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30 March 2010

Ray Charles In Swingin' Along (1961)

Video still.
The comedy Swingin' Along was directed by Charles Barton, of Abbott & Costello fame. The film is also known under other titles: The Schnook (which seems to have been the working title) and Double Trouble. The latter represented the original cut, that was shipped to England for movie theater release.
The musical scenes were produced later (also with Roger Williams and Bobby Vee; cf. review here), in Hollywood, to spice up the film, which also required the shooting of some new bridging scenes - and inspired the new film title.
Ray Charles, "The World-Renowned Musical Sensation",  and his group performed steaming versions of Sticks And Stones and What'd I Say. Phil Guilbeau, John Hunt (trumpets) David Newman (tenor saxophone), Leroy Cooper (baritone saxophone), Bruno Carr (drums) and Edgar Willis (bass) lined up a 'small bigband' (Bruno Carr wasn't on camera; Hank Crawford is also missing from the footage, but maybe he was present). The Raelettes (f.l.t.r. on the video still: Darlene McCrea, Pat Lyles, Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry) were prominently on camera. More film credits here.
For a fun read on the differences between the versions cf. this (and there click through to page 172). The U.S. premiere was on Feb. 14, 1962. An unusual wealth of promotion materials has survived (see above and also the 1961 Chronology page).

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