Saturday, March 06, 2010

A record rescue

Sorry I've been away...I just haven't had a lot of time to work on Ye Olde Zorche Bloggue. So I'm posting a good-sized bunch o' sides for y'all. Enjoy!

Many of us in the 78-collecting field have gotten phone calls from people who have 78s and just want them out of their attics and cellars. Most of the stuff we see is the stuff that sold well in its era: pop vocals and pop bands (and I'm including anything from Billy Murray to Rosemary Clooney, and Paul Whiteman to Glenn Miller). Oh, and lots of classical! I'm not saying that any of these are sir! It's just that these records are too common for most of us to really bother with.

I recently went on such a this case the person actually carted the records to a convenient location in Providence. Of course, there was a lot of 1940s-50s pop stuff. But there was a large batch of early 1930s records on Brunswick and Victor (and hardly any other labels from the period!). Many were well-loved by their original owners and show obvious signs of wear, others were in better shape. Still, it was a very pleasant surprise to see and hear some of these sides...and I think I'll share some of the more interesting ones with you.

Much of that early 1930s material featured two of the better crooners of the day, Al Bowlly and Bing Crosby.

It's true that many of the Decca sides by Bing can be safely ignored (although there are some gems there too), but I've found that his earlier records on Brunswick tend to be rather good. Some are fantastic, like these two which also feature the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra:

B-13149-A Someone Stole Gabriel's Horn Bing Crosby Brunswick 6533
B-13150-A Stay On the Right Side of the Road Bing Crosby Brunswick 6533
NYC, 14 March 1933: Bing Crosby, with Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, featuring Bunny Berigan, trumpet; Tommy Dorsey, trombone; Jimmy Dorsey, clarinet and alto sax.

This one surprised me a little...Bing is accompanied by Helen (Mrs. Jesse) Crawford's pipe organ:

E-37474-A Can't We Talk It Over Bing Crosby Brunswick 6240
NYC, 21 December 1931: Bing Crosby, vocal; Helen Crawford,
organ of the Paramount Theatre.

Yes, this one was pretty well was its other side, which features Bing with the Mills Brothers:

E-37467-A Dinah Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers Brunswick 6240
NYC 16 December 1931: Bing Crosby, vocal; Mills Brothers, vocal and instrument imitations; studio orchestra with the Dorseys and Bunny Berigan.

It's fun trying to figure out where the band leaves off and the Mills' instrument-imitation takes over.

Here's one of my favorite songs of the period, Blue Prelude:

B-791-A Blue Prelude Bing Crosby Brunswick 6601
Los Angeles, 13 June 1933: Bing Crosby, vocal; Jimmie Greer Orch.

And there's another in a similar down-and-out mood, Black Moonlight, from Bing's picture Too Much Harmony.

LA-4-A Black Moonlight Bing Crosby Brunswick 6643
Los Angeles, 27 August 1933: Bing Crosby, vocal; Jimmie Greer Orch.

Notice the little tympani fills...they add just a little oomph to the record, don't they?

Let's cheer up a bit with this one, from Bing's last session for Brunswick (a month later, he started to record for Decca). It was also from Bing's picture She Loves Me Not:

LA-182-A I'm Hummin' - I'm Whistlin' - I'm Singin' Bing Crosby Brunswick 6938
Los Angeles, 5 July 1934: Bing Crosby, vocal; Irving Aaronson's Commanders.

...and I'm movin' on to another artist...

There were a few Paul Whiteman records in that early 1930s stash...these two feature the irresistable team of Johnny Mercer and Jack Teagarden.

81715-A Fare-Thee-Well to Harlem Paul Whiteman Orch Victor 24571

NYC, 16 February 1934: featuring Johnny Mercer and Jack Teagarden, vocal; Teagarden's trombone too.

Nice side, even with the somewhat dated stereotype! This record must have sold fairly well, for they came back two months later with a sequel:

82320-A Christmas Night In Harlem Paul Whiteman Orch Victor 24615

NYC, 17 April 1934: Johnny Mercer and Jack Teagarden, vocal; Teagarden's trombone too.

Mercer's on the next side as well, along with Peggy Healy .

84010-1 Pardon My Southern Accent Paul Whiteman Orch Victor 24704

The flip side has a strange little song, with a slightly warped history lesson:

84011-1 Here Come The British Paul Whiteman Orch Victor 24704

NYC, 18 August 1934: featuring Peggy Healy, Johnny Mercer, vocal; John Hauser, British patter on the second side

And here come the British indeed...Ray Noble, freshly arrived in New York and working with a new band that Glenn Miller put together for Noble. Noble took his vocalist Al Bowlly along for a while.

92748-2 Double Trouble Ray Noble Orch Victor 25105
92750-1 I Wished On The Moon Ray Noble Orch Victor 25104
NYC, 20 July 1935: Charlie Spivak, Pee Wee Erwin, trumpets; Glenn Miller, Will Bradley, trombones; Johnny Mince (born Muenzenberger, sometimes his surname is listed as "Mintz"), Jim Cannon, Milt Yaner, alto saxes & clarinets; Bud Freeman, tenor sax; Nick Pisani, Fritz Prospero, Dan d'Andrea, violins; Claude Thornhill, piano; George Van Eps, guitar; Delmar Kaplan, bass; Bill Harty, drums; Al Bowlly or The Freshmen, vocals.

If the second title sounds familiar, it's probably because you remember the Billie Holiday/Teddy Wilson version.

Here's a pair of songs written by Yip Harburg and Lewis Gensler for the forgotten musical Ballyhoo of 1932, which featured Willie Howard and a young Bob Hope. It closed after 95 performances.

B-12311-A Riddle Me This Abe Lyman Orch Brunswick 6380
B-12310-A How Do You Do It? Abe Lyman Orch Brunswick 6380
NYC, 17 September 1932: large studio orchestra actually under direction of Victor Young, featuring Bunny Berigan, trumpet; Dick Robertson, vocal (on Riddle); Harlan Lattimore, vocal (on How).

That great vocal on How Do You Do It? was by Harlan Lattimore, who was billed at the time as "the colored Bing Crosby." He almost out-Bings Bing here. He's on the next title as well.

B-13286-A That Blue-Eyed Baby From Memphis Don Redman Orch Brunswick 6560
B-13284-A Sophisticated Lady Don Redman Orch Brunswick 6560

NYC 26 April 1933: Don Redman, conductor; Shirley Clay, Langston Curl, Sidney de Paris, trumpets; Claude Jones, Fred Robinson, Benny Morton, trombones; Don Redman, Edward Inge, Rupert Cole, Robert Carroll, reeds; Horace Henderson, piano; Talcott Reeves, guitar; Bob Ysaguirre, bass; Manzie Johnson, drums; Harlan Lattimore, vocal.

I hate to say it, but I think that Don's record of Sophisticated Lady is better than the contemporary version by Ellington (and I like the Boswell Sisters' version even more, but that's another story).

I'll end this installment with a pair of Satches:

74896-1 He's a Son of the South Louis Armstrong Orch Victor 24257
75102-1 Some Sweet Day Louis Armstrong Orch Victor 24257
Chicago, 26-27 January 1933: Louis Armstrong, trumpet & vocal; Elmer Whitlock, Zilmer Randolph, trumpets; Keg Johnson, trombone; Scoville Brown, George Oldham, Budd Johnson, reeds; Teddy Wilson, piano; Mike McKendrick, guitar; Bill Oldham, bass; Yank Porter, drums.


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