Saturday, June 12, 2010

Perry Botkin Dean of Orchestral Guitarists–and Ukers

Gerald Ross turned up this gem.
I've always wondered who played the incidental music on the Beverly Hillbillies TV show. Not the Bluegrass theme song - that was Flatt and Scruggs. Everyone knows that.

But the "bubbly electric guitar" background music you heard when Ellie Mae descended the staircase in a sequined gown. Or when they sh...owed the Commerce Bank of Beverly Hills.

It was Perry Botkin. Botkin had a long career in music - most notibly as Bing Crosby's musical director.

Monster guitarist and uke player.

Now I can finish learning the Ellie Mae tune.

Ellie's tune starts at 3:04. But watch the whole clip, it's very cool.
Some superb ukulele playing, too. Don't miss Ain't She Sweet. And check out the discussion over on the Fleamarket Music Bulletin Board.

Also courtesy of Gerald, here's Perry uking with Ozzie Nelson from an Ozzie and Harriet episode. Yep, that Harry Owens hosting the luau. (You'll find some more Harry Owens and His Royal Hawaiians here.)

Finally, you'll find a recording of Perry Botkin's signature Ukey-Uke on Jim Beloff's Paradise Lost & Found CD. Jim just posted "Ukey Ukulele" in the Jukebox section under Jim Beloff songs and recordings. Sez Jim:
On this version the uke and drums are played by Abe Lagrimas Jr. and bass by Randy Wong. It's very much inspired by the original recording by Perry.
Mahalo, Gerald!


Anonymous said...

This is so great to see Perry Botkin Sr. making the rounds of the ukulele world! Not long ago I started trying to find out more about him and came up with very little.

He plays uke on this track: and several other instruments on a few other recordings on Atticus70's channel.

Also worth tracking down is the 1939 recording of Hong Kong Blues that Mr. Botkin did with Hoagy Carmichael. Mr. Botkin plays an excellent example of early electric guitar.

Gerald Ross said...

Watch the beginning of the Ozzie and Harriet clip. Note Ozzie's stage persona, sort of a self-conscious, aw shucks kind of way.

Now think of Tim Allen and the character he played on the TV show Home Improvement... It looks like Tim picked up a lot from Ozzie.

jazzbozo said...

is there anyone else besides me who has heard a 1950's recording of Perry Bodkin Snr playing 'Lover'
on either a Uke/banjo or perhaps just a baritone Uke? Does anyone have a record of this track?

Gary said...

I've found this 45 single, or at least a record of its existence. Off to find an online recording.

Lightnin' said...

Here you go. And a great version it is. From the Decca 78 RPM 1950;

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

As a child, I viewed "The Beverly Hillbillies" from its inception and was captivated by Perry Botkin's music.

My favorite of his compositions was heard as an introduction for The Commerce Bank or Milburn Drysdale. Since Mr. Botkin titled his ethereal, harp-like leitmotif for Elly May Clampett, "Elly May's Theme", I've called Milburn Drysdale's leitmotif, "Drysdale's Theme". I have been unsuccessful in finding a recording of it, however. The longest versions of it can be heard in "The Bank Raising" episode. It runs about 30 seconds and is uninterrupted by dialogue or background noises. This episode also contains a longer version in which a violin is also included but there is dialogue and other noise in the soundtrack which make it difficult to really enjoy.

It is interesting to note that this exact leitmotif was first heard the 1958 Columbia film, "Murder By Contract" (scored by Perry Botkin, Sr.) in the scenes where a 1957 Ford convertible is shown driving in Los Angles. Botkin then reused it for "The Beverly Hillbillies" in 1962. Decca Records released a Perry Botkin 45rpm record of "Exectioner Theme" and "Waltz Of The Hunter" which were also heard in "Murder By Contract".

I recognized Perry Botkin, Sr. in the 1958 "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" episode, "Lucy Wins A Race Horse" and sent in a request to have his credit added on IMDB.

Perry Botkin, Sr. was an extremely talented musician!

Mike Nesbitt

Gary said...

Thank you, Mike!

ajwrites57 said...

Awesome--watching Murder by Contract (1958)and wondered who did the music. None other than Perry Botkin. Great post!

Top 50 Ukulele Sites