There’s a new link called “Jazz Between The Wars” on my Blogroll, by way of reader Ken Hagel giving a Like to my previous post. That like led me to check out his Jazz blog, which in turn led to one of his posts I found particularly interesting, titled “You Took Advantage Of Me” (Nov. 14). I look forward to re-visiting Ken’s blog from time to time for more goodies from those golden years of jazz.
For now, I’d like to expand a bit on the subject of that Nov. 14 piece, Joseph “Fud” Livingston. For one thing, I was curious as to how he got that curious nickname, “Fud.” But, though I spent nearly an hour researching Google sites and my own jazz books, I could find no record of how, or at what age, that name was acquired — so I remain befuddled (get it — befuddled — ha ha ha). Perhaps it came from a boyhood fondness for fudge, but that’s just a guess (OK, I’m fudging….but when it comes to fudge, what else would I do).
In any case, Fud was no dud as a 1920s-30s clarinetist, saxophonist and arranger for such jazz giants as Red Nichols, Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman and Jimmy Dorsey. He also wrote songs, including the great standard I’m Through With Love (1931 – lyrics by Gus Kahn). A native of Charleston, South Carolina (born April 10, 1906), he was an alcoholic who died at age 50, reportedly a broken man. Nonetheless (quoting Jack McCray of the Charleston Jazz Initiative), Fud “was charming, charismatic, had a great sense of humor….and he never met a person with whom he couldn’t have a good time.”
Quoting Fud’s nephew, Wm. Gaffield: Upon entering a nightclub, Fud would slip the doorman a $20 bill for a front row seat, whereupon he would be recognized by the bandleader who would then have his band play ‘I’m Thru With Love’ while the house spotlight was turned upon the table with Fud and his date.
The man obviously knew how to impress his lady friends.
And I hope you will be impressed by his song, sung here by Marilyn Monroe in this clip from SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959):