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Subject Topic: Russ Morgan - Johnson Rag (1939 &1949) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Paul C

Joined: 23 October 2006
Location: Canada
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 781
Posted: 21 September 2022 at 2:44pm | IP Logged Quote Paul C

Here's one for collectors of 1940-1954 Billboard chart

On September 7, 1939, Russ Morgan recorded an
instrumental version of "Johnson Rag". It was released on
the album (when albums were a set of 78s), Music In
The Morgan Manner
, which Discogs claims was issued in
1942. The B-side of the 78 containing "Johnson Rag" in
this album set was "China Doll Parade".

In late 1949, a vocal version of the song by The Jack
Teter Trio started to become popular. Decca then reissued
the Russ Morgan 78 of "Johnson Rag" and "China Doll
Parade" as a standalone 78 on Decca 25442. (Discogs
claims that Decca 25442 had originally been issued in
1939, but I am not convinced that is accurate.) Russ
Morgan also recorded a new vocal version on November 7,
1949, released on
Decca 24819 (with the song "Where Are You Blue Eyes?" as
the flip). So when the song was a hit in late 1949/early
1950, there were two different Russ Morgan 78s in print:
an instrumental version on Decca 25442 and a vocal
version on Decca 24819.

"Johnson Rag" by Russ Morgan debuted on Billboard's
'Best-Selling Pop Singles' chart on January 14, 1950. For
its entire run on the Best Sellers chart (I don't know
about Billboard's other charts), the label was shown as
Decca 25442 (and the B-side as "China Doll Parade"),
which is the instrumental version recorded in 1939.

Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954 (published
in 1985) gives the label as Decca 25442 but does not
indicate that it is an instrumental. Both Pop Hits
(published in 1994) and Pop Hits
Singles & Albums 1950-1954
(published in 2002) give
the label number as Decca 24819. This is the vocal
version, which is not the version that charted.

Edited by Paul C on 21 September 2022 at 2:52pm
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