Ray Bauduc was considered one of the best two-beat drummers of his era. He is perhaps best remembered today for the song ''Big Noise from Winnetka,'' a duo with fellow Bob Crosby Orchestra member Bob Haggart. The number was improvised on stage by the pair as an encore. While bassist Haggart whistled, Bauduc drummed on his bass strings. The result was one of the Crosby band's biggest hits. The duo also wrote the standard ''South Rampart Street Parade.''
Born and raised in New Orleans, both Ray and his brother, Jules, were jazz drummers. Bauduc began working in local clubs while still in school. During the mid-1920s he toured with various groups, including an early Dorsey Brothers combo. In 1924 he joined Johnny Bayersdorffer, remaining with him until 1926. He then headed to New York with the famous Scranton Sirens, where he played in groups led by Joe Venuti and Fred Rich. He toured Britain with Rich in 1927 and was sometimes featured as a dancer.
Returning to New York Bauduc joined Ben Pollack's revised outfit, taking over for Pollack on drums. He stayed with Pollack until 1934, when he and a group of fellow disgruntled bandmates broke off to form what was to become the Crosby Orchestra. His particular style of drumming found a home in the new group, where he remained the driving force behind the band's music until it disbanded in 1942 when he was drafted.
Bauduc served in the U.S. Army Artillery Band until November of 1944. Upon his discharge he and former Crosby group leader Gil Rodin formed a short-lived big band. Bauduc toured with a septet in 1946 and also worked in Tommy Dorsey's orchestra from August to October of the year. In early 1947 he joined Bob Crosby's new group, leaving in 1948 to play with Jimmy Dorsey, where he stayed for the next two years. He freelanced on the West Coast for a couple of years before joining Jack Teagarden in 1952.
In 1955 he formed a band with fellow Crosby alumnus Nappy Lamare. The new outfit found considerable success, touring nationally and recording several albums. He retired to Bellaire, Texas, in the early 1960s, though he appeared occasionally at Crosby Orchestra reunions and worked with Pud Brown on several recordings. Ray Bauduc passed away in 1988.