Next month, a new musical begins previews on Broadway with the unlikely title of Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921, and All That Followed. The show chronicles the backstage drama behind the musical Shuffle Along as it broke new ground for African-Americans both on and offstage. The composer was Eubie Blake (1887-1983), whose infectious jazz and ragtime melodies would captivate listeners throughout the whole of the 20th century and make him a popular guest with the likes of Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin. In September 1978, a revue opened at Broadway's Ambassador Theatre celebrating Blake's legacy. Eubie! ran for 439 performances and featured Blake standards including "(I'm Just) Wild About Harry," "Memories of You," and "Charleston Rag." Now, its Warner Bros. Records cast recording is coming to CD for the very first time courtesy of Kritzerland.
Eubie! was conceived and directed by Julianne Boyd, with choreography by Billy Wilson and Henry LeTang. Gregory Hines and his brother Maurice Hines were featured in the ensemble also including Alaina Reed (227, Sesame Street), Lynnie Godfrey, and Terry Burrell. Though overshadowed that season by another musical revue based around the songbook of a legendary African-American composer - Ain't Misbehavin', with its Fats Waller score - Eubie! netted three Tony Award nominations: Gregory Hines for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, Billy Wilson and Henry LeTang for Best Choreography, and Blake and his lyricists for Best Original Score (despite the fact that the songs were vintage, not original)!
The original cast recording captures the dynamic performers as well as the superb arrangements by Danny Holgate and the band under the baton of Vicki Carter. Kritzerland's reissue has been remastered from the original master tapes housed in the Warner Bros. vaults, and is limited to 1,000 units. It's scheduled to ship by the second week of April, but pre-orders directly from the label usually arrive an average of four weeks early. You can pre-order this first-time CD release at the links below!
Original Broadway Cast Recording, Eubie! (Warner Bros. HS-3267, 1979 - reissued Kritzerland, 2016)
- Charleston Rag/Shuffle Along
- In Honeysuckle Time
- I'm Just Wild About Harry
- I'm a Great Big Baby
- My Handyman Ain't Handy No More
- Low Down Blues Gregory Hines
- Gee, I Wish I Had Someone to Rock Me in the Cradle of Love/
- Low Down Blues & Cradle of Love Duet
- Dixie Moon
- Weary/Roll Jordan
- Memories of You
- If You've Never Been Vamped by a Brownskin, You've Never Been Vamped at All
- You Got to Git the Gittin' While the Gittin's Good
- I'm Craving for That Kind of Love
- Goodnight Angeline