Sunday, May 14, 2006


Another Sunday mixed bag

As I sit here on an overcast Sunday, looking through the stacks of 78s to see what to bring you for the weekend, and NONE of them having anything to do with Mother's Day (and needing to make a couple of phone calls...), it's 'Aww, what the heck' time... you have had to put up with classical stuff for 2 postings now, might as well return to the world of popular music with this load.

We'll kick it off with a smoothie that was somewhat of a commercial success for one of my favorite singing pianists, Nat "King" Cole. Released in 1951, backed by Les Baxter's orchestra, we have Nat crooning Too Young. Nicely melodicized... smoothly sung... have another Manhattan as we curl up by the shellacophone, Dah-h-h-h-ling.

What's the better side? Of course, it would be Nat with his trio (uncredited) in a number with MUCH more jazz flavour: That's My Girl. Phil Rugolo's orchestra this time, and Nat sounds like he is having way too much fun on this take.

Turning back the clock a tad, we have a bit of a mystery here. I have this killer-diller V-Disc, y'see, and the label for one side is completely ripped off. It also looks like it had a milkshake spilled on it at some point in time. So, I clean it within an inch of its' life, do the encoding on it, and it SOUNDS like it may be Jack Teagarden, BUT I AM NOT SURE. [note correction in next paragraph!] There are the two songs on the one side, I'm Confessin' That I Love You, and Pale Moon. [The original title I had was "Song of Hiawatha" as the lyrics are directly from the poem of the same name] The singing style is definately unique, the music jumps quite nicely, but I still can't get a handle on who the leader is of this band. The catalogue number is 140b, but I have not been able to find it on any of the online discograpy tools to confirm just who it is, so that I can give it proper credit.

AND PROPER CREDIT IS FOUND!!!! Thanks to Lady Domi, these 2 cuts are Identified as TONY PASTOR! I'll be changing the ID3v2 tags on the files shortly to reflect the correct artist and title info.

The other side is a nice little small group session by John Kirby & His Orchestra, Do You Savvy. Shades of the Goodman small groups, this is definately tasty. the V-disc sessions were unique in that a lot of players could combine talents 'for the War Effort'... usually contractual obligations and restrictions would have prevented a lot of the group sessions from occurring... there's a couple of websites with some very interesting stories about V-discs and some of the things that went on during the sessions. Worth a Google!

While we're on the subject of longer sessions, I found a nice Hit of the Week recording by Phil Spitanly's Orchestra, I Apologise. Oh yes, I left the Cal Fight Song in there too, along with the announcement for "next Thursday's record." Hit of the Week records were basically paper-backed discs with a coating on them in which the grooves were pressed. They were one-sided, and played about 5 minutes length. Released by the Durium Co. during the Depression Era, the company thought that people would buy records at newsstands for a nice cheap price. Unfortunately, Durium fell to the economic woes, but we still have the music to remember them by.

As an aside, the concept of a magazine with a CD in it is definately not new!

Scooting up to 1937, we have these recordings of the Quintette of the Hot Club of France that were re-released by Victor on their Hot Jazz Classics label. You can hear the synergy that Django Reinhart and Stephaine Grapelli brought forth on these cuts, Miss Annabelle Lee, and Mystery Pacific. These Victor pressings aren't the greatest (I suspect somewhat worn masters) but they do show one heck of a great group swinging like there is no tomorrow.

Nine years, and one war later, we have a couple of nice tunes by George Olsen & His Orchestra. First, we have Judith Blair singing about war surplus! I've Got A Walkie Talkie... gee, well we had to do SOMETHING with all that surplus military equipment, I guess... the disc looked like it had gone through WW2, and the transfer is nowhere near as good as I would have liked it, but I did this up for a couple of friends that are fellow Amateur Radio operators, and this is my little tribute to them. The other side, Surrender, has Ray Adams singing about something that happened well over 9 months before the recording date... I guess the military theme was still on a lot of people's minds (at least until the V-J babies started appearing!).

Cranking up the time machine to September of 1950, we have Sammy Kaye with another sweet piece of romantic moosh, Guilty. It's not that bad, Tony Alamo does a credible job of singing here, but it just epitomizes the 'sweet' swing that makes me want to reach for the insulin after each playing of the song.

