The second Madison recording to be released in the late 1950s was by The Ray Bryant Combo and called The Madison Time. The album recorded by American jazz pianist Ray Bryant was recorded in 1959 and 1960 for the Columbia label. The album was released following the success of the Madison dance craze single “The Madison Time” which reached number 30 on the Billboard chart and number 5 on the R&B chart.

This recording featuring the Ray Bryant Combo came about when local radio disc jockey, Eddie Morrison, began doing calls on a whim over jazz records he played on the air. Listeners begged for more, and eventually Morrison was offered a recording deal with Ray Bryant and his New York Jazz Band. The tune sold 10,000 copies in the Baltimore area in its first week. This version of the Madison (The Madison Time) soon became the favorite choice of dancers nationwide.

“The appeal of the dance stemmed from it’s many variations, such as the “Jackie Gleason,” which imitates a shuffle performed by the comedian, or the “Wilt Chamberlain hook,” which calls for the dancer to stylishly dribble and shoot a basketball. These variations often poked fun at popular figures in the era, providing amusement for the dancers and a certain prestige for the caller. But perhaps it was the genius marketing strategies of Columbia’s Baltimore based manager Victor “Chuck” Gregory who recruited two nimble teenagers from the Buddy Deane show (Joan Darby & Jonas “Joe” Cash) to go on a teen shows tour of the East Coast and Mid-West demonstrating the dance steps…

Today, the Madison continues to make cameo appearances, coincidentally to witness Jackie Gleason’s shuffle on Broadway, as the dance was featured in the musical revival of the 1980s movie, Hairspray. The Madison also remains a popular line dance on the social floor where its variations may be enjoyed by new dancers and revisited by those who remember its heyday.”
Excerpts from The Definitive Madison DVD (Researched, Written &  Produced by Paolo Lanna 2006)

In 1959, The Columbia record company hired two of the featured dancers from the Buddy Dean Show, Joan Darby and Joe Cash, to help promote the new album The Madison Time by the Ray Bryant Combo. The dancers were sent on a tour across the north east showcasing the steps that perfectly matched the calls in the hit tune The Madison Time (featuring DJ Eddie Morrison). During that period, Joan and Joe were also filmed dancing the entire choreography. And finally after all those years, here is the film! And it’s likely the same footage I was fortunate enough to see back in 2005 for one quick viewing courtesy of Arlene Kozak, a key production manager of the Buddy Dean Show and Linda Snyder who played it on her VHS for me.

The film became the basis of my knowledge of the Madison Time dance steps. Thus, when we recorded ourselves doing this line dance just weeks later in 2006 (Jennifer Comar and myself Paolo “Lindy” Lanna), we released it as a re-creative version publicly as part of The Definite Madison Instructional DVD set. “This is indeed the film and this is epic news because the footage that has eluded me and other historians of The Madison Time for so many years is now here for all to see.”
Paolo Pasta Lanna, historian for The Madison Time line dance

MORE HISTORY This film clip was distributed around the country in 1959/1960 and used as a promotional for the Columbia Record company. It is still unclear whether Tela-Records Services, located in front of Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, CA filmed Joan and Joe in their CA studio or just acquired it from Columbia Records to make it part of their Tela Record viewing machine collection. “Back then, for .10 or.25 cents, one could watch this dance clip along with a collection of popular musicians of the time” says the grandson of Bradley Kemp. After having been stored for 60 years in the Tela-Records vaults, they have released this footage and we can now, courtesy of “Classic Music Videos & Pictures 1960s”… share this across the world.

QUOTE from JOE CASH “The black community came to us and taught us the dance,” said Joe Cash, who later went on to breed thoroughbred horses at his Folly Quarter Stables in Howard County (Maryland).



Special Thanks to Linda Snyder (committee member from the Buddy Deane Show) who shares many stories from the TV show, Richard Powers who provided the amazing photo from the set of the Buddy Dean Show,  and Lance Benishek (dance historian) who provided some ample questions and motivation when we began researching this dance in 2005.

The Definitive Madison Download

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