Ted Knight and the World's Smallest Big Band traveled to Gulf Shores, Alabama for an August 2007 wedding. The reception was held at the waterfront home of the bride's parents, beautifully decorated for the affair.
The couple considered several songs for their first dance, but when Ramon heard the American standard Stars Fell on Alabama, he loved it. Ted wrote an arrangement based on the recording by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Evelyn Russell sang it beautifully, with trumpet backing. Click images to enlarge.
The band played Mobile at the request of Deborah's father, the recently retired district attorney of Mobile and Baldwin County. Ted found sheet music for the good-natured Phil Harris number all about the Alabama city, and prepared an arrangement. True to the song's lyrics, the weather was hot and steamy, with a record-breaking heat index of 105 degrees. Fortunately, the rain that was forecast failed to materialize. With the blessing of the hosts, the band and many of the guests changed into casual attire early in the evening.
Knowing ahead of time that many of the guests from Spain would speak little or no English, Ted did several songs in Spanish, including Ojos Españolas (Spanish Eyes), and Besame Mucho. American and Spaniard dancers alike loved a rocking version of Oye Como Va.
Evelyn, Ted, and bassist Bill Rabon made the trip from South Florida. Bill, originally from Mobile, helped recruit saxophonist Bill Clark, trumpet player Donald Morris, and drummer David White from his old home town.
Even the heat couldn't keep people off the dance floor. From a romantic Embraceable You to a Latin-tinged Save the Last Dance for Me, it was a night to remember.Gulf Shores is located on the Alabama Gulf coast, just south of the city of Mobile. See map.
Photos courtesy of Samantha Alday Photography.