Between 1958 and 1963, Hap Snow’s Whirlwinds made a series of home demo recordings in their basement studio in Weston, Massachusetts. Here’s a small selection of the more than one dozen unreleased tracks laid down, these made in 1959. Highlights include covers of Dave White’s “Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay,“ W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues Mambo,” and Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen.”
Players at these sessions included Art Bearon on piano, Harry Lewis on saxophone, James K. “Hap” Snow on lead guitar, and Stefano Torossi on drums. Snow also sang lead vocals on both “Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.” The closing instrumental track, “The Birth of the Blues,” was recorded live at Middlebury College in Vermont in 1959 and features Lewis on sax:
Some rare 8 mm footage of Hap Snow’s bullfighting days that was shot at the Maynard Rod & Gun Club in Maynard, Massachusetts in 1964 by Ken Roy, set to “Sweet Little Sixteen” performed by Hap Snow’s Whirlwinds, is on YouTube:
Although the 8 mm Keystone Movie camera used by Ken Roy was manufactured in his hometown by a local company, this particular model was picked up when he was stationed with the army in Korea.
He recently commented:
“Nothing like purchasing a movie camera manufactured by a Boston company 10,000 miles away!”
Besides making the movie, Ken Roy also worked as a rodeo clown that day. When he wasn’t helping out as a driver, Roy filled in as a bass player on more than one occasion for Hap Snow’s Whirlwinds, as well.