Bakelite 78

Bakelite 78

 Seattle, Washington, USA

Bakelite 78 captures the feel of eras gone by with original and standards in jazz/roots americana. Rial channels the ghosts of classic crooners while playing tenor guitar/tenor banjo along with a "small big band" with drums, upright bass, clarinet trumpet!!


Bakelite 78′s repertoire is an eclectic mix of swing, Dixieland, blues, proto-country, and cabaret, as well as a plethora of originals in hybrids of these styles.  Founding member Robert Rial arrived in Chicago in 2000, eager to engage in the music he loved most: dance orchestra music/swing, country-blues, dixieland, tin pan alley, rock and American folk. He played his guitar and tenor banjo and drew inspiration from his 78 R.P.M. records (some discs were made from an early form of plastic similar to Bakelite). “Bakelite 78′s” preserved the music of the early 20th Century, and the band was born to keep classic crooner vocals & speak-easy jazz/lounge/cabaret alive and evolving.  The original lineup of Bakelite 78 performed throughout Chicago from 2003 to 2008. The group released their acclaimed debut “It’s A Sin” in 2006, and followed up in 2008 with “Delta Disc”, (produced in Mississippi by Jimbo Mathus, and partially funded by a City Of Chicago Department Of Cultural Affairs’ generous Community Arts Assistance Program Grant).  Bakelite 78 appeared throughout Chicago at The Hideout, The Old Town School Of Folk Music, The Famous “Hiawatha” Pizza Lounge, Bad Dog Tavern, The Beat Kitchen, The California Clipper, The Candlelite, The Charleston, The Taste Of Lincoln Avenue, The Bucktown Arts Festival and more.

In 2009, Robert departed for Seattle and Bakelite 78 was rebuilt. Robert sought multi-instrumentalists that preserved and expanded the essence of the group’s original sound. The new lineup of musicians includes Robert Rial on tenor banjo, six string, tenor guitar and voice, Erin Jordan on piano, accordion, and voice, Austin Quist on upright bass, Erik Reed on trumpet, Sabrina Pope on clarinet, and Steve Baz on drums. Within a couple months, the new line-up began performing original compositions (by Rial, Jordan, & Quist), classic standards and rare gems.  The group has performed all around Seattle, including at The Moore Theatre(during the finale of The 1st Annual Seattle International Cabaret Festival), The Can Can, The Triple Door, The Crocodile, The Fun House, The Pink Door, The Josephine, The Seattle Tattoo Expo, Northwest Folklife Festival, Seattle Hempfest and more. Bakelite 78 is back in the studio finishing a followup to their 2011 album, What The Moon Has Done, now available on CDBABY or Itunes.

Bakelite 78 will be performing on October 30th at The Pink Door in Seattle.  Join us!


The World's Fair Hotel

Written By: Robert J. Rial

She was a country girl named Nell,
at The World's Fair Hotel.
Just another acquisition
From the Colombian Exposition...

I took her on the Ferris Wheel,
then out for her last meal,
then a moonlit carriage ride,
where-in her I did confide
how Our Lord He doth Provide,
"Here we are, now come inside."

And it's down, down, down
the corpse chute,
Carved up on the slab,
Oh, those colleges need skeletons-
I'll put her on the tab!

Wash your hands, wash your hands,
As you come back from The Sands,
As you walk home from The Sands
Darling Nicki.
The Sands is a dirty place,
and you've got something on your face.
And if you take what I mean,
I prefer my women clean!

I've got acid, I've got lime,
but I haven't got much time.
Ol' Chappell will meet you later.
He's a cool articulator.
I'm a charming blue-eyed devil,
and I'm always on the level.
Well, my name is H. H. Holmes
and I'll be selling all your bones!

And it's down, down, down
the corpse chute-
carved up on the slab.
Oh, those colleges need skeletons-
put one more on the tab!
And it's down, down, down
the corpse chute-
carved up on the slab.
Oh, those colleges need skeletons-
put one more on the tab!

Though I haven't got much time,
I've got acid- I've got lime.
Oh my! How it pleased and
shocked her, when I told her I'm
a doctor!
And I'm always on the level,
I'm a charming blue-eyed devil.
I'll be selling all your bones
and my name is


Written By: Robert J. Rial

Five hundred miners went to Heaven...
December Sixth, Nineteen O' Seven...

Well, Monongah was the coal town's name;
From the native tongue is where it came.
For it was the Indian word for blood,
which would prove quite fitting soon enough.

Well, the miners knew the ground was haunted.
With the name 'Monongah', the natives taunted.
Who knows what evil those boys found,
While digging deep down in the ground?

The rescuers they couldn't breathe--
After fifteen minutes they had to leave,
'Cause you just can't breathe in the afterdamp (gasp)!
Carbon monoxide- have a sample,
Well, shaft #6 and shaft #8
Are connected by ducts that ventilate
But which also act as a path of breath
For a coal-dust-methane-hellish-fiery death!

As I toil through the firedamp.
Well, I can't afford a Davy Lamp.
I smell the gas, I see the spark--
Then scorched, I choke in the drowning dark.

The earthen tomb is mighty cold,
For a dozen boys of 12 years old.
How could a nightmare like this happen?
I guess I shoulda stuck to trappin'.

No, it wasn't a Native American curse,
The real situation is certainly worse.
Complicit in the mine's creation
Was Fairmont Coal, and Consolidation.
And rest assured that the company mine
Would be reopened in one month's time
By boys like me scrapin' tooth and nail
While two hundred-fifty widows moan and wail!

And Monongah was the coal town's name.
From the native tongue is where it came.
For it was the Indian word for blood,
Which would prove quite fitting, soon enough.

Five Hundred miners went to Heaven...
December Sixth, Nineteen O' Seven...


Bakelite 78- It's A Sin (2006)
Bakelite 78- Delta Disc (2007)
Bakelite 78- What The Moon Has Done (2011)

Set List

The Cat's Meow- Robert J. Rial
Dark Spot- Austin Quist and R. Rial
Tale Of A Missouri Girl- Erin Jordan
Dillinger Sang- Robert J. Rial
Monongah- Robert J. Rial
The World's Fair Hotel- Robert J. Rial
Las Vegas Bay Lament- Robert J. Rial
Haunted Man Blues- Robert J. Rial
What The Moon Has Done- Robert J. Rial
Ghost Riders In The Sky-Vaughn Monroe, J. Cash, etc.
The Sound Of Laughter- Johnny Cash
Ramblin' Man-Hank Williams, Sr.
Paper Doll- The Mills Brothers
I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire- The Ink Spots
Our sets are from 30-45 minutes long.