This page is devoted to my personal affinity: music from the 1920ies and 1930ies, mostly self-taped from old 78rpm records. I don't expect many visitors of this site to share my love for this kind of music, but even so it is necessary to share it. After all, I was introduced to it once, too, so maybe there will be one or two who discover their own love for the jazztime and swingtime area.
The general presentation of the files is a bit different by now, I had to move things out of the way. The RealPlayer-links you see on the right side are no longer excerpts but will give you the whole file.
Find some links at the bottom of this page. I am always interested in new sites on the topic, so if you own a site or know a good one, please inform me about it!
|30 Sept 2005||
Ted Wallace & His Campus Boys, "I'm an unemployed sweetheart" 1930
For the Pathe' Actuelle label, they were the 'Palace Garden Orchestra.' On the Perfect label, they were billed as 'Meyer's Dance Band.' Grafton Records called them the 'Windsor Orchestra'." Some other names they used were "The Golden Gate Orchestra", "Goldie's Syncopators", "Ted Wallace and his Orchestra",--and more. During the month of April 1926 - to cite just one example - they recorded over a dozen tunes using several pseudonyms on ten different labels, making more records than any band in New York.
|30 Aug 2005||
Adrian Rollini & his orchestra, "Davenport Blues" 1934
Adrian Rollini (1905-1954) led several bands in the 1920ies, one of them was "A.H. and his orchestra", which united several of the best jazz musicians ever.
However, their recordings (as this site informs us) were not as brilliant as they might have been. I don't think this file is extraordinary either, but still nice enough to present it here.
|17 Aug 2005||
Ray Noble & his orchestra, "Blue Moon"
Another musical standard which exists in about one million different arrangements and recordings.
Since I like crooners in general and Al Bowlly especially, I like this version best.
|Listen to this on YouTube|
|26 Jul 2005||
Paul Godwin Jazz-Symphoniker, "Mir ist so nach dir" 1930
I can only guess about the singer being Leo Monosson.
There's no doubt, tough, about the composer Mischa Spoliansky. Find some biographical data here .
|Listen to this on YouTube|
|19 Jul 2005||
"Tiger Rag" 1935
Two files, same number. First, it's the Mills Brothers, who I have already presented here once. It's a nice version of the "Tiger Rag" with remarkable scat singing. "Scat song" ist the "Bohdle-Leedle-Aydle-Eedle-Idle-Eedle-Ohdle-Eedle"-part.
|The Mills Brothers|
The second file seems to have taken the Mills Bros version as a template. I think it sounds funny, but I have no further information about this recording than the name: Nakano Tadaharu - Columbia Rhythm Boys. If you know more about it, let me know!
|06 July 2005||
Charlie Palloy, "Say it isn't so"
Little seems so be known about crooner and guitar player Charlie Palloy (at least if you only search for about 5 minutes on the internet). I quote Ian Whitcomb:
|Listen to this on YouTube|
|28 June 2005||
Lee Wiley, "Someone to Watch Over Me"
The second song from below mentioned Star Trek: Voyager-episode which bears the same title (or rather, the title of the episode relates to the song).
Lee Wiley's interpretation of the song is very charming and not only in my point of view the best version next to Sinatra's from the 1950ies.
In the Voyager episode, Doc humms this song, accompanying himself on the piano, after Seven left him alone on the Holodeck.
|21 June 2005||
Bing Crosby, "You are my sunshine"
Nowadays, it's a well known (mostly country, but even children's) song in the USA. Its origins however date back to the 1930ies. Jimmie Davis own first recording was not a great success - only through interpretations such as Bing Crosbys' did the little tune become the well known hit.
