Big fun with the Five Racketeers
June 16, 2009 7:14 PM   Subscribe

Behind them on the stage, a giant watermelon. In their hands, little tiny guitars, which they play like mosquitoes on speed. They scat, they dance, they get halfway through the alphabet. Their percussionist has the coolest little drum kit ever, but that doesn't stop him from playing the stage floor and the walls. Who are they? Why, The Five Racketeers, of course! And who's that lady who storms the stage for a little shimmy at the end of the clip? Well, that's Eunice Wilson, and she stuck around to do another number with the fellows. You want more, right? OK! Then let's head down to the All-Colored Vaudeville Show, for some serious oooold-school entertainment.
posted by flapjax at midnite (21 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
I always said vaudeville was coming back, you have proven me right.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:30 PM on June 16, 2009


That's the cutest Vitaphone "pepper pot" I have ever seen!
posted by hortense at 7:31 PM on June 16, 2009


Ooh. Those little guitars are Martin 10-string tiples. I have one of those, and I'm always looking for their original context (nobody very famous ever showcased them). Tuned like a Ukulele in D, but with unison and octave strings, it has a rich zingy sound with an element of Mandolin and zither in 'em.
posted by LucretiusJones at 7:31 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why are the light-skinned negroes who sing like white folks so often popular?
posted by longsleeves at 8:20 PM on June 16, 2009


Now, that's Entertainment.
posted by tellurian at 8:44 PM on June 16, 2009


The Aristocrats!
posted by wayofthedodo at 8:54 PM on June 16, 2009


For a "high" quality jive tiple experience, try "Killin' Jive" by The Cats and the Fiddle: no singin' like white folks here.
posted by rdone at 8:55 PM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Those Nicholas Brothers were pretty good even before they grew up.
posted by tellurian at 9:00 PM on June 16, 2009


LucretiusJones: "Ooh. Those little guitars are Martin 10-string tiples. I have one of those, and I'm always looking for their original context (nobody very famous ever showcased them). Tuned like a Ukulele in D, but with unison and octave strings, it has a rich zingy sound with an element of Mandolin and zither in 'em."

Get ye to MeFi Music!
posted by The White Hat at 9:17 PM on June 16, 2009


Why are the light-skinned negroes who sing like white folks so often popular?

Here, here! Heaven curse these infernal honkytones! These accomplished musicians performing their craft in a witty, humorous way is minstrelsy of the first order. It's like I'm listening to black folk imitating freakin' Lawrence Welk.

God, do I ever hate whitey. Damn the man!
posted by ford and the prefects at 9:24 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why are the light-skinned negroes who sing like white folks so often popular?

Oh, I dunno. Maybe cause it's a very big world with all kinds of people of all sorts of epidermal shades who enjoy singing in all sorts of ways and who enjoy lisyening to all different sorts of singing?

That'd be my guess, anyway.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:58 AM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Tiples and a national tenor guitar! But please do not try reviving minstrel shows, please.
posted by zaelic at 2:03 AM on June 17, 2009


What did you have to do to get noticed in a segregated society? Set yourself on fire? Reminds me of S.J. Perelman's 1940s complaint about being stuck in a seedy French nightclub being entertained by the "world's only untalented Negro."
posted by Faze at 4:16 AM on June 17, 2009


Ha ha, they are so awesome! I totally thought this was some bizarre emo heavy metal band from reading the description.
posted by brenton at 5:54 AM on June 17, 2009


But please do not try reviving minstrel shows, please.

Hey, tell it to Joni Mitchell.*

*4:12
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:05 AM on June 17, 2009


It's like I'm listening to black folk imitating freakin' Lawrence Welk .

Wow, it's like watching the Black and White Minstrels, and discovering that underneath the blackface, they actually are black.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:25 AM on June 17, 2009


W00T! Tiples for the win! (I've got one, too.)
posted by lothar at 8:01 AM on June 17, 2009


This. This is the reason our hyperintelligent alien overlords created the universe. Because they knew it would eventually produce awesome stuff like this.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:18 AM on June 17, 2009


Am I seeing things or are they actually performing in front of a watermelon backdrop?

Esso used the Tiger Rag as a theme song in the 60s. All I could find was this German edition of one of the commercials. Watch until the end where the customer sniffs the gas tank. Yep, that's putting a tiger in your tank alright.
posted by 3.2.3 at 1:52 PM on June 17, 2009


These guys are the tops. Here's a link for a second video with them backing up Eunice Wilson. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCkk9z_nJ2o
posted by East River String Band at 6:00 PM on June 17, 2009


East River String Band: That link is already included in the original post, check above.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:31 PM on June 17, 2009


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