December 18, 2008


I was never in any kind of band class at all. One of my sister's were but I never was. This song from Ray Stevens is called "Julius Played The Trumpet" and it's about a trumpet player whose at the mercy of an over-bearing high school band conductor. Listening to the chorus of the song I take it that the song takes place in Snellville, Georgia as us Ray fans know that he was born and raised in Georgia. The actual name of the band: The Snellville Municipal Consolidated Junior High School Band under the direction of Shottlegrubenheimen, a sort of strange twist on Lawrence Welk but based in a high school.

The members of the band are many but only three are name-dropped and those include Julius, Cecil, and Melvin. Cecil plays the cymbals while Melvin plays the trombone and Julius plays the trumpet. Apparently, Julius hasn't mastered the art of trumpet playing yet and it shows. The twist of the song comes when Julius and company decide to play the song terribly on purpose on the day of a big sporting event at the school...and without fail, the band conductor interrupts things during the middle of the half-time show and demands the band play the song correctly and then he launches into a brief Lawrence Welk "uh one and uh, two, three, four..." prior to the song fading out proclaiming "ahh, that's good, STUDENTS...that's good...".

The "students" phrase in my opinion is linked to Kay Kyser's radio program where he played the "professor of music" and he would conduct a game show where players tried to guess the name of songs. His program was called "Kollege of Musical Knowledge" and he was known as the professor and he wore a graduation outfit. The show emphasized comedy a lot as you can tell from the spelling of college in it's title.

He was a legitimate big-band leader during his time period but his success on radio with his show having a heavy dose of comedy, which I suppose was a no-no for a "serious" big-band leader, plus the fact he himself retired from the spotlight on his own long before his death helped cause his name to fade into obscurity.

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