Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
Previous Selections
October 2001

October 25, 2001

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

- No spring or fall window screening duties
- Rolscreens are built in with the windows
-They roll up and down
-All Metal Construction

46 Main Street, Pella, Iowa
(From 1928 ad)


Selections From "Show Boat"
Paul Whiteman and his Concert Orchestra     1928
(Victor 35912-B mx  43123)

The tunes featured in this week's recording may already be familiar to even the younger site visitors. "Show Boat" was one of the most influential musicals of the 20th century.  It was the first major musical in which the acting and music revolved around a strong central plot.  The musical  has been successfully revived a number of times both on stage and on film.  The original production opened on December 27, 1927 at New York's Ziegfield Theatre and ran for 572 performances.

"Show Boat" was an instant success and its songs were recorded by many of the popular bands of the day.   This recording comes from an oversized 12 inch 78 rpm record and was recorded on March 1, 1928.  The Whiteman band may have been in its "concert orchestra" mode, but its roster included some of the top jazz talent of the day.  One of the highlights comes 1 minute 10 seconds into the recording with the sudden, radiant blast on the cornet by the legendary  Bix Beiderbecke.

The flip side of the record features the Whiteman orchestra with Paul Robeson  singing the musical's most famous song "Ol' Man River."  When it was recorded, Robeson  was still part of the musical's London cast.   It wasn't until 1929 that Roberson joined the American production.  I will have to feature it sometime in a future update.

October 18, 2001

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

Chrysler Eight Deluxe ad - 1933


Beside An Open Fireplace
Rudy Vallée and His Connecticut Yankees 
Rudy Vallée, vocal                                   1930
(Victor 22284-B)

Audio File Updated September 11, 2004
Over Somebody Else's Shoulder
Will Osborne and His Orchestra 
Will Osborne, vocal                                 1934
(Melotone M-12935 mx 14826)

During the early days of network radio, there were  several on-air "feuds" between big name stars.   These feuds were not only entertaining for audiences, they also generated lots of publicity and name recognition for the participants.  Two of the longest running and most famous were the Jack Benny-Fred Allen feud and the feud between Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.   Bandleaders also got into the act - for example, Ben Bernie had a long running feud with columnist Walter Winchell.    The subject of this week's update is the feud between crooners Rudy Vallee and Will Osborne - both of whom had their own dance bands.

Rudy Vallee catapulted to fame in 1928 when his band, which was performing at New York's Heigh Ho Club, landed a program on a national radio broadcast emanating from radio station WABC.   In 1929, Vallee and his band left for Hollywood and a starring role in the film "Vagabond Lover."  His replacement at the Heigh Ho Club and on the broadcasts was Will Osborne, who had a vocal style remarkably  similar to Vallee's.  Soon a debate broke out between Vallee's and Osborne's respective fans over who was the better vocalist and who deserved credit for inventing crooning - the soft style of singing made possible by the advent of the microphone.  The truth is that neither man deserved credit for inventing the style - artists such as "Whispering" Jack Smith, Johnny Marvin and  Gene Austin all preceded them by a few years. 

Vallee and Osborne both had a very nasal style of singing.  I have always thought that Vallee sounded like he had a clothes pin on his nose, although I do enjoy many of his records.   Osborne sounded that way as well - but his voice was a bit deeper.  So who was the better crooner?  Well,  you decide.

October 11, 2001

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

Crazy Water Crystals are the minerals extracted by evaporation from the natural Crazy Mineral Water at Mineral Wells, Texas.  Not one grain of any other thing is added.  One standard size package contains the minerals extracted from approximately 12 gallons of natural Crazy Mineral Water.  Simply add to ordinary drinking water in about that proportion.

Mineral Water, made from Crazy Water Crystals, gently but thoroughly flushes accumulated waste from the bowels.  It neutralizes acidity.  It is not irritating, and it is not habit forming.  It is pleasant but thorough, and entirely without unpleasant after-effects.

The Home of Crazy Water Crystals


The Crazy Water Company
(From 1930s product packaging and promotional literature.)

Cheer Up
Hollywood Dance Orchestra                      1926 
(Regal 8184-B mx 6847)
New!(Audio file updated 8/29/02)

The recording quality on  the lower priced labels of the mid-1920s may not have always been the best -  but the dance tunes often had a certain upbeat spirit that has absolutely no counterpart in the popular music of today.

October 4, 2001


This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by:
The Westbrook Hotel  Fort Worth, Texas
Rates $1.50 to $3.00
"Fort Worth's Friendly Hotel"

What Good Am I Without You?
Dan Ritchie & His Orchestra
Helen Rowland, vocal                              1930
(Romeo 1530-A  mx 10319-2)

What Good Am I Without You?
Fletcher Henderson & His  Orchestra        1930
(Columbia 2352-D  mx 150998)
As any regular visitor to this site can testify, one of the nice things about popular music from the Great Depression is that it was, more often than not, anything but depressing. But there were exceptions.  Both of the recordings featured this week are quite melancholy and, I think, capture the mood of  what the early 1930s must have been like for many.

Helen Rowland is one of my favorite Depression era vocalists and was a fitting choice for this song. (You can also hear other recordings by her in the June 2001 and December 2000 updates in the archives at the bottom of the page.) 

"Dan Ritchie" was a recording  pseudonym used at various times by the Will Osborn, Nye Mayhew and Vincent Rose orchestras on Romeo, Perfect, Melotone and other bargain labels issued by the American Record Corporation.  I am not sure exactly which band is featured on this particular recording..  (Note:  A visitor was kind enough to write  in and inform me that it was the Sam Lanin Orchestra.)

The Fletcher Henderson instrumental version, while being somewhat more upbeat and jazzy, is still very much on the gloomy side.

I promise that I will feature something a bit more cheerful next week.

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