Tunesday: Big Noise from Winnetka

There’s no reason not to dig into the past for new (to you), inspiring music with modern day creativity.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon Big Noise from Winnetka through the cover by Asylum Street Spankers. It’s one of those songs that gets covered so many times by so many different musicians that people stop caring about who originally wrote it. Well, people who aren’t me, anyway.

Ray Bauduc & Bob Haggart

The Bob Crosby Orchestra was one of the top musical groups of the 1930s, and among the orchestra were Bob Haggart, a drummer, and Ray Bauduc, a bassist.

While waiting for the rest of the orchestra to return from a break, the two men, both part of a “band within a band” called The Bobcats, improvised a little intra-instrument tune that involved Haggart drumming the strings of Bauduc’s upright bass.

Ray Bauduc is the wildly impressive whistler. Bob Haggart is the nonchalant, smug drummer who was obviously was born with a pair of drumsticks in hand.

The song was originally without vocals, and featured only drums and a bass, but later, this playful tune blossomed into the famous Big Noise from Winnetka, some variations of which include vocals. It isn’t until you combine this little diddy with the entire Bob Crosby Orchestra that things start to get crazy.

They slowed it down, added a gigantic string and brass section, and a handful of creepy, seductive singers. Altogether, you have yourself a classic tune that will never cease to amaze with its creativity and out-of-the-box thinking – in 1938! Never underestimate the power of archived music.

Lindsay Ginn