Jazz musician and educator Art Hodes
plays host to Boogie Woogie man Charles 'Cow Cow' Davenport
in the WNYC studio. (Photo: PM
Dale Rooks/WNYC Archive Collections)
The photograph above originally appeared with an article by music critic John S. Wilson in the progressive tabloid PM
on June 8, 1942. In that piece, Wilson wrote that Davenport laid claim to the name 'boogie-woogie.' He wrote: "Blues tunes, in Cow Cow's home, were not considered respectable. So, when he secretly knocked out a little blue stuff, he called it 'boogie music' in honor of a current synonym for the devil. Later, playing in honky tonks where the dancers were addicted to the scraunch, a rhumba-like step, Cow Cow referred to both the dancing and his piano accompaniment as 'boogie-woogie.' "
When Ralph Berton
left WNYC in 1942, his jazz program Metropolitan Review
was in need of a new host. Jazz pianist, publisher and educator Art Hodes
saw an opportunity. Writing in the December 1972 edition of Esquire
magazine, he described his year-long stint as WNYC's jazz host this way:
"...Lunch is on you; so is carfare. They do furnish the needle. You bring your own records. But if you want the music to live you got to do somethin' about it. So there I am; a six-day week. On Saturday afternoon I can have live talent. The musicians union will let it happen. And all the jazz greats that are available come down and give.
"We have an audience we can't count. So now the letters pour in. I can't answer 'em. I have to do it over the air. I'm mentioning , 'This is a Decca recording; or Victor; Columbia. Well now, La Guardia (Mayor La Guardia) usually is on and off the air long before my stint. But this one time he follows me on. So he hears me. And he's mad. 'Get him off the air; he's commercial.' (He heard mention of the record labels. ) Hell, I couldn't afford a secretary to answer all the inquiries. And (well, he didn't know) those records I mentioned were either my own or loaned to me. So I was there a year before the good mayor heard me once more and there went the gig."
Sam Price at WNYC performing Cow Cow Blues at WNYC.