Friday, April 24, 2009


That's right, folks, it's that time of year again... time for our Fourth Annual Mystery Contest! rather than go back to the infamous tape, I thought we'd try something different this year:

Green Onions

I know you're all familiar with the tune... and I'm digging this kind of beret wearing goateed bachelor pad version of it, but who, pray tell, is performing it? There is no artist listed on the label. All it says is that R&J Records is a division of Roye Dodge Studios, along with an address in New City, New York. New City? I had to google that one, but it turns out to be just north of the big town, up near Spring Valley, where the Thruway makes that big left turn. It seems kind of odd that a cool record like this would exist, without so much as a clue to who's working that Hammond, or smokin' that guitar, or blowing those fine horn lines...

Well, further googling turns up another R&J 45 at, you guessed, it Funky 16 Corners (you just knew Grogan would be involved somehow). Another swingin' cover of a top ten hit, once again the anonymous players get no credit at all, toiling on in obscurity all these years. Larry says that he discovered (although he doesn't say how) that 'Roye Dodge' was a choreographer, and that his guess is that these 45s were produced for use in dance schools "so that rooms full of students might have something to shuffle along with." But, like, where were they recorded? Who arranged them and produced them? And, I mean, it wouldn't have taken much to list somebody as the artist (like, say, The Roye Dodge Players or something like that)...

Just the sort of mystery we love here at Soul detective.

There is an excellent discography site called New York Soul Recordings, that focuses on obscure labels that released soulful 45s in the upstate regions of the Empire State, but, as fate would have it, the discographies end at the letter 'P' - so there is no information available about R&J.

SO, we're looking for any and all information about this tiny label, about Roye Dodge Studios, about where and when they recorded this 45, and - most importantly - about who our mystery artists might be. As always, the first to come up with an answer in the 'comments' will be our lucky winner. I'm not sure what this year's valuable prizes might be, but I'll figure out something while I'm down in New Orleans.

Good Luck!



Blogger ana-b said...

as if on cue....

if you check the comments on that post on Funky 16 Corners, you'll see that someone who says she's the daughter of Roye and Jayne Dodge, 'Dana', left a comment the day before you posted this....

too bad really, i was hot on their trail...had just found out about the studio in NYC, that they made a short 'soundie' sometime in the 40's called 'Side Street'...

and that Roye Dodge is listed as choreographer on the film "This Angry Age' 1957 aka 'The Sea Wall' aka 'This Bitter Earth' by Nino Rota..

i've already left a comment redirecting Dana to this blog...

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ana-b's information is correct. The "soundie" is not in good condition but wonderful to have. Made in 42 or 43. I have 7 different R&J records left plus an album or two. Roye's career started in the 30's as a member of the Dodge Brothers working mostly by not exclusively in NYC. Jane came to NY to study under him. They became a dance team working clubs and hotels and married in 39. WW2 put Roye's career on hold early in the 40's. In the late 40's they taught other performers eventually opened a studio on 49th street in NYC. In the 50's Roye worked in early TV doing the Jack Carter portion of Your Show of Shows and a few movies. In 58 they closed the NYC school and opened an neighborhood studio in New City and started teaching at the different dance conventions such as Dance Educators of America, Dance Masters and Caravan as well. It was at this time that they went into the record business as an adjunct of their main business which was selling dance routines. This would be in the 60's and 70's. I have lots of early pictures. I am not sure of the musicians on the records but have put a query on the web site of one that might have been involved. I don't want to mention names until I get a confirmation or denial.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Hello Dana -

Talk about an idea whose time has come, huh?

Thank you so much for taking the time to fill us in... your parents sound like wonderful people! I would love to explore all of this further with you, if you're interested.

Please email me at:

Thanks again!

6:18 AM  
Blogger ana-b said... updates at all?...

just asking..

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So strange - I don't know if you still are even working on this 3 years later. I took lessons at the Dodge Dance Studio 50 years ago - ballet, and later tap. I grew up in New City. The dance studio was in the middle of town right across from the Catholic School. I was even on one of their postcards - I'm the one in the orange tutu!

Betsy H.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Thank You, Betsy!

A Soul Detective Case (or Contest...) is never closed!

12:53 PM  
Blogger JEB said...

I too took ballet, tap, and Jazz at Dodge Dance Studios in New City. Roye and Jane lived upstairs above the studio. We would purchase the 45s to practice our dances at home. Great memories there!

5:28 AM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Thanks, JEB - they taught kids how to dance to Green Onions?? Very cool people indeed!!

6:31 AM  

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