Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
Previous Selections
August 2001

August 30, 2001

Let's Get Together       
The Home Towners                          1929
(Romeo 932 mx 3750)
This strange but whimsically fun selection definitely falls into the "novelty record" category.  The command at the beginning to "Let's go!" is somehow very appropriate and sets the tone for everything that follows.  I find the jazz solos featured throughout to be especially interesting and enjoyable.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any information about who The Home Towners were other than the fact that they made several other records on the Romeo, Cameo and Banner labels. (This particular recording was also released on Cameo 9130)  My guess is that the name was probably just a recording pseudonym and not an actual group.  If anyone out there knows for sure, I would be interested in knowing - and if I receive it in time, I will include the information with next week's update.

Note:  Several people were kind enough to write in and let me know that "The Home Towners," was a recording  pseudonym for Fred "Sugar" Hall and his Sugar Babies.  The vocal on the recording was by Arthur Fields.

August 23, 2001
I Can't Give You Anything But Love      
Lou Gold and his Orchestra                 1928
(Harmony 660-H)
This song - which is still occasionally performed - comes from Lew Leslie's hit musical review "Blackbirds of 1928"  which featured an all-black cast and starred Adelaide Hall and Bill "Bogangles" Robinson.  The show premiered May 9, 1928 at New York's Liberty Theatre and ran for 519 performances.  Other famous tunes from the show included: "Doin' The New Low Down," "Digga Digga Do" and "I Must Have That Man."   There were several successful all-black Broadway productions in the 1920s - a decade that coincided with what is now referred to as the Harlem Renaissance.

Other than the song, however,  this week's selection has little else to do with the Harlem Renaissance.  The Lou Gold band was an all-white studio orchestra that cranked out popular tunes under different pseudonyms for several  companies.  This recording comes from an old Harmony Record.  Harmony Records  are a frequent source of frustration for '20s era music fans as  it was the last American label to begin recording electrically.  In 1923, the Columbia Phonograph Company made a major investment in upgrading its acoustical recording equipment to what was then state of the art.   Less than two years later, however, it was rendered obsolete by the advent of electrical recording.  Not wanting such recently acquired equipment to go to waste, Columbia executives decided to continue using it for its lower priced subsidiary labels such as Clarion, Diva, Velvet Tone and Harmony.   That is why this week's recording has a certain 'flat" sound to it.  It wasn't until 1930 that Harmony completely switched over to electrical recording - long after the rest of the industry, including rival bargain labels. 

August 16, 2001
Harry Reser, banjo 
Bill Wirges, piano                      1927
(Brunswick  3485-A)
While many consider Harry Reser to have been one of the world's greatest banjo players , he is best remembered for his dance band The Clicquot Club Eskimos which had one of the first nationally sponsored radio programs over the then new NBC Red Network in the mid 1920s. (Clicquot Club was a brand name for a line of soft drinks.)  In addition to its work in radio, Reser's band made hundreds of records throughout the 1920s and early 1930s under dozens of pseudonyms including The Jazz Pilots, The Six Jumping Jacks, The Campus Boys, The Rounders and the Park Lane Orchestra. 

Reser's peppy banjo solos were a fixture on most of his band's recordings but they were usually quite brief.  This week's selection will provide visitors with an opportunity to hear him perform at greater length.  The pianist, Bill Wirges was a member of Reser's band  (The band even made some records under the pseudonym of Bill Wirges and His Orchestra.) I particularly enjoy the musical "duel" between banjo and piano halfway through the recording.

Harry Reser recordings previously featured on this site include:

I've Never Seen A Straight Banana
Harry Reser's Jazz Pilots    1927  (1920s & 1930s Section Volume I)

Where The Shy Little Violets Grow 
The Campus Boys   1928   (1920s & 1930s Section Volume IV)

Highways Are Happy Ways
Harry Reser's Rounder's   1928  (1920s & 1930s Section Volume V)

August 9, 2001
Boo-Wa Boo-Wa       
Larry Clinton's Bluebird Orchestra 
Jack Palmar, vocal                              1940
(Bluebird B-10820-A)
When Larry Clinton formed his band in 1937, he was already well known in the music business as an arranger and the composer of  successful songs such as "The Dipsey Doodle," and "A Study In Brown."  Vocalist Bea Wain helped give the band several of its biggest hits including "My Reverie," "Deep Purple" and "Heart and Soul."  While much of the band's output tended to be on the "sweet" side, it also had its share of "swing" recordings as well as this week's selection demonstrates.

"Bluebird" refers to Bluebird Records - RCA Victor's lower priced subsidiary label.

August 2, 2001
If I Had A Talking Picture of You        
Rodman Lewis, vocal                       1929
(Domino 4456-A)
The words to this song sound very dated - but that is part of its charm.  Today, nobody refers to movies as "talking pictures" and they are anything but a novelty.

Appropriately enough, it was in one of those early talking pictures that the song was first introduced - the 1929 movie musical Sunny Side Up which starred Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. 

A number of other successful hits also came out of the film including  the title tune "Sunny Side Up" as well as "I'm A Dreamer Aren't We All?" and "Turn On The Heat"   Some of these tunes can be heard elsewhere on this site.

This particular recording was made in 1929 but was not released until early 1930.

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