Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
Previous Selections
January 2002

January 31, 2002

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

(From 1927 ad)


Why Do You Want To Know Why?          
Ipana Troubadours                                1927
(Columbia 696-D mx 142373))

Ipana was a best selling brand of toothpaste introduced by Bristol-Meyers in 1915.  It became one of the first products to be advertised nationally on network radio.  In the early days of radio, explicit commercial advertisements were not allowed.  In order to get recognition, a sponsor's name was frequently incorporated into the name of a program.

The Ipana Troubadours debuted in April 1925 and began making records for Columbia later that same year.  The group was led by Sam Lanin who, second only to Ben Selvin, was one of the most recorded bandleaders of the 1920s.  The Troubadours remained on the air until 1931.

Other 1920s bands that adopted the names of their radio sponsors included Harry Reser's Clicquot Club Eskimos and Harry Horlick's A&P Gypsies which specialized in "salon" music.

After decades of popularity, Bristol-Meyers discontinued Ipana in 1968.  Eventually, the brand name was purchased by Proctor & Gamble.  Today, you can once again buy Ipana Toothpaste - but you will have to travel to Turkey in order to do so.

January 24, 2002

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

(From 1927 ad)

Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra
Franklyn Bauer,  vocal                          1927
(Victor 20599-B)

Nat Shilkret was a music director for the Victor Talking Machine Company and its successor, RCA Victor, from the 1920s through the mid 1940s.  Some of the in-house Victor groups he led during the 1920s included the Victor Orchestra,  the International Novelty Orchestra, the All Star Orchestra, the Victor Salon Orchestra,  Shilkret's Rhyth-Melodists and the Hilo Hawaiian Orchestra.

Shilkret's Victor Orchestra specialized in the popular tunes of the day performed in a typical 1920s dance band style.  Its offerings were successful enough that they started cutting into the record sales of Victor's star attraction, the Paul Whiteman Orchestra.  Indeed, one of the factors that led Whiteman to switch his recording affiliation to Columbia in 1928 was his concern that Victor was starting to offer Shilkret first crack at recording choice tunes.

This week's song  was written by composer Vincent  Youmans during World War I when he was serving in the U.S. Navy.  It was heard by famed bandleader John Phillip Sousa who performed it as a march.  In 1927 lyrics by Leo Robin and Clifford Grey were added and the song was renamed "Hallelujah!"  It was first performed by Vaudeville star Stella Mayhew in the Broadway musical Hit the Deck.  The musical was revived as a motion picture in 1955

January 17, 2002

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

(From 1927 ad)

Atlanta's Biltmore Hotel still stands - as do the twin WSB radio broadcasting towers on its roof.  After years of abandonment and decay, the building has been rehabilitated into an office and meeting complex.  Read about the Biltmore's rebirth by clicking here.
It All Depends On You        
Ben Bernie and His Hotel 
Roosevelt Orchestra                              1927
(Brunswick 3464-A)

The Ben Bernie Orchestra is best remembered as a "sweet" band that was very popular on network radio in the 1930s.   A decade earlier, however, the group had a much more upbeat "Jazz Age" sound. 

Bernie's was the very first band to play at New York City's Hotel Roosevelt when it opened in 1924.  The booking was so successful that the band remained at the hotel for five years.  Bernie's greatest success came in the 1930s on network radio where he was the beneficiary of a highly publicized on air "feud" with gossip columnist Walter Winchell.  He died in 1943 at the age of 52.

I consider myself a fan of the band's 1920s efforts of which this selection is typical.  Pay particular attention to the "coda" that takes up the last 10 seconds of the recording.  It is quite distinctive and very 1920s.

The Hotel Roosevelt still stands and remains one of New York City's finer hotels.

January 10, 2002

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

(From 1930s postcard)

What's The Use?        
(Fred Hall - Arthur Fields, composers)
The Home Towners
Arthur Fields, vocal                                   1930
(Oriole 1881-B  mx 19358)

What's The Use?        
(Isham Jones - Charles Newman, composers)
Isham Jones' Orchestra                              1930
(Brunswick 4810)

This week you will get to hear two very different songs from 1930 with identical names performed by their composers.

The first selection is a really nice "hot" jazz recording that I picked up recently in a second hand bookstore.   "The Home Towners" was a recording pseudonym used by Fred Hall who co-wrote the song with Arthur Fields, the vocalist on this recording.   Another selection by The Home Towners was featured in my August 30, 2001 update. 

The Isham Jones composition was the more famous of the two.   Jones, who led one of the more popular dance bands of the 1920s and early 1930s, wrote over 100 songs including such hits as "It Had To Be You" and "You've Got Me Crying Again."

I was momentarily confused when I first played the recording by The Home Towners as what I was expecting to hear was the familiar Isham Jones tune.  I think it is interesting how recordings of two songs with identical names could be released in the same year.

January 3, 2002

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
1929 Atwater Kent Ad
(From 1929 ad)

West End Blues          
King Oliver and his Orchestra                  1928
(Victor V-38034-B)

King Oliver's was one of the important early jazz bands. Not only was it one of the first black bands to regularly make records, in 1922 Oliver made an enormous contribution to the future of American jazz and popular music by hiring a then unknown musician from New Orleans named Louis Armstrong.


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