Lou Busch

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Lou Busch
Lou Busch
Background information
Birth nameLouis Ferdinand Bush
Also known asJoe "Fingers" Carr
Born(1910-07-18)July 18, 1910
Origin Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedSeptember 19, 1979(1979-09-19) (aged 69)
Camarillo, California
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer
Years active1930–1979
Labels Capitol, Warner Bros.

Louis Ferdinand Busch (July 18, 1910 – September 19, 1979) was an American record producer, musician and songwriter, who was best known for performing as a pianist under the nickname Joe "Fingers" Carr.



Louis Bush was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, during the ragtime era and the jazz age. Blessed with an inherent music talent, he was already leading a ragtime and jazz band Lou Bush and His Tickle Toe Four, by the time he was 12 years old. [1]

Louisville, Kentucky City in Kentucky

Louisville is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the 29th most-populous city in the United States. It is one of two cities in Kentucky designated as first-class, the other being Lexington, the state's second-largest city. Louisville is the historical seat and, since 2003, the nominal seat of Jefferson County, located in the northern region of the state, on the border with Indiana.

Ragtime – also spelled rag-time or rag time – is a musical style that enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1919. Its cardinal trait is its syncopated or "ragged" rhythm.

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".

At 16, he left school and home for a career as a professional musician, playing with the likes of "Hot Lips" Henry Busse, Clyde McCoy and George Olson. [1] After a few years on the road, his desire to learn more about music theory led him to study at the Cincinnati Music Conservatory in Ohio in the early 1930s. [2]

Henry Busse American musician

Henry Busse Sr. was a German-born jazz trumpeter. A 1948 review in Billboard magazine said that Busse had "a keen sense of musical commercialism".

Clyde McCoy American jazz trumpeter and recording artist

Clyde Lee McCoy, was an American jazz trumpeter whose popularity spanned seven decades. He is best remembered for his theme song, "Sugar Blues", written by Clarence Williams and Lucy Fletcher, and also as a co-founder of Down Beat magazine in 1935. The song hit in 1931 and 1935, in Columbia and Decca versions, and returned to Billboard magazine's Country (Hillbilly) chart in 1941. It was also played with vocals, by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, Fats Waller and Ella Fitzgerald.

Cincinnati City in Ohio

Cincinnati is a major city in the U.S. state of Ohio, and is the government seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located at the northern side of the confluence of the Licking and Ohio rivers, the latter of which marks the state line with Kentucky. The city drives the Cincinnati–Middletown–Wilmington combined statistical area, which had a population of 2,172,191 in the 2010 census making it Ohio's largest metropolitan area. With a population of 296,943, Cincinnati is the third-largest city in Ohio and 65th in the United States. Its metropolitan area is the fastest growing economic power in the Midwestern United States based on increase of economic output and it is the 28th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the U.S. Cincinnati is also within a day's drive of 49.70% of the United States populace.

Following his music education break, Busch became the pianist for Hal Kemp's "sweet music" band for the remainder of the 1930s. [1] Lou also honed his arranging skills, being offered an arranging position when arranger John Scott Trotter left the band in 1936. This position was shared with another key arranger, Hal Mooney, and was invaluable experience for them both. After Kemp died in a car crash in 1940 and the group disbanded, Busch and Mooney made their way to California to work as studio musicians and whatever gigs they could find. This was interrupted by World War II, where Lou spent three years in the Army. [2]

James Hal Kemp was a jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and arranger. He was born in Marion, Alabama, and died in Madera, California, following an auto accident. His major recordings were "Got A Date With An Angel", "Heart Of Stone", "Lamplight", "The Music Goes 'Round And Around", "You're The Top", "Bolero", "Gloomy Sunday", "Lullaby Of Broadway", and many others.

Hal Mooney, born Harold Mooney, was an American composer and arranger.

Capitol Records

After his tour of duty, Busch decided to dive back into the music business. It was around this time that singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer was recruiting artists and employees for his recently formed label, Capitol Records, so Busch was hired for the radio transcription service in 1946. [1] He was in charge of production of promotional radio shows featuring Capitol artists for distribution to stations around the country.

For military soldiers, a tour of duty is usually a period of time spent in combat or in a hostile environment. In an army, for instance, soldiers on active duty serve 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the length of their service commitment. Soldiers in World War II were deployed for the entire war and could be in active service for 4-5 years.

Johnny Mercer American lyricist, songwriter, singer and music professional

John Herndon Mercer was an American lyricist, songwriter, and singer. He was also a record label executive who co-founded Capitol Records with music industry businessman Buddy DeSylva and Glenn E. Wallichs.

