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Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
Previous Selections
March 2007





March 29
 


This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
Crosley Super Sensitive Radio - 1936 ad
(click on image for larger view)
The Crosley Radio Corporation
Cincinnati, Ohio
(from 1936 ad)


 
 
 
 

1935 Columbia label - Mills Blue Rhythm Band



Ride Red RideClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Mills Blue Rhythm Band                    1934
(Columbia 3087-D mx CO 17759)

Congo CaravanClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Mills Blue Rhythm Band                    1935
(Columbia 3087 D mx CO 17796)
 
 

Though it never achieved the level of fame that it arguably deserved, Mills Blue Rhythm band was one of the top black jazz bands in the early and mid 1930s.   Founded as the Blue Rhythm band by drummer Willie Lynch in 1930, the band came under the management of music publisher and jazz band impresario Irving Mills in 1931 who renamed the band after himself.   Mills also managed the Duke Ellington band and he used the Blue Rhythm Band as a back-up at New York's famous Cotton Club nightclub during periods when the Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway bands were away on tour. 

After Lynch's departure in 1931, the band had several leaders until Lucky Millinder took over in 1934.  Millinder could not read music or play any instruments but, nevertheless,  had the showmanship to be a successful front man.  The band's roster at various times included some of the era's top jazz musicians.  Both recordings featured this week feature Henry "Red" Allen on trumpet and Edgar Hayes on piano.   "Ride Red Ride" was one of the band's more successful recordings.   The band contined under Millinder's leadership until it disbanded in 1938. 

These selections come from an old Columbia disc.  Columbia records from this time period are somewhat scarce as the label's fortunes had been severely impacted by the Great Depression.   In late 1933, Columbia's parent company, radio manufacturer Grigsby Grunow, went into bankruptcy and the label was sold in early 1934 to the American Record Corporation (ARC) for $70,000.  Even by Depression era standards this price was remarkably  low as it included Columbia's state-of-the-art pressing facilities, recording studios and its entire catalog.   ARC had already swallowed up most of the 1920s era independent labels such as Cameo, Perfect, Banner and, in 1931, took over Brunswick Records which became the ARC flagship label.   Under ARC, the Columbia label was largely neglected with very little issued on it after 1936.  ARC did, however, make good use of Columbia's pressing facilities as one occasionally runs across Brunswicks, Melotones and Vocalions that have been pressed with Columbia's unique laminated surface which tended to have far less surface noise than the solid shellac records of competing labels.   My copy of this week's selections comes from a disc that has been rather scuffed up but, because of the superior Columbia surface, it plays far better than one would otherwise expect based on a mere visual inspection.   The Columbia label's sad situation turned around in late 1938 when ARC was acquired by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) which, for obvious reasons, revived the label as its flagship.   Interestingly, only eleven years earlier the Columbia Phonograph Company had been one of the early investors in CBS which was actually  known as the Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System for a few months in 1927 before Columbia sold its share of the company. 
 

- Dismuke
 
 


EXTRA







This section will  present 78 rpm recordings that do not fall within the range of the vintage pop and jazz  fare that I usually  present.  Here I will feature recordings from a wide variety of eras, musical genres and nationalities as well as occasional spoken word recordings.
 
 

1931 Victor Scroll Label - Don Azpiazu And His Havana Casino Orchestra






African LamentClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Don Azpiazu And His Havana Casino Orchestra
George Owen vocal                                                        1930
(Victor 22657-B)

The VoodooClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Don Azpiazu And His Havana Casino Orchestra              1931
(Victor 22657-A)

This past summer, my friend and occasional guest contributor to this site Christian Kohlhaas stumbled across a nice collection of 78 rpms for sale in El Paso, Texas.  He was kind enough to phone me up and let me know about the records in the collection that he had passed over and to purchase the ones I wanted on my behalf.   I ended up getting some rather nice records from that - and of them, this one is by far my favorite due to this very beautiful and haunting recording of "African Lament." 

