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 26-50 of 71 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-38723 10-in. 5/4/1927 I haven't told her, she hasn't told me (But we know it just the same) Franklyn Baur ; Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-38847 10-in. 5/27/1927 Just an ivy covered shack Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio (takes 1, 2, and 4); unaccompanied (take 3); with male vocal solo (takes 5-8) Musical group  
Victor BVE-38848 10-in. 5/27/1927 Gorgeous Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-39103 10-in. 8/23/1927 It all belongs to me Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-39104 10-in. 8/23/1927 Someday you'll say O. K. Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-39148 10-in. 9/2/1927 Dawning Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo and humming Musical group  
Victor BVE-39149 10-in. 9/2/1927 I fell head over heels in love Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-39609 10-in. 6/29/1927 It is possible? (That she loves me) Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-39904 10-in. 7/26/1927 I'm afraid you sing that song to somebody else Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-39905 10-in. 7/26/1927 Meet me in the moonlight Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-40834 10-in. 11/9/1927 What'll you do? Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders ; Hal White Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-40835 10-in. 11/9/1927 The sunrise (Will bring another day for you) Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-40972 10-in. 11/29/1927 Oh! Look at that baby Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-40973 10-in. 11/29/1927 Oh gee, Jenny Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-41336 10-in. 12/6/1927 To-morrow Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-41337 10-in. 12/6/1927 The waltz of love Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-43990 10-in. 5/17/1928 I can't give you anything but love Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-43991 10-in. 5/17/1928 Japansy waltz Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-45594 10-in. 6/18/1928 If you don't love me Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-45595 10-in. 6/18/1928 Out-o'-town gal Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-45659 10-in. 6/27/1928 C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T-I-N-O-P-L-E Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal chorus Musical group  
Victor BVE-45660 10-in. 6/27/1928 Blue grass Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-46363 10-in. 8/14/1928 Half-way to heaven Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-46364 10-in. 8/14/1928 What d'ya say Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-46680 10-in. 8/10/1928 Blue shadows Johnny Hamp ; Kentucky Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
(Results 26-50 of 71 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Kentucky Serenaders," accessed June 18, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/112318.

Kentucky Serenaders. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 18, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/112318.

"Kentucky Serenaders." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 18 June 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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