hatch&carpenter.jpg (28490 bytes)December 1925 was an important month for Afro-American artists visiting England. On the first of the month the "Mauretania" docked at Southampton, bringing Noble Sissle, Eubie Blake and the Original Four Harmony Kings, all signed up to record for the Edison Bell Company. Exactly one week later Ike Hatch and Elliott Carpenter entered the Gramophone Company's studio B at Hayes in Middlesex and made their first recordings for the Zonophone label.

After over 50 years of collecting I have to say that neither the Sissle & Blake Winners, nor those by the Four Harmony Kings, nor the Hatch & Carpenter Zonophones sold at all well. I have four of the five Harmony Kings plus duplicates with alternative takes; I have three of the five Sissle & Blakes & have had duplicates but I have only ever had one of the Hatch & Carpenter Zonophones, albeit I had two copies. The British public had already made their choice, they had fallen in love with the music of Turner Layton & Clarence ‘Tandy’ Johnstone since their first recordings came out on Columbia in December 1924; their records were best sellers and would remain so until Johnstone did the unforgivable and went off with the wife of Albert Sandler, the equally popular light orchestra leader. Shunned in this country, they went to America, but fared no better there, Johnstone dying in abject poverty.

According to a February 1926 report in the Sound Wave magazine Isaac Flower Hatch, described as a tenor, was born in New York (c. 1891) and studied voice under Abbie Mitchell and Gabrielle Sibelle. Spells in vaudeville followed, teamed with a gentleman named Smith, (Norris?) and W.H. Farrell, could this have been Billy Farrel the black dancer who appeared at the Alhambra London? On March 11 1919 Hatch was said to have won first prize in a music publisher's song contest at Camp Mills, U.S.A. though the name of the winning song is not given. In the same year he recorded as banjoist with W.C. Handy's Memphis Blues Band and appeared with Wilbur Sweatman's Band at a concert at the Eltinge Theatre. It is quite possible that he recorded with Sweatman at about this time. It was claimed that Isaac could sing in Italian, French and 'Jewish' and could speak the 'Jewish' language fluently. One would like to know more about his ancestry.

Elliott Carpenter grew up in Philadelphia where, by his own account, he was active as a café pianist and took part in cutting contests with, amongst others, Eubie Blake. According to an article in ‘The Dancing World’ of September 1920, he moved to New York and worked at a number of restaurants and cabarets, including Shanley’s Restaurant, then entered vaudeville as half of the team of ‘Carpenter and Fletcher.’ According to the same article, he joined Will Marion Cook’s New York Syncopated Orchestra in 1919, immediately prior to their departure to Europe. By a strange coincidence he claimed to have worked with Johnstone, (of Layton & Johnstone fame), in 1915. If he is to be believed, Johnstone would have been a chiropodist if Elliott had not persuaded him that with his handsome looks all he needed to do was stand up and talk his way through the songs. According to the Sound Wave Carpenter studied music under Henri Robinson at the Temple School of Music in Philadelphia. The same source had him coming to Europe to study piano, theory and composition under Monsieur Decrus and Monsieur Fauchet, teachers at the American Conservatory of Music, Fontainbleu. Again, Carpenter's version of events is somewhat different, involving five of them, including Opal Cooper, travelling to Paris to work in a cabaret. The offer of more money took them to London in August 1920 for a job at Rector’s Club where the band was renamed the Red Devils. They also played the music halls and appeared at Rector’s Club in Paris. They remained in London until December 1922. Indiscipline among the musicians and problems over tax led to the break up of the band in 1923. While in London they recorded for the Gramophone Company.

Roscoe Burnett, Sam Richardson (clt-sax-bjo); Elliott Carpenter (pno-ldr); Opal Cooper (banjoline); Creighton Thompson (dms-vcl) Hayes, Middx. September 1 1920
Ho-5829ae The Crocodile (Motzan, Ahot) HMV rejected
Ho-5830ae My Little Bimbo (Donaldson)        ---
Ho-5831ae I'll Be Back There Someday         ---
Ho-5832ae If I Forget (Rayners)                        ---
No composer is listed in the file for the third title, only the publisher Feldman & Co.
After the band broke up Carpenter played in Alexandria briefly, before accompanying the Dolly Sisters in Paris; he then made his way to Argentina, Richardson & Cooper went to Paris, initially at the Chez Florence, Rue Blanche. Creighton Thompson stayed in Europe for many years and in the mid-1930s was in India, where he recorded with Crickett Smith and Teddy Weatherford.

