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Updated August 1999
On The Title.
To listen to all 45 selections played in the order they appear, click here.
To listen to selections 1-15 played in the order they appear, click here.
To listen to selections 16-30 played in the order they appear, click here.
To listen to selections 31-45 played in the order they appear, click here.
My Love Come Down(Audio
file updated 10/5/03)
Bessie Smith, vocal - James P. Johnson, piano 1929
Bessie Smith is regarded as one of the all time great vocalists - and rightly so. While much of her work was a bit too "blue" for my taste, this hard to find record is an exception. The pianist, James P. Johnson, a legend in his own right, was one of the fathers of the "stride" style of piano playing and the composer of the tune that many people most associate with the 1920s - "Charleston."
No Trouble But You(Audio file updated 10/7/03)
Ben Bernie & His Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra; Ben Bernie, vocal 1926
Billing himself as "The Ol' Maestro" Bernie was very prominent on network radio in the 1930s - his popularity bolstered in large part by a well-publicized on-air "feud" with Walter Winchell. I think his best records are those from the 1920's when his band's style was often quite "hot."
Columbia Tele-Focal Radio Series:
Is There A Place Up There For Me(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Paul Tremaine and His Orchestra circa 1931
This is from a transcribed radio broadcast that promoted the Columbia Phonograph Company's new "Tele-Focal Radio." The broadcasts were distributed to individual stations on three single-sided 12 inch 78 rpm discs. As far as I have been able to determine from correspondence with other collectors, the music featured on the programs was simply dubbed from records in the Columbia catalogue. I think the commercial at the end of this selection is almost of as much interest as the music itself. I do not have very many Paul Tremaine recordings, but his band seemed to be quite jazzy.
Nobody Cares If I'm Blue(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Annette Hanshaw 1930
Annette Hanshaw is my all time favorite vocalist. Those who remember the very first music site I ever put up will recognize this selection . You will also find its flip-side - "Little White Lies" - featured in this site's March 1998 update. Hanshaw's talent was discovered in 1925 when, at the age of 15, she sang at a party that was attended by an executive for Pathé Records. Soon, she had her own radio show and became known as "The Personality Girl." Despite her popularity and success, Hanshaw made her last record in 1934 and permanently retired from show business. Sadly, she is all but forgotten today. Listen carefully to the end of this recording and you will hear her trademark "that's all!" sign-off.
Let's Say Good Night Till The Morning(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Jack Buchanan and Elsie Randolph, vocals 1926
I like old recordings that feature tap dancing, Buchanan and Randolph were both big names on the British stage. This selection is from the 1926 Roger Hammerstein II - Jerome Kern musical comedy "Sunny." I know that Buchanan appeared in the British stage version of the musical and perhaps Randoph did as well.
Until Today(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra 1936
Benny Goodman may have been the "King of Swing" but it was Fletcher Henderson's arrangements that made him so. This pleasant recording will give Goodman fans an idea of just how much his band sometimes sounded like Henderson's.
'Deed I Do(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Al Lentz's Dance Orchestra; Al Lentz, vocal 1927
Keep in mind as you listen that this was a dance band. Can you imagine dancing to this and keeping up? All I can say is folks back in the 1920s must have had lots of stamina. No wonder most flappers were so skinny!
Humming Your Glum Times Away(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Donald Peers, vocal 1934
This selection is from an old 8-inch Eclipse record. Eclipse was a British record label manufactured by the Crystalate company from 1931 - 1935. This sounds exactly like something one might expect to hear on one of those BBC comedy programs that local PBS affiliates sometimes air.
Runnin' Wild(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Joe Daniels and His Hot Shots In "Drumnasticks" 1937
Here is another British recording. The Hot Shots were a British jazz group that, judging by number of their releases on American Decca, must have had at least a semi- decent following here in the USA. The band's recordings centered for the most part around Daniel's drum playing. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find very much information about this group. Nor, so far as I have been able to determine, have the band 's recordings been reissued on CD. Happily, I do have lots of their 78s and I will feature some of them in future updates.
