Kentucky Serenaders

Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders was a US jazz and dance band, active from the late 1910s through the 1920s. The group was known simply as The Serenaders until Johnny Hamp became the band leader. Johnny Hamp was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and should not be confused with British television producer Johnnie Hamp. According to some sources, he became the leader by chance when the band was performing at the Hershey Ballroom in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The band leader at the time had an argument with the players and walked out. Hamp, who never played a musical instrument in spite of being a jazz fan and had no experience as a conductor (in addition, he only sang whenever the chorus was performed by a vocal ensemble or the whole band), volunteered to lead them for the rest of the evening and they accepted. After the performance, the band asked him to stay on as leader. The "Kentucky" in the name appears to be related to the band's use of "My Old Kentucky Home" as a theme song, rather than any connection to the U.S. state of Kentucky.

The group toured in the eastern United States and toured England in 1930. In 1931, the group was renamed Johnny Hamp and His Orchestra.

The group made most of its recordings in New York City on the Victor label. Their biggest hit was "Black Bottom" recorded in 1926, which led to a dance fad; see Black Bottom (dance).

Hamp continued to record for Victor until April, 1932. The next session was in August, 1935 for ARC (Melotone, Perfect, Romeo, Oriole). In December, 1936, Hamp was back with Victor recording for their Bluebird label for only two sessions (the second in February, 1937), which turned out to be their last session.

Band members at different times included:

  • Howard Bartlett on clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, vocals
  • William Benedict on trombone
  • Lester Brewer on trumpet
  • Charles Buckwalter on piano, vocals and as arranger
  • Franklyn Baur on vocals
  • Joe Cassidy on clarinet, alto saxophone, vocals
  • Roy Cropper on vocals
  • Charles Dale on clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone
  • Cliff Gamet on alto saxophone, vocals
  • Carl Grayson (r.n.: Graub) on violin, vocals
  • Elwood Groff on bass brass, vocals
  • Irwin Hood on piano
  • Lewis James on vocals
  • Johnny Marvin on vocals
  • Johnny McAfee on saxophone, vocals
  • Frank Masterson on banjo, vocals
  • Frank Munn on vocals
  • Billy Murray on vocals
  • Walter Pontius on vocals
  • Elliot Shaw on vocals
  • Charles Socci on guitar, vocals
  • Ray Stillson on clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone
  • John Strouse on drums
  • Clayton Tewkesbury on trumpet
  • Hal White on violin, vocals
  • Jayne Whitney on vocals
  • Melvin Watkins playing clarinet and saxophone

Johnny Hamp led other bands in the 1930s and early 1940s ending up as a hotel house band leader in Chicago.

Birth and Death Data: Died 1937

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1920 - 1929

Roles Represented in DAHR: Musical group

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 71 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-33265 10-in. 9/10/1925 I want you all for me Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-33266 10-in. 9/10/1925 Nobody but Fanny Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-33306 10-in. 8/13/1925 Cecilia Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-33307 10-in. 8/13/1925 The promenade walk Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-33342 10-in. 8/25/1925 When the dear old summer goes Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal duet Musical group  
Victor BVE-33343 10-in. 8/25/1925 So that's the kind of girl you are Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-33419 10-in. 9/19/1925 Oh say! Can I see you to-night Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-33420 10-in. 9/19/1925 Angry Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-33421 10-in. 9/19/1925 When you see that aunt of mine Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-35366 10-in. 5/4/1926 Honeybunch Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-35367 10-in. 5/4/1926 I found a round-a-bout way to Heaven Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-35687 10-in. 6/15/1926 As long as I have you Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-35688 10-in. 6/15/1926 Roses remind me of you Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-35724 10-in. 6/28/1926 Black bottom Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-35745 10-in. 7/7/1926 That's why I love you Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-35746 10-in. 7/7/1926 Who wouldn't Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-35767 10-in. 7/14/1926 New moon Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-35768 10-in. 7/14/1926 I'll never miss you again Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-35788 10-in. 7/20/1926 I can't get over a girl like you (Loving a boy like me) Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-35789 10-in. 7/20/1926 Tenderly Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-36086 10-in. 9/1/1926 Turkish towel Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-36087 10-in. 9/1/1926 Pretty Cinderella Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-36184 10-in. 9/16/1926 The two of us Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal duet Musical group  
Victor BVE-36185 10-in. 9/16/1926 Gone again gal Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal duet Musical group  
Victor BVE-38722 10-in. 5/4/1927 One o'clock baby Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
(Results 1-25 of 71 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Kentucky Serenaders," accessed May 17, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/112318.

Kentucky Serenaders. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 17, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/112318.

"Kentucky Serenaders." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 17 May 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/112318

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