reddevils2.jpg (143350 bytes)On his return to America Carpenter decided to try a duet act again, hoping to have the same success he'd had with Clarence Johnstone. This time he picked Hatch as he was impressed with his "beautiful tenor voice" and the fact that he'd had some schooling. They used to do popular songs, Carpenter would play the classics and Hatch would finish with an operatic aria.
The Sound Wave described them as "two artists of culture and refinement, lending an extreme artistic touch to all that they sing; not being confined to the popular trend of music, but give very capable renditions of classics".
Carpenter claimed that it wasn't until he joined Hatch that he started to play a little jazz. It is a pity he didn't record more jazz. I have heard all but one of the Zonophones and it was Carpenter's stride piano solo on 'That's All There Is (There Ain't No More)' which absolutely stunned me many years ago when the record was first played to me by Johnny Hobbs. At that time I had no idea who the pianist was. The recording was English but the pianist was obviously a black American in England. Even the reviewer in the Sound Wave thought this side "very amusing and contains a good pianoforte solo". Fortunately it is the only one of their records which I have since found for myself.

Judging from the copy of the typed recording sheet which Ruth Edge gave me about 20 years ago Hatch & Carpenter's first session was planned in advance right down to the number of takes to be cut. I can think of no other explanation which fits the known facts. Three titles were to be recorded under the guidance of the engineer R.E.Beckett. There would be two takes of each. The three titles, in the order listed, 'I Want A Little Lovin', 'Sugar Pie', 'New Kind Of Doings…' were allocated mxs Bb7479, Bb 7480 and Bb 7481 indicating that the records were to be issued on the HMV label. Clearly the aim was to get two satisfactory recordings and issue one record.

However when the session took place although two takes were cut of their own compositions, none was satisfactory. Three takes were cut of the third title of which the second was issued. A fourth title was needed and a standard by De Sylva & Donaldson was recorded. At some stage the decision was taken that any issue would be on the cheaper Zonophone label and the recordings were given Yy mxs with different numbers, one of which, Yy7468 was left over from a session the previous day by Polino Solanke.. There are no recording sheets for the Yy masters but sufficient data remained to enable us to arrive at the following.

Hatch and Carpenter Comedians with Piano

Studio B Hayes, Middx. December 8 1925
Yy7468-1-2 Sugar Pie (Hatch & Carpenter) Zono unissued
Yy7476-1-2 New Kind Of Doings Down In Dixieland (Hatch & Carpenter) Zono unissued
Yy7477-2 I Want A Little Lovin' (Warren) Zono 2680
Yy7478-2 What Did I Tell Ya (De Sylva, Donaldson) Zono 2680

-same- probably same January 27 1926
Yy7774-2 Carolina! (Harry Condor) Zono 2719
Yy7775-2 Ukulele Avenue (C. Long) Zono 2706 Homochord D947
Yy7776-1 If I Like It (E.Carpenter)              ----
Yy7777-1-2 Ukulele Lullaby (Gene Williams) Zono rej.
Note : three takes were cut of Yy7776

-same- probably same February 15 1926
Yy7777-4 Ukulele Lullaby (Gene Williams) Zono 2719 Homochord D947
Yy7899-1-2 I'll Have Another Sweetie Loving Me Zono unissued
Yy7900-1-2 You Are The Girl I Adore Zono unissued
Note: the plates for 7899 & 7900 were destroyed August 22 1933
Homochord D947 as Weston & Wallis. No other titles by Hatch & Carpenter were issued on Homochord.

-same- probably same March 1 1926
Yy7985-2 Dinah (H.Akst)                                                                        Zono 2736
Yy7986-2 That's All There Is (There Ain't No More) (Harry Woods)           ----
Yy7987-1-2 Headin' For Louisville Zono unissued
Note: the plate for Yy7987 was destroyed August 22 1933

-same- probably same April 13 1926
Yy8243-1-2 Go Down Moses (Spiritual arr. H.T.Burleigh)                   Zono unissued
Yy8244-1-2 I Got A Robe (Spiritual arr. Hatch & Carpenter)                         ----
Yy8245-1-2 Deep River (Spiritual arr. H.T.Burleigh)                                       ----
Yy8246-1-2 I Stood On De Ribber Of Jordan (Spiritual arr. H.T.Burleigh)   ----
Yy8247-1-2 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (Spiritual arr. H.T.Burleigh)             ----

