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The Hatch-Billops Musicians

Eubie Blake portrait photograph

Eubie Blake

In the December 21, 1973 recording from a private residence in New York City, composer/arranger/pianist Eubie Blake performs and shares stories for party-goers. Blake gives background to his compositions, including “I’m Just Wild About Harry” from the musical Shuffle Along (1921) he co-composed with Noble Sissle.

In the clip below, Blake jokes how during the pre-production of Shuffle Along (1921) Noble Sissle made him change the meter of “I’m Just Wild About Harry”—originally written by Blake as a waltz—in order to accommodate singer Lottie Gee. Blake begrudgingly obliged and the edited version in “one-step” (in other words, 2/4 time) would end up becoming the show’s biggest hit.  

Transcript of audio clip

Eubie Blake: I told you about my partner Noble Sissle being more commercial than I was. Well and this is one of my prime melodies—and she [Lottie Gee] wants me to change it into one-step! I said "No, I'm not gonna change it." Sissle said "Oh yes, you're going to change it. Play it in one-step." So, this is how it sounded when I played it for Ms. Gee in one-step."

[Blake performs 'I'm Just Wild About Harry" at the piano]

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