“Yes! I’m In The Barrel” – Louis Armstrong And His Hot Five (1925)

Okeh; Chicago, November 12, 1925: Armstrong-c/Kid Ory-tb/Johnny Dodds-cl/Lil Armstrong-p/Johnny St. Cyr-bj.

The “Hot Five” never played live in public. Louis Armstrong was playing with Fletcher Henderson (1924–11/1925) in New York when the opportunity to record sides with Okeh came up. According to Armstrong, he’d just “get together the band,” and worked on a few ideas beforehand and then played the songs live and unrehearsed and “made up them things.” (Jazz Casual episode 01-23-1963 with Ralph Gleason). The naming of the songs was even an afterthought.

“Yes! I’m in the Barrel” was the second song pressed from the first “Hot Five” sessions. I think it was fitting to have “My Heart,” written by Lil Armstrong as the first pressed single. I don’t know too many specifics about Louis Armstrong’s career without looking them up, but I do know that without Lil, we wouldn’t have had Louis Armstrong as we know him today.

Below is another “first” from a strong-willed lady, Annie Edson Taylor, who, like Lil, also got screwed over by a man.


Photo source.

Annie Edson Taylor, in 1901, was the first person to successfully make it over Niagara Falls while inside a barrel.

“She earned fame, but not fortune. Her manager ran off with her precious barrel and sold it to a theatre in Chicago that was staging a play based on her exploits. Taylor hired a lawyer to reclaim it, and the lawsuit consumed what little money she had earned lecturing about her adventure. It was ten years before anyone else would be brave enough to attempt the barrel ride, but in the decade of her monopoly Taylor proved too dour and serious for the hyperbolic world of sideshows. The “Heroine of Horseshoe Falls,” as Taylor styled herself, died in poverty, having eked out a meager living by allowing tourists to have themselves photographed alongside her with a replica barrel; her grave doesn’t record the date of her death or birth—only of her stunt.” 

Read more about Annie Taylor, which includes the above quote–here.

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