind Pig BPLP 4391 - 91

Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Eighty One (from the album "Columbia - Second Trip") - Bunny BRS 1982/10 (Belgium) - 82
      It's also on the album "Medley Twist" - Torch 8301 (Belgium) & ARC 8301 (Netherlands) - 83

Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Renzo Arbore & New Pathetic Elastic Orchestra (from the album "Quelli Della Notte N. 2") - Fonit Cetra LPX 146 (Italy) - 11/85

Hey Baba Reebop - Holger Czukay (from the album "Rome Remains Rome") - Virgin V2408 (United Kingdom) - 87

Hey Baba Rebop - King Pleasure & Biscuit Boys (from the album "Better Beware!") - Big Bear CD 35 (United Kingdom) - 91

Hey Bop A Re Bop - Jive Aces (from the CD "Jumpin' With The Aces") - Mumbo Jumbo MJM 11176 (Germany) - 92

On N'entend Plus Que Ça (Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop) - Sacha Distel (from the album "Sacha Distel Et Ses Collégiens Jouent Ray Ventura") -
      Carrere Music 4509-92649-4 (France) - 93

Hey Bob-A-Ree-Bop - Cleveland Fats (from the album "The Other Side Of Midnight") - Blue Swayed BS 10632 - 96

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - New York Allstars (from the CD "The New York Allstars Play Lionel Hampton") - Nagel Heyer NH047 (Germany) - 3/99

Hey Baba Reba - The Original Band (from the album "Still Rockin' Around The Clock") - Rollin' Rock CD-103 - 99

Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Swing Cats (from the CD "Swing Cats Stomp") - Cleopatra CLP 0592-2 - 2000

Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Søren Sørensen's Swing Cats (from the album "From New Orleans To Rock 'n' Roll") - Music Mecca CD3055-2 (Denmark) - 2001

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Steve Lallier's Tuxedo Junction (from the CD "Up In Harlem On A Saturday Night") - self-published - 2002

Hey Baba Re Bob - Lad'a Kerndl & Big Band Filixe Slováèka (from the album "Love Songs") - Multisonic (Czech) 0741941058926 - 2002

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Terry Gibbs (from the album "From Me To You - A Tribute To Lionel Hampton") - Mack Avenue 31008 - 2003

Hey Baba Leba - Wild Willie & Big Deal - Thousands R-04A0049 (Japan) - 2004

Hey Baba Reba - Uncle Mike & His Polka Band (from the album "Pint Size Polkas, Volume 1") - Pint Size Polkas (no number) - 2008

Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Wim Leys - L&T no # (Belgium) - 2012

Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Elvin Bishop (from the CD "Can't Even Do Wrong Right") - Alligator ALCD 4963 - 2014


NOT PART OF EITHER SERIES


Heyboblebip - Velvetones - Coronet 1 - 3/46

The Story Of Ee Bobba Lee Bob - Deep River Boys - RCA 20-1863 - 3/46

Be-Bop-A-Lula - Gene Vincent Capitol 3450 - 56

Hey Bobba Needle - Chubby Checker - Parkway P-907 - 64

Wonderful - Beach Boys (from the album "Smiley Smile") - Brother T-9001 - 67

Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop - Captain Beefheart (Don Vliet) and the Magic Band (from the album "Lick My Decals Off Baby") - Straight RS 6420 - 70

Klap Maar In Je Handen - Peter Koelewijn & His Rockets - Philips 6017 185 (Netherlands) - 81

He Baba Re Baba - Kavita Krishnamurthy & Amit Kumar (from the album "Jeevan Ek Sanghursh") - Saregama (India) - 90

Hey Bop A Re Bop - Deep Purple (from the CD "The Book Of Taliesyn") - EMI 5216082 (U.K.) and Eagle ER202222 (U.S.) - 2000

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Ernest Léardée (from the CD "Rythmes Des Antilles 1951-1954") - Fremeaux 2 (France) - 2007.(see text)

Baba Ryba - Polemic (from their album titled "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop") - DoubleMann 1737 001-1 - Slovakia) - 2015




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