Capitol Records American record label

Capitol Records, Inc. is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Capitol Music Group imprint. It was founded as the first West Coast-based record label in the United States in 1942 by Johnny Mercer, Buddy DeSylva, and Glenn E. Wallichs. Capitol was acquired by British music conglomerate EMI as its North American subsidiary in 1955. EMI was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012 and was merged with the company a year later, making Capitol and the Capitol Music Group both a part of UMG. The label's circular headquarter building in Hollywood is a recognized landmark of California.

By 1949 he had been promoted to A&R man. [1]

One summer, Busch backed singer Jo Stafford and conductor Paul Weston on the hit record "Ragtime Cowboy Joe". The success encouraged both him and the label to release his own original single, "Ivory Rag", early in 1950. [1] It was the first piece incorporated into the "Crazy Otto Medley" by German pianist Fritz Schulz-Reichel, which was later associated with Johnny Maddox in the U.S.

Jo Stafford American singer

Jo Elizabeth Stafford was an American traditional pop music singer and occasional actress, whose career spanned five decades from the late 1930s to the early 1980s. Admired for the purity of her voice, she originally underwent classical training to become an opera singer before following a career in popular music, and by 1955 had achieved more worldwide record sales than any other female artist. Her 1952 song "You Belong to Me" topped the charts in the United States and United Kingdom, the record becoming the first by a female artist to reach number one on the U.K. Singles Chart.

Paul Weston American pianist, arranger, composer, and conductor

Paul Weston was an American pianist, arranger, composer, and conductor who worked in music and television from the 1930s to the 1970s, pioneering mood music and becoming known as "the Father of Mood Music". His compositions include popular music songs such as "I Should Care", "Day by Day", and "Shrimp Boats". He also wrote classical pieces, including "Crescent City Suite" and religious music, authoring several hymns and masses.

Ragtime Cowboy Joe song performed by Alvin and the Chipmunks

"Ragtime Cowboy Joe" is a popular song. The lyrics were written by Grant Clarke and the music was composed by Lewis F. Muir and Maurice Abrahams. It was copyrighted and published in 1912 by F.A. Mills.

It was in 1962 that he formed Burning Bush Music ASCAP.

His biggest hits from the 1950s include "Portuguese Washerwoman", "Sam's Song", a cover of Del Wood's version of "Down Yonder", and the international hit "Zambezi". [2] Some of the singles include his vocal backup group, the Carr Hops. Often overlooked are several mainstream and jazz sides he recorded as Lou Busch, featuring exciting band or orchestral arrangements.

"Sam's Song " is an American pop song written in 1950 with music by Lew Quadling and lyrics by Jack Elliott. It was first released as a Capitol single by Joe "Fingers" Carr and the Carr-Hops in May 1950. By June of that year, Carr's single had made it to all three of Billboard's music popularity charts, and several other artists had released the song, including bandleaders Freddy Martin and Victor Young. Gary and Bing Crosby's release of the song in July 1950 was a hit, ranked as the 4th best selling record of 1950 according to Billboard. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. also released a hit recording of the song in 1962.

Polly Adelaide Hendricks Hazelwood, known professionally as Del Wood, was an American pianist.

One Busch collaboration with Milton DeLugg, "Rollercoaster", became the closing theme of the TV panel show What's My Line? for the entirety of its original network run, from 1950 to 1967.

Warner Brothers Records

Busch eventually left Capitol for Warner Bros. Records where he took on the same general responsibilities. [1] Busch returned to arranging and conducting responsibilities again, one of the most notable being the musical force behind comic singer Allan Sherman. [2] A few later albums were released on the ragtime-centric Dot label, and in the late 1970s he produced one more effort with friend and jazz pianist Lincoln Mayorga, complete with a couple of new tunes, The Brinkerhoff Piano Company.


In the late 1970s, Busch did some live performances with Mayorga and others in Southern California. He died in Camarillo, California, on September 19, 1979, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile crash. He was interred in the Westwood Village Mortuary near UCLA. [2]


AlbumRecord label
Bar Room Piano Capitol
Rough House Piano Capitol
And His Ragtime Band Capitol
And His Swingin' String Band [1958] Capitol ST-1217
Plays The Classics Capitol
Mr. Ragtime Capitol
Fireman's Ball Capitol T-527
Honky Tonk Street Parade Capitol
The Hits of Joe Fingers Carr Capitol
The World's Greatest Ragtime Piano Player Warner Bros
Brassy Piano Warner Bros
The Riotous, Raucous Red-Hot 20s Warner Bros
Together for the Last Time (with Ira Ironstrings) Warner Bros

[3] [4]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Joe "Fingers" Carr". Spaceagepop.com. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "JOE "FINGERS" CARR". Rockabilly.nl. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  3. This is Ragtime by Terry Waldo (Da Capo Press) page 211 ISBN   0-306-80439-5
  4. "Last two albums were combined into one CD by Collectables Records in 2007 (COL 7869)". Oldies.com. Retrieved 19 February 2019.