Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
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March 200

March 29, 2001

Sunny Side Up         
Chick Endor, vocal                                    1929
(Victor 22274)

I think this song is a true classic.  Many visitors will already be familiar with the version by Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders that can be found on the April 1998 update to this site's 1920s &1930s section.   This recording, in my opinion, is not as fun as the Kentucky Serenaders', but it does provide the complete lyrics.  Chick Endor was a cabaret and revue artist who was very popular in New York and London in the late '20s and early '30s.

Those interested in comparing can click here to listen to the Johnny Hamp version.

March 22, 2001


Joyous Music From Hell: Nazi Era Film Soundtracks

The selections presented here are from an out of print German CD set that I came across a few years ago.  Because the only copyright explicitly claimed on the CDs and the liner notes is a compilation copyright, I feel comfortable presenting a few of them for your education and enjoyment.  However, to be on the safe side, I do ask that you please not download the files to your hard drive.  This site is not Napster!

It is my hope that this week's update will both entertain you  and, at the same time, send a chill down your spine. 

Personally, I get an indescribably creepy feeling every time I play these recordings.  I love them - and when I listen to them, I wish that I could be in a place and a time where the popular culture of the day could relate to and appreciate such a happy, upbeat mood.  At the same time, however, I cannot help but be aware of what was happening in the culture and in the world just outside the doors of the studios where they were recorded. 

These recordings are the product of an entertainment industry that was under strict censorship and control by a totalitarian regime that turned murder into a large scale industry. By the time it was over, this regime had snuffed out the lives of over 5.8 million helpless individuals whose existence had already been transformed into a living hell.  This regime came into power by popular vote and enjoyed wide support with the German public - the same public whose entertainment these recordings were made for.

Other than the words (which, by the way, since I do not speak German, I am not able to understand), there is little that is especially German about these recordings. Despite being banned as the product of  the "inferior Negro race," the influence of American jazz  is obvious and overwhelming.  What is significant is that it had a public appeal and was disseminated with the full  knowledge and consent of the regime.  American styled popular music was, quite obviously, much more than a mere underground protest as was suggested by the 1993 movie Swing Kids.

How was it possible that such joyous and beautiful music could exist in a land filled with tyranny, fear and oppression?  Was it embraced as an escape and as a beacon of light from a better world?  Or was it just another way for the regime and those who supported it to pretend that they were civilized human beings?  All I know is that, whenever I listen, I cannot help but wonder if, after a hard day's work at the death camps, some S.S. agent took his sweetheart to a village cinema and danced in the aisles to these tunes.  The thought that such a person and I could have a similar aesthetic response towards anything gives me the creeps.

It is easy to listen to the music of the '20s and '30s and conclude that those decades must have been happy times.  In some respects, particularly in the United States, they were.  But it was also a time when people around the world were urged to sacrifice in the name of various utopianistic schemes - and sacrificed they were, by the millions.  The USSR  murdered even more people than did Hitler. All the while, radio sets everywhere blared out happy and melodic dance music.  Thugs are not always jackbooted.  The 20th century was mankind's grandest and, simultaneously, most barbaric. I think the contradictions of these recordings mirror the contradictions of a century.

Click on the song title to listen to an individual selection or click here to listen to all of them in the order listed.

Komm, spiel mit mir Blindekuh
Willi Forst                                           1936
From: "Allotria"

Fräulein, Sie durfen heut nicht allein sein
Lisa Lesco                                          1943
From: "Ein Mann mit Grundsätzen"

Geh' ruhig zu einer anderen
Rosita Serrano                                    1940
From: "Herzensfreud - Herzensleid"

Jawoll, meine Herrn
Heinz Rühmann,  HansAlbers              1937
From: "Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war"

Ich sage ja
Margot Hielscher                                1943
From: "Frauen sind keine Engel"

Ich hab' die schönen Mädels nicht erfunden
Ethel Reschke, Rudi Godden               1940
From: "Der ungertreue Ekkehart"

Der Onkel Doktor hat gesagt...
Peter Igelhoff                                     1938
From: "Zwei Frauen"

Ich habe eine starke und eine scwache Seite
Fita Benkhoff                                     1942
From: "Meine Freundin Josefine"

Wir machen Musik
Ilse Werner                                       1942
From: "Wir machen Musik"

