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Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
Previous Selections
July 2002
July 25, 2002

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
Vintage Coca-Cola ad

So easy to take home
the six-bottle carton

The handy six-bottle carton is for your provide the pause that refreshes with ice cold Coca-Cola in your home.  All the family will welcome this pure refreshment, pure as sunlight.

(From  1938 ad)
Sweet LeilaniClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Don Redman and His Orchestra                 1939
(Bluebird B-10081-A)

This pretty tune was composed by Harry Owens, a Nebraska-born bandleader who wrote and performed Hawaiian music in the 1930s and 1940s.   In 1937, Bing Crosby discovered the song while in Honolulu for the filming of Waikiki Wedding and insisted that it be included in the movie.   It proved to be a good choice as the song won the 1937 Academy Award for best song and gave Bing his first gold record.

The jazzed up interpretation performed by the Don Redman Orchestra in this week's selection is, in my opinion, simply outstanding and far more interesting than the more straight forward Crosby version.

Don Redman was a conservatory trained musician/arranger/composer who  was supposedly able to play virtually any musical instrument in the band.  As an arranger, he was highly influential in the development of big band jazz.  From  1924 through 1927, he worked for the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra and helped it gain its reputation as being one of the "hottest" bands in Harlem.  In 1927, Redman became music director for McKinney's Cotton Pickers - an all-black unit of Jean Goldkette's dance band empire.  By the early 1930s, Redman was fronting  his own band (which, incidentally, is one of my personal favorites from the era).  He was also the first black bandleader to have his own radio program.

The "swing choir" style vocal heard on this week's recording  was a Don Redman invention that was widely copied by others - the most famous example being Tommy Dorsey's big hit recording of "Marie." Redman died in 1964.

I have never been able to find very many Don Redman 78 rpms  - but I do have a lot of his recordings on CD reissues, a number of which are included in my radio station's playlist.

July 18, 2002

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
The Blackstone Hotel - Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
"Fort Worth's Hotel of Distinction"
(From circa 1930s hotel stationary)

Abandoned for over 15 years, Fort Worth's art deco Blackstone Hotel has been brought back to life as a Courtyard by Marriott.  Click here to read more about its history and rebirth.

ScatterbrainClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Frankie Masters and His Orchestra 
Frankie Masters, vocal                            1939
(Vocalion 4915 mx W24696)

Frankie Masters was active as a bandleader from the late 1920s through the 1970s.  The height of his popularity, however, was in the early 1940s based largely on the success of this week's featured recording which was Masters' first and biggest hit. "Scatterbrain" held the number one position on the US record charts for eight weeks. During this period, the Masters band employed a stylistic gimmick billed as "Bell Tone Music."  The reason for the name will become quite evident when you listen to the recording.

I am not familiar with Masters' efforts in his later years, but I have a number of his 78 rpms from the early 1940s.  Some are quite good and others less so.  Overall, however,  I find his "Bell Tone" style to be rather charming - at least in limited doses.

July 11, 2002

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
Vintage Pullman Camping Touring Coach ad
(From 1928 ad)


That's My Weakness NowClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra        1928
(Victor 21497-A  mx 45609)

This song was quite popular in 1928 and was recorded by a number of bands and vocalists.  I can't say that this is one of my favorite versions of it, but it is one of the few that I have in 78 rpm format and it does have a pretty decent jazz solo during the final 40 seconds or so.

July 4, 2002

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
RADIO CITY - Rockefeller Center   New York


Guided Tours & Observation Roofs
Museum of Science and Industry
NBC Studio & Television Tour
Rainbow Room - Rainbow Grill
Radio City Music Hall
PEDAC "House of Homes"
Newsreel Theatre
160 Shops & Services

(From 1939 brochure)

When I recently realized that this week's update happens to fall on Independence Day, it occurred to me that I might want to find a selection with a patriotic American theme.  But how much more uniquely American can one get than the early 20th century jazz and dance band music that I feature on this site and on my radio station every day of the year?  So I decided to simply go ahead with the selection I had already planned. 

I do, however, want to take a moment to say that I am indescribably proud to be an American.  The United States is more than just so many people who happen to live within a certain geographical boundary.  It is a frame of mind best expressed 226 years ago on this date by Thomas Jefferson:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That, to secure these rights, governments ae instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."
For the first time in human history, the lone individual - the world's most vulnerable and oppressed minority -  was politically recognized as an end unto himself.   As a result, courageous people from all corners of the globe came  to pursue dreams and ambitions that were either persecuted or looked down on in their native lands - and they build the most innovative, dynamic and prosperous country the world has ever seen.

Today, as we are all painfully aware, there are people who are actively seeking to destroy America.   What these barbarians seek to destroy is not a certain population of people.  The object of their hatred is very the ideas set forth by Jefferson.  Such people do not believe that all men are created equal - they are openly racist and brutally oppress all females in their countries.  They do not believe in the pursuit of happiness.  Happiness, they claim, must be sacrificed to an allegedly higher cause, such as Allah - and those who do not wish to do so must themselves be sacrificed in His name.  They are people who wish to turn the human race back to a level of misery and poverty the world has not seen since the Middle Ages - which is exactly what they did in Afghanistan. 

The battle that America is confronted with this July 4th is more than just a fight  to defend America from a bunch of thugs - it is a battle to preserve civilization itself.  No matter where you may live in the world and no matter how much you may love your native land, if the above quoted words of Thomas Jefferson ring true, then you, too, are an American. 


Vintage Oriole Record Label

Puttin' On The RitzClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
The Clevelanders
Ralph Haines, vocal                         1930
(Oriole 1881-A mx 19368)

This week's selection is what I consider to be a very interesting and entertaining interpretation of an Irving Berlin classic.  Unfortunately, the opening seconds of the record are somewhat noisy and it contains a brief skip that could not be repaired.   Nevertheless, I like it so much that I cannot resist including it.

"The Clevelanders" is a recording pseudonym for the Harry Reser band. 


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