Radio Dismuke – New Selections 6/27/22

 

 

Here is a sampling of some of the audio restorations being added to Radio Dismuke’s playlist this week.

“The Flippity Flop”
B A Rolfe And His Lucky Strike Dance Orchestra; Billy Murray, vocal
June 28,1929   (Edison 14033 L mx N 989 C)
“Piccolo Pete”
Arthur Fields And His Assassinators; Arthur Fields, vocal
September 25,1929  (Edison 14075 R mx N 1154)
“Huggable Kissable You”
California Ramblers; Ed Kirkeby, vocal
April 25,1929  (Edison 14005 L mx N 870 A)
“When You’re Counting The Stars Alone”
California Ramblers
September 13,1929 (Edison 14072 R mx N 1128 A)
“Waiting At The End Of The Road”
Phil Spitalny’s Music; The Paull Sisters, vocal
August 13,1929  (Edison14058 L mx N 1070 B)

Among the recordings being added to Radio Dismuke’s playlist this week are these extremely rare recordings that I had intended to add a few years ago but, instead, were overlooked on a hard drive!

All of these recordings are from rare Edison Needle Type Electric discs that were part of a remarkable vintage record collection donated to Early 1900s Music Preservation a few years back.  Because of the records’ rarity, I immediately transferred all of the Edison discs to a hard drive so that the records themselves could go into secure storage as quickly as possible and minimize the need to physically handle them.   I then did the audio restoration work on the transferred recordings whenever I had an opportunity to do so over a period of multiple months.  Somehow, a handful of the transfers ended up getting overlooked and were never added to the station!  (Fortunately, since that time, I have modified the filing system I use when I do audio restorations so that I can more easily see which transfers have and have not been restored).

When I discovered that there were still a few Needle Type Electric transfers I had not yet restored, it was, on one hand, exciting as it isn’t very often one gets to work with such records.  Being able to digitize and restore so many historic yet outstanding recordings was an amazing experience.  I had been under the impression that there were no more left in the queue for me to restore so finding that there were, in fact, a few more felt wonderful.  On the other hand, because of both their rarity and quality, my original intention was to add them to the station as quickly as possible so that they could be enjoyed by the audience.

Edison Needle Type Electric records were a last-ditch effort by the Thomas Edison company to save its record business after years of declining sales.  Unlike the quarter-inch-thick Edison Diamond Discs that required special playback equipment and, by the late 1920s, were increasingly perceived as being old-fashioned, the new Needle Type Electric discs were conventional 78 rpm records that could be played on standard steel needle phonographs. 

Unfortunately, for Edison, the effort was too little too late.  The new records were introduced to record stores in July 1929 and were only issued through October 1929 when Thomas Edison, over fifty years after he had invented the phonograph, made the decision to close his record and phonograph business just a few days before the stock market crashed.

All of the songs presented here were quite popular in 1929 and one can hear various versions of them performed by other artists in Radio Dismuke.  Edison’s records were well-engineered and their fidelity was usually quite good for their era.   All of the bands on these recordings are outstanding and do a great job of capturing the spirit of the closing months of the “Roaring Twenties.” 

Sadly, due to the marketplace misfortunes of the Edison company, very few people at the time had the opportunity to enjoy these performances.  Thanks to the 21st-century technology and the generosity of Early 1900s Music Preservation’s donor they will get to enjoy a far greater audience through Radio Dismuke than they did  93 years ago when they were new.

The Flippity Flop” by B. A. Rolfe and his Lucky Strike Dance Orchestra was part of the very first shipment of the new Needle Type Electric records that shipped out to dealers in early July, 1929.  The song was originally introduced in the 1929 film The Dance of Life. B. A. Rolfe was a film producer turned bandleader.  At the time of this recording his New York City-based band had its own network radio program The Lucky Strike Dance Hour sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarette brand.  The vocal on the recording is performed by a recording pioneer, Billy Murray, who began making records back in the late 1890s.  During the 1900s and 1910s he was very much in demand for his ability to project his voice loud enough to be picked up by the acoustic recording horns of the pre-microphone era while doing so in a conversational style.  With the advent of electrical recording in 1925 Murray’s popularity began to wane in favor of the new style “crooners.”  Nevertheless, he continued to make records into the early 1940s.

Piccolo Pete” by Arthur Fields And His Assassinators was one of the issues that shipped out to dealers on October 22, 1929 – the very last shipment of Edison records to go out before the company suspended operations of its record and phonograph division.   Arthur Fields was a prolific vocalist on records from the 1910s through the 1930s.  “Piccolo Pete” is a novelty song that was a huge 1929 hit for the Ted Weems Orchestra.  If the band on this recording sounds like recordings you might have heard by the Fred Hall band, the reason is that it mostly consists of musicians from that band, including Hall himself on piano. Fields was a close associate of Fred Hall and was the vocalist on many of Hall’s recordings – including a recording of “Piccolo Pete” by Fred Hall And His Sugar Babies on the Okeh label.  Fields also performed with Hall’s band under the pseudonym of The Home Towners on Cameo, Banner and other dime store labels.