-same- probably same April 26 1926
Yy8323-1-2 Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen (arr. H.T.Burleigh) Zono unissued
Yy8324-1-2 De Gospel Train (arr. H.T.Burleigh)                                              ----
Yy8325-1-2 Little David Play On Your Harp (arr. Hatch & Carpenter)           ----
Yy8326-1-2 Choo Choo Train To Tennessee (Peter Bernard)                       ----
Note: Peter Bernard was one of the original members of the American Ragtime Octet who came to England in 1912. He remained here and as well as being the vocalist on various dance band recordings he also made solo recordings for Imperial and Duophone. He was also a personal friend of Carpenter. Although Bernard appears as composer of the fourth title in the Zonophone file and as the music publisher, on Bernard's own recording of this title on Duophone M158, cut later in 1926, the composers are given as Rosa - Marks.

Clearly making records was not a lucrative part of their professional work and although they remained together for another four years no more recording took place.

After they split up in 1930 Carpenter went on the variety stage with a new act and a new name. As KULA he presented an act called "Pianoisms" and, after an appearance at the Theatre Royal, Guildford the critic in the Surrey Weekly Press was sufficiently impressed to say "His repertoire is a wide one - ranging from grand opera selections to the latest jazz successes - and everything he does he graces with polish and individuality. His technique and execution are alike impressive. Added to his musical talents he has a delightful personality. He is a BORN ARTIST” How long the act lasted I do not know. Howard Rye has a note from the Evening Standard that Carpenter was appearing at Chez Taglioni in Gerrard Street, London from September to December 1930. Howard's final note, from The Stage, is that Carpenter was due to appear at Pops, Golden Square, London after Christmas, 1930. There the trail of his activities in England grows cold and it is not until May 1936, when the ‘International Musician’ noted his application to join Local #208 Branch of the American Federation of Musicians, that we have conclusive evidence of his permanent return to the USA where he carried on entertaining & recording. One interesting sideline on Carpenter’s subsequent American career is that he stated he was responsible for the piano playing in the film ‘Cassablanca’. Evidently Dooley Wilson, who played ‘Sam’, was no pianist and Carpenter was called in to ‘Play it again, Sam’ while Wilson went through the motions on screen!

Ike Hatch remained in England and by 1935 he owned and performed in the Shim Sham Club.

Ike Hatch vocal/ dialogue with band*; acc. Harry Smith clt-ten; Laurie Bookin clt-alto-bar-vln; Phil Green pno; George Elliott gtr; George Senior sbs; Max Lewin d
London November 26 1935
CAR3753-1 I'm Livin' In A Great Big Way RZ MR1958
CAR3754-1 Love's Serenade (Hayes, Kurtz & Mills) RZ MR1942
CAR3755-1 Rhythm Lullaby RZ MR1958
CAR3756-1 Some Other Time (Coslow & Ilda) RZ MR1942
CAR3757-1 Dinah (Lewis, Young & Akst) RZ MR2050

London January 8 1936
CAR3830-1 Got A Bran' New Suit * (Dietz & Schwartz)             RZ MR1973
CAR3831-1 That's What You Think (Tomlin, Jasper & Poe)             -----
CAR3844-1 Some Of These Days * (S.Brookes)                       RZ MR2050

Tpt added, ?Teddy Jepsen London January 31 1936
CAR3905-1 High Rhythm And Low Moanin' (Sweet & Robinson)   RZ MR2019 ReAu G22851
CAR3906-1 Yes Suh! * (Razaf & Dowell)                                                  -----                    -----

-same tpt present London May 19 1936
CAR4073-2 Massa-Choo-Setts (D.Ringle)              RZ MR2126 ReAu G22923
CAR4074-1 Tormented (Will Hudson)                                  -----               -----

London May 23 1936
CAR4057-1-2 I'se A Muggin' RZ rej.

The final two sides cut for Regal Zonophone were initially unissued but after Hatch had been signed up to Parlophone (all part of E.M.I.) the masters were renumbered in the Parlophone series and issued on that label in November 1936
IKE HATCH with orchestra ; with choir & orch. -1
? same or similar London July 6 1936
CAR4124 renumbered CE7829-1 When It's Sleepy Time Down South (Muse, Rene) Pa F578 Od F5277
CAR4125 renumbered CE7828-2 Georgia On My Mind -1 (Gorrell-Carmichael)                 ---               ----
Two takes of each title had been cut - it is not known which were renumbered. I have come across this renumbering before, but in reverse. When working on the Browning & Starr discography (Talking Machine Review 102) it became apparent that a Parlophone recording by them had been renumbered in the Regal Zonophone series. I'm sure it must have happened more frequently, but we are unaware of it.

