Odd sax [4]

You’ll have heard a plaintive mouth organ-like instrument there: that’s Rollini on “goofus’, another instrument of which he was sole master. Formally known as the Couesnophone, it looked like a miniature sax but it could play chords.

Here it is again on Clementine from August ’27.


Joe Venuti (violin) and Eddie Lang (guitar) – the two best string-men of their day – had an unfortunate predilection for recording tracks with no discernible melody, so I’ve chosen tracks with a vocalist when they obviously felt obliged to play a bleedin’ tune: one sweet track, one distinctly hotter.

We start with I Like What You Like.

Ignore the claim on the youtube; it was recorded in June ’27. The musicians are styled “the Four Instrumental Stars” (Vic Berton on percussion made up the group) and the vocalist is Annette Hanshaw. Note that Rollini also tickles the ivories.

On Who’s That Knockin’ At My Door? (September ’27) the gang earn their new title of The Sizzlin’ Syncopators, and Rollini plays yet another instrument of which he is sole master, the hot fountain pen, a miniature clarinet played in the style of a tin whistle.


Odd sax 1
Odd sax 2
Odd sax 3
Odd sax 4
Odd sax 5
Odd sax 6
Odd sax 7
Odd sax 8
Odd sax 9

3 comments for “Odd sax [4]

  1. January 9, 2013 at 19:28

    After Odd Sax [3] I went off browsing Amazon for The Goofus Five and came across a CD with a one star review where the reviewer had taken great exception to the goofus. I rather like it.

    “If you don’t know what a “goofus” is, then don’t buy this album until you know how it sounds. I bought this album because Adrian Rollini was playing bass sax on it. Unfortunately I wasn’t prepared for the irritating and “out of place sound” of the goofus in these arrangements. Buyer Beware!”

  2. dearieme
    January 9, 2013 at 19:52

    Having failed dismally at my short-trousered piano lessons, I had a go at the mouth organ at secondary school. Failed again. Still, the comb-and-tissue paper, the kazoo, the jew’s harp and the blown milk bottle all awaited.

    I think the goofus might have been within my scope: pity that schools hadn’t latched on to it. Is it, I wonder, too late?

  3. January 9, 2013 at 20:16

    It’s too late for me, but here’s a good pic of one.


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