The California Ramblers featured some of the era’s to jazz musicians and recorded hundreds of sides under its own name for multiple record labels. Its director, Ed Kirkeby, who can be heard as the vocalist on “Huggable Kissable You,” also arranged for the band to appear on hundreds of more records under various pseudonyms.  If this version of “Huggable Kissable You” sounds somewhat familiar to regular Radio Dismuke listeners, it is probably because the band also made a recording on Columbia that is featured on the station under the pseudonym of Ted Wallace and His Campus Boys with a vocal by Smith Ballew.  Of the two, the Edison version presented here is a bit jazzier.

The California Ramblers’ recording of “When You’re Counting The Stars Alone” was also part of the October 22, 1929 shipment to dealers that ended up being the final shipment of records by Thomas Edison’s record company.

Waiting At The End of the Road” comes from the 1929 King Vidor film Hallalujah.  Russian-born Phil Spitalny is best remembered for his “All-Girl Orchestra” which he formed in 1934.  But in the 1920s he had a top-notch dance band that issued records on both Victor and Edison.   After Edison shut down, Spitalny, along with the Paull Sisters featured on the recording here, made records for Hit of the Week, a label that attempted to reignite record sales during the very worst period of the Great Depression by issuing low-priced single-sided cardboard discs that were sold through newsstands.

If you enjoyed these recordings, you might want to check out previous postings here and here about a couple of other extremely rare Needle Type Electric records that were part of the same donation.  Regular listeners to Radio Dismuke are likely to recognize the recordings but might not be aware of their fascinating history.

 

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Radio Dismuke – New Selections 3/23/22

 

Here is a sampling of some of the audio restorations being added to Radio Dismuke’s playlist this week.

“My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now”
Bernie Cummins And His Hotel Biltmore Orch;  Bernie Cummins vocal
October 6, 1928 (Brunswick 4083)
“I’ve Got To Sing A Torch Song”
Ray Noble And His New Mayfair Orchestra; Al Bowlly, vocal
July 5, 1933  (HMV B 6375 mx 30 10882)
“Potpourri Aus Der Operette Ball Im Savoy”
Marek Weber Und Seine Orchester;  Die 5 Songs, vocal
Circa. Dec. 1932/Jan. 1933 (HMV EH 817 mx 62 1022)
“Down By The Front Door Gate”
The Rhythm Band
October 22, 1928 (HMV B 5562 mx 8 831)
“Moonlight Saving Time”
Ambrose And His Orchestra
June 9, 1931 (HMV B 6030)
“Laughing At The Rain”
Ambrose And His Orchestra
May 25, 1931 (HMV B 6009 mx 30 6223)
“Now’s The Time To Fall In Love”
Ambrose And His Orchestra
January 19, 1932 (HMV B 6140 mx 30 8072 B)
“Charleston Cabin”
Fry’s Million Dollar Pier Orchestra
April 3, 1924 (Pathe 036122)

Our featured selections begin with an impressive recording of “My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now” by the Bernie Cummins Orchestra from the collection of Eddie The Collector – a recording he played a few months ago during Radio Dismuke’s annual New Year’s broadcast.

“I’ve Got To Sing A Torch Song” is performed by Al Bowlly, Britain’s top crooner in the 1930s, accompanied by an upbeat arrangement by the Ray Noble Orchestra. The song originally appeared in the film Gold Diggers of 1933.

“Potpourri Aus Der Operette Ball Im Savoy consists of selections from Paul Abraham’s jazz operetta Ball Im Savoy. The show’s December 23, 1932 premier has been referred to as the last great cultural event of the Weimar Republic. A little over a month later, Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany which had an immediate and tragic impact on the top people associated with the production as well as the stars of this recording, all of whom were Jewish.  Despite being well-received, the production was eventually forced to close due to audience members being harassed by mobs of Brown Shirts. Before he was forced to flee, Marek Weber led one of Germany’s most popular bands, recording everything from classical and salon music to jazzy arrangements of popular songs. The vocal group on this recording, The 5 Songs, also known as the Able Quartet, could easily be mistaken for the better remembered Comedian Harmonists. But the group actually pre-dated the Comedian Harmonists and, as with the Harmonists, was inspired by the American recording group The Revelers. Four of the group’s five members survived the Holocaust, though two of their wives were murdered in the concentration camps. One of the group’s members, Jószef Balassa, disappeared during the war and his fate remains unknown. You can read more about The 5 Songs/Abel Quarte here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

“Down By The Front Door Gate” is a peppy recording by The Rhythm Band, a British group led by American musician George Fischer (nee George Fischberg). Fisher was a member of the San Francisco-based Art Hickman Orchestra and came to England as a member of a touring unit of the Hickman band. By the late 1920s he was fronting his own band at London’s stylish Kit-Kat Club. Many years later Fisher worked as Marlene Dietrich’s piano accompanist.