Ich mochte so gerne
Marika Rokk                                     1942
From: "Ahb mich lieb"

Recommended Reading:
Modern Times   by Paul Johnson
The Ominous Parallels  by Leonard Peikoff

March 15, 2001
Sing Me A Baby Song        Right click to download to hard drive.
Vaughn DeLeath, vocal                   1927
(Victor 20787-B)

Vaughn DeLeath was one of the first female singers to appear on radio during the early 1920s  and, therefore, was often billed as "The Original Radio Girl" or as "Radio's First Song Sensation."  She was born in 1896 and became a concert artist when she was still a teenager.  She also appeared in vaudeville and was the composer of several popular songs.  In 1939, she made pioneering appearances in yet another new entertainment medium - television.  Vaughn DeLeath died in 1943.

I think this is a pretty song.  When I finally get around to putting up the next update for this site's 1920s & 1930s section, I plan to feature a really upbeat version that I like much better.

Last week, I put up a trivia question asking which present day television program got its start on radio and has been in continuous production since the late 1930s.  Do you know the answer?  If not, click here and find out.

March 8, 2001

Jersey Jive            Right click to download to hard drive.
Ozzie Nelson & His Orchestra                     1941
(Bluebird B-11180-B)

When most "youngsters" under the age of 60 hear the name "Ozzie Nelson," they think of the popular 1950s and 1960s television program "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet."  What they may not realize is that, two decades earlier, Nelson was a popular bandleader and his wife, Harriet Hilliard was the band's vocalist.

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1906, Oswald "Ozzie" Nelson got his show business start by leading college bands while attending Rutgers University in the 1920s.  After Rutgers, he enrolled in the New Jersey School of Law but dropped out to focus on his band.  In 1930 he began making records for Brunswick and gained additional exposure in 1932 when his band was booked at the Glen Island Casino for the summer.  1932 was also the year that Harriet Hilliard (real name, Peggy Lou Snyder) joined the band as its vocalist.  Nelson and Hilliard were married in 1935.  Most of the band's male vocals were done by Nelson himself.  The band was prominent on network radio and served as the house band for several programs including  Robert L. Ripley's "Believe It or Not."  "The Feg Murray Show," "The Joe Penner Show" and  "The Red Skelton Show."  In October 1944, "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" made its debut on CBS.  The program continued for 22 years, moving to television in the 1950s.    The Nelsons' sons, David and Ricky, were regular cast members -  helping Ricky became a pop music star in his own right.  Ozzie Nelson died in 1975.  Harriet continued to make occasional television appearances  through the 1980s - including a 1989 appearance on "Father Dowling Mysteries" which starred grandaughter Tracy Nelson.  She died in 1994.

Ozzie Nelson was also a composer and wrote the song featured in this week's recording.

Here is a trivia question for you.  "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" was not the only radio program to make a successful transition to television and enjoy a long run.  One network television program that is still on the air today has been in continuous production since its start on radio in 1938.  Do you know the name of that program?  If not, I will provide the answer in next week's update.  Hint: it is not a news program.

March 1, 2001

Avalon Town           Right click to download to hard drive.
Colonial Club Orchestra
Scrappy Lambert, vocal                               1929
(Brunswick 4189)

The Colonial Club Orchestra was pseudonym used primarily by the Bob Haring Orchestra (though a few recordings were made by other bands) on the Brunswick label.  The vocalist on this recording, Scrappy Lambert, was one of the more frequently recorded vocalists of the late '20s and early '30s.

It turns out that I unknowingly scheduled the Haring band to appear in this section for two weeks in a row.  A visitor to the site has  informed me that the band on last week's recording of "Oriental Moonlight" under the pseudonym "The Night Hawks" was also Bob Haring's.  That same recording was also issued on the Lincoln label under the  name  of "Lane's Dance Orchestra."  Other names that the Haring band recorded under included "The Alabama Red Peppers," "The Caroliners," "The Majestic Dance Orchestra," "The Dixie Daisies"  and "Oppenheim's Benjamin Franklin Hotel Orchestra."  Some of these pseudonyms were used by other bands as well.  As you can see, keeping up with who recorded what  under which name can be confusing. 

The widespread use of recording pseudonyms pretty much died out by the mid-1930s.  Part of the reason may have been the arrival of Decca Records in the USA in 1934.   Decca featured top name talent for the same price as its competitors' bargain labels. 

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