Don Azpiazu was the first Cuban bandleader to become well known in the United States and to appear on Broadway.  He is best remembered for his hit recording of "The Peanut Vendor" which introduced the song which has become a Latin standard to the American public.   You can find that recording featured in my September 1, 2005 update in the Previous Selections archives below. 

As with "The Peanut Vendor" both of this week's selections were co-composed by Marion Sunshine, a former Ziegfeld girl who married Azpiazu's bothe,r Don Antobal, who later became a famous Cuban bandleader in his own right.   She shared credit for "African Lament" with famed Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona and co-wrote "The Voodoo" with Azpiazu. 

"African Lament" was recorded in New York City in May 1930 when Azpiazu was appearing in a very successful engagement at RKO's Palace Theatre on Broadway.  "The Voodoo" was recorded in Cuba after Azpiazu returned to Havana to play for American tourists in what was then one of North America's most successful resort cities - a city beyond the reach of Prohibition which was still very much in effect in the United States. 

I consider myself to be a big fan of rumba recordings from this era - and this recording of "African Lament" is one that I pull out and listen to frequently. 
 

- Dismuke



 


March 22
 
 

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
The Grebe Synchrophase Radio - 1926 Ad
(click on image for larger view)

The Grebe Synchrophase
(from 1926 ad)



 

 
Note: I am very pleased to welcome back guest contributor Eddie The Collector.  Eddie will be providing both the main update as well as the "Extra."  The  records and commentary are Eddie's - my only contribution was to transfer and digitalize the recordings.   You may read more about Eddie as well as view his photo and contact information by clicking here
 
 
 
 

Bob Haring directed the house band for Cameo records from their beginning in 1922 until their merger with Pathe and Plaza in 1929, usually under his own name, but sometimes under colorful pseudonyms typical of the era.  He also recorded for Brunswick during this time using the name Colonial Club Orchestra, The Copley Plaza Orchestra, The Clevelanders and (in the case of British issues) "King" Solomon and His Miners.  For the last year of his recording career, Bob Haring recorded for the Banner (Plaza-ARC) combine.
 

All Alone MondayClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Colonial Club Orchestra
Franklyn Bauer, vocal                1926
(Brunswick 3380-A)

This peppy tune, recorded in November, 1926, with a vocal by Franklyn Bauer, was featured in the Guy Bolton, Burt Kalmar play The Ramblers, which was adapted to film in 1930 under the title The Cuckoos, starring among others Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey.  The song lent its melody 40 years later in the 60's as the tune of the Juicy Fruit Gum jingle, Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun with Double-Mint Double-Mint Double-Mint Gum.
 

You Will Won't YouClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Colonial Club Orchestra
Franklyn Bauer, vocal                1926
(Brunswick 3380-B)

This Otto Harbach-Jerome Kern-Anne Caldwell tune was sung by Dolly Day in the musical comedy Criss Cross.  Listen for about four bars of a classical tune inserted into the melody toward the last quarter of the record, a really nice effect.
 
 

- Eddie The Collector
 
 


EXTRA





This section will  present 78 rpm recordings that do not fall within the range of the vintage pop and jazz  fare that I usually  present.  Here I will feature recordings from a wide variety of eras, musical genres and nationalities as well as occasional spoken word recordings.
 
 
 

For someone who recorded as prolifically as he did, relatively little is known about (Sgt.) Mike Markel.  He was a bandleader during America's involvement in World War I and  his very first recording, under the name Sergeant Markel's Orchestra, was for Victor on November 17, 1917 - almost exactly a year before the Armistice.  In 1921, he recorded two sides using trumpet player Herman (Hymie) Farberman, later of Bennie Krueger fame.  He recorded many more sides until late 1928 - most on Okeh, but a few on Brunswick in 1926, some Edisons and several on the pre ARC labels in 1927.  However, personnel are almost always unlisted in discographies of these records, with the exception sometimes of the vocalist.  The arrangements of the few Markel recordings I have  seem to be of the same level of excellence as his other bandleading contemporaries.