“There Ought To Be A Moonlight Savings Time” is performed Bert Ambrose and his Orchestra, one of Britain’s most popular dance bands from the late 1920s into the early 1940s.

“Laughing At The Rain” and “Now’s The Time To Fall In Love, also performed by Ambrose And His Orchestra, feature good examples of “cheer up” type lyrics that American Tin Pan Alley music publishers put out in response to the Great Depression.

“Charleston Cabin” was recorded in 1924, a year before the record labels began their transition to using microphones instead of old-fashioned acoustical recording horns. Despite the recording’s fidelity being more primitive than the other featured selections, it provides an enjoyable performance from a period when the Charleston dance craze was very much the latest rage.

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Radio Dismuke – New Selections 2/2/22

 

 

Here is a sampling of some of the 78 rpm audio restorations that were added to Radio Dimuke’s music library this week and which began airing on Wednesday.

 

“By A Lazy Country Lane”
Ted Wallace & His Campus Boys
March 18, 1931 (Columbia 2441 D mx 151434)
“Warum lachelst Du Mona Lisa”
Polydor Tanz-Orchester; Marcel Klass, vocal
1931  (Polydor 24131 mx 40987)
“My Sunshine Is You'”
Jack Hylton And His Orchestra; Richard Crooks, vocal
November 11, 1931 (Victor 36048 B)
“You’re All I Need”
Smith Ballew And His Orchestra; Smith Ballew, vocal
May 7, 1935 (Conqueror 8528 A mx 17488)
“At Last I’m Happy”
Ted Lewis And His Band; Ted Lewis, vocal
January 12, 1931 (Columbia 2408 D mx 1151197)
“Blue Again”
Benrus Radio Orchestra; Paul Small, vocal
January 1930 (Hit Of The Week 1126)
“Teddy Bear Blues”
The Virginians
November 17, 1922 (Victor 18992 A)

Our featured selections begin with a pleasant, upbeat version of “By A Lazy Country Lane” by the Ed Kirkeby band performing under the pseudonym of Ted Wallace and His Campus Boys.

“Warum lachelst Du Mona Lisa” is from the 1931 German film Der Raub der Mona Lisa (The Theft of the Mona Lisa). The song was written by the prolific Austrian composer and conductor Robert Stolz.  The recording presented here is on a Polydor disc that does not provide credit for the vocalist. Through some online research, I have been able to determine that it was Marcel Klass as this recording is identical to the one issued on the Grammophon label by the Lajos Barany Tanz Orchester crediting Klass for the vocal.  During this period Deutschen Grammophon used the Polydor label to issue records in countries outside of Germany where, for trademark reasons, it was unable to issue records under its own name.  I have not been able to identify the actual band on this recording as “Lajos Barany” was a recording pseudonym that was used both by the Paul Godwin and Ilja Livschakoff orchestras and possibly others. 

“My Sunshine Is You” is another Robert Stolz composition – a rather pretty tango written for the 1930 German film  Ein Tango für Dich/A Tango For You.  This 12-inch 78 rpm is one of a number of “concert arrangements” the Jack Hylton Orchestra recorded that featured an enlarged orchestra and longer playing time than the band’s more typical dance band fare.  While this recording was made in London, it features an American vocalist, Richard Crooks who was a star at New York’s Metropolitan Opera – though here he does not sing in an operatic style.

“You’re All I Need” is yet another song written by Austrian film composers, the team of Walter Jurmann and Bronisław Kaper.  Jurmann already had hit songs to his credit and had worked with Kaper in Germany when the two were forced to flee in 1933 after the National Socialists came to power.   A year later they came to the United States after being offered a contract with the MGM film studio where they wrote songs for a number of successful films.  This one comes from the 1935 film Escapade.  Several bands recorded this song but I think the version here by the Smith Ballew orchestra was the nicest – I especially enjoy the jazz violin passages after Ballew’s vocal.  This recording is from the final months of Ballew’s career as a bandleader before he moved Hollywood where he starred in a number of singing cowboy Western films.

Ted Lewis’ vocal and his band’s peppy arrangement on “At Last I’m Happy” transforms the song into a nice Depression-era “cheer up” style recording.

