“The Skunk Song” was popular in 1941, and if it was not a major hit, the song was recorded by Tommy Dorsey, Alvino Rey and a handful of other dance bands. The tune was part of Cab Calloway’s “book” – that is, the songs that the band might perform on stage, on the radio or at dances – and it made its way into the Cab Calloway Soundies session of January 1942. Since Cab did not record the song, we are fortunate to have this swinging number preserved as a Soundie.
The Skunk Song is a fine arrangement, probably by Buster Harding, performed in a well-rehearsed and confident manner. The band swings mightily, not surprising since the rhythm section included Benny Payne, piano; Danny Barker, guitar; Milt Hinton, string bass; and Cozy Cole. Featured on solo trumpet is the underrated Shad Collins. His lyrical improvisation shows the influence of both Louis and Roy Eldridge. One of the band’s featured trombonists, Tyree Glenn, shares the vocal spot with Cab and the Palmer Brothers, a vocal quartet that toured with the band during this period.