Friday, July 21, 2006


Benny Goodman on MGM

Quandry solved!

Actually not by my own choosing... there were a couple of cuts on the Masterworks LP set that had groove digs on them that I couldn't overcome. Not happiness. But, since the set is still available on CD, no great loss.

So, on to Step Three: The Benny Goodman Performance Recordings LPs I found in the same trove. Here is the first volume! These are airchecks from 1937-1938 era, when Harry James and Ziggy Elman were countering the very talented sax section containing names like Adrian Rollini and Vido Musso. The band was appearing on the Camel Cavalcade radio show, and playing a long-term gig at the Madhattan Room in New York City. This was a kicking band, a tight trio, and a very fluid quartet.

And none of these recordings were released as heard here on Columbia 78s. None.

This was MGM's attempt to ride the coat tails of Columbia's celebration of Benny Goodman's 25th Anniversary, with a release of their own. They must have combed the vaults of radio program masters that they owned rights to to get these tracks, and they did one heck of a good job on this set, at least in my opinion. How they got the rights to do this? Maybe someone on the 78 list can fill in those blanks, but for now, I'll enjoy these nice snippets of Benny & the Boys doing what they did best... filling up the dance floor and getting the toes of thousands of Americans tapping on their living room floors.

I don't know much more than what is on the copious liner notes (which are due to be scanned and posted hopefully soon), so, until then, enjoy Volume 1. I'll have Volume 2 in a few days, and also some more real 78s for you to enjoy.

These are wonderful airchecks. It's interesting to compare studio and live recordings. Goodman had such a relaxed sound in the studio that at times I could swear he's predicting Les Elgart. Then you hear the same songs played live and they seem driven. In any case, please post more.
Will do! I'm working up a set of Kenton 78s at the moment (the "Encores" album), with one of the discs having a big chunk break in it (about the first 1/3 of the disc is affected)... the break was fresh, which upsets me (these were in VG++ when they left the thrift shop), but I was able to get a decent recording of both sides.

I have Volume 2 of the MGM set here, and can throw that up as soon as I get the Kenton set done.

One more treat: an RCA double LP of Artie Shaw live at the Blue Room. That'll be up some time this week hopefully.

Keep on checking back & thanks!
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