This recording of “Blue Again” comes from a cardboard Hit of the Week record.  The one-sided records were sold at newsstands and magazine counters and priced at 15 cents.  The Benrus Radio Orchestra was a pseudonym for the Sam Lanin Orchestra.  Benrus was, and still is, a brand of watches.  My guess (and that is all it is) is that the pseudonym perhaps referred to a Benrus sponsored radio program for which Lanin might have provided the house band.

Teddy Bear Blues” is a recording I played a few weeks back on Radio Dismuke’s annual New Year’s broadcast as part of the program’s tribute to the 100th anniversary of the year 1922.  This performance is by The Virginians, a small, hot jazz-oriented group comprised of musicians from the Paul Whiteman orchestra.  This performance was captured through an acoustical horn as the use of microphones for recording was still a little over two years into the future.  But, despite the primitive technology, this performance holds up remarkably well 100 years later.

 

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Radio Dismuke – New Selections 11/18/21


Ten 78 rpm audio restorations are being added to 
Radio Dimuke’s music library this week and will begin airing on Thursday. Below are a few highlights.

 

“Sugar Foot Stomp”
Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra
March 19, 1931 (Columbia 2513-D mx 151442)
“Yes Sir That’s My Baby”
Blossom Seeley, vocal
May 15, 1925 (Columbia 386-D mx 14608)
“Misty Mornin'”
Duke Ellington And His Cotton Club Orchestra
May 3, 1929 (Bluebird B-6565-B)
“A Star Is Born”
Eddy Duchin And His Orchestra; Buddy Clark, vocal
May 14, 1937 (Victor 25589-B)
“Arcady”
Paul Whiteman And His Orchestra
December 6, 1923 (Victor 19217-B)

Co-composed by King Oliver and Louis Armstrong,  “Suger Foot Stomp” was first recorded in 1923 under the title of “Dippermouth Blues” by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band.  In 1925 Fletecher Henderson’s orchestra recorded a version for Columbia arranged by Don Redman under the name “Sugar Foot Stomp.”   Louis Armstrong performed in both the 1923 and 1925 recordings.   In 1931 the Fletecher Henderson orchestra recorded an additional version for Columbia – the one presented here – this time without Armstrong.

“Yes Sir, That’s My Baby” was a big 1925 hit that was recorded by a number of artists.  The recording here is by Blossom Seeley who was a top star on the vaudeville circuits.  Seeley recorded this in May 1925, not long after Columbia and Victor began releasing recordings using the new electrical process that employed microphones instead of acoustic recording horns.  Even though such recordings were issued throughout 1925, both companies delayed making any public announcement of the new technology until the latter part of the year for fear that it would result in their current inventory of acoustically made records becoming unsaleable.  Notice how Seely “belts out” the vocal on this recording.  Being able to loudly project one’s voice was essential on recordings and in large venues prior to the advent of the microphone and amplified speakers.   With the arrival of radio and electrical recording, however, such a style of singing was soon regarded as old-fashioned as “crooners,” who sang in a more intimate, conversational manner, became increasingly popular.

Duke Ellington’s excellent recording of “Misty Mornin'” was originally issued on Victor V-38058.  However, in 1936 Victor reissued the recording on its budget-priced Bluebird label from which the copy presented here was transferred.

“A Star Is Born” was the title song of the 1937 film A Star is Born which starred Janet Gaynor and Fredrich March.  The film was remade in 1954, 1976, and 2018.   The song, however, was not used in any of its subsequent remakes.

“Arcady” was introduced by Al Jolson in the 1923 return engagement of the Broadway musical Bombo.

 

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Radio Dismuke New Selections 11/4/21

 

Eleven 78 rpm audio restorations are being added to Radio Dimuke’s music library this week and will begin airing on Thursday. Below are a few highlights.

“My Little Boy”
Marek Weber and His Orchestra; Leo Monosson, vocal
August 1931   (HMV B-6102 mx 60-1697)
“Potpourri From Blume von Hawaii
Marek Weber and His Orchestra; Comedian Harmonists, vocal
September 4, 1931  (HMV EH-723 mx 62-936, 62-937)
“Talkin’ to Myself”
Eddie Bush’s Biltmore Trio
November 1, 1934  (Decca 332 A)
“Smoke Rings”
Leo Reisman And His Orchestra; Harold Arlen, vocal
July 11, 1933   (HMV B-6403 mx 40-5897)
“I Was True”
Ray Noble And His New Mayfair Orchestra; Al Bowlly & The Three Ginx, vocal
December 19, 1931  (HMV B-6118 mx 30-7896-A)
“Ya No Soy Mas Aquel”
Julio Pollero y su Orquesta Tipica
Circa early 1928   ( Victor 79990 B)
“I’ll Close My Eyes To Everyone Else”
Joe Green & His Orchestra; Jack Parker, vocal
August 14, 1934 (Vocalion 2776 B mx 15615)