In the ST Voyager episode "Someone to watch over me",
the EMH and Seven of Nine sing the chorus of this song together, which
results in the Doc falling in love with Seven.
|Clip on YouTube|
|07 June 2005||
Erhard Bauschke orchestra, "Warum kleine Lou
" between 1936 and 1941
I thought it was time once more for a German recording.
|31 May 2005||
Cab Calloway & his orchestra, "Minnie the Moocher" 1931
One, if not THE classic song of the early 30ies. Immortalized not only by the famous Betty Boop cartoons (in which Calloway actually donned his singing voice) but also by later musical generations. The Blues Brothers have taken Minnie into their repertoire, and whoever is familiar with Tim Burton movies, will know composer Danny Elfman as well. His influence by Calloway and old Fleischer cartoons is most obvious if you listen to early recordings of Elfmans former punk/new wave band The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.
|24 May 2005||
Ahuma, "Mi Buozin Araba"
This file is a very unique curiosity. The singer is from Africa and
sings in a dialect called Franti. If you listen to it, it seems more like
a typical African folk song - definitely NOT a jazz song, what the orchestra
may have thought it was. We can only assume that they expected nothing
less from a black man than hot jazz rhythm and therefore ignored the original
tone of the song.
|10 May 2005||
English + german version, "Happy Days are
here again / Wochenend und Sonnenschein"
Many songs that had been a great success in England or the USA were translated into German and became a big hit here as well. The funny thing about it is the translation itself. Originally harmless lyrics were given an ambiguous or downright obvious sexual context - such as the one I present today.
The original version was one of several "feel good" songs,
that followed the depression years. I've presented the accusing or disbelieving
ones here before - this one is supposed to strengthen the morals and optimism
by telling the audience that everything will be good and the sun is shining
Relatively harmless as this one is, there's some stronger stuff out
we have no bananas" (which is a rather funny if not
a bit absurd song about a Greek man who owns a grocery store and - obviously
due to his lacking English skills - answers each question with "yes",
even if it's a negation) is translated into "Ausgerechnet
Bananen" (where we learn about the worries of a man, who
will only get what he desires from the lady of his joice if he brings
her bananas, and he's desperate because he can't find any). See both lyrics
compared to each other here.
The English version is by Jack Hylton, vocals by an uncredided trio. The German version is sung by German crooner Max Mensing who is accompanied by the Karkoff-Orchester.
|03 May 2005||
Artie Shaw / Paul Whiteman, "Smoke Gets In
Most people know this song by the interpretation of The Platters, but its origins are in the 1930ies.
In order to present two rather different arrangements, this time you'll get a double-feature. The Paul Whiteman recording is from 1934 with vocals by Bob Lawrence. The Artie Shaw recording is from 1941 and also features Glen Miller.
|26 Apr 2005||
Red Nichols & his Five Pennies, "Royal
|19 Apr 2005||
Jack Payne & his BBC Dance Orchestra, "You're driving me crazy "
A very swingy version of this song!
|Listen to this on YouTube|
|12 Apr 2005||
Milton Douglas & the Leo Reisman Orchestra, "Brother, can you spare a dime" 1932
For those who remember: Early when I started this musical introduction I presented a song that focussed critically on the social impacts of the depression years. This week's song is of the same category, only that the singer is this time much less critical but rather stunned about his own fate and the loss of his idealism.
Find a short description and the complete lyrics on
this site, plus another interpretation of the same song by Bing Crosby
(Real Media file).
35 seconds : (Real Player)
|05 Apr 2005||
Leslie Sarony & the Jack Hylton Orchestra, "The Baked Potato Man" 1932
I was not able to find a lot of information on Leslie Sarony other than him being a successful comedian, songwriter and singer in the 1930ies, and that he often performed his funny songs with the Jack Hylton Orchestra.
But at least my research was rewarded with this site. All things one ever wanted to know about Jack Hylton, an admirable discography and loads of downloadable files - only Real Media, but at least one can get a very good impression of Jack Hylton music.
25 seconds : (Real Player)
|29 Mar 2005||
Smith Ballew & the Leo Reisman Orchestra, "Can't we be friends" 1929
Smith Ballew was not only a fantastic crooner, he played the banjo and lead his own band. He made recordings with his own orchestra plus, as a singer, together with most of the top bands of his time. Find some pictures (he's even as good looking as he sings) and his biography here.
