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.
1932 certainly produced some terrific artists and fine music. Here is some of it.I’ll start with the old groaner himself, BING CROSBY.
You need no introduction to Bing, and I imagine you need no introduction to one of his most famous songs, Please.
I’ll always welcome the MILLS BROTHERS into my columns.
They seem to like listening to rumors (and spreading them as well). Well, who doesn’t? The song is I Heard. They also indulge in a little scat singing.
Speaking of scat singing, here’s the man who invented it. LOUIS ARMSTRONG is also another who is pretty much an automatic inclusion.
Louis is very laid back on this song, he even plays his trumpet with mute, at least for the first half. He lets rip later on during Body and Soul.
It sounds to me as if LONNIE JOHNSON listened carefully to Cab Calloway, who also appears today.
Lonnie’s song definitely sounds like Cab’s most famous song. Lonnie even sounds just a little like Cab on Winnie the Wailer.
AL BOWLLY really traveled the world, which was a little unusual in the early years of the 20th century.
Not just to the places you’d expect, but to Africa – Mozambique, South Africa – and Asia – India, the Philippines, Indonesia. He also seemed to have two bands, one used for recording and the other for live performances.
Alas, he was killed in an air raid in London during the war. The Billy Cotton Band wasn’t his usual recording band (that was Ray Noble) and with them we have I Can't Get Mississippi Off My Mind.
I’ve already mentioned the next artist. CAB CALLOWAY made a career out of his song Minnie the Moocher.
Not just the actual song that he performed pretty much for the rest of his life, but variations on it as well. This is one of those: Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day.
Like Bing, FRED ASTAIRE’s song is one of his most famous.
Not just Fred, this song has been associated with quite a few other singers as well. It’s Night and Day, written by Cole Porter for a Broadway musical "Gay Divorce". That play was later filmed as "The Gay Divorcee" that starred Fred and Ginger Rogers.
Nobody who is reading this column needs me to tell you about PAUL ROBESON.
Okay, a little reminder, he was a star athlete, a lawyer, an actor in both film and stage, a champion of civil rights and an advocate for indigenous peoples around the world. He was also a great singer as you will hear on Got the South in My Soul. In spite of the name of the song, he was from Princeton, New Jersey.
I’ve always been amused that NOËL COWARD affected an umlaut on his first name which suggests that he pronounced it with two syllables, as in the Christmas variant, rather than one which is usual for that name.
That, of course, was the sort of person he was (or tried to be). This year he gave us his most famous song, along with Ray Noble and His Orchestra, Mad Dogs and Englishmen.
GEORGE OLSEN started as a drummer and later became a band leader of the group called George Olsen and his Music.
After he retired, he owned a successful restaurant in New Jersey. Several singers made a name with his group; one whose name isn’t familiar to me is Paul Small, who sings vocal refrain on It Was So Beautiful.