So, why did I inflict this upon you? For the B-side, of course! Who can resist anything with the words "Novelty Polka" on the label? Certainly not me! Cheeky Cheeky Hoopla fits this bill... with Tony Alamo and the Kaydettes singing this bit of drivel for the masses in Pennsylvania or Ohio (no offense intended to residents of Ohio or Pennsylvania...), I guess it is just another piece of undiscovered dementia. But it IS kinda fun though.

We'll close this week with a swinger and a swinging oater. From 1939, on the Varsity label, here is Will Osborne and his Slide Music with You Call It Madness. Nicely done, nicely swung, but otherwise nicely unremarkable. Will Osborne does the vocal work here, and not too bad of a pressing for a smaller record label. Sometimes you get the better stuff on the smaller labels (gee, kind of like today, you can get better stuff on the indie labels than what the big boys are spewing forth with...)

The swinging oater, and GREAT surprise, is Will's rendition of the Bob Nolan classic, Tumbling Tumbleweeds. It's country-swing at its' earliest? Country-jazz-swing? Jazz-western? Certainly not Hilbilly-bop.... and probably something that Buddy Rich wouldn't be TOO allergic to! It is interesting that Will took the chance with the arrangement on this tune, personally I think he pulls it off quite well, and this is one of MY favorite versions of the song.

Well, time to call the mothers in my life and wish them a happy day, enjoy the sides, and we'll see you again soon with more shellac-y STUFF!

That Nat Cole side is fantastic! You never have way too much fun... By the way, Nat's brother Freddy is one of my favorite singers ever.
Looks like there's a mission for Private Lady Domi? Okay, I'll see what I can find...
Will be back, then. In the meantime, just check my latest post on Wildcatting -- if you wish.
Good night!
Well. Private Lady Domi had a rough time with this one -- almost gave up -- and moreover she may be wrong. So...
First thing I did was check the Kirby side. Which I found on V-Disc 103 (Charlie Shavers + Buster Bailey + George Johnson + Clyde Hart + JK + Bill Beason, circa early November 1943). The problem is that the other side seems to be by Kirby as well, a piece entitled 'Tunisian Trail'. (Mx. numbers being VP340 & 341 respectively). Then I opened all letters of the Discography one after the other and searched for all V-Discs, all titles containing 'Confessin' and all titles containing 'Hiawatha'. Which gave no matching result (ie. a V-Disc with same number including the two pieces).
There, I nearly gave up.
Then, I listened to the tracks. Maybe I should have started from there? Well, no. Because all I could say was that this definitely wasn't Jack T. Not enough drawl. Too lively. And no trombone solo. Then -- you must know that Private Lady Domi has a great memory -- I remembered having seen a 'Confessin' under the name of Tony Pastor. And, guess what? Here it was. 'I'm confessin' that I love you', Mx VP595. Line up being : Stubby Pastor, Charles Trotta + 2 unknown (tp) 3 tb's, prob Eddie Rosa + unknown (as) Tony Pastor ts,vcl) unknown (ts) prob Stewart Anderson (ts) Les Burness (p) Al Avola (g) unknown (b) Johnny Morris (d) Patti Powers (vcl) Sandy Sandiford (arr). But... there's a problem. Because the other track on the same V-Disc... 215 is entitled 'Pale moon', also with vocals by Tony Pastor.
I don't know what you can do with this information... but I, am giving up.
Hopefully I'm not spoiling your day...!
PS: Just call them the Milkshake Orchestra, whatever you want, but please, not Jack Teagarden!!!!!
PPS: Either you have Bill Crow's book, or you sometimes visit the Jazz Corner incognito...
BRILLIANT!!! I thank you Lady Domi... Tony Pastor didn't even cross my feeble mind! I'll change out the info tags when I get home & reload them with annotations in the blog so that all will be right with the world.

And I have indeed been visiting the Jazz Corner incognito :)
Brad, Since first hearing it, I've sent "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" on to all my friends--one of whom wrote back to thank you for posting it. It is an amazing record and proves that, culturally speaking, the present day six degrees of separation were one three or four. I miss the era when all genres rubbed shoulders as casually as passengers on a crowded South American bus. Keep up the archeology.
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