The thing that interested me most in the song I present here is the fact that its lyrics are definitely not meant for a male singer. Phrases like "I thought I'd found the man of my dreams" and "I'm through with men" clearly show that they're supposed to be sung by a woman - yet, why weren't the words exchanged, like it was usually done? Try to find two recordings of 'Stormy Weather', for example. One sung by a man, one by a woman. You'll notice that the man sings "... since my girl and I ain't together...", while for the woman, it's "... since my man and I ain't together...".
Actually I knew that phenomenon of apparently homosexual lyrics from
German songs. As a matter of fact, some German singers of the 1920ies
and early 1930ies (before the Nazi took over, to be precise) openly admitted
to be homosexuals, both men and women. So, many songs with homoerotic
innuendo were recorded and really MEANT that way.
As for the Americans, they seem to have had a weakness for that kind of ambiguity in lyrics as well, but as far as the review to the CD-compilation Can't help lovin' that man tells us, they were never meant as a declaration towards homosexuality (although the statement that the singers just had to take the lyrics as they were is clearly proven wrong by other songs, like I mentioned above).
|22 Mar 2005||
The Mills Brothers & the Duke Ellington Orchestra, "Diga Diga Doo" 1932
The Mills Brothers were the most long lasting vocal ensemble (a capella, usually only accompanied by a guitar) ever. Find out more about them here - admittedly a rather lengthy summary of their career, but it seems to be good research, albeit the rather journalistic style.
38 seconds : (Real Player)
|15 Mar 2005||
Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra, "The Dance of the Lame Duck" 1932
All I could find on Glen Gray so far was this short biography. If I happen to stumble across more information, I will give it to you at a later point.
36 seconds : (Real Player)
|08 Mar 2005||
Raymond Scott Orchestra, "Pretty Little Petticoat" 1940
I believe the repetitive simple motive is the most charming stalker song I have ever had. I suppose it is due to its slight melancholy that I enjoy it so much.
On a side note: Originally written and recorded as an instrumental (as you can hear it here),some lyrics have been added later on by songwriter Jack Lawrence, but I have no idea who actually sang it or if there's a recording.
|01 Mar 2005||
Erhard Bauschke Orchester, "Troikafahrt"
Erhard Bauschke played the clarinet in James Kok's Band until Kok had to leave the country (he was supposedly jewish). From 1936 to 1945, Bauschke lead an orchestra of his own, partly with former members of the Kok band (those who weren't driven out of Germany).
His death is a bit of a miracle to me. He obviously died at the
beginning of October 1945, but when or why I cannot tell for sure. This
source (German language) tells that he got run over by a
car in Berlin, but here
we get told about Bauschke starving to death in some Death-camp of Eisenhower's
in Frankfurt (I've never heard about such a thing!), while this
site seems to combine both informations to a fatal accident in Frankfurt.
|22 Feb 2005||
Different Interpretations of "Lili Marleen"
No swing music this time, but a little song that was sung on both sides of the fire line during the Second World War.
Originally written by a soldier during WW I, it received its unforgettable melancholical melody 1938 and was NOT welcomed by the Nazi commandeers. It didn't transport the military spirit, instead of inforcing bravery and patriotism, it gave the soldiers a sad longing for their beloved they left back home.
Actually, I'd say that in its probably unwanted subversion, the song is in a way pacifistic. Russian, british, american and german soldiers hummed the melody just the same, and even if it doesn't transport any direct political message, the total lack of glorification of war and killing in itself has to count for something.
I am not presenting the music files directly this time, but offer you the link to the Official Lili Marleen Page, where you can also find the lyrics AND a rather detailled and informative history of the song that in my point of view has not lost its touch even until today.
|08 Feb 2005|| Leo Reisman & his orchestra, "By
a waterfall" 1933
voc: Arthur Wright
Starting in the 1910s, Leo Reisman became popular in the 1920ies and early 1930ies most of all by playing in hotel lounges.
If you have more information about this band leader, please tell me!
|01 Feb 2005||
Harry Roy & his Bat Club Boys, "My girl's
I need hardly explain the meaning of this song to native English speakers. For all those who don't get the straightforward meaning of the title: Pussy refers to both a pet name for a cat as well as the female genital. And it's exactly what the lyrics refer to. Yes, it's a naughty song.
