Vintage Music Productions

Billy Is Knuckles O'Toole

Billy Rowland "Billy Rowland is Knuckles O'Toole" VMP 0091 [Vintage Music Productions CD] Billy Rowland was the first to record under the name of "Knuckles O'Toole." At the time the first Knuckles O'Toole recordings were made, in the 1950s, Billy Rowland was a veteran pianist, who had already played and recorded with Les Brown, the Dorsey Brothers and Raymond Scott. As Knuckles O'Toole, Billy Rowland played in a honky-tonk style. The unique sound, heard on these recordings, was achieved by placing thumb tacks on the piano hammers. The music, on this compact disc, has been digitally restored using Dynamic Spectrum Sound. Dynamic Spectrum Sound is an exclusive and proprietary restoration technique that removes unwanted noise, while preserving the authentic sound of the original recordings, as intended by the artist. Liner notes by Alan Rowland. Order No. 56346

1. Medley: Crazy Otto Rag/There'll Be Some Changes Made/Ida
2. Paper Doll
3. If You Knew Suzie (Like I Know Suzie)
4. Medley: Come Back To Sorrento/Santa Lucia/O Sole Mio
5. Maple Leaf Rag
6. Medley: Daisy Bell/Bicycle Built For Two/The Bowery/Sidewalks Of New York
7. Glad Rag Doll
8. Medley: I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now/And The Band Played On/I Love You Truly
9. Medley: Peg O' My Heart/Shine On Harvest Moon
10. Boogie Woogie Rag
11. Yes! We Have No Bananas
12. Medley: Harrigan/You're A Grand Old Flag/Yankee Doodle Boy
13. Medley: Chinatown/I've Got Rings On My Fingers
14. St. Louis Blues
15. Down Home Rag
16. After You've Gone
17. Medley: Strolling Through The Park/Wait Till The Sun Shines Nellie/My Pony Boy/In My Merry Oldsmobile
18. Ciribiribin
19. The Glory Of Love
20. Medley: Take Me Out To The Ballgame/In The Good Old Summertime
21. Medley: My Wild Irish Rose/When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
22. Oh, Marie
23. Medley: Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay/A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight
24. Down By The Old Mill Stream
25. My Gal Sal
26. Last Night On The Back Porch

Billy Rowland was born in England, in 1910, and studied piano, as a boy. In the 1930s, he emigrated to the United States and, soon after, found employment with some of the top bands of the day. From 1938 to 1943, Billy Rowland was the pianist for Les Brown's orchestra. He was with Les Brown, when Doris Day joined the band. She used to babysit for Billy Rowland's daughter, Leslie May. In 1942, Rowland appeared with the Les Brown orchestra, in the film, "Seven Days' Leave" (RKO).

After leaving Les Brown's band, he was hired as a staff pianist, for CBS. In 1948, he met Perry Como, who hired Rowland to be the regular pianist for his new television show. The show premiered as the "Chesterfield Supper Club," in December 1948, though better known as "The Perry Como Show," beginning in 1950. Billy Rowland's association with Perry Como lasted for nearly 20 years.

In the early 1950s, Billy Rowland joined Enoch Light's band and was the first to record under the name of "Knuckles O'Toole." That first Knuckles O'Toole LP was probably his most successful recording. It consisted of old-time tunes played in a Honky Tonk style. The very unique sound was achieved by placing thumb tacks on the piano hammers. Because of the popularity of this album, several other Knuckles O'Toole albums were issued, but not all of these were done by Rowland. Some of them were recorded by a pianist with a very similar style -- Dick Hyman.

In addition to the Knuckles O'Toole LPs, Billy Rowland recorded several albums under his own name, including "They All Laughed When I Sat Down," "Billy Rowland Plays Boogie Woogie" and "Filmdom's Famous Fifty." He also toured with Margaret Whiting, in Europe, and filled in for Skitch Henderson, on the "Tonight Show." Billy Rowland died, in 1985, in Glen Cove, Long Island.

Ordering Information

To order this CD, visit Worlds Records at Or call 1-800-742-6663. When ordering, refer to the order number below (in red). For online orders, this five-digit number can be copied and pasted into the text field for "itemcode" searches.

Order No. 56346

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