INTERESTING STUFF – 1 February 2014
Crabby Old Lady's New Brain Game


Tibbles1SM100x130This 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 1944?

  • Robbie Robertson was born
  • Allied forces landed in France
  • Hitler escaped an assassination attempt when the bomb in the briefcase was moved away from him
  • Paris was liberated (and not burnt)
  • Double Indemnity was released
  • Fitzroy were premiers

As I did last year, I'm starting with NAT KING COLE.

Nat King Cole Trio

I might as well begin at the top. This is a song Nat wrote with the help of Irving Mills. He performs it with his trio. The song is one you all know, Straighten Up and Fly Right, one of his most popular and recognizable tunes.

♫ Nat King Cole - Straighten Up and Fly Right

BOB WILLS is in an uncharacteristically subdued mood on his tune today, although it picks up a little half way through.

Bob Wills

Also unusual is that Leon Huff sings rather than Tommy Duncan who was generally the singer in Bob's band. The song, We Might As Well Forget It, was written by Johnny Bond.

♫ Bob Wills - We Might As Well Forget It

THE MILLS BROTHERS are here to sing a song covered by many over the years.

The Mills Brothers

The song, You Always Hurt the One You Love, was written by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher. I won't even try to mention all the versions except to say that Clarence (The Frogman) Henry did a terrific version of the song in 1961.

♫ The Mills Brothers - You Always Hurt The One You Love

I remember TEX RITTER mostly for singing the theme for the film High Noon, giving the plot away in the song before the film had even started. There was a lot of that going on around that time.

Tex Ritter

We won't have that song today, wrong year. Instead it's I'm Wasting My Tears on You.

♫ Tex Ritter - I'm Wasting My Tears On You

I'll Be Seeing You was written by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal and was inserted into the Broadway musical, Right This Way, which lasted only 15 performances.

It was later used extensively throughout a film named after the song starring Joseph Cotton and Ginger Rogers. BING CROSBY recorded it that year and it became a huge hit.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - I'll Be Seeing You

HARRY JAMES performs Memphis Blues.

Harry James

I don't know if this is the tune that W.C. Handy wrote. I played them back to back and they sound different to me, but those big band folks were known for arranging things so they didn't sound the way I expect them to.

There are no details about who wrote or arranged Harry's version, so I guess we just sit back and listen.

♫ Harry James - Memphis Blues

LOUIS JORDAN & His Tympany Five released Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby as the B-side of a record.

Louis Jordan

However, folks turned it over (remember when you did that with records?) and this song hit the top of the hit parade instead. Many others have covered this song, including Tom and Jerry.

♫ Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five - Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby

I first encountered the music of LOUIS PRIMA in the fifties when he was performing with Keely Smith.

Louis Prima

However, he goes back considerably further than that. Here he performs Oh Marie without Keely.

♫ Louis Prima - Oh Marie

I hope you like THE INK SPOTS because here are some more of them.

The Ink Spots

The song today was written by Fred Ahlert and Roy Turk way back in 1928 and the first version was by Aileen Stanley. Billie Holiday recorded it quite a few times but now it's the Ink Spots' turn.

The song is I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You).

♫ The Ink Spots - I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)

I'll end with ELLA FITZGERALD.

Ella Fitzgerald

There's a bit too much big band arrangement for my taste but at least they have the sense to tone it down when Ella sings. This is the old jazz standard, When My Sugar Walks Down the Street.

♫ Ella Fitzgerald - When My Sugar Walks Down The Street

1945 will appear in two weeks' time.


I was 7 years old, in 1944. -smile-

Thank you for the trip down Memory Lane.


My Grandmother and sister played much of this music on the piano and sang to us small people. Enjoyed the reminder.

One site listed the composer (s) of "Memphis Blues" as Harry James,Kitty Kalek,Buddy Devido.

Great jazz tunes

Bing, Nat and Ella on a Sunday. Who could ask for anything more? But you added Louie and Harry.

I remember standing under the Palladium bandstand in 1944 with a boyfriend listening to Harry and seeing a very pregnant Betty Grable (His then wife) come out on the stage. It was war time and the boy friend was to ship out the next morning so it was a bittersweet memory.

Even though it ws bittersweet, it was nice to remember that night. Thank you.

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