I've found some information about sex lyrics in the early 20th century on this site from which I quote the following paragraph:
"My Girl's Pussy," performed by Harry Roy's Bat Club Boys:
|25 Jan 2005||
Harry Roy's Tiger Ragamuffins, "Roy Club Rag"
Lovely swingy number, I've never found that number on a CD, at least not played by Harry Roy's band itself.
|18 Jan 2005||
Harry Roy & his orchestra, "She wore a
little jacket of blue"
I have no idea why the internet provides with no further information on this band leader. Certainly not because of his low popularity, if even I know about him, surely the die-hard jazz-lovers will do so, too!
Anyway, he's certainly WORTH being known. The number I present here has been recorded by several others, of course (including Ambrose and Jack Hylton), but since I happen to own this particular record (Parlophone E6876 / F 131), I decided to share it. I've never seen it anywhere else on the net so far.
I recommend you to listen closely to the lyrics. Harry Roy seems to have
had a liking for obscure lyrics. Not as vastly obscure or strange as Spike
Jones, more the naughty kind (which I will show you in the following weeks).
|11 Jan 2005||
Fairchild & Carroll and their Orchestra, "It's
I originally got this file as a recording of Leo Reisman & his orchestra, and indeed, there IS one from the same year, same band leader - but with Johnny Mathis, vocals. It couldn't be this one, I assumed, so I searched and found this information. I have no certain proof that it IS actually Ethel Merman singing, but it seems very likely, it was the only female singer I found a recording of.
|04 Jan 2005||
Artie Shaw & his orchestra, "Begin the
On the occasion of Artie Shaw's demise last week, I've decided to present his greatest success with which the band became hugely popular over night.
|28 Dec 2004||
Paul Whiteman Orchestra, "All of Me"
If anyone knows the composer and first recording of this song - please tell me. I couldn't find anything.
|21 Dec 2004||
Paul Whiteman Orchestra, "There Ain't No Sweet
Many people are familiar with the name of Bing Crosby, but few of them may know that he began his career in the 1920ies as a vocalist in the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. The most famous (white) jazz musicians of that era played in this band, which actually was more like a real orchestra and played so called symphonic jazz. To name just a few: Red Nichols, the Dorsey Brothers, Frankie Trumbauer and cornettist Bix Beiderbecke - later on, Bix drank himself to death while Bing started a successful solo career and became a star.
Interestingly enough, today's critics do not love Paul Whiteman,
former "King of Jazz", very much. His music is often disqualified
as rather dance music than real jazz.
|14 Dec 2004||
Raymond Scott Orchestra, "Two Way Stretch" 1940
The musician and inventor, who left the members of his orchestras little freedom for interpretation in his compositions. There is a quite useful Official website, which is also interesting for collectors of 78rpm records.
Many of the classical Warner Bros. Cartoons (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck etc.) use Raymond Scott themes - although he never specifically composed anything for them. And even there's even a connection to my own cartoon, Death & the Maiden, since the musical score for Alfred Hitchcock's "The trouble with Harry" was composed by Raymond Scott. If you don't understand what the connection is, you'll have to read the background information!
|07 Dec 2004||
Fred Astaire , "Puttin' on the Ritz"
There seem to have been several recordings of Fred Astaire and this song, and being no Astaire-expert myself, I unfortunately don't know the dating of this one (the short audio clip). Only one thing seems to be for sure: It is NOT the recording from 1930, not only because the style doesn't fit this early year, but there is no audible tap-dancing, which should be the case in the 1930-version. Also, it's not the version from the 1946-movie, which is obvious if you compare it to the video clip.
|23 Nov 2004|| Abe Lyman & his Californian Orchestra,
"My Suppressed Desire" 1928
(Miller / Cohn)
from the motion picture "Gang War"
25 seconds : (Real Player)
as an alternative, compare it to this version by Paul Whiteman's Rhythm Boys, voc: Bing Crosby
3 minutes : (Real Player)
|16 Nov 2004||
Jack Hylton & his orchestra, "Tap
your feet" 1930
|09 Nov 2004||
Die Metropol Vocalisten, "Buh-huh"
|02 Nov 2004|| Artie Shaw & his orchestra, "St.