I Adore You(Audio file updated 10/7/03)
Leo Reisman and His Orchestra; Harry Maxfield, vocal 1927
Betty Co-Ed(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Phil Spitalny's Music 1930
This is from an old cardboard Hit of The Week Record. This recording makes me think of those old Movie-Tone News newsreels one sometimes sees on television. In 1931, this song was used in a Max Fleisher Screen Song for the debut of a new cartoon character: Betty Boop.
Don't Be Like That(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Helen Kane, vocal 1929
Speaking of Betty Boop, here is the lady whose persona was stolen by Betty Boop's creators - though the question is whether she fully owned it in the first place. Helen Kane became a hit on Broadway and in early talking pictures because of her flapper-like demeanor and trademark "boop-boop-a-doop" vocals. In 1931, directors Max and Dave Fleisher came out with "Betty Boop" - a cartoon character that looked and sounded suspiciously like Helen Kane. In 1934, Kane sued the Fleischers for damages. The Fleischers' lawyers persuaded the jury by presenting a 1928 film clip of a little known black singer named "Baby Ester" who also used the '"boop-boop-a-doop" line in one of her songs. The insinuation was that Kane herself had stolen the line. Regardless, years later, animator Grim Natwick admitted in Leslie Carbaga's book The Fleischer Story that Dave Fleischer had indeed asked him to pattern the new cartoon character after a sheet music photo of Kane. You can hear Helen "boop" in the closing portion of this selection. Mae Questal's was the voice used in the Betty Boop cartoons.
Goin' Hollywood(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra 1937
If there is any constant in popular music, it is change. Lopez's band was very prominent in the 1920s and he was one of the first bandleaders to make a name in radio. By the late 1930s, swing had taken over and many of the bandleaders from the pre-swing era rushed to jump on the bandwagon. Lopez was no exception.
I Married An Angel(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Swing And Sway With Sammy Kaye; Jimmy Brown, vocal 1938
Sammy Kaye's recordings usually had more "sway" than "swing" to them. Nevertheless, a lot of of his stuff had a certain charm. Kaye was one of a handful of bandleaders to feature "signing song titles" on his recordings.
Für wen macht eine Frau sich schön?(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Hans Söhnker und die Metropol-Vokalisten
MD Robert Redard Tanzorch circa mid-1930s
Here is one from Germany. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find an exact date on this one.
Dust On The Moon(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
The Castillian Troubadours 1934
This tango is sometimes performed under the name "Canto Indio."
Highways Are Happy Ways(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Harry Reser's Rounders 1928
Reser is considered by many to have been one of the all time great banjo players. His band made lots of records under various names in the 1920s and most of them prominently feature his banjo solos. Reser's band - under the name of The Clicquot Club Eskimos - was among the first to get nationwide sponsorship on early network radio. This particular selection comes from an old quarter-inch thick Edison Diamond Disc - which utilized a somewhat different recording technology than most standard 78 rpm records. I have a whole bunch of these records in my collection but, unfortunately, my playback equipment at present is not ideal for playing them. As a result, you will hear a slight distortion on certain passages on this selection - though it is still very listenable. I do plan on upgrading my equipment and, when I will do so, you will see more Diamond Discs on future updates.
Big Chief De Soto(Audio file updated 10/07/03)
"Fats" Waller and His Rhythm 1936
Poor old Chief DeSoto was so mad he scalped his own head! Somehow, I don't think that this recording about a "Native American" would go over today as being sufficiently "politically correct!"
Sing, Brothers!(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Jay Wilbur and His Band 1932
Wilbur made lots of recordings for various low priced British record labels in the 1930s.
A Jazz Holiday(Audio file updated 10/07/03)
Ted Lewis and His Band; Ted Lewis, vocal 1928
Jazz critics today tend to look down on Lewis - but that's their problem. I think his recordings are lots of fun.
