The Mills Brothers: Tiger Rag


Tiger Rag


The Mills Brothers


The Anthology (1931-1968) (MCA 11279)

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Herbert Mills, Donald Mills (tenor vocals), Harry Mills (baritone vocal), John Mills, Jr. (bass vocal & guitar)


Composed by Nick La Rocca, Eddie Edwards, Henry Ragas, Tony Sbarbaro, Larry Shields and Harry Da Costa


Recorded: New York, October 12, 1931


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Besides singing conventionally, the teenage Mills brothers imitated musical instruments with kazoos. But, legend has it, forgetting to bring their kazoos to one gig, the youngsters cupped hands over mouths and conjured convincing instrumental sounds with voices alone. This so gassed the customers that the kazoos were trashed. With Herbert mimicking sax or trombone, Harry simulating trumpet, and deep-voiced John doing bass—all in support of Donald's lead vocals—the brothers caused a sensation. Today's listeners may equate "Tiger Rag" with Looney Tunes, but novelties were an important gateway for early jazz into pop culture, and this one's still fun.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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