March 29, 2001
Sunny Side Up
Chick Endor, vocal
I think this song is a true classic.
Many visitors will already be familiar with the version by Johnny Hamp's
Kentucky Serenaders that can be found on the April 1998 update to this
site's 1920s &1930s section. This recording, in my opinion,
is not as fun as the Kentucky Serenaders', but it does provide the complete
lyrics. Chick Endor was a cabaret and revue artist who was very popular
in New York and London in the late '20s and early '30s.
Those interested in comparing can click here
to listen to the Johnny Hamp version.
March 22, 2001
Joyous Music From Hell: Nazi
Era Film Soundtracks
The selections presented here
are from an out of print German CD set that I came across a few years ago.
Because the only copyright explicitly claimed on the CDs and the liner
notes is a compilation copyright, I feel comfortable presenting a few of
them for your education and enjoyment. However, to be on the safe
side, I do ask that you please not download the files to your hard drive.
This site is not Napster!
It is my hope that this week's update will both
entertain you and, at the same time, send a chill down your spine.
Personally, I get an indescribably creepy feeling
every time I play these recordings. I love them - and when I listen
to them, I wish that I could be in a place and a time where the popular
culture of the day could relate to and appreciate such a happy, upbeat
mood. At the same time, however, I cannot help but be aware of what
was happening in the culture and in the world just outside the doors of
the studios where they were recorded.
These recordings are the product of an entertainment
industry that was under strict censorship and control by a totalitarian
regime that turned murder into a large scale industry. By the time it was
over, this regime had snuffed out the lives of over 5.8 million helpless
individuals whose existence had already been transformed into a living
hell. This regime came into power by popular vote and enjoyed wide
support with the German public - the same public whose entertainment these
recordings were made for.
Other than the words (which, by the way, since
I do not speak German, I am not able to understand), there is little that
is especially German about these recordings. Despite being banned as the
product of the "inferior Negro race," the influence of American jazz
is obvious and overwhelming. What is significant is that it had a
public appeal and was disseminated with the full knowledge and consent
of the regime. American styled popular music was, quite obviously,
much more than a mere underground protest as was suggested by the 1993
movie Swing Kids.
How was it possible that such joyous and beautiful
music could exist in a land filled with tyranny, fear and oppression?
Was it embraced as an escape and as a beacon of light from a better world?
Or was it just another way for the regime and those who supported it to
pretend that they were civilized human beings? All I know is that,
whenever I listen, I cannot help but wonder if, after a hard day's work
at the death camps, some S.S. agent took his sweetheart to a village cinema
and danced in the aisles to these tunes. The thought that such a
person and I could have a similar aesthetic response towards anything
gives me the creeps.
It is easy to listen to the music of the '20s
and '30s and conclude that those decades must have been happy times.
In some respects, particularly in the United States, they were. But
it was also a time when people around the world were urged to sacrifice
in the name of various utopianistic schemes - and sacrificed they were,
by the millions. The USSR murdered even more people than did
Hitler. All the while, radio sets everywhere blared out happy and melodic
dance music. Thugs are not always jackbooted. The 20th century
was mankind's grandest and, simultaneously, most barbaric. I think the
contradictions of these recordings mirror the contradictions of a century.
Click on the song title to listen to an individual
selection or click here to listen
to all of them in the order listed.
Komm, spiel mit
Fräulein, Sie durfen
heut nicht allein sein
From: "Ein Mann mit Grundsätzen"
Geh' ruhig zu einer anderen
From: "Herzensfreud - Herzensleid"
Jawoll, meine Herrn
Heinz Rühmann, HansAlbers
From: "Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes
Ich sage ja
From: "Frauen sind keine Engel"
Ich hab' die schönen
Mädels nicht erfunden
Ethel Reschke, Rudi Godden
From: "Der ungertreue Ekkehart"
Der Onkel Doktor hat gesagt...