Our first two selections feature performances by the Marek Weber orchestra of songs from Paul Abraham’s jazz operetta Blume von Hawaii (Flower of Hawaii).  The production was highly successful and a film version was made starring Marta Eggerth.  After the Nazis came to power, however, it was subsequently banned as “degenerate art” partially on grounds that Abraham was Jewish and because its storyline involved a German sailor falling in love with a Hawaiian lady.  “Potpourri From Blume von Hawaii” features a medley of songs from the production with vocal passages provided by The Comedian Harmonists, a harmony group that was at the height of its international fame. Paul Abraham, Marek Weber, Leo Monosson, who provides the vocal on “My Little Boy,” and several members of the Comedian Harmonists ultimately fled Germany to escape Nazi persecution.

Eddie Bush’s Biltmore Trio was a group that had previously achieved West Coast fame on records and live radio broadcasts as part of Earl Burtnett’s Los Angeles Biltmore Orchestra which performed out of the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles   Bush left the Earl Burtnett band in 1930 but revived the Biltmore Trio name for the 1934 Decca recording session that the selection featured here came out of.

The most famous versions of “Smoke Rings” were recorded by the Casa Loma Orchestra which recorded it for Brunswick in 1932 and again, in 1937, after the band began recording for Decca.  This version here that the Leo Reisman Orchestra cut for Victor is quite different and features a vocal by the famous composer Harold Arlen.  This song, however, was not one of Arlen’s compositions.

“I Was True” features a vocal by Al Bowlly, one of Great Britain’s top 1930s crooners along with The Three Ginx, a vocal trio that was also popular at the time.  Bowlly’s career was cut short when he was killed during a 1941 air raid on London.  Some of bandleader Ray Noble’s British recordings were issued in the United States on Victor and were so successful that Noble moved to that country in 1934.  His American band became the house band of several network radio programs.  Ray Noble was one of several bandleaders credited on records as the leader of the New Mayfair Orchestra. The group, in fact, was just a recording pseudonym used by the HMV label between 1928 and 1942.

“Ya no soy más aquél” was recorded in Buenos Aries by Julio Pollero’s tango band.  The song’s composer was Alberto Carbone.

Joe Green was one of three xylophone-playing brothers who came to fame through their Green Brothers Novelty Band.  His brother, George Hamilton Green, was regarded as one of the 20th century’s top xylophonists.

 

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Radio Dismuke New Selections 10/28/21

 

Twelve 78 rpm audio restorations are being added to Radio Dimuke’s music library this week and will begin airing on Thursday. Below are a few highlights.

 

“I Can’t Sleep In The Movies Anymore”
Radio Syncopators; Arthur Fields, vocal
August 1929  (Madison 50051 B mx 183)
“Feeling Drowsy”
Henry Allen, Jr And His Orchestra
July 17, 1929 (HMV JK 2524)
“Just One More Chance”
Jack Payne And His BBC Dance Orchestra; Billy Scott-Coomber, vocal
September 18, 1931 (Columbia CB 356 mx CA 11982)
“Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder For Somebody Else”
Bernie Cummins And His New Yorker Hotel Orchestra; Paul Small, vocal
May 12, 1930 (Victor 22425 A)
“Venetian Moon”
Geraldo And His Gaucho Tango Orchestra; Monte Rey, vocal
August 23, 1935 (Columbia FB 1320 mx CA 15196)
“On A Certain Sunday”
Ozzie Nelson And His Orchestra; Ozzie Nelson, vocal
May 27, 1931 (Brunswick 6131)
“The ‘Can’ Song”
Debroy Somers Band; Tom Barratt, vocal
December 12, 1930 (Columbia CB 202 mx WA 10975)

“I Can’t Sleep In The Movies Anymore” is a topical novelty song about a certain disadvantage of the advent of talking pictures which, at the time, were rapidly replacing silent films.  The band credited on the label, The Radio Syncopators, was a pseudonym for Fred Hall’s novelty orchestra.  The pressing used for this audio restoration is on the Madison label which was sold through the F.W.Woooworth dime store chain.  But the same recording was also issued on Madison’s parent label, Grey Gull, as being performed by The Casino Jazzers.  There was also a British release under the name of The Broadway Merrymakers issued by Goodson Records which manufactured flexible records made out of an opaque celluloid material trademarked as Rhondoid.  For a certain period Goodson sourced their musical content from imported Grey Gull masters.  Grey Gull is notorious among record collectors for frequently having less-than-excellent recording quality and for using low-quality material that caused their pressings to be noisy and quickly wear out. Compare the fidelity on this recording to any of the others presented in this update and you will definitely be able to hear a difference.