James Infirmary" 1941
voc + trumpet solo: 'Hot Lips' Page
The excerpt will give you 30 seconds of Artie Shaws version of this great
Blues - in my opinion, the best version of the song I've heard so far.
|26 Oct 2004|| Jimmy Dorsey & his band, "Rubber
dolly " 1940
voc: Helen O'Connell
The Dorsey brothers are legend, either together or each with his own band (which resulted in a big fight they had in 1935). Read a short biography on the Dorsey bros here.
If you watch the original video on YouTube, you'll get a short introduction of singer Helen O'Connell's career, which actually started when she was hired by Jimmy Dorsey. Find more about her here.
One thing that strikes me is the strange taste for female voices (in
combination with the text they sang) at that time. Last week's file, "Somewhere
over the rainbow", is in his original interpretation by Judy
Garland also from the same category. Not only had Judy Garland a quite
remarkable bust for the little girl she impersonated, she also sang with
an alto voice! Beautiful, of course, but a bit strange, regarding the
age of the story character.
|Watch the original video clip on YouTube!|
|19 Oct 2004||
Artie Shaw & his orchestra, "Somewhere over the rainbow" 1939
|12 Oct 2004||
Rudi Schuricke , "Wenn Du in meinen Träumen bei mir bist " 1950
|05 Oct 2004||
Willi Forst, "Woll'n Sie Ihren Mann betrügen"
The bitter-sweet impression that this music leaves in those who are aware of history and have a conscience is of course connected to the fact, that many if not most of the people who made very funny and joyful music or texts in the 1920ies and beginning of the 1930ies later were killed by those who formerly enjoyed their talent. And for what reason!
I don't really expect anyone to be interested in this file, since it's mostly about the text which is in German. However, since there is a website which provides with English information on the 3 people concerned, I've decided to offer them here:
Willi Forst (a very popular Austrian singer, actor and director in the 1930ies, denied the 'offer' to take a role in a propagandistic movie for the Nazi which nearly put him into trouble)
Peter Kreuder (very popular film composer and conductor, had to flee from the Nazis later on)
Fritz Grünbaum (successful and popular comedian/theatre manager/conférencier in the 1920ies and 1930ies; he has been murdered by the Nazis 1940 in a concentration camp in Dachau)
|28 Sep 2004||
Kasagi Shizuko , "Rappa to Musume" (1939)
I cannot provide with much more information about the singer than last week - other than this number is really good (unlike the previous one). The composer is presumably Ryoichi Hattori, but don't take my word for it.
|21 Sep 2004||
Kasagi Shizuko , "Old Man River" (1951)
Even though I have several musical samples of Japanese jazz, I can hardly give any information on it. Fact is, that the jazz didn't reach the island only in the following of the American occupation after WWII (1945-1952), which I will prove with next week's file from 1939.
Singer Kasagi Shizuko was a big star of her times. She recorded several Boogie Woogie numbers in the 1940ies and even starred in (one or several, I'm afraid I do not know) movies of famous japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.
However, the here presented number is the ultimate horror. Please let me know if you have ever come across a more horrible version of this song (which you probably won't, because you wouldn't have survived!).
|14 Sep 2004||
Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians, "The Old Man of
the Mountain" (1932)
I cannot say much about the number itself, other than it's use for the
Fleischer-Betty-Boop-Cartoon The Old Man of the Mountain
was not the first one, but an adaption of the original
number. The cartoon itself features Cab Calloway (once
more, as it happened in several other Betty Boop cartoons), both as real-life
apprearance AND the voice of the Old Man of the Mountain.
Now, regarding Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, there's a lot more information out there. Most of all, here's a site with downloadable mp3's, so you can check out some of his other music. Or, if you prefer to just listen to it, there's another site for which you will need Real Player.
|07 Sep 2004||
Michael Jary and his orchestra, "Hexentanz"
For the first time, I hereby present you an example of German jazz music during the Nazi regime. Jazz was considered as 'degenerated', 'anti-german' and therefore damaging to the Aryan soul. However, this couldn't stop it from being extremely successful, and even the Nazi leaders couldn't defy it. Instead, they tried to find crude ways of somehow 'adopt' it, Aryanize it by translating originally English or American titles into German and allowing only German bandleaders and musicians. In case of Michael Jary, this was double fake, because he was native Polish.