From: "Zwei Frauen"
Ich habe eine starke und
eine scwache Seite
From: "Meine Freundin Josefine"
Wir machen Musik
From: "Wir machen Musik"
Ich mochte so gerne
From: "Ahb mich lieb"
Times by Paul Johnson
Ominous Parallels by Leonard Peikoff
March 15, 2001
Sing Me A Baby
Vaughn DeLeath, vocal
Vaughn DeLeath was one of the
first female singers to appear on radio during the early 1920s and,
therefore, was often billed as "The Original Radio Girl" or as "Radio's
First Song Sensation." She was born in 1896 and became a concert
artist when she was still a teenager. She also appeared in vaudeville
and was the composer of several popular songs. In 1939, she made
pioneering appearances in yet another new entertainment medium - television.
Vaughn DeLeath died in 1943.
I think this is a pretty song.
When I finally get around to putting up the next update for this site's
1920s & 1930s section, I plan to feature a really upbeat version that
I like much better.
|Last week, I put up a trivia question asking which present
day television program got its start on radio and has been in continuous
production since the late 1930s. Do you know the answer? If
not, click here and find out.
March 8, 2001
Ozzie Nelson & His Orchestra
When most "youngsters" under
the age of 60 hear the name "Ozzie Nelson," they think of the popular 1950s
and 1960s television program "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet."
What they may not realize is that, two decades earlier, Nelson was a popular
bandleader and his wife, Harriet Hilliard was the band's vocalist.
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey
in 1906, Oswald "Ozzie" Nelson got his show business start by leading college
bands while attending Rutgers University in the 1920s. After Rutgers,
he enrolled in the New Jersey School of Law but dropped out to focus on
his band. In 1930 he began making records for Brunswick and gained
additional exposure in 1932 when his band was booked at the Glen Island
Casino for the summer. 1932 was also the year that Harriet Hilliard
(real name, Peggy Lou Snyder) joined the band as its vocalist. Nelson
and Hilliard were married in 1935. Most of the band's male vocals
were done by Nelson himself. The band was prominent on network radio
and served as the house band for several programs including Robert
L. Ripley's "Believe It or Not." "The Feg Murray Show," "The Joe
Penner Show" and "The Red Skelton Show." In October 1944, "The
Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" made its debut on CBS. The program
continued for 22 years, moving to television in the 1950s.
The Nelsons' sons, David and Ricky, were regular cast members - helping
Ricky became a pop music star in his own right. Ozzie Nelson died
in 1975. Harriet continued to make occasional television appearances
through the 1980s - including a 1989 appearance on "Father Dowling Mysteries"
which starred grandaughter Tracy Nelson. She died in 1994.
Ozzie Nelson was also a composer
and wrote the song featured in this week's recording.
|Here is a trivia question for you. "The Adventures
of Ozzie and Harriet" was not the only radio program to make a successful
transition to television and enjoy a long run. One network television
program that is still on the air today has been in continuous production
since its start on radio in 1938. Do you know the name of that program?
If not, I will provide the answer in next week's update. Hint: it
is not a news program.
March 1, 2001
Colonial Club Orchestra
Scrappy Lambert, vocal
The Colonial Club Orchestra was
pseudonym used primarily by the Bob Haring Orchestra (though a few recordings
were made by other bands) on the Brunswick label. The vocalist on
this recording, Scrappy Lambert, was one of the more frequently recorded
vocalists of the late '20s and early '30s.
It turns out that I unknowingly
scheduled the Haring band to appear in this section for two weeks in a
row. A visitor to the site has informed me that the band on
last week's recording of "Oriental Moonlight" under the pseudonym "The
Night Hawks" was also Bob Haring's. That same recording was also
issued on the Lincoln label under the name of "Lane's Dance
Orchestra." Other names that the Haring band recorded under included
"The Alabama Red Peppers," "The Caroliners," "The Majestic Dance Orchestra,"
"The Dixie Daisies" and "Oppenheim's Benjamin Franklin Hotel Orchestra."
Some of these pseudonyms were used by other bands as well. As you
can see, keeping up with who recorded what under which name can be
The widespread use of recording
pseudonyms pretty much died out by the mid-1930s. Part of the reason
may have been the arrival of Decca Records in the USA in 1934.
Decca featured top name talent for the same price as its competitors' bargain