The Poudre River Irregulars

Liner Notes: 2nd CD

In this, their second CD, the Poudre River Irregulars showcase the music that represents their current evolution (spring 2002). As befits their name, their personnel have shifted since the first CD, and their repertoire has broadened to include some of the swing tunes often requested when they play for dancers. They've added some marches, too. The result is an eclectic mix of upbeat music with a lot of vocals.

For this CD, the band has augmented its regular personnel with Ray Leake on piano and Bob Jackson on trumpet. Ray can play any style of piano called for, while Bob Jackson adds that wonderful New Orleans feeling with his mellow trumpet. They fit in beautifully.


1. High Society -- Porter Steele and Walter Melrose (1923)
This New Orleans parade march, evoking the magic and pageantry of Mardi Gras, has served for about 80 years as the test of a clarinetist's dexterity and breath control. Clark Burnside passes with flying colors. New Orleans tunes like this are a mainstay in the band's repertoire.

2. Minor Drag -- Fats Waller (1929)
This tune, in no way a drag but rather fussy, was probably meant to be called "Harlem Fuss," the flip-side title on the original record. Here the amusing lyrics (written much later) are ably handled by Ted Turner, while Bob Jackson sits in on trumpet.

3. West End Blues -- King Oliver and Clarence Williams (1928)
This cornet tour de force was made famous by Louis Armstrong. Here Bob Cooke takes on Armstrong's role with both cornet and vocal, but the rest of the band's joyful playing turns this into a fine ensemble piece.

4. Down in Honky Tonk Town -- Charles McCarron and Chris Smith
Typical Tin Pan Alley, this is a cheerful little number. It seems to have been first recorded in 1940 but sounds much earlier. Here Dave Johnson takes good care of the lyrics, and Bob Jackson does a nice job on trumpet.

5. Memories of You -- Eubie Blake (1930)
This lovely melody was written for full orchestra for the Blackbirds of 1930. This version features Clark Burnside on clarinet, backed up beautifully by the rhythm section.

6. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) -- Duke Ellington (1931)
Ellington always was ahead of his time -- note the early date of this swing standard. Dave Johnson does the lyrics (including the verse), while the band capably portrays the Ellington orchestra.

7. Muskrat Ramble -- Kid Ory (1926)
Listen to the intricate rhythm patterns in this version of the 75-year-old jazz standard. Bob Cooke sings the verse, and trombonist Bill Runyan does a splendid job with Ory's part.

8. Trouble in Mind -- Richard M. Jones (1926)
This is one of the best loved blues of all times. Ted Turner provides a soulful vocal, ably backed up by the rest of the band, with Ray Leake's piano prominent.


9. Panama -- William H. Tyers (1922)
This sprightly march is an example of the Spanish influence so important to the culture of early New Orleans. Everybody in the band gets to strut their stuff on this one.

10. St. Louis Blues -- W.C. Handy (1914)
W.C. Handy sat down one night to write a hit, and 24 hours later he had this one. He began with a tango because that was a popular dance in 1914. In this version, the band begins with a march, followed by a tango, and then a long stretch of low-down, gut-bucket blues.

11. Riverboat Shuffle -- Hoagy Carmichael (1925)
Early work by Hoagy Carmichael exemplifies Chicago-style jazz, another important part of the band's repertoire. Listen for the characteristic four-bar solo breaks in this up-tempo number. Ted Turner is featured on vocal.

12. New Orleans -- Hoagy Carmichael (1933)
This slow tune would have given people struggling with the Depression a few moments of escape. It paints a romantic picture of old New Orleans and has dreamy lyrics, sung here by Dave Johnson.

13. Just a Little While to Stay Here -- Traditional
This traditional spiritual begins with a poignant, "churchy" piano solo by Ray Leake. Then the rest of the band joins in and picks up the tempo, coming at last to a jubilant finish. Bob Jackson is featured on trumpet and vocal, followed by a gospel vocal quartet.


This CD was produced by Bob Cooke. The music was recorded during March and April, 2002, at InSight Sound Recording in Loveland, Colorado. Dan Matthews did the engineering and digital mastering, and Ted Turner, Gene Libbea, and Bob Cooke helped him with the mixing. Ann Harbour did the graphics and layout, and Jeanne Peterson and Ann Harbour did the discography and liner notes.

Thanks to the Northern Colorado Traditional Jazz Society for all their support and encouragement, and especially to the "angels" who underwrote the production of this CD.

For more information about the Northern Colorado Traditional Jazz Society, see their web site at

For more information about the Poudre River Irregulars, or to arrange bookings or buy CDs, contact Bob Cooke, 2238 Moffett Drive, Fort Collins, CO 80526, (970) 226-4903.

© Poudre River Irregulars 2002. All rights reserved.