Cultural Affairs Week 2016 continues with the nearly forgotten, “Irish Rock”, an infectious shaker by Frank De Rosa and His D Men. Also posted today, check out J.C. Davis’ nearly forgotten honker, “The Splib, Part 1.”
Date of release: 1958 (Dot, Hollywood, Calif.) Previously recorded in 1957 (Ken Records, Rochester, N.Y.) A side: “Big Guitar” / B side: “Irish Rock”
Likely personnel: Frank De Rosa (leader, tenor sax), Bobby Geno (guitar), Sonny Geno (instrument unknown). Others and their instruments, if any, unknown.
Genre: Early rock.
Biographical information on leader: We know very little about Frank De Rosa, who seems to have recorded just these two songs. “Big Guitar” achieved some local notoriety, prompting Dot to pick up the record for national distribution. De Rosa’s version (of “Big Guitar”) failed to achieve widespread success, but a cover by the Owen Bradley Quartet fared much better. While De Rosa may have played with other musicians, including Ella Fitzgerald, scant information exists for this wailing saxophone player, who really hits the bell on “Irish Rock.”
25 word review: Stitches effortlessly between (and integrates) swing, R&B, rock. Undeniably punk. At heart optimistic, a bit naughty, a bit aggressive: it encourages our opposite(s) to capitulate.
Sources of information: 45cat entry for Frank De Rosa, Discogs entry for Frank De Rosa, WNYFM blog post on Big Guitar, Book Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz (Da Capo Press, 1995).
cultural affairs week 2016 editorial schedule
Wednesday: USA to Elect Donald Drumpf?