“Feeling Drowsy” provides a nice hot jazz performance by Henry “Red” Allen leading a band comprised of members of the Luis Russell band, including Russell himself on the piano.  The recording featured here comes from a different take than the one issued at the time of the recording.  The initial release in the USA on Victor V-38080 in Victor’s “Hot Dance” catalog series and on HMV B-4970 in the UK used the third take from the recording session.  The recording here is from a British reissue that HMV made at some point in the 1940s using the second take from the recording session.

“Just One More Chance” was a big 1931 hit that helped launch Bing Crosby’s solo vocal and film career. Crosby, at the time, was a vocalist with the Gus Arnheim band and performed the song during one of Arnheim’s popular broadcasts from the Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.  That performance was heard by a film producer who signed Crosby to star in a musical short feature Just One More Chance.  His recording on Brunswick quickly topped the sales charts.  The recording here by Jack Payne And His BBC Dance Orchestra is one of many other versions that were issued in the USA and the UK.

“Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder For Somebody Else” is a recording that has been in my personal record collection for many years and somehow got overlooked for inclusion on Radio Dismuke.  Bernie Cummins was a boxer turned drummer whose band was active from 1919 into the late 1950s.  The label credit advertised the band’s engagement at the time with the Hotel New Yorker which had opened just five months earlier, a venue that it would return to on and off many times over the next couple of decades.

“Venetian Moon” is a song from the 1935 British film Invitation To The Waltz.  In 1930, after returning from a tour of Latin American, bandleader Gerald Walcan Bright took the stage name “Geraldo” and switched his band to a tango format.  Within a few years it became one of England’s most popular bands.  The vocal here is performed by Scottish tenor Monte Rey who was born as James Montgomery Fyfe and spent time in Italy training to become a grand opera singer.  His initial stage appearances and recordings were made under the name Montgomery Fyffe.  But it was under the pseudonym of Monte Rey, which he adopted in 1934 when joining the Geraldo orchestra, that he became famous and is best remembered.

“On A Certain Sunday” is performed here by a young Ozzie Nelson who, a year earlier as a Rutgers University law student, seemingly came out of nowhere and, within a matter of months through the help of some promotional creativity, had a nationwide radio broadcast and was making records for Brunswick.  He, of course, went on to leverage his musical career to produce and star in his own situation comedy program The Adventures of Ozzie And Harriott which enjoyed a 22 year run, first on radio and then on television.

“The ‘Can” Song” closes out our selections as we started – with a novelty song – this time in 6/8 tempo performed by the Debroy Somers Band.

 

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Radio Dismuke – New Selections 10/21/21

 

Twelve 78 rpm audio restorations are being added to Radio Dimuke’s music library this week and will begin airing on Thursday. Below are a few highlights.

“Lingering Lips”
Clicquot Club Eskimos
December 24, 1925 (Columbia 544 D mx 14135)
“Happy Days Are Here Again”
Jack Payne And His BBC Dance Orchestra; Jack Payne, vocal
March 1, 1930 (Columbia CB-9 mx A 10020)
“23 1/2 Hours’ Leave Selection”
Carroll Gibbons And His Boy Friends
circa early May 1937 (Columbia FB 1697 mx CA 16364)
“Copenhagen”
The Benson Orchestra of Chicago
September 8, 1924 (Victor 19470-A)

“Lingering Lips” provides an excellent showcase for the talents of 1920s banjo virtuoso and bandleader Harry Reser.  The Clicquot Club Eskimos was one of several names that his band performed under. Beginning in 1923 the band became the centerpiece of the pioneering radio program The Clicquot Club Eskimos sponsored by the Clicquot Club Company which produced a popular line of carbonated beverages.  The company’s advertising mascot was a cartoon Eskimo boy named Kleek-O.  Reser’s band carried the Eskimo theme into their broadcasts and some of their recordings by incorporating sleigh bells and even barking dogs into the intros of their songs.  This recording features the sleigh bells at the very beginning and end.  Clicquot Club wanted the music on their radio program to sound as “sparkling” as their beverages.  Between Harry Reser’s banjo and the wonderful clarity of Columbia’s still-new “Viva Tonal” electrical recording process, this recording definitely sparkles.   And given that it was recorded on Christmas Eve, the Eskimo-themed sleigh bells seem doubly appropriate.

“Happy Days Are Here Again” is a song most people today are familiar with as a result of Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously using it as his 1932 campaign theme song.  The song, however, dates to 1929 when it was composed by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen for an M.G.M. musical film Road Show. After M.G.M. canceled work on the film, Ager and Yellen had the song published and it subsequently caught the attention of prominent bandleaders such as Ben Bernie and George Olsen who performed it during their network radio broadcasts. The song’s enthusiastic public reception motivated M.G.M. to revive work on the film which was edited to showcase the song. It was eventually released to theaters in February 1930 under a new title, Chasing Rainbows.  The song, with very different lyrics, also became a hit in late Weimar-era Germany under the title “Wochenend und Sonnenschein” (“Weekend and Sunshine.”).