Everything's Gonna Be All Right(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Frank Harris, vocal 1926
How Could Red Riding Hood?(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Plantation Players 1926
This song raises the disturbing possibility that little Red may have not have been as virtuous as we were led to believe. Perhaps there was a reason Miss Riding Hood wore red!
They All Laughed(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Fred Astaire, vocal with Johnny Green and His Orchestra 1937
"Can't act. Can't sing. Can dance a little." This was the response to Astaire's first Hollywood screen test in 1933. That makes this song all the more appropriate, I think!
Broadway Melody(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Ben Selvin and His Orchestra 1929
This song comes from the musical picture of the same name. It was the first musical to ever win a Best Picture Academy Award. Judging by the number of different versions I have run across, it seems that virtually every band that made records in 1929 must have tried their hand at this one. Almost always you will find "You Were Meant For Me" - also from the film - paired with it on the flip side.
The St. Louis Blues(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians 1930
This recording is probably best known for the clarinet note Carmen Lombardo holds for an entire chorus - and for the phrase "Don't stop now, Carmen!" There is an interesting story behind the lyrics on this version - which are totally different from the words the tune's composer W. C. Handy originally wrote. When the Lombardo band was in Cleveland for a 1927 engagement, Lebert Lombardo overheard a black trumpet player singing the words that you hear on this recording. Lebert paid the man five dollars to write them down. By the time he actually decided to use the lyrics, he was unable to locate the trumpet player and never did learn his name. The Royal Canadians are best remembered for their closing theme song "Auld Lang Syne" - which has since become a New Year's Eve tradition. This selection is somewhat of a departure from the bands usual "Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven" format.
My Baby Knows How(Audio file updated 10/07/03)
California Ramblers 1926
The Ramblers made records throughout the 1920s and often featured some of the top white jazz musicians of the era.
Little By Little(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Johnny Marvin, vocal 1929
Marvin was quite popular in the 1920s - though he is pretty much forgotten today. I have lots of his records and, of them, this is one of my favorites.
Bob White(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Benny Goodman and His Orchestra; Martha Tilton, vocal 1937
My Own(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
George Hall and His Orchestra; Dolly Dawn, vocal 1938
I did not really care for this record when I first acquired it - but somehow it has kind of grown on me. Hall's band operated for most of the 1930s out of New York's Hotel Taft. Eventually the popularity of his vocalist, Dolly Dawn, began to eclipse the band. In in a 1941 July 4th ceremony at New York's Roseland Ballroom, Hall formally handed the band over to his singer and it became known as "Dolly Dawn and Her Dawn Patrol."
It Goes Like This(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards, vocal 1928
Cliff Edwards is best remembered today as the voice of Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney's "Pinocchio." In the 1920s he was a prolific recording artist - much of his output consisting of novelty records. Note the reference at the end of this selection to the 1928 presidential election and the jab at then President Coolidge's quiet "Silent Cal" demeanor.
The Nightmare(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Gene Morgan and His Loew's State Threatre Orchestra 1927
This song somehow fits its title - though it's kind of catchy in its own way.
Nothin'(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Nat Shilkret and The Victor Orchestra; Gene Austin, vocal 1927
Shilkret's was the Victor Talking Machine Company's main house band - and for a while he was the company's music director. Gene Austin was one of the early crooners and his records were enormously popular in the late 1920s.
My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua Hawaii(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Ted Fio Rito and His Orchestra 1933
Just A Little Longer(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Philip Spitalny and His Orchestra; Charles Hart, vocal 1926
I enjoy this selection's upbeat, playful arrangement. The Spitalny band made lots of records in the late 1920s and early 1930s and appeared on radio. Later he reorganized as a female only band which he billed as his "All-Girl Orchestra."
She Really Meant To Keep It(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Johnny Mesner and His Music Box Band 1939
If you think this novelty tune has a punch line - well, it shows where your mind is!
