Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
Previous Selections
November 2001

November 29, 2001

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

CONNOISSEURS of motor car beauty have accepted the new Chrysler Imperial as the most beautiful roadster on the road.  It is self-evidently today's masterpiece of style and symmetry --a sports car different from all traditional designs.  The new custom body is the finest expression of the sophisticated taste and masterly technique of Locke, who designed it.  The sloping silhouette and the curve of the bas-relief modeling which sweeps with graceful flourish across the lower section of the body are new notes in roadster appearance--focal points of charm and distinction.  The rumble seat compartment has a door on the curb side and non-shatterable glass.  Besides this alluring newness of custom-body treatment, the new Imperial Roadster possesses that smooth, animated, sparkling performance which instantly typifies the masterful genius of Chrysler engineering.  Price $2895 at the factory. Wire wheels extra.
(From 1929 ad)

You've Made Me Happy Today       
Joe Ryan and His Orchestra 
Harold Lang, vocal                               1929
(Perfect 15242-B)

 One of the many things I love about the popular music of the late 1920s and early 1930s is the distinctive closing passages, known as the coda, featured on many recordings.  Not only did the coda provide a definite sense of finality, it often had a certain grandeur that was typical of so much about the era's cultural style.  This week's selection provides an excellent example.  The recording starts out fairly mundane but, as it progresses, it becomes increasingly snappy and builds up to a unique and, to me, unforgettable finale.  This record has been in my collection for about a dozen years now and is one that I dig out and play fairly often.

I am pretty sure that "Harold Lang" is a pseudonym for vocalist Scrappy Lambert.

Below is a picture of the record's label.  Perfect started out as a subsidiary label of American Pathe and continued to exist into the mid 1930s under the American Record Corporation.  I have always thought that Perfect had one of the prettiest 78 rpm era labels.  During the early 1930s, the worshipping ladies were "modernized" with bobbed hair.


November 22, 2001

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

The Lundstrom Sectional Bookcase
(From 1938 ad)


Cotton Picker's Congregation        
Ambrose And His Orchestra                    1937
(Decca 1526-B mx TB-3138-1)

 I picked up this unusual swing recording a few months ago in the dollar bin of a second hand bookstore and fell for it the moment I played it.  The Ambrose band was one of Great Britain's best and most popular dance bands during the 1930s.

November 15, 2001

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

(From circa 1930s postcard)

Red Wing        
The Merry Macs                                    1940
(Decca 3390-A mx DLA-2065)

Shoot The Sherbert To Me Herbert       
The Merry Macs                                    1939
(Decca 2842-B mx 66496)

While the Merry Macs were one of the most popular vocal teams of the early 1940s, the group got its start in the mid 1920s when three high school age brothers Judd, Joe and Ted McMichael began performing in  Minneapolis under the name "The McMichaels."  In 1927 they were hired by bandleader Joe Haymes who changed their name to "The Personality Boys."  They became known as the Merry Macs with the addition of vocalist Cheri McKay in 1930.  McKay was replaced by Helen Carroll in 1938.  Some of the group's best known recordings include "Mairzy Doats," "Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition" and "The Hut Sut Song."    Ted McMichael passed away earlier this year at the age of 92.

I have always thought that the Merry Macs had a style that was very appropriate for the era.  Listening to them conjures up images in my mind of streamlined trains and sleek art deco buildings.

The song "Red Wing" dates back to 1907 and has been performed in a number of musical genres over the years.  Bob Wills recorded a western swing version and rockabilly star Sammy Masters had a successful 1959 recording of it under the name "Rockin' Red Wing."

"Shoot The Sherbert To Me Herbert" is a rather odd  song - but this is a fun selection nevertheless.  I especially enjoy the "boogie woogie" style piano solo and the vocal effects in the second half of the recording.

November 8, 2001

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

(1942 ad)

November 11 is Veterans' Day or Armistice Day as it is still  called in many countries.  I thought it would be interesting and appropriate to feature a few recordings from World Wars I and II.

What 'll We Do With Him, Boys?       
George L. Thompson, vocal                1918
(Emerson 7366 mx 21032)

This song speculates about the fate of the German Kaiser once he is captured by a bunch of gung-ho doughboys who are about to set sail for World War I. 

G. I. Blues       
Floyd Tillman and His Favorite Playboys    1944
(Decca 6104-A mx 72005)

This recording provides contrast to the  previous selection's optimism.  In it Tillman wonders how his fellow fun loving, fat and lazy Americans are going to be able to win the war.   This was a big hit for Tillman who was also the song's composer.  Incidentally, this selection has the distinction of being  the newest record featured to date on my site.

The Army Air Corps March        
Alvino Rey and His Orchestra 
The King Sisters and Bill Schallen, vocal        1942
(Bluebird B-11476-A)

Most people will probably recognize this tune which is the official song of the United States Air Force.  But back in World War II, the Air Force was called the Army Air Corps.  The King Sisters' vocal gives this selection a nice 1940s feel.

American Patrol         
Glenn Miller and His Orchestra                1942
(His Master's Voice  BD 5942 mx 072230)

I have always been fond of this World War II classic.   This sound file will have a somewhat lower volume than the other selections.  The recording has both very loud and very soft passages - and, for whatever reason, it gave me some difficulty when I encoded it into Real Audio.

November 1, 2001

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

(Sani-Flush - from 1938 ad)

Chick Bullock and His Levee Loungers       1936
(Melotone 06-06-01 mx 18872)

Tain't No Use       
Chick Bullock and His Levee Loungers       1936
(Melotone 06-06-01 mx 18874)

As the in-house vocalist for the American Record Corporation (ARC), Chick Bullock (1908 - 1981)  had one of the most well-known singing voices in America during the 1930s.  Today he is all but forgotten.

The onset of the Great Depression , combined with the increasing popularity of radio, was devastating for the American record industry.  For example, in 1928 the Victor Talking Machine Company sold 37.7 million records.  By 1932 annual Victor sales had dropped over  90%  to a mere 3.1 million.  People were reluctant to spend their precious pennies on records when they could hear the popular tunes of the day over the airwaves for free.

Victor - under the ownership of the powerful Radio Corporation of America since 1929 - managed to survive the Great Depression.  Virtually all of the other 1920s record labels, however, either ceased to exist or were absorbed by ARC.

ARC was formed in 1929 when the Plaza Music Company  merged with Cameo Records.  Cameo itself had only recently merged with American Pathe.  In 1932  ARC acquired Brunswick Records which became the company's flagship label.  The once mighty Columbia label was acquired in 1934 for a mere $70,500. 

All of the record companies ARC acquired had a number of subsidiary labels - most of which were phased out.  After the Romeo, Perfect, Banner and Oriole labels were eliminated in 1935,  ARC's main labels were  Brunswick, Vocalion and Melotone.  In 1938, ARC was acquired by the Columbia Broadcasting System  and Columbia  became the new flagship product.

Bullock's show business career was limited to records and radio by a disfiguring ailment that caused the white of one of his eyes to turn black.  His  "Levee Loungers" were, in reality, the ARC studio orchestra.  The staff changed from session to session, but often included some of the era's top jazz talent. 

Bullock  retired in the early 1940s  to pursue a career in real estate. 

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