High Stakes for Elders (and Some Others)

ELDER MUSIC: 1945 Again

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.

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From my point of view 1945 is the most important year in the history of the universe because it's when I popped out and greeted the world. A few of you will agree with me, but I suspect most of you won't and that's okay. Well, let's see what people were listening to at the time.

Some of them were listening to CECIL GANT.

Cecil Gant

Cecil was in the army during the war and for some of the latter time he performed at war bonds rallies. It was around this time that he recorded the song I Wonder, which became quite a hit for him. Here it is, with him playing the piano as well.

♫ Cecil Gant - I Wonder

The backing for FRANK SINATRA is a bit overblown for my taste but I suppose that was par for the course back then.

Frank Sinatra

Perhaps not though, as we'll see with Bing down a bit. Anyway, this is one of Frank's famous songs, Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week).

♫ Frank Sinatra - Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)

LUCKY MILLINDER was an odd sort of a band leader – he couldn't read or write music, he didn't play an instrument or sing. However, he was a great showman and he could pick talent and many influential musicians began their careers thanks to him.

Lucky Millinder

One who started with him is WYNONIE HARRIS.

Wynonie Harris

It was with Lucky's band that Wynonie first performed the song Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well at the Apollo Theatre. However, due to the shortage of shellac, they didn't record the song until 1945. Here it is.

♫ Lucky Millinder (Wynonie Harris vocal) - Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well

Until I researched this year, I didn't know that BING CROSBY had recorded with LES PAUL. Just goes to show that I learn from these columns as well.

Bing Crosby & Les Paul

This was Les and His Trio, and it was a nice simple arrangement – just two guitars and bass backing Bing. Couldn’t do much better than that. The song is It's Been a Long, Long Time. Naturally, we have the wonderful guitar lead by Les.

♫ Bing Crosby - It's Been A Long Long Time

Although it was considerably later than 1945 (because I wouldn't remember), my sister used to sing this next song to me. She seemed to like these silly songs when she was a kid. Well, I think we all did. In this case the performer is SAMMY KAYE, not my sister.

Sammy Kaye

I believe that's NANCY NORMAN singing along with Billy Williams and the Kaye Choir (which I assume is Sammy's own).

Nancy Norman

If you thought songs in the fifties had silly lyrics (well, that's what the adults told us at the time), clap your ears around this one. Chickery Chick.

♫ Sammy Kaye - Chickery Chick

TONY PASTOR wasn't the biggest name in the Big Band era, at least not to me.

Tony Pastor

He started as a singer and saxophone player in various bands until one evening Artie Shaw walked away from his gig and Tony was roped in to cover for him. This lead to regular gigs in New York that included radio broadcasts.

What he and his orchestra perform is Bell Bottom Trousers with "vocal refrain" by Ruth McCullough and Tony himself.

♫ Tony Pastor (Ruth McCullough & Tony vocal) - Bell Bottom Trousers

DINAH SHORE was around for a long time in the entertaining business.

Dinah Shore

Way back, she auditioned for spots in Benny Goodman's band as well as Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. No one wanted her so she went out on her own and became a huge success as a solo singer; one of the first to do this.

Her personal life was really interesting but I won't go into that; it's freely available to anyone who's interested. This year her song is My Guy's Come Back.

♫ Dinah Shore - My Guy's Come Back

Around this time, jump blues was just starting to emerge from big band music. This was essentially music performed by a small group that led eventually to rock & roll. There were still elements of the big bands and jazz at this time. One of the best of the genre was LOUIS JORDAN.

Louis Jordan

Louis is a semi-regular inclusion in these columns and his song today (or this year, if you will) is Mop Mop.

♫ Louis Jordan - Mop Mop

Because of my age, the first time I heard the song Twilight Time was the great version by The Platters. They weren't the first to record it, however. It was originally an instrumental by THE THREE SUNS.

Three Suns

Buck Ram was a songwriter and manager of The Platters and he wrote the words for it. We're not interested in that today. The Suns were brothers Al and Morty Nevins and their cousin Artie Dunn. They recorded the tune again a couple of years later, but this is the way they first put it down.

♫ Three Suns - Twilight Time

Like Dinah, PEGGY LEE also had a long career in show biz.

Peggy Lee

Her career began when Benny Goodman's wife caught her act and got Benny to come along and listen. He hired her on the spot.

Besides being a fine jazz and pop singer, she also wrote many songs (and added verses to existing ones), as well as acting and supplying voiceovers for films. The song Waitin' for the Train to Come In isn't one she wrote; it's by Jule Styne And Sammy Cahn.

♫ Peggy Lee - Waiting For The Train To Come In


Really enjoyed this posting. Loved seeing/hearing Bing Crosby with Les Paul.

Another great Sunday; listening to your selection whilst prepping dinner.
Fallen in love (again) with Dinah Shore.
Thanks Peter.

I couldn't believe my eyes at Chickery Chick! Clicked on it and sang along just as though it was (gasp!) 1945. I would have been 12 at the time, and we LOVED that song. Thank you so much for including it. There were others today that I well remember, but Chickery Chick is the best.

Another romp down memory lane...thanks, Peter! We used to "Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye" on the radio. I just hope that chickery chick, cha-la cha-la... doesn't get stuck in my brain!

Yes there were a lot of silly songs, but even so - they were "singable" and not so angry or mean-spirited as so many songs are today. I suppose that makes me an old fuddy-duddy and that's okay, at least I can remember the words and sing along.

I hadn't heard, or thought about "Chickery Chick Cha La Cha La for nearly 70 years, but, like Marge, I remembered the lyrics and could sing along. I would have been 20 at the time.

Funny how we are able to remember the lyrics to so many of those old 1940 songs and can't remember what we had for breakfast. But then songs had a melody and lyrics that made sense (except for Chickery Chick, Mareseatoats, 3 itty fishies and a few other silly songs).

Peter, I am going to use your comment space to vent on my biggest gripe about lyrics now. It makes me crazy to hear a song with bad grammar in the lyrics. They are teaching kids that it's okay to say "I ain't got no ---" etc. I think it started with the country western songs and it makes the vocalists sound uneducated. (Maybe they were). Now most current lyrics that I have been forced to listen to don't even make sense. Now I'm an old Fuddy Duddy, too.

So give me a silly song like Chickery Chick that doesn't pretend to be serious. It is what it is.

I haven't heard the crooner, old Bingo, for years, either. He was the most popular male vocalist until Frankie became famous. Arguments were waged over whether Bing or Frank was the best singer. The older generation went for Crosby and the younger set opted for Sinatra.. Bing's heart attack on the golf course at Malaga, Spain ended the argument.

Great songs. Ok - my mom used to sing the "Chinaman song" that had lyrics similar the the Chickery Ckick song. Anybody else remember this one?

thanx a million for cluing me in to CECIL GANT.This guy was a real pioneer

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