Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens: Illustrious Lancastrians #5

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Lancaster’s own Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens were fixtures on the East Coast and Midwest dancehall circuit from 1938 to 1955. When not on tour, they rehearsed in the dancehall above the J.H. Troup Music House at 38 West King. Their 1940 performance of “A Study in Brown” was recorded for the Panoram, a film jukebox common in bars, cafes, and train stations before World War II. I first encountered this clip during an unrelated search on the always-engrossing Internet Archive.  A commenter there says it all, I think:

“As you hear you see. I watch this and see what I hear. You view the beautiful ladies gently swaying to the sound, while during the piece the bassist comes out and goes nuts! All for joy. Marimbas and the bass thrombing along from that sound, are one of the most touching tones the human psyche can know. Along with being a man who views these all smiling girls with joy, enticed by it all.
It is a mixed knowing of sound and vision. As with the bassist and the speed of the the music, versus the gentle sways synchronized slower than the changes of speeds of overtones, to the changes in chording of the number of changes to the sounds of the music.It is one of the most uplifting pieces I know here in and on the Internet. Like one person posted, if you feel down sort of spirits, listen and watch this and you’ll feel upbeat. Not beaten up. This original “soundie” cuts to the core all through a persons being, from you inside the space connected all the way to the soul of oneself. It’s what I know in awareness, even negative spirits will “feel” the presence and jive right along with myself dancing to this tune of sound most joyful. All the consciousness and unconsciousness join and rift right along to these vibrations. Truly a most unique thing.”

Amen.

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13 Responses to “Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens: Illustrious Lancastrians #5”

  1. Cyndy Henry Says:

    Thank you so much for this tribute to the Reg Kehoe Band. My mother was a Marimba Queen. I have recordings of Reg’s arrangements from the records my mother kept.
    Thanks again this post.

    • Andy Kramer Says:

      Fern and Reg Kehoe were my great aunt and uncle. I have most of their old photos, some sheet music, and dance diagrams. Ms. Henry, I might have some photos of your mother. I plan to scan everything sometime in the near future. If you would like copies of the photos send me an email at andyk29@gmail.com

      • Hi Andy
        I would like to see your photos when you have time. I am working on getting the Kehoe Memorabilia into the Lancaster Historical Society. My family has passed and I believe that the Kehoe Band deserves to be remembered. I look forward to hearing from you.
        Cyndy Henry
        Cynhenry@gmail.com

  2. I’m sure there would be an interest in any recordings, either from tape or directly from any vinyl you might still have. That clip is timeless!

    • Cyndy Henry Says:

      I am the daughter of one of the Reg Kehoe Band members. I have 18 musical arrangements of Reg Kehoe’s band and 2 radio interviews. Please contact me if you are interested in obtaining a copy of this cd.

      • Hi Cyndy,

        I recently came across the video of “A Study in Brown”, and thought it was great.

        I see you have a cd available of other recordings of Rex Kehoe and His Marimba Queens, and I would be interested in getting it.

        Thanks.

      • Cyndy Henry Says:

        Kehoe CD

  3. Cyndy Henry Says:

    The CD’s are available. There are 17 arrangements by Reg and 2 radio interviews. I look forward to hearing from you.

  4. Cyndy Henry Says:

    My email address is Cynhenry@gmail.com.

  5. awesome stuff, I wonder if anyone has covered this recently like Dave Brubeck or some other Jazz great.

  6. Rod Kilhefner Says:

    amazing what I found when I googled Reg Kehoe….great to see the video of the bank. I can recall seeing them at Hershey Park and recall the antics of the bass player…especially nice since I took dance lessons from Reg’s wife during the 50’s…..

  7. Janice Lefever (Martin) Says:

    Just came upon this as for some reason I felt I needed to google Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens. My mother was a marimba queen all of the years the band existed. Cyndy has sent me a cd of the recordings and If you have more Cyndy I would really be interested. I went on many of the trips they took and have lots of fond memories of those times.

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