Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
Previous Selections
December 2000

December 28

Stop! And Reconsider     Right click here to download to hard drive.
Jan Savitt and his Top Hatters 
The Three Toppers, vocal                     1938
(Bluebird B-7493-B)

The beat that you hear during the intro and throughout the rest of this recording was a stylistic gimmik called "Shuffle Rhythm" that the Savitt band used to differentiate itself.  Born in Russia, Savitt was considered a child prodigy on the violin.  At age 15, he became the youngest musician ever to join Leopold Stokowski's Philidelphia Symphony.  Savitt crossed over to popular music and was featured on nationally broadcast radio programs emanating from Philidelphia radio station KYW.  His band's success continued throughout the 1940s .  In 1948, Savitt was stricken with a cerebral hemorrhage and died at the age of 36. 

December 21
Let's Have Another Cup O' Coffee/StrangersRight click here to download to hard drive.
Phil Spitalny's Music 
Helen Rowland & Trio, vocal                1932

What better way to innauguarate this section than with an actual Hit of the Week record?  By 1932, the Durium Company had improved their product so that it had a playing time of  about 5 minutes - nearly twice that of the standard 10 inch 78rpm record of the day.  Some Hit of the Weeks devote all five minutes to a single  selection.  Others, such as this one,  contained two selections or "tracks."  Rival record manufacturers took notice and briefly considered releaing their own 5minute records.  It became a mute issue, however, when Durium folded in June, 1932. 

 "Let's Have Another Cup O' Coffee" is, in my opinion, the ultimate Depression-era "cheer up and smile" tune - and this particular version is my favorite.  I think Helen Rowland's voice is absolutely perfect for the song.  Sadly, she is all but forgotten today.  And the trio on this is hilarous - they would fit right in on a soundtrack of an early cartoon.  The reference to "Mister Herbert Hoover" adds a nice historical touch to things.  The times may have been dismal for most folks in 1932, but the music was anything but! 

 To me, the definitive version of "Strangers" is Mildred Bailey's haunting rendition, also from 1932.   This version is much more upbeat and cheerful.  Perhaps Durium executives figured that the last thing folks in 1932 wanted to spend their precious pennies on was a sad song that was actually sad! 

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