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.