Phil Baxter

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Phil Baxter (né Philip Kerley Baxter; 5 September 1896 Rural Shade, Texas – 21 November 1972 Dallas) was an American songwriter, singer and band leader. He was born September 5, 1896, in Rural Shade, Texas — which after World War II became part of Kerens. Baxter graduated from Daniel Baker College. He is perhaps best known for his novelty song, "Piccolo Pete", a notable hit for Ted Weems and His Orchestra. Another song, "I'm a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas" was successfully recorded by many artists, including Sidney Bechet, Bennie Moten, Arthur Godfrey, Bob Wills and Louis Armstrong.


Baxter led his own orchestra in the 1920s through the mid-1930s, leading two recording sessions, the first in October 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri, and the second in October 1929, in Dallas, Texas. In June 1927, "Phil Baxter and His Texas Tommies" performed at the just-opened El Torreon Ballroom in Kansas City, Missouri, becoming, as "Phil Baxter and His El Torreon Orchestra", the ballroom's houseband from 1927 to 1933.[1] Baxter would open and close each night with the band's theme song, "El Torreon", and their nightly performances were frequently broadcast by KMBC.

Baxter enjoyed close ties with fellow bandleaders in the hot dance idiom, Ted Weems and Joe Haymes. As arranger for Weems, Haymes scored Baxter's jazz novelties such as "Piccolo Pete" and "The One Man Band," carrying on playing many Baxter songs with his own orchestra. Haymes and Baxter co-composed the 1932 Haymes hit "Let's Have A Party."

Phil Baxter ultimately suspended much of his musical activities due to difficulties stemming from arthritis.[1] He died on November 21, 1972.

Selected compositions[edit]

  • "Piccolo Pete" (© 1929; renewed 1956)
  • "Going, Going, Gone"
  • "The One Man Band"
  • "'Leven Miles from Leavenworth"
  • "Smile For Me"
  • "A Faded Summer Love"
  • "Five Piece Band"
  • "Let's Have a Party"
  • "Harmonica Harry"
  • "You're the Sweetest Girl"
  • "Have a Little Dream on Me"
  • "I'm a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas" (© 1928; renewed 1955)
  • "I've Got A Gal Seven Feet Tall" (© 1925; renewed 1953)
Phil Baxter & Jack Rogers (words)
Earl Elleson McCoy (nl) (1884–1934) (music)


External links[edit]