Complete Morton #47 – The Superior Rag / Swinging The Elks

It’s the penultimate week of the Complete Morton Project!!  To start off, we have one more obscurity for you, “The Superior Rag.”  This one was never recorded by Jelly but the sheet music was published in a rather obscure book, and also found by the enterprising Morten Gunnar Larsen from Norway in the Library of Congress.  You can hear his story about it and hear his band’s great version here.  Thanks to Morten for helping rescue this one from obscurity!  It’s a really nice three strain tune in the classic Morton mold, with an unusual minor key opening:

And secondly, a late period piece, “Swinging the Elks,” which Morton wrote for a convention of the enigmatic Elks Club, a sort of old man’s club in America (but not dirty at all, as it sounds).  Anyway, he hoped they would adopt some version of this as their themesong and in true Mortonian fashion printed thousands of copies of the sheet music to bring to the Elks convention, where he sold almost none.  However he did record it in his final band session for General Records and it’s pretty cool, with a variety of sections and an unusual number of key changes punctuated by the odd anthemic fanfare.  We pulled out the bass sax for this one as well!


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