Curly "Duck" Flebber: The Lost Duck Tapes (2004)
But Duck had his fans, who followed him devotedly despite constant changes in his band and the difficulty of finding his gigs. Two of his most passionate followers, the Dipple Brothers of Dubuque, taped every performance between 1950 and 1954, including the famous all-night session at the "Sup n'Bowl," and also collected every piece of paper Duck ever touched or dropped, in search of clues to his genius. "We did pick up a lot of lint," Clarence Dipple recalled in a recent interview, "But there were notes that showed Duck was onto the rebop thing as early as 1946. He was way ahead of his time. Or behind it. Anyway, different."
It took the Dipples nearly 50 years to put this CD together, but they are hopeful for its success, both to restore the luster to Duck's reputation and to supplement their small pensions. "We couldn't have a CD release party, since Duck passed on in 1973, but we did have a nice buffet at the Knights of Columbus," Clarence writes in his poignant introduction to the liner notes. The liners are worth mentioning by themselves, since they include a 47-page booklet by Phil Schaap, which makes crucial distinctions, for example, between Take 27 of "Chipowah" (recorded after a large Mexican lunch) and Take 30 (when the Pepto kicked in).
Unfortunately, the sound quality leaves something to be desired, since, as Hinkel Dibble recalls, "I didn't get the hang of that machine at first." At times, he was also obliged to record through swinging kitchen doors, since Duck was notoriously suspicious about anyone pirating his work. And "the tapes weren't really lost," Hinkel admits, "I just couldn't find the box when we moved."
The music features Duck fronting a number of configurations, including his celebrated but short-lived Flebber Fourteen, and a rare vocal on the occasion of his niece's third birthday. As far as Duck's seminal (and only) previous release, the cherished "Cocoa," Clarence says, "We were able to reproduce most of it. You can get the idea."
While newcomers to Duck's genius may be scratching their heads, this document is a must for all fans of rebop.
Track Listing: "Cocoa" (32 alternate takes), Happy Birthday, Checkies Bounce, A Week in Tunisia, Chipowah, Waddle I Do
Personnel: Curly ("Duck") Flebber (tenor sax, vocals), and various unidentified personnel
Style: Beyond Jazz