Spanish Doll(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
B.A. Rolf and His Lucky Strike Dance Orchestra 1929
This one is a recent find and a definite rarity . It comes from an old Edison "Needle Type Electric" record. I was able to actually pick up two of these records in a small town antique store! Most of Edison's disc records were of the thick Diamond Disc variety - which could not be played on most competitor's phonographs. In the summer of 1929, in an attempt to revive sales, Edison began manufacturing conventional 78 rpm records which were billed as "Needle Type Electric" records. When the stock market crashed in October 1929, Edison - the man who had invented the phonograph way back in 1877 - was forced to exit the record business for good. Because these records were available for only a few months, they are extremely hard to find: at present, I only have a total of three in my entire collection.
Some Day You'll Realize You're Wrong(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
California Ramblers 1929
Here is the other Edison "Needle Type Electric" record I picked up in that same small town antique store. Its label is pictured at the top of this page.
Don't Be Blue(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Floyd Tilman 1939
Some of the country music of the 1930s and 1940s had jazz influence and the results could, at times, be interesting.
I'm In The Market For You(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
George Olsen and His Music; Fred MacMurray, vocal 1930
Yes, this is the same Fred MacMurray who later became one of Hollywood's top stars and eventually played the father on television's "My Three Sons." Before he went into pictures, MacMurray was a saxophonist for the Olsen band. This song's stock market metaphor is almost as relevant today as it was 69 years ago. Let's hope things turn out better this time around!
That Feeling Is Gone(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Benny Goodman and His Orchestra; Martha Tilton, vocal 1937
This was among my first 78 rpm acquisitions when I was a child. Actually, I later found a copy in better condition and that is the one this selection was taken from.
Out Of The Dawn(Audio file updated 10/07/03)
Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra 1928
He, She, And Me(Audio file updated 10/5/03)
Ben Selvin and His Orchestra 1929
My Suppressed Desire(Audio file updated 10/07/03)
Paul Whiteman's Rhythm Boys 1928
Whiteman was one of the first bandleaders to feature separate vocal groups under the auspices of the band itself. Along with Harry Barris and Al Rinker, Bing Crosby got his start as one of Whiteman's Rhythm Boys. I think the group had a nice sound. At the very end of this recording you will hear one of their trademark special effects: a loud exhalation into the microphone.
Ain't Misbehavin'(Audio file updated 9/14/03)
Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra 1933
Here is a tune that I have always enjoyed. It was composed by Fats Waller. This selection was recorded in London when the Ellington band was on a highly successful European tour.
That's What Puts The "Sweet" In Home Sweet Home(Audio file updated 10/07/03)
Jean Goldkette's Orchestra; Harold Stokes, vocal 1929
Goldkette was an entrepreneur who owned Detroit's Greystone Ballroom. Goldkette did not take an active role in leading his band and there was usually more than one Jene Goldkette band active at any given time. One band would perform at the Greystone while another would perform nearby at the Book-Cadillac Hotel and, sometimes, yet another would be on the road touring. Goldkette also booked other acts such as McKinney's Cotton Pickers and The Orange Blossoms, which would later change their name to the Casa Loma Orchestra. At its height, Goldkette's organization featured such jazz greats as Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang and Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.
Stop The War
(The Cats Are Killin' Themselves)
Here is something that is a couple of years beyond this site's normal 1900 - 1939 scope. Wingie recorded this when the United States was still not a participant in World War II. A few months later, after Pearl Harbor, an anti-war recording such as this would not have been made.
Featuring: Isham Jones, Jean Goldkette, Al Bowlly, Fletcher Henderson, Fred Astaire, Orville
Knapp, Louis Armstrong, Nat Shilkret, The New Orleans Bootblacks, Carl Fenton, Frankie Masters
Clarence Williams and more.
Volume III Originally Posted June 1998 22 Recordings
Featuring: Clarence Williams , Benny Goodman, Leo Reisman, Ted Weems, Smith Ballew, "Fats"
Waller, Joe Venuti, Xavier Cugat, Bunny Berigan, and more
Originally Posted April 1998
Volume I Originally Posted March 1998 14 Recordings
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