Both of these Extras, "We Two" and "Dawn," are from the 1927 operetta, Golden Dawn, by Emmerich Kalman and Herbert Stothart and feature lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II.   It was the very first production performed in the brand new Hammerstein's Theatre which is now the Ed Sullivan Theatre, home of the Late Show With David Letterman on CBS television.  In the cast was a young British immigrant, Archie Leach who would later go to Hollywood and change his name to Cary Grant. 

The 1930 Warner Brothers  film version of Golden Dawn, which was intended to be a straight-on adaptation of the operetta,  was dismissed by critics and audiences of the day, but has since become a "cult classic" to aficionados of early talkies.  Highlights of the film include a black-face Noah Beery singing his "Whip Song", Vivienne Segal and the native chorus performing "My Bwanna" and Lupino Lane's "In a Jungle Bungalow".  The film was originally shot in two-color Technicolor, but only survives in black & white.  This bizarre operetta, among others, turned the movie going public off of musicals for several years.

In the film,  Vivienne Segal stars as Dawn, a white girl presumed to be born among the natives in what was once Dutch West Africa.  Set in a German prisoner of war camp in World War I, Golden Dawn presents a truce between captives who are facing a common danger: the threat of an uprising among the native African population.  The threat almost becomes a reality when young rubber planter Tom Allen (Walter Woolf King) spends a romantic night with Dawn.  That doesn't set well with Shep Keyes (Noah Beery), a native brute who covets Dawn, despite the fact she is promised to the god Mulunghu to ward off a potentially calamitous drought.  Once it is determined that Dawn is Caucasian, she is rescued from the evil Keyes.  This operetta/movie is fraught with tons of politically incorrect subject matter by today's standards, but at least it produced the following great songs, among others.
 

We TwoClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Mike Markels And His Society Orchestra           1927
(Okeh 40959 mx 81921)

Just hearing this song  by itself, outside the context of the plot of Golden Dawn, would lead one to picture a standard romantic setting of 1927 America.  Its bright and cheerfully up-tempo lyrics and melody are not in the least evocative of a World War I prisoner of war camp in Dutch West Africa, jungle superstitions, potential human sacrifice, or the intrigue of a brutish suitor enamored of a Caucasian girl thought to be African.  Knowing the intended setting of this song makes it all the more interesting.

DawnClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Mike Markels And His Society Orchestra            1927
(Okeh 40959 mx 81920)

This title refers to the young lady of interest in this story.  There is something about this haunting melody that brings to mind the term "light classical"
 

- Eddie The Collector


\March 15
 
 

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by

(click on image for larger view)

Italian Line
(from 1933 ad)



 
 
 

 
 
 
(Vintage Sheet Music Courtesy Matt From College Station)



 
 
 
 


 
 

Iím Dancing On A RainbowClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Jerry Freeman And His Orchestra          1933
(Bluebird B-5232-A)

Everything I Have Is YoursClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Jerry Freeman And His Orchestra 
Frank Sylvano, vocal                              1933
(Bluebird B-5232-B)
 
 

This week's selections feature songs from two 1933 MGM films, Stage Mother and Dancing Lady,  both of which starred Franchot Tone. 

I have never seen Stage Mother but would like to based on the song "I'm Dancing On A Rainbow."  This version is one of two I have heard of it and both make me visualize an extravagant dance chorus scene.  It would be interesting to see how it was performed in the film. 

Dancing Lady is one of my favorite early 1930s movie musicals.  Not only are most of the music scenes very good, unlike many movie musicals of the era, it actually has a decent story line.  In addition to Franchot Tone, the film also starred his future wife, Joan Crawford and Clark Gable.  The film was also the Hollywood debut of Fred Astaire.   Happily, Dancing Lady was recently reissued on DVD and should be available at a number of online retailers.

You can see trailers of both films on the Turner Classic Movies website.  For Dancing Lady click here and for Stage Mother click here.   The Dancing Lady trailer is especially nice.   With both,  you will need to click on the "Watch A Trailer" link under "Media."  Then simply click on the link that will appear under the screen box to play the video.

Unfortunately, I have very little information to share about Jerry Freeman and His Orchestra.  Eddie The Collector looked the band's information up for me in Brian Rust's American Dance Band Discography and informs me that it recorded between 1933 and 1937 with "I'm Dancing On A Rainbow" being the first side listed. 
 
