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Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
Previous Selections
January 2005



January 20, 2005
 


This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
United States Lines - 45 Broadway, New York City

United States Lines
(From 1926 ad)



 

1926 Columbia Viva-Tonal label





The Birth Of The BluesClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Leo Reisman and His Orchestra             1926
(Columbia 701-D mx 142386)
 

Here I AmClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Leo Reisman and His Orchestra             1926
(Columbia 701-D mx 142387)
 
 

Here are two selections by the songwriting team of Buddy DeSylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson.

"The Birth of the Blues" comes from the musical review George White's Scandals of 1926.    The show opened on June 14, 1926 at the Apollo Theatre on 42nd Street and ran for 424 performances.  The Apollo Theatre was previously known as the Bryant Theatre when it opened in 1910.  It was renamed the Academy Theatre in 1983 and was demolished in 1996.   The first Scandals production opened in 1919 and the only years during the 1920s decade that did not see a new production were 1921 and 1927.   There were also productions in 1931, 1935 and 1939. 

The record's label does not indicate that "Here I Am" was included in the Scandals of 1926 - but I was able to find a catalog of sheet music on the web that claims that it was. 

Leo Reisman's bandleading career began in the late 1910s and lasted into the 1940s.   His band was mostly a hotel band which catered to a high society crowd.  In the early 1930s, the band had a successful and lengthy engagement at New York's Waldorf =Astoria Hotel.   I think the band's best records were the ones it made on the Viva-Tonal Columbia label in the mid to late 1920s. 
 

 

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. 
 
 

Nights Of GladnessClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Mayfair Orchestra                       1912
(His Master's Voice C-261  mx 6938f)
 

Dance Of The Little Feet - GavotteClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
de Groot's Orchestra                   1912
(His Master's Voice C-261 mx 6924f)

Here are a couple of rather charming examples of a genre often referred to as "light music" which was popular in Great Britain during the first two decades of the 20th century.   Both recordings are from an old British 12 inch His Master's Voice disc.  The first several seconds of each side are not in the best of condition - but the sound quality improves significantly as the record progresses. 

"Nights of Gladness" was composed in 1912 by Charles Ancliffe, a British bandmaster who was a prolific composer of marches and waltzes.  "Nights of Gladness" was his most famous work and it later became the theme song of a BBC radio program of the same name.   The song was also used in old Wurlitzer mechanical band organs which provided music for carousels.  It certainly sounds like something that one would expect to hear on a carousel.

I don't have any information about the Mayfair Orchestra other than the fact that it had nothing to do with London's Mayfair Hotel which did not open until 1927.    The Mayfair is famous as being home to England's top dance bands in the late 1920s and 1930s. 

I have not been very successful in finding much information about "Dance of the Little Feet."  The label credits the composer as someone named De Braville.   There was a French composer,  Pierre De Braville,  who lived from 1861 - 1949.  But I have not been able to find any reference to him having composed the song.  The only listing I could find on the web about the song was in a sheet music catalog lists that the composer as being  "G. De Braville."  It also mentions an alternative French title for the song, "Petis Pieds."  The French title makes me wonder if perhaps the "G" was a typo error.   The sheet music catalog gives a 1912 copyright date for the song - which may or may not be the song's original publication date.   Multiple sheet music arrangements of a particular song that were published in different years frequently reflected different copyright dates.   The song is described as a gavotte which  is a style of dance that dates back to the 16th century and remained popular into the late 18th century. 

I also don't have much information on de Groot's Band.  The band did make quite a few recordings for His Master's Voice in the 1910s and the label on this one indicates that "Herr de Groot" was conducting.   As far as I can tell, however, the band was based in Britain and not Germany. 



January 13, 2005
 
 

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
SPAM - Delicious Meat of Many Uses....By Hormel   Click on image for larger view.
(Click on image for larger view)
SPAM
Delicious Meat of Many Uses
(From 1938 ad)



 

 

Artie Shaw
Artie Shaw
1910 - 2004







Burns & Allen Show Intro MusicClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra
The Three Smoothies, vocal        August 26, 1940
Burns & Allen Broadcast 
 

Sweet SueClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra      August 5, 1940
Burns & Allen Broadcast 
 

TemptationClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra      July 29,1940 
Burns & Allen Broadcast 
 

Begin The BeguineClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra      Sept 9, 1940
Burns & Allen Broadcast 
 

My Heart Stood StillClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra      Sept 30, 1940
Burns & Allen Broadcast
 

StardustClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra     October 14, 1940
Burns & Allen Broadcast
 

Musical Ad For SpamClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra
Program Cast, vocal                   Nov 18, 1940
Burns & Allen Broadcast
 

Canto Karabali (Jungle Drums)Click on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra      Jan 20, 1941
Burns & Allen Broadcast
 

George Tries To Break Up 
Gracie and ArtieClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Program Cast                             March 17, 1941
Burns & Allen Broadcast
(Sound file is 20 minutes long and includes performance of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and a performance of "Let's Get Away From It All" with vocal by Gracie Allen) 

Begin The Beguine
Program Close w/ NBC ChimeClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra       Sept 9, 1940
Burns & Allen Broadcast 
 

My previous update from three weeks ago featuring Henry King and His Orchestra presented several excerpts from episodes of the Burns & Allen radio program.  At the time, I had no way of knowing that I would again be presenting Burns & Allen excerpts on my very next update.   But, of course, I had no way of knowing that only one week later Artie Shaw, the last surviving top name bandleader from the swing and big band eras, would pass away at the age of 94.   It is only appropriate that this website, in some way, commemorates his passing. 

The Artie Shaw Orchestra was the house band for the 1940-1941 season of the Burns & Allen radio program which, at the time, aired Monday evenings on NBC under the sponsorship of Spam, a canned meat product made by the Geo. A. Hormel company.   In addition to leading the band, Shaw was a full member of the program's cast and regularly participated in the program's comedy routines. 

The band that appears on these broadcast excerpts was the one that Shaw formed earlier in 1940 after he emerged from his brief retirement in Mexico.  This particular band had a heavy emphasis on the strings section and its big hit recording was of a song that Shaw discovered in Mexico, "Frenesi."    It is interesting to compare these recordings to Shaw's commercially issued records of the same songs.  The version featured here of Cole Porter's "Begin The Beguine" is quite a bit different from Shaw's 1937 hit recording which propelled him to fame.   You can also compare the version here of "Canto Karabali", also known as "Jungle Drums" with Shaw's 1938 recording of the same song which I featured on the November 18, 2004 update. 

Happily  most, if not all ,of Artie Shaw's commercially issued records can be easily found on CD reissues.   Therefore, for this tribute I thought that these Burns & Allen excerpts would provide an opportunity to hear some of Shaw's less well-known performances as well as to hear him  in action during his brief comedy career.   Some of the jokes and gags are a bit dated and stale by today's standards - but, on balance, the humor on the old Burns & Allen broadcasts has tended to hold up better than many of the other radio comedies of the era. 

While George Burns and Gracie Allen were married in real life, it wasn't until 1942 when their radio program adopted the sitcom format that they appeared on the air in the role of  husband and wife.  Prior to that, their radio program was based on their old vaudeville routine with Gracie routinely flirting and falling in love with various guest stars and bandleaders.   Gracie and Artie Shaw had such an on-air romance that lasted for several of the season's later episodes.  Featured here is all but the first 10 minutes of the 1941 St. Patrick's Day broadcast in which George schemes to break up the romance. 

In the early 1940s, it was still common practice for radio shows to incorporate the sponsor's commercials into the program's content.  The musical commercial for Spam is one of the more clever and entertaining examples I have come across. 

In his personal life, Shaw was one of those "tortured intellectual" types who was constantly trying to "find" himself.  He married - and divorced - eight times.  He retired in 1954 and spent a lot of time over the subsequent decades writing fiction and an unpublished semi autobiographical novel.  In an 1993 interview Shaw said:  I'm convinced that the major problem for the artist is the disparity between what he's trying to do and what the audience perceives. The very nature of an artist is that you are thinking of value; the very nature of an audience is that you are thinking of amusement. Entertainment versus art. But art was never meant to be entertaining.  Personally, I profoundly disagree and have never bought into such an alleged "art verses entertainment" dichotomy - and submit as an example Shaw's own highly successful recordings from the late '30s and early '40s. 

 

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. 
 
 
 

I have not prepared an "extra" recording for this week.  However, I do encourage Artie Shaw fans to check out Ian House's memorial tribute at http://www.ianhouse.com/artie/artie.htm which features an extended recording of  Shaw's "Concerto For Clarinet"  from the soundtrack of his 1940 film Second Chorus.   Also worth visiting is Ian's attractive and informative tribute to one of the great and, sadly, largely forgotten female vocalists of the 1920s.


 
 

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