Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
Previous Selections
January 2001

January 25

PretendingRight click to download to hard drive.
Rudy Vallée and his Connecticut Yankees
Rudy Vallée, vocal                                  1929
(Victor  22062-A )

Herbert Pryor Vallée  earned the nickname "Rudy" in college because of his great admiration for saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeft. By the  late 1920s and into the 1930s, Vallée was one of network radio's most well known and highly paid entertainers.   A pioneer of what we now know as the variety show format, Vallée's  program introduced Bob Hope and Edgar Bergen to network radio and featured notable guests such as Cole Porter, George Gershwin and the comedy team of George Burns and Gracie Allen.  He also introduced a number of  well known tunes, including "As Time Goes By." Vallée was one of the early "crooners"  and , for a time, was considered to be a "heartthrob" by millions of women across America.  He became known as "The Vagabond Lover" and starred in an RKO picture of the same name.   One of this trademarks was a cut down megaphone that he sang into whenever he performed.

I have never fully understood the mass appeal that Rudy Vallée had as a vocalist.  To me, he sounds like someone who is singing with a clothes pin on his nose.  On the other hand, many of his late '20s and early '30s recordings - such as this one - were quite pleasant to listen to.

January 18
Audio File Updated September 11, 2004
I'm Stepping Out With A Memory TonightRight click to download to hard drive.
Will Osborne and his Slide Music
Barbara Bush, vocal                                 1940
(Varsity 8280 )

No - the Barbara Bush on the vocal is not the former First Lady and soon to be First Mom.  But I thought the coincidence of names made it a perfect selection for inaugural week!

Osborne was a vocalist who gained gained national attention when his band replaced Rudy Vallee's on  "The Blue White Diamond Show" radio program.  As a result, a highly publicized feud erupted between Osborne and Vallee fans over which singer deserved credit for originating "crooning."  "Slide Music" referred to the band's glissando slide trombone effects.  I have a number of Osborne recordings in my collection and think that he had one of the nicer sounding Big Bands of the late '30s and early '40s.  Sadly, his efforts have been largely overlooked on CD reissues.

January 11
I Have EyesRight click to download to hard drive.
Artie Shaw and his Orchestra 
Helen Forrest, vocal                                  1938
(Bluebird B-7889-A )

Artie Shaw was, and still is, one of the most famous bandleaders of the swing and big band eras.  Most biographies portray Shaw as a tortured intellectual who was constantly trying to "find himself."  He disliked the business aspects of the music industry and what he regarded as the intrusion by his fans into his personal life.  Shaw married eight times and his wives included actresses Lana Turner and Ava Gardner.  Born in 1910, Shaw is one of the very  few artists featured on my site who is, at the time I write this, still alive.

January 4
Out Of The DawnRight click to download to hard drive.
Bernie Cummins and His Biltmore Orchestra  1928
(Brunswick 3996 )

Cummins was a former boxer who began his 40 year bandleading career in 1919.  New York's Biltmore was but one of many hotels where the band had an extended engagement.  You will find another version of this tune by the Nat Shilkret Orchestra in my site's August 1999 update.  I am not sure which I like best.  Both are very catchy.

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