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Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
Previous Selections
September 2003

September 25, 2003

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
LaSalle - Companion Car To Cadillac.  Click On Image For Larger View
(Click On Image For Larger View)
Companion Car To Cadillac
(from 1928 ad)

St James Theatre - New York City
Image Copyright ©2003 by Dismuke

Where Were You - Where Was IClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Jerome Conrad And His Orchestra
Edmund Ruffner, vocal                    1928
(Harmony 747-H mx 147080)

Here's a nice and peppy recording I discovered recently while going through a stack of records in my collection that I had not previously listened to.  Too bad that it was recorded for Columbia's Harmony, Diva and Velvet Tone bargain labels which were still using the outdated acoustical equipment left over from when the company's flagship label converted to electrical recording in 1925.

"Jerome Conrad and His Orchestra" was a pseudonym  used by Harry Reser's band so my assumption is that was the case on this recording as well - though I have no specific confirmation. 

The song comes from the George M. Cohan musical Billie which opened on Broadway in October 1928 at Erlanger's Theatre.  That theatre, which was renamed The St. James Theatre in 1932, still houses Broadway productions.  I took the above night time photo of it while on a trip to New York in 2000. 

The only information I have about vocalist Edmund Ruffner is that he appeared in the Broadway adaptation of two operettas - Sigmund Romberg's Princess Flavia in 1925 and Emmerich Kálmán's  The Circus Princess in 1927.  Note the brief "scat" vocal near the end of the recording.

September 18, 2003

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
Grande Courts Tourist Apts. - Mineral Wells, Texas
Grande Courts - Mineral Wells, Texas
This Camp is one of America's finest and an ideal place to rest for a few days.
Three and four room efficiency apartments with every modern convenience.
(from 1929 postcard)


For the past 19 months, I have been using DC-Art audio restoration software in order to clean up the recordings added to this website and to restore the vintage equalization settings that are destroyed whenever pre-1950s  records are played through modern stereo sets.  The software is wonderful - but there is a definite skill involved in using it which is not easy to acquire  by merely reading through instruction manuals that use technical terms which have a tendency to be floating abstractions to a non-audiophile such as myself.  I am a vintage music fan - not an audio engineer.  Sometimes I could get what I thought were great results from the software with relatively little effort.  Other times, however, I would spend an hour or more working on a recording and still have serious doubts about the adequacy of the results.   It  eventually got to the point that I was beginning to regard these weekly updates not as an enjoyable diversion but rather as a chore that some weeks I actually dreaded.  Obviously, something had to be done.

For some while I have been a fan of Rich Conaty's radio program "The Big Broadcast" on WFUV-FM in New York City (also broadcast over the Internet) which is devoted to 1920s and 1930s music.   A lot of the material Rich features on his programs comes from original 78 rpm discs and he  plays them through a machine called the Souvenir VSP made by KAB Electro Acoustics.  Unlike the software, the Souvenir VSP does the sound restoration in real time and simply becomes part of one's hi-fi system. Since I have always been impressed by the sound quality of the 78 rpms on Conaty's program, I decided to give it a try.  My machine arrived a couple of weeks ago and I loved it from the moment I played my first record through it.  I wish I had ordered one a long time ago.

If the Souvenir VSP has a downside, it is that it does not produce the same quality of results that are possible with the software.  But one has to consider that getting excellent results from software can require a significant time investment.   With the Souvenir VSP, one gets very acceptable results instantly thus allowing one to focus on enjoying the music instead of figuring out how to correct the various flaws in the record.

Interestingly enough, for the purposes of preparing sound files for this website, I find that the Souvenir VSP works best in conjunction with the DC-Art software.  I was initially  planning on using the software only  for the purpose of recording the music to my computer's hard drive.  What I discovered is that the software lets me remove  the remaining surface noise left behind by the Souvenir VSP with very little effort and without the audio distortions I would sometimes get from the software's noise reduction filter when I was using it exclusively.   Using the Souvenir VSP, it takes me less than 5 minutes to clean up and process a sound file with the software. Before, it would occasionally take me an hour or more.  Basically, I am now getting better sounding results in only a fraction of the time.

All of this week's selections have been processed using both the Souvenir VSP and the software.  To provide you with a better feel for its capabilities, I have also provided some examples of how the Souvenir VSP sounds without the software.