“23 1/2 Hours’ Leave Selection” features songs from the 1937 film 23 1/2 Hours’ Leave, a remake of a 1919 silent film of the same name.  Bandleader Carroll Gibbon’s main band was the Savoy Hotel Orpheans which, for many years, was the resident band at London’s Savoy Hotel.  But he also had a smaller ensemble emphasizing his piano playing that made recordings and appeared on Radio Luxemburg broadcasts under the name Carroll Gibbons And His Boy Friends.

“Copenhagen” was named not after the Danish city but the brand of chewing tobacco.  The first recording of the song was on Gennett by The Wolverines and featured a solo by Bix Beiderbecke.  This version on Victor by the Benson Orchestra of Chicago doesn’t feature Bix but is still plenty jazzy. In 1924 recordings were still made through acoustic recording horns. It wasn’t until five months later in February 1925 that Victor held its first recording session that made use of the microphone.

 

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Radio Dismuke – New Selections 10/14/21

 

Eleven 78 rpm audio restorations are being added to Radio Dimuke’s music library this week and will begin airing on Thursday.   Below are a few highlights.

“I’m Mad About You”
Al Starita And His Picadilly Band; Eddie Grossbart, vocal
March 9, 1928   (Columbia 4834 mx 7081)

 

“If You’re Really And Truly In Love”
Billy Cotton And His Band;  Cyril Grantham, vocal
July 16, 1931  (Columbia CB 330 mx CA 11848)

 

“Tinkle Tinkle Tinkle/Over My Shoulder”
Jessie Matthews, vocal
May 4, 1934 (Columbia DB 1404 mx 14476)

 

“Tangolita (Ball im Savoy)”
Ilja Livschakoff Tanz Orchester; Paul Dorn, vocal
Circa late 1932/early 1933  (Polydor 25040 B mx 1919 1/2 BN 7)

 

“I’m Mad About You” is one of several songs featured on Radio Dismuke from Noel Coward’s 1928 revue This Year Of Grace.

“If You’re Really And Truly In Love” not only has a nice interpretation by the Billy Cotton Band,  the recording’s fidelity is excellent given that it was recorded in 1931.  At the time the major labels were experimenting with improved microphones and cutting lathes and some releases during this period were quite impressive.  Sadly, it was necessary for the labels to dial back the improvements as the higher fidelity grooves were quickly destroyed by the steel needles on the wind-up phonographs still in widespread use

“Tinkle Tinkle Tinkle/Over My Shoulder” are two songs from the 1934 British movie musical Evergreen performed here by actress Jessie Matthews who also starred in the film.  Matthews sang “Over My Shoulder” in the film but “Tinkle Tinkle Tinkle” was performed by Sonnie Hale.

“Tangolita” is a pretty and very haunting song from Paul Abraham’s jazz operetta Ball im Savoy which opened in Berlin on December 23, 1932.  A month later Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.  Soon afterward Abraham and several cast members, who were all Jewish, were forced to flee Germany. The production closed in April 1933 due to audience members being attacked and harassed by Nazi gangs.   All of the principals associated with this recording were ultimately impacted by the horrific events that followed.  Paul Abraham survived the Holocaust from the safety of the United States but was unable to find work.  He ended up spending a decade confined in mental hospitals.  Ilja Livschakoff also had to flee Germany but was able to resume his career in Argentina.  Vocalist Paul Dorn, who was featured on hundreds of German dance band recordings beginning in the early 1930s, was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1940 and was eventually sent to the Eastern front.  He was killed in late March 1945 during the bombing of Danzig

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A Vintage Fourth of July Concert

Independence Day in the United States is one of the rare occasions when it is still common for people of all ages to gather and enjoy – often at live performances – festive music from the late 19th and very early 20th centuries.

The virtual “concert” presented here is anything but live. All of the recordings are over 100 years old and were made prior to the advent of the microphone. But the instruments used by concert style military bands reproduced well enough through the old acoustic recording horns to yield performances that are still enjoyable over a century later.

Below you will find an option to hear all of the recordings play though continuously in “concert style” followed by a section with background information where you can listen to each recording individually.

 


Listen “Concert Style”Click on the arrow in the audio player to hear all recordings play through continuously.