 

-  Dismuke

 
 

EXTRA








This section will  present 78 rpm recordings that do not fall within the range of the vintage pop and jazz  fare that I usually  present.  Here I will feature recordings from a wide variety of eras, musical genres and nationalities as well as occasional spoken word recordings.
 
 
 
 
 

My HeroClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Deanna Durbin, vocal 
Victor Young And His Orchestra                         1941
(Decca 18199-A mx DLA 2789)

Kiss Me AgainClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Deanna Durbin, vocal 
Victor Young And His Orchestra                          1941
(Decca 18199-B mx DLA 2785)
 

Deanna Durbin was an extremely successful film actress and singer in the 1930s and 1940s.  She retired from public life in 1950 at age 28.   As far as I know, she is still alive at this writing.

Both selections come from operettas which were very successful before American audiences in the first decade of the 20th century.

"My Hero" comes from the Oscar Straus operetta The Chocolate Soldier.  The operetta debuted in Vienna in 1908 where it was only moderately successful.    When it came to America in 1909, however, it became the Broadway hit of the year.

"Kiss Me Again" comes from Victor Herbert's operetta Mademoiselle Modiste which opened on Christmas Day, 1905 at New York's Knickerbocker Theatre.   The production was very successful and ran for 202 performances with a return engagement of 22 performances just three months after the original production closed. 
 
 

- Dismuke


March 8

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by


Wahl-Eversharp
Pens And Pencils
(From 1928 ad)

 
 
 
My Song Of Songs To YouClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Tal Henry And His North Carolinians         1928
(Victor 21404-B mx 43745)

Some Little SomeoneClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Tal Henry And His North Carolinians         1928
(Victor 21404 A mx 43747)
 
 

Tal Henry And His North Carolinians was one of hundreds of bands that enjoyed moderate success during the 1920s which have been mostly forgotten for decades.  Unlike most of those bands, however, we can still enjoy Tal Henry's music thanks to several Victor recording sessions and a 1929 Vitaphone movie short the band stared in.

While the band was based in North Carolina,  it traveled around quite a lot.   For example, in November 1929, the band was in my neck of the woods and took a break from its engagement at the Baker Hotel in downtown Dallas to perform at the grand opening festivities of the brand new Baker Hotel  in Mineral Wells, Texas.   Less than a year later,  in August 1930, the band performed at the Village Casino in Bemus Point, New York.   You can view a photo of the band along with a request for photos and articles about the band from Tal Henry Jr. on this page on the Village Casino's website. 

While neither of this week's recordings are especially jazzy, I think both have a rather haunting quality about them.  One of the composers of "My Song Of  Songs To You" was the Texas based bandleader Sunny Clapp who was featured on the February 16, 2006 update. 

-  Dismuke

 
 

EXTRA








This section will  present 78 rpm recordings that do not fall within the range of the vintage pop and jazz  fare that I usually  present.  Here I will feature recordings from a wide variety of eras, musical genres and nationalities as well as occasional spoken word recordings.
 
 
 

Wait íTil You See Ma CherieClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Maurice Chevalier, vocal                                1929
(Victor 21918-A)

LouiseClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Maurice Chevalier, vocal                                1929
(Victor 21918-B)
 

Maurice Chevalier was a highly successful entertainer in both the United States and Europe with a stage and screen career that spanned 69 years.    I will refer you to this article on Wikipedia for more detailed information on his life and career. 

Both of these recordings are songs that Chevalier introduced in the 1929 Paramount film Innocents of Paris which was his very first talking picture. 

I have not seen Innocents of Paris but Matt From College Station introduced me to two early 1930s Chevalier films by legendary director Ernst Lubitsch, The Smiling Lieutenant and One Hour With You.   Both are very charming, light-hearted comedies featuring excellent music by Austrian composer Oscar Straus.  I am very fond of both films and recommend them highly.  Sadly, copies on video are hard to find - but if you keep your eye out, they are occasionally available on ebay which is where I managed to get my copies. 

