A fascinating inner-office memo from 1942 discusses the push-back from Panoram owners in the South regarding African Americans Soundies. While this was seen as a concern worth sharing, the reality was that many locations, those catering to both Blacks and Whites, demanded black Soundies because they were an important part of the revenue stream. The response of the Soundies organization was mixed. Black Soundies remained an integral part of weekly releases, although they were often relegated to the eighth position in the reel so they could be easily edited out in southern locations. The home office also created a separate series designated “M Soundies,” black cast shorts that could be special ordered by Panoram owners.
Phil Moore would become an important vocal coach, working with such performers as Dorothy Dandridge and Marilyn Monroe. However, in the 1930s and ’40s, he was known as a talented arranger, orchestrator, jazz pianist, and combo leader. He was also a man who put talent before color, and his 1940s group, the Phil Moore Four, included white guitarist Remo Palmieri, and later Chuck Wayne.
Producer William Forest Crouch not only liked jazz but also felt it important to support black talent. While racial stereotypes turn up in some of his Soundies, most are free of such imagery. In this Soundie, Lazy Lady, there is not attempt whatsoever to hide the fact that the jazz combo is integrated. Guitarist Chuck Wayne is neither hidden nor shown in a blurred manner. He is there for all to see and hear! Special mention should also be made of trumpet player Johnny Letman, a fine soloist far too often hidden in the section of a big band.
“Lazy Lady Boogie’ (titled “Lazy Lady” for the Soundie) was written by Phil Moore, with the lyrics by Leonard Feather. It features a fine vocal by Moore, solos by Letman and Wayne, and a rhythm section driven by two underrated players, Doles Dickens on string bass and Wallace Bishop on drums.