About The Recordings – Listen Individually 

 

“When Uncle Sammy Leads The Band”
Peerless Quartete, vocal
July 18, 1916   (Victor 18139-A)

Patriotic themes were a popular subject for Tin Pan Alley song writers throughout the 1910s decade. When this Harry Von Tilzer/Lou Klein composition was recorded in July 1916, World War I was raging in Europe. The United States would not enter the conflict until April of the following year. The Peerless Quartet was a vocal group that made hundreds of recordings between 1901 and the late 1920s.   During this recording session, the quartet consisted of Henry Burr, John H Meyer, Albert Campbell and Arthur Collins.

 

“Who’s Who In Navy Blue”
Sousa’s Band
June 10, 1920 (Victor 18683-B)

This march was composed by “March King” John Philip Sousa in 1920 as the official march of the 1921 graduating class of the US Naval Academy. Sousa’s band toured extensively between the 1890s and his death in 1932 and made over 1,700 recordings. But Sousa was not a fan of “canned music” and was personally present for only a handful of his band’s recording sessions.

 

“L-I-B-E-R-T-Y” 
Henry Burr, vocal
August 8, 1916 (Victor 18139-B)

This patriotic themed composition was written by Tin Pan Alley songwriter Ted S Barron who was responsible for both its music and lyrics. Henry Burr was a Canadian tenor who was perhaps the most prolific vocal recording artist during the first quarter of the 20th century. In addition to his many solo and duet recordings, he also recorded as part of the Peerless Quartet, the Sterling Trio and the American Quartet.

 

“Col. Stuart March”
Conway’s Band
May 8, 1919 (Edison 50614-R)

 

This march, composed by Alfred F Weldon, dates back to 1901. Weldon was the bandmaster for the Second Regiment Band of Chicago which eventually was known as Weldon’s Band. Conway’s Band, led by Patrick Conway, was formed in 1895 in Ithaca, New York and was originally known as the Ithaca Band. While the band had made records since 1912, the May 1919 performance presented here was the band’s first appearance on the Edison label. The recording here was taken from an Edison Diamond Disc but Edison also released it as a Blue Amberol cylinder.

 

Comrades Of The Legion
Sousa’s Band
June 10, 1920 (Victor 18683-A)

This John Philip Sousa march was published in 1920 and was dedicated to the American Legion.

 

“Rainbow Division March”
Arthur Pryor’s Band
December 10, 1918 (Victor 18559-A)

This march was published in 1917 and composed by Danny Nirella who, for many decades, led marching and concert bands in the Pittsburgh area. Arthur Prior was John Philip Sousa’s star trombone player and assistant bandleader. He left Sousa’s band to form his own in 1903 which became famous in its own right. Because John Philip Sousa disliked recorded music and refused to attend recording sessions, most of the Sousa’s pre-1904 recordings were, in fact, conducted by Arthur Pryor. Because of Pryor’s association with Victor, he continued to step in as conductor for Sousa’s recording sessions for a number of years after he left the band.

 


 

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Benny Kruger And His Orchestra – 1924

"Ray And His Little Chevrolet" Vintage Sheet Music Cover

 

“Ray And His Little Chevrolet”
Benny Kruger And His Orchestra; Billy Jones, Ernest Hare vocals
June 30, 1924 (Brunswick 2641-A)

 

As automobiles became more affordable and an increasingly important part of modern American life during the 1910s and 1920s, the songwriters for the big Tin Pan Alley music publishers churned out countless songs about the machines and their owners.  Two common themes centered around their lack of reliability and young men hoping that having a car might result in success in gaining the affection of young ladies.  Sometimes, the songs were about both, as in the case of the 1910s hit “He’d Have to Get Under — Get Out and Get Under (to Fix Up His Automobile)”

Songs that referred to specific brands of automobiles were most often about Fords.  As the 1920s progressed, Ford’s Model T was increasingly viewed as old fashioned compared with more attractive offerings from its rivals – and songs began to portray them as unstylish and cheap.

Song about Chevrolet and other competitors were not as common.  But here’s one from 1924 that was successful enough to attract the interest of the record labels.

The vocalists on this recording, Billy Jones and Ernest Hare, were highly successful on early radio where they billed themselves as “The Happiness Boys.”  A few weeks after they cut this recording with Benny Kruger’s band for Brunswick, they recorded the song again on Okeh with top billing as The Happiness Boys.

A couple of other famous musicians participated on this recording session as well.  On piano is Phil Ohman, half of the famous Arden-Ohman piano duo and later co-leader of the Arden-Ohman Orchestra which he and Victor Arden headed up.   On banjo is Harry Reser, the most famous banjoist of the 1920s and leader of the house band on the highly successful early network radio program The Clicquot Club Eskimos.   Neither of the musicians are prominently featured on this recording.  But in those days, recording sessions were lucrative work for musicians as participants were usually paid a flat fee per side recorded regardless as to whether the eventually issued record sold well or not.

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