On the 12th September 1936 Ike Hatch cut the following two titles for Parlophone prior to the offer of a contract.
Advance orders for 526 copies from UK dealers and 19 from overseas dealers were received prior to the record's release on 1st October 1936.

IKE HATCH with orchestra
Steve Walker has suggested - probably Harry Owen (tpt); probably Jock Fleming (tbn); Freddy Gardner (clt-alto); George Scott Wood (pno-dir.); unknown gtr, sbs, dms. He adds that these two sides sound characteristically like George Scott Wood arrangements and have a Six Swingers feel to them. (These are the only two sides on Parlophone I ever owned & I can certainly recall Gardner's presence). London September 12 1936
CE-7817-1 There's A New World (Kennedy-Carr)           Pa F565 Od OF-5266
CE-7818-1 Sing Me A Swing Song (Carmichael-Adams)      ----              ----

On 15th September 1936 Ike Hatch was offered a contract to record for Parlophone . He was to record four titles at each session and be paid £15 per session. This sum was an advance against royalties of ½ d per record on 85% of sales in England; he signed the contract on the 12th October.

The first issue following the contract was Pa F578 but this consisted of two titles recorded on July 6 1936 (see above) for which he would already have been paid.

The 'Costings Book' at Hayes does not show payments to any person other than Ike Hatch in respect of the Parlophone recordings.

with orch. ?acc. same or similar London November 2 1936
CE7916-1 The Birth Of The Blues (De Sylva, Brown, Henderson)        Pa F608 Od OF.5307
CE7917-1 Sunday On The Swanee (Samuels, Whitcup, Powell)                    ----             ----
CE7918-1 Lady Be Good (Gershwin)                                                       Pa F633 Od OF5329
CE7919-1 Ain't Misbehavin' (Razaf, Waller, Brooks)                                        ----             ----

with orch. London January 11 1937
CE8030-1 The Rhythm's OK in Harlem (Carr)                               Pa F662 Od OF.5351 Od 025886
CE8031-1 With A Banjo On My Knee (Adamson, McHugh)                 ----             ----                   ----
CE8032-2 Coal Black Mammy (Laddie Cliff, Ivy St. Helier)                                             Pa F718
CE8033-1 I Like You (Because You Have Such Lovin' Ways) (D.Farrell, Ike Hatch)           ----

On the 5th November 1936 the 12 inch Parlophone record E-11311 entitled Harlem Night was put together. This consisted of extracts dubbed from various jazz recordings from Okeh which had already been issued on Parlophone. Ike Hatch recorded a commentary, introducing the different recordings.

IKE HATCH vocal acc. by Yorke De Souza piano Studio 1A London January 20 1940

OEA.8465-1 Good-night my beautiful (Jack Yellen-Sammy Fain)           HMV BD815
OEA.8466-1 Safe in my heart (J.G.Gilbert-Reg.Connelly)                                -----
Two takes of each title were cut

For many years Ike was a member of the Kentucky Minstrels who broadcast regularly on the BBC and recorded for HMV. Doubtless Ike is on most of the recordings but I don't intend (or wish) to list them here. He continued to run Clubs in London and, again, I am grateful to Howard Rye for discovering a reference to him in 1954 when it was stated that he intended to open a club in Soho in March 1954 for "coloured bop musicians". He died at his London home on the 26th December 1961, and his obituary in the ‘Times’ of the following day states that he had been appearing almost nightly for the previous five years at the Starlite Rooms in London’s Mayfair district, his last appearance being made on Christmas Eve.

I am grateful to Frank Andrews, Mark Berresford, Alan Black, Johnny Hobbs, Howard Rye, Steve Walker and John Watson for help with this project and a special ‘Thank You’ to Ruth Edge, Senior Archivist at E.M.I. Some of Elliott Carpenter's reminiscences about his time in Europe can be found in Chris Goddard's book "Jazz Away From Home".

Note: Throughout the text Carpenter’s forename has been spelt ‘Elliott’, contrary to various other published resources which use the spelling ‘Elliot’. In the course of researching this article, and subsequent post-draft checking by Howard Rye and Mark Berresford, contemporary documentary evidence is equally ambivalent - four with one T, four with two T’s. As the most ‘official’ document available, a Library of Congress Copyright Deposit, uses two T’s it is this spelling I have decided to use. In the absence of Birth/Death Certificates, Passport Applications or similar ‘official’ documents to clarify the matter, we await the avalanche of correspondence pointing out the error of our ways!