West End Jazz Band Live at the Blue Lantern CD
Tune List

1. Davenport Blues
2. Lonely Melody
3. Blue River
4. Where The Shy Little Violets Grow
5. Futuristic Rhythm (a)
6. Buffalo Rhythm
7. South Of The Border
8. Here Comes My Ball And Chain (b)
9. My Cutey’s Due At Two To Two (c)
10. Dance Medley – Time On My Hands; Careless; Embraceable You
11. Sentimental Gentleman From Georgia (a)
12. From Monday On (d)
13. Hernando’s Hideaway
14. Any Ice Today, Lady? (c)
15. Hoosier Sweetheart (d)
16. Harlem Madness
17. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
18. Who’s Your Little Who-zis! (b)
19. Come On Baby (c)
20. Big Boy

a-vocal by John Otto
b-vocal by Leah LaBrea
c-vocal by The Band
d-vocal by Mike Bezin

West End Jazz Band Live at the Blue Lantern CD (Vol. 4)

Ah, to spend a sultry summer’s evening listening to live music wafting over lovely Hudson Lake at sunset from the Blue Lantern Dance Hall in Hudson Lake, Indiana…wishful thinking. The place closed in the mid-1950s and had basically become a sad and drooping boat storage house. No, the time for hearing a band again at Hudson Lake was long gone.

Then fate intervened. Mike Bezin frequently visited the area, so it was with much surprise that he noticed that the dance hall was getting some fixing up. After locating the new owners of the property, Don and Barb Davis, he learned they wanted to fix the place up and RE-OPEN IT! At which point, Mike, the perennial band leader, wishfully said to them, “If you ever need a band…..”

Fast-forward three years ahead to the unbelievable: A grand opening of the Blue Lantern Ballroom. On May 5th, 2002, over 400 people came out to join in the celebration with the West End Jazz Band leading the musical charge. What a day it was. Two carloads of people traveled out with the band on the South Shore Line to add to the reality of the recreation of how it must have been.

Why all the hoopla about Hudson Lake? It was here in the summer of 1926 that one of Jean Goldkette’s musical units set up shop from May to late August. And among the band’s members was the legendary cornetist Bix Beiderbecke. They played there six nights a week that summer. Oh, to have been there to see and hear a young Bix truly coming into his own.

The original building was constructed in about 1912. The South Shore Railroad had only arrived there six years earlier. It was the beginning of Hudson Lake as a summer resort area for Chicago’s well-to-do. In 1924-25, the building was enlarged to its current size. 2,000 people could fit in the ballroom if all were standing, as depicted in an old photo. And one could easily walk the mere 75 feet from the train station to the front door of the ballroom. It was an easy trip from downtown Chicago. And just down the road, one can still see the cabin where Bix (cornet), Pee Wee Russell (reeds), Irving Riskin (piano) and Dan Gaebe (banjo) roomed together that carefree summer.

Over the years, many name bands and musicians of the era played there – Tommy Dorsey; Red Nichols; Jack Teagarden; Coon-Sanders; Guy Lombardo; and even Lawrence Welk. But its place in history will always be with Bix for that summer of 1926.

And now the Blue Lantern was alive again. And over the next few seasons, the West Enders performed several concerts there, playing many of the same tunes the Goldkette band more than likely did, with the concert on Saturday, October 25, 2003, being recorded live for this CD. If only Maestro Goldkette had done the same.

Join us now, traveling on America’s last electric interurban, getting off at the Hudson Lake stop, and hearing in the distance Bix…no, the West End Jazz Band again making the Blue Lantern reverberate with live music from America’s golden age of jazz and dance, the 1920s and 1930s.