Volume II
Originally Posted April 1998

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To listen to a selection, simply click on the title.  To listen to all selections played in the order they appear, click here.


    If I Had A Talking Picture Of YouNew!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders;  Don Howard, vocal    1929
    In 1929, talking pictures were still considered a radical innovation and were all the rage.  While many artists at the time recorded this song,  this version is my favorite.  Very 1920s.  I do not have much information about Johnny Hamp, but his band made many interesting records.

    What Can I Say After I Say I'm  Sorry?New!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    Frank Harris, vocal                                                              1926

    Sunny Side UpNew!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders; Frank Luther, vocal     1929 
    This is from the flip side of the "If I Had A Talking Picture Of You" selection. I like the words to his one - sort of the "cheerfulness through all" type of song that would soon become more common with the onset of the Great Depression.  This particular version enjoyed a revival in 1973 when it was featured in the closing scene of the movie Paper Moon.  While  I would  not consider a "great" movie, I do recommend it.  It chronicles the adventures of a third rate con artist (Ryan O'Neil) and an ingenious orphan (Tatum O'Neil) as they travel across Depression-era Kansas.  Lots of great old recordings are featured.

    Lounging At The WaldorfNew!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    "Fats" Waller and His Rhythm;   "Fats" Waller, vocal           1936
    Presumably the Waldorf refers to New York's famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.  As I've said here before, I think Waller had a great band - and it gets featured more than usual on this selection.  The commentary throughout the recording is vintage Waller.

    If I Could Be With You One Hour TonightNew!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    McKinney's Cotton Pickers;  George Thomas, vocal           1930
    This was the band's theme song.  In the '20s and '30s, racial segregation permeated all aspects of American society,  including the music and recording industries.   While the more famous black bands frequently performed for white-only audiences, the reverse was not the case.  For jazz fans, the black bands of the era are often  considered superior to the white and, as a result, their records are much more sought after and difficult to find.  By the mid-'30s, the color barrier began to slowly fall when Benny Goodman hired black musicians such as Teddy Wilson and Fletcher Henderson - whose arrangements were largely responsible for Goodman's meteoric rise to being the "King of Swing."

    I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)New!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    Ipana Troubadours;  Bing Crosby, vocal                                 1929
    Ipana was the name of a popular brand of toothpaste.  The Troubadours were, in fact, the Sam Lanin Orchestra.   The use of recording pseudonyms was extremely common at the time - Lanin's band recorded under dozens of names.  This was made before Crosby achieved stardom. He is not even given credit on the label, which merely states that the record features a "vocal refrain."  There's a bit of distortion on the opening seconds of the recording but since this is a pretty scarce record  it my be a while before I run across a cleaner copy. 

    Spanish Shawl New!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    Edwin J. McEnelly's Orchestra                                         1925

    Riffin At The RitzNew!(Audio file updated 10/12/03)
    Benny Goodman and His Orchestra                                  1936

    I love swing, and there are those who have said that I should feature more of it. I don't because most of the great swing bands have been reissued on CD. Not so with the dance bands of the '20s and early '30s.  I will, however, feature at least one swing selection each month.  I first heard this song in a movie - I forget its name - that I rented.  I immediately recognized the band as Goodman's and fast forwarded to the credits to get the song's name.  That weekend I went out specifically to find that record - which I fortunately did. 

    Happy Days Are Here AgainNew!(Audio file updated 10/12/03)
    Leo Reisman and His Orchestra                                          1929
    Reisman recorded this less than one month after the stock market crash that precipitated the Great Depression.  The name and lyrics were truly ironic as this song, more than any other, came to symbolize the Depression and the New Deal. Despite such negative associations, however, I actually like it.

    Sweetheart We Need Each OtherNew!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    Fred Rich and His Orchestra;  Smith Ballew, vocal               1929
    Ballew sang on numerous records - mostly on the less expensive dime store labels -  during the late '20s and early '30s.  He was known for his ability  to sing in virtually any key.  For a while he fronted his own band.  Later he went to Hollywood to star in a few "singing cowboy" movies.  After World War II, Ballew left the music business and moved to Fort Worth, Texas where he became an engineer.  Ballew frequently used a pseudonym when he recorded.  On this recording he is listed as "Buddy Blue."

    The Very Thought Of YouNew!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    Victor Young and His Orchestra; George Bueler, vocal        1934
    Time for a little change in tempo.  Ray Noble and Al Bowlly had the best known version but I am rather partial to this one. 

    YesterdayNew!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    Eddie Miller's Dance Orchestra                                          1927
    This song is addictive.  Play it a couple of times and soon you will discover that people are staring at you funny because you are whistling it as you walk down the aisles of the supermarket!

    Big City BluesNew!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    Billy Murray & Walter Scanlan, vocal                                  1929
    In the '20s and '30s,  cities were vibrant, exciting places to be.  Downtown was the place everyone headed for entertainment and shopping.  There were movie theaters, and vaudeville houses.  The big hotels all featured live dance bands.  Prohibition era  night clubs selling illegal booze often featured hot jazz bands and live entertainment.   People felt safe walking the streets at all hours.  At night the buildings glowed with huge elaborate neon signs and lights.  Today, most cities have sign ordinances that prohibit such displays.  In many places, inner city crime and television keep people home.   While Murray and Scanlan's jokes are pretty lame, this is still an interesting and entertaining record.  Note the reference to the 1928 election.

    Like An Angel You Flew Into Everyone's Heart (Lindbergh)
    New!(Audio file updated 6/5/04)
    Vaughn De Leath, vocal                                                     1927
    This is from the flip side of the Lindbergh record I featured  last month.    A pioneer in early radio broadcasting, De Leath eventually was billed as "Radio's First Song Sensation."  In 1939, she made pioneering appearances in another  new medium:  television.

    Goodnight My LoveNew!(Audio file updated 10/12/03)
    Benny Goodman and His Orchestra; Ella Fitzgerald, vocal     1936
    This record - Victor 25461 - is rare.  Shortly after it was issued, Victor recalled all copies because of a dispute about the use of  Fitzgerald,  who recorded for rival Decca - even though her name does not appear on the label.  This copy was one of the few that managed to be sold before the recall was ordered.  Victor 25461 was then reissued with Frances Hunt doing the vocal.  I consider myself extremely lucky to have found this record, for which I paid less than a dollar!


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