Both Gerhard Winkler (the composer) and Michael Jary (the interpretor) established a musical career not because but despite the Nazi regime, and continued it after its fall-down.
I couldn't find english information on Winkler, but here is a short biography of Michael Jary.
|31 Aug 2004||
Hal Kemp & his orchestra, "Gloomy Sunday"
Hungarian composer Rezsô Seress wrote the music and original lyrics to this song in 1933 - the strange things that followed created a myth about that song, which has been captured by an interested person on a small website which I sincerely recommend, although you should read some of the information with a grain of salt.
Originally, the text spoke of general human destruction and lust for war (read the translated lyrics on above mentioned website), but in later versions, the romantic/suicidal character of the words by László Jávor won out, as it is here:
On a general view, I would say that this song certainly appeals to people
who are depressed or in some extraordinary emotional condition. It is
no wonder that many suicide vitims have quoted the lyrics of Gloomy
Sunday in their farewell letter - when one is willing or about to
kill oneself, one gets pathetic - I could tell you stories about that
(but I rather present you a song! ;-))
Now, I really have to warn you. Please don't listen to this song in case you feel a bit unstable or depressed! I don't want to be sued by your dependants.
And if the melody seems a bit familiar - there are countless cover versions of the song, from Elvis Costello over Björk to Sarah Brightman. But none of these can capture the wonderful morbidity of the first recording by Hal Kemp!
|24 Aug 2004||
Alex Bartha's Hotel Traymore Orchestra , "It must be swell to be laying out dead" (1932)
Little information can I give on this one. Not even who the singer is. The only thing that is obvious is, that it's a very cynical song, created in the course of the big depression, and pointing out sharply the mendacity of society. Read the lyrics!
|17 Aug 2004||
Unknown orchestra à la Benny Goodman, "Sing Sing Sing"
|10 Aug 2004||
Ray Noble , "Sing as we go" (1934)
Who knows the song "Sit
on my face and tell me that you love me" by Monty Python?
Actually, the song is from the British movie "Sing as we go" with Gracie Fields, a hugely popular scottish singer who is still worshipped as a singing icon in the UK. More on her later.
|31 July 2004||
Nick Lucas , "Tip-toe
through the tulips" (1929)
Nick Lucas was the first solo guitar player who reached stardom, even
a Gibson-guitar was named after him. This song became his only No.1 hit
and has often been performed by other artists afterwards. The queerest
version was probably the one by Tiny
Tim 1968, which made him popular as well.
In case you haven't had the chance to get the file last week, you can listen to the song as well as some other songs by Nick Lucas here (scroll down to the discography and then until you reach the letter 'T').
And here's the complete lyrics:
|Listen to this on YouTube|
|27 July 2004||
Artie Shaw & his orchestra, "Donkey Serenade"
This is one of many typical standards, meaning a number that has been played by many orchestras in various arrangements. I like the Artie-Shaw version very much - and not only this one! Be prepared to find more samples of him here in the future!
There is an official Artie-Shaw-Website, which at least provides with a rather detailled biographical overview (but not very much more). Musically more interesting is this site, on which you can find several files for download (not only Shaw, but others as well).
20 July 2004
Hal Kemp AHO - "Remember my forgotten man"
Here is a short summary of the movie plot, which also focusses on the song I hereby present. It is indeed an anti-war song, or rather anti-depression song (meaning the economical depression of the late 1920ies), in which the miserable situation of the veterans of WW1 is brought up. However, the message has not lost its relevance:
|Listen to this on YouTube|
|13 July 2004||
Jack Hylton Orchestra "Masquerade" (Waltz) (1932)
Ray Noble AHO, voc: Al Bowlly "Love is the sweetest thing" (1933)
|Listen to this on YouTube|