- Dismuke
 


March 1
 
 

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
1931 Canadian Pacific Ad

GO EMPRESS
Empress Of Japan
Empress Of Canada
Empress of Russia
Empress of Asia

Canadian Pacific
World's Greatest Travel System
(From 1931 ad)


 
 
 
 
Note - I am very please to welcome back guest contributor Matt From College Station  as he shares some more recordings from his excellent collection of 1920s and 1930s jazz and dance band 78 rpm records. 

All recordings and commentary in this update, both the regular and the "Extra" sections, are from Matt.  My only contribution was to transfer and digitalize the recordings. 

You can learn more about Matt and find his contact information by clicking here
 
 

I Can't Write The WordsClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Johnny Hamp And His Orchestra
Chick Bullock, vocal                                   1931
(Victor 22795-A)

The Cute Little Things You DoClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
The High Hatters
Frank Luther, vocal                                     1931
(Victor 22782-B)
 
 

This week you will hear dance selections from two outstanding Depression era orchestras.

Johnny Hamp, a huge music and dance enthusiast, began his band leading career by chance when he took over leadership of The Kentucky Serenaders because their leader walked out on them. After they were done playing at the Hershey Ballroom, they elected Hamp their leader. This band, billed as Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders, enjoyed huge success in the mid and late 1920's due to radio exposure, a Victor contract, and Hamp's aggressive promotion of the orchestra.

By 1931, Hamp changed the name of the band to Johnny Hamp and his Orchestra. In 1931 and 1932 the personnel remained largely the same but the style changed slightly. They still had an excellent sound, although Hamp was not as successful as he had been  in the 1920s. By 1935 he adopted a "swing" style and recorded for  Bluebird and the ARC labels.

The tune presented here " (With You On My Mind) I Can't Write The Words" ranks for me as one of the top Johnny Hamp records of all time. We are treated to an up tempo number with jazzy interludes and a Chick Bullock vocal. This song is also a particular favorite of our gracious on-line host, Dismuke. He practically fell out of his chair when he saw this record and insisted that I play it immediately! Needless to say, I knew it would be a Hit of the Week update sooner or later. It was written by Gerald Marks

The High Hatters, presented here in several previous updates, were an excellent studio orchestra for Victor in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Their entire output is made up of up-tempo pop tunes, usually played in a jazzy style. All of their sessions were directed by Leonard Joy and feature many of the same musicians as Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra and the Victor Salon Orchestra. "The Cute Little Things You Do" was written by James F. Hanley for the Will Rogers film As Young As You Feel.  I love the warm and melodic treatment that the High Hatters give this tune.
 

- Matt From College Station

 
 

EXTRA










This section will  present 78 rpm recordings that do not fall within the range of the vintage pop and jazz  fare that I usually  present.  Here I will feature recordings from a wide variety of eras, musical genres and nationalities as well as occasional spoken word recordings.
 
 
 

Selections From The Vagabond KingClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Victor Salon Group                                            1930
(Victrola 9653-A album C 9 9)

Selections From KatinkaClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Victor Salon Group                                            1930
(Victrola 9652-B)
 

The music of Rudolf Friml, a Czech native, has been featured on this site in several previous updates because of its endearing and beautiful musical qualities. Here I'd like to present it again in the form of selections from two operettas, The Vagabond King and Katinka.

Both selections present wonderful melodies and harmonies and make for relaxing listening. 

Friml composed scores for over twenty Broadway musicals and wrote many classical pieces. He is best remembered for Rose-Marie (collaborator) and The Vagabond King.

The Vagabond King first debuted on Broadway in 1925 and was filmed in both 1930 and 1956. The 1930 film version featured Dennis King and Jeanette MacDonald and was photographed in two-color Technicolor. For years only black and white copies circulated, but in 1991 UCLA rescued a crumbling original color negative by photographing each frame individually. Today the film survives complete and restored, although it is seldom screened.

Katinka was written by Friml in 1915 and ran for 220 performances at the 44th Street Theater and Lyric Theater. 

- Matt From College Station
 
 

Next Thursday:  Tal Henry And His North Carolinians 


 
 

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