The bottom line good news is that my putting these weekly updates together will once again become fun - and as an added bonus, visitors will enjoy better sounding recordings as well. 

Hoosier SweetheartClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Jean Goldkette and His Orchestra
Ray Maerer, vocal                                  1927
(Victor 20471-B)

Here's a nice record featuring the legendary Bix Beiderbecke on cornet that I was not familiar with until I recently picked it out of a pile of mostly junk records in a second hand bookstore. 

I am absolutely wild about the final 45 seconds or so of this recording.  Gee, how I wish that music that is capable of conveying such a feeling of carefree joy could somehow come back in style in today's pop culture. 

Click here to listen to how the same recording sounds coming directly from the Souvenir VSP without any further processing through the DC-Art software. 

Have A HeartClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Leo Reisman and His Orchestra
Ben Gordon, vocal                                1931
(Victor 22794-B)

This record is in excellent condition with very few audible flaws.  When processed through the Souvenir VSP and the DC-Art software, the results are downright exquisite. 

For the first selection, I complained about how modern popular music is lacking in its ability to express joy.  For this selection,  I will just say that I wish the music of today was capable of conveying  a similar sense of urbane elegance.  I also think this is a very pretty tune.  Sadly, many popular songs today do not even have a tune.

Click here to listen to how the same recording sounds coming directly from the Souvenir VSP without any further processing through the DC-Art software. 


One great advantage of my new Souvenir VSP is the fact that I will now be able to make much faster progress in updating the older sections of this website with better quality sound files.  Below are 19 selections featured in the August 1999 update to this site's 1920s & 1930s Section which I re-recorded using both the Souvenir VSP and the DC-Art software.  It took me just a few hours this past weekend to do all 19 recordings.   Had I used the software alone, it could have easily taken me the entire weekend.

That Feeling Is Gone
Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
Martha Tilton, vocal                                           1937

Für wen macht eine Frau sich schön?
Hans Söhnker und die Metropol-Vokalisten
MD Robert Redard Tanzorch             circa mid-1930s

Everything's Gonna Be All Right
Frank Harris, vocal                                            1926

Don't Be Like That
Helen Kane, vocal                                              1929

Stop The War (The Cats Are Killin' Themselves)
Wingie Manone And His Orchestra                     1941

Nat Shilkret and The Victor Orchestra 
Gene Austin, vocal                                              1927

Bob White
Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
Martha Tilton, vocal                                            1937

How Could Red Riding Hood?
Plantation Players                                                1926

I Married An Angel
Swing And Sway With Sammy Kaye
Jimmy Brown, vocal                                            1938

Goin' Hollywood
Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra                        1937

They All Laughed
Fred Astaire, vocal 
Johnny Green and His Orchestra                         1937

Little By Little
Johnny Marvin, vocal                                         1929

My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua Hawaii
Ted FioRito and HisOrchestra                             1933

She Really Meant To Keep It
Johnny Mesner and His Music Box Band             1939

Just A Little Longer
Philip Spitalny and His Orchestra
Charles Hart, vocal                                             1926

Don't Be Blue
Floyd Tilman                                                       1939

Broadway Melody
Ben Selvin and His Orchestra                               1929

The Nightmare
Gene Morgan and 
His Loew's State Theatre Orchestra                     1927

Ain't Misbehavin'
Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra            1933

September 11, 2003

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
Gillette Safety Razor Blades
Gillette Safety Razor Blades
(from 1925 ad)

AngryClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders      1925
(Victor 19786)

This is my first update in a number of weeks.  Things have been very busy for me and, unfortunately, using  my audio restoration software can  be time consuming - not to mention a bit frustrating on occasion.   The bottom line is that I was very much in need of a little vacation from the weekly updates - so I took one.   The good news is that I have purchased  a new audio restoration tool which will enable me to  put an update together in significantly less time and with a lot less hassle.  The new equipment did not arrive in time for this week's update, so the selection was prepared using the software.   Next week's update, however, will feature a demonstration of the new tools that I will be using.

Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders was one of the more popular dance bands of the  1920s.   The band's biggest and best remembered hit was "Black Bottom" in 1926 which helped fuel a post Charleston dance craze of the same name


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