This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 1937?
- Merle Haggard was born
- Margot Fonteyn made her debut in Giselle
- Nylon was patented
- The Golden Gate Bridge opened for business
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released
- America won the Davis Cup
- Geelong were premiers
1937 was BILLIE HOLIDAY's most successful year.
According to Wiki, she had 16 best selling songs in that year alone. I find that a bit hard to believe but would Wiki lie to us?
If that's correct, all I can say is "Take that, Elvis. Take that, Beatles". The song Carelessly was one of those. It hit number one on the charts of the time and here it is.
Although BOB WILLS presence is evident throughout this track, it's not a typical Texas Playboys' track.
It's a lot faster than most of theirs and sounds closer to the regular big bands of the time than the western swing for which he was noted. See what you think of Playboy Stomp.
BING CROSBY recorded a couple of versions of this next song.
I've decided to go with this rather unusual one taken from the film Double or Nothing. What's unusual about it is that there are no instruments. He doesn't sing a cappella; he has a full "orchestra" of women backing him using their voices to suggest instruments. The song is The Moon Got in My Eyes.
Harbour Lights was written by Hugh Williams (or Will Grosz as his folks knew him) and Jimmy Kennedy. The first recording of the song was by FRANCES LANGFORD.
Since then it's been recorded by scads of artists from Guy Lombardo and Bing Crosby to Elvis Presley and The Platters, and pretty much everyone in between. However, today we're interested in Frances's version.
ELLA FITZGERALD and The Mills Brothers, now that's interesting.
Except that she's the only one who's obvious on the track; the Mills are rather relegated to the background. It doesn't really matter - it's quite a nice tune. Dedicated to You.
I'll just mention the names NELSON EDDY and JEANETTE MACDONALD and you will know immediately what's coming next.
Here we have easily their most famous song from the musical "Rose-Marie.” Although this is an apparent duet, there's not much of Jeanette, just a bit of “ah ahing” at the beginning. The Indian Love Call.
One O'Clock Jump was COUNT BASIE's signature tune.
The great record producer John Hammond had heard the band on the radio and went to see and hear them live. He was so impressed he insisted on recording them as soon as possible.
He said that the recording session was "the only perfect, completely perfect recording session I've ever had anything to do with.” It's from that session we have the tune.
This mob isn't called an orchestra - they are officially TOMMY DORSEY and His Clambake Seven.
Tommy formed his own orchestra after a split with his older brother Jimmy. He also liked to play a bit of hot jazz so he had a small group called the Clambake Seven and it's this group that supplies the music today.
The song is the old standard (although it was a new standard at the time), The Lady is a Tramp with Edythe Wright on vocals.
RAY NOBLE was an English band leader most noted initially for working with Al Bowlly.
He went to America in the thirties where he worked with Edgar Bergen and George Burns and Gracie Allen. None of those are on this record but Howard Phillips is present singing I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm written by Irving Berlin.
Rockin' Chair was written by Hoagy Carmichael and he recorded it a couple of times. However, it was used by MILDRED BAILEY as her theme tune.
Mildred became a blues and jazz singer on the west coast and helped get work for her brother Al Rinker and Al's singing partner Bing Crosby. Bing later got her work with Paul Whiteman.
She often recorded with her third husband Red Norvo. I'm not sure who is backing her on the record, so I won't hazard a guess.
1938 will appear in two weeks' time.