Yes friends, there really was a musical group known as Doctor Sausage and His Five Pork Chops. Mind you, this was a fringe act, and today very little is known about them. They recorded 2 singles for Decca Records in 1940, four more in 1950 for Regal (including a Top 10 R&B single with Rag Mop) and then were never heard from again. Considered a Novelty Act throughout their career, they provide an interesting if brief peek into the late 30′s and 40′s East Coast “hep culture” and “Race Records” – an era of music I find both fascinating and one that directly laid the foundation for contemporary Rock music today.
Race records were 78 rpm phonograph records marketed to African Americans during the early 20th century, particularly during the 1920s and 1930s. They primarily contained race music, comprising a variety of African American musical genres including blues, jazz, and gospel music, though comedy recordings were also produced. Most of the major recording companies issued special “race” series of records between the mid 1920s and the 1940s. Decca Records was one such label and throughout the 1930s and early-to-mid 1940s a leading label of jazz, blues and jump, with numerous best selling artists including Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, The Mills Brothers, Louis Jordan (the #1 R&B artist of the 1940s), Bill Kenny & The Ink Spots, Lucky Millander and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the original ‘soul sister’ of recorded music.
Although in hindsight the term “race record” may seem to be a derogatory one, in the early 20th century the African American press routinely used the term “the Race” to refer to African Americans as a whole, and used the terms “race man” or “race woman” to refer to African American individuals who showed pride and support for their people and culture.
The act drew heavily on the influences of many successful Harlem/Cotton Club luminaries of the time, such as Cab Calloway, Louis Jordan, Slim and Slam and contemporaries such as Cats and the Fiddle. With a healthy dose of comedy and the waning vaudeville sensibilities of the day, along with the stepped-up swing jazz and multi-part vocal harmonies that was popular in the African American communities of the time (the precursor to the 50′s R&B Jump style and Doo Wop), lyrical scatting, hepster expressions and broad sexually suggestive humor, they managed to catch the attention of (American) Decca Records, who were doing quite well marketing to the “Race Records” market and the growing jukebox trade.
Some of Tyson’s band-mates would continue on recording with other artists, notably Jimmy Butts and Gerry “The Wig” Wiggins. Lucius “Dr. Sausage” Tyson however disappeared, and I can find no record of him after 1950.
Doctor Sausage and His Five Pork Chops:
Dr. Sausage – Lead vocals, Drums; Gerry “The Wig” Wiggins – Piano; others – unknown
- Wham [Re-bop-boom-bam] / Doctor Sausage Blues (Decca 7736)
- Birthday Party / Cuckoo Cuckoo Chicken Rhythm (Decca 7776)
Doctor Sausage Blues
Doc Sausage & His Mad Lads:
(Doc Sausage – vocals and drums; Earl Johnson – sax; Charles Harris – piano; Charlie Jackson – guitar; Jimmy Butts – bass)
- She Don’t Want Me No More / Please Don’t Leave Me Now (Regal 3248)
- Rag Mop / You Got Me Cryin’ (Regal 3251) – Peaked at #4 on the US R&B Charts / Feb. 1950
- Sausage Rock / I’ve Been A Bad Boy (Regal 3256)
- Door Mat Blues / I’m A Poor Man (Regal 3283)
(All 4 Mad Lads 78′s released in 1950 on the New Jersey based Regal Records.)