Baltimore Oriole


Baltimore Oriole (m. Hoagy Carmichael, w. Paul Francis Webster) — copyright date: 13 March 1942

lyric: Lyric Wiki, International Lyrics Playground

Hoagy Carmichael — Carmichael recorded the song for the soundtrack of the 1944 film To Have and Have Not. Around, the short-lived record label American Recording Artists, later ARA, issued a recording of “Baltimore Oriole” by Hoagy Carmichael and his Orchestra (ARA 142A), b/w “Sweet Lorraine.” Carmichael also made a special 1944 recording for the V-disc project, which was issued as the B-side of V-Disc 383.

Hoagy Carmichael and his Orchestra(?) — probably ARA 142A, b/w “Sweet Lorraine,” issued c. 1945


In 1956, and Carmichael recorded the song again, with a group of jazz musicians arranged and conducted by Johnny Mandel. Eleven recordings from the sessions at the Forum Theatre on 10, 11, and 13 September 1956 were released on the 1957 Pacific Jazz Records LP “Hoagy Sings Carmichael with the Pacific Jazzmen,” PJ 1223. AllMusic’s review of the album indicates the support of an “11-piece all-star jazz group,” though lists only six musicians for the album. I haven’t found an audio file of this recording yet.

1958 Ole Buttermilk Sky, Hoagy Carmichael, LP Kapp KL 1086 (1)

Hoagy Carmichael — from the 1958 LP Ole Buttermilk Sky, Kapp KL 1086


Barbara Lea 1956, by Bob ParentBarbara Lea with the Johnny Windhurst Quartet — recorded on 18 October 1956 at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack — Barbara Lea (ldr), Dick Cary (ah), Johnny Windhurst (t), Al Hall (b), Dick Hyman* (p), Osie Johnson (d), Barbara Lea (v)

Barbara Lea biography:



Bob Dorough — from his debut album Devil May Care, Bethlehem Records BCP-11, released in October 1956

Dorough had evidently been misinformed about the location of the Tangipahoa River, which he places “near Baltimore.” According to Wikipedia, the Tangipahoa originates in southwest Mississippi, and runs for 122 miles, extending into southeast Louisiana.

Bob Dorough biography:


Carmen McRae — recorded on 8 August 1958 and released on the 1958 LP Birds of a Feather, Decca DL 8815

Carmen McRae inscribed_1personnel:
Carmen McRae (vocal), Irving ‘Marky’ Markowitz (trumpet), Al Cohn (tenor sax), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Don Abney (piano), Barry Galbraith (guitar), Aaron Bell (bass), Don Lamond (drums); arranged by Ralph Burns

See the review of the recording at, by Thomas Cunniffe.

The duration of the audio file in the first video below agrees with the track length given by and Amazon, while that in the second video is about 19 seconds shorter. However, the second doesn’t appear to be cut. Instead, comparison of the two indicates that the speed has been increased in the audio file used in the second video by about 8.3%, roughly 1/12th.


(below) with speed evidently increased, reducing the length by about 19 seconds


Sheila Jordan — from her debut album Portrait of Sheila, Blue Note ‎– BLP 9002, released in 1962; the album was recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ on 19 September and 12 October 1962


1964 High Flying Bird, Judy Henske

Judy Henske — from the 1964 Elektra LP High Flying Bird, EKL-241 (mono), EKS 7241 (stereo)

Judy Henske – vocal
Jack Marshall – guitar


Judy Roderick, 1963 (1)Judy Roderick 1

Judy Roderick — from her 1964 debut album Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, Columbia — CL 2153 (mono), CS 8953 (stereo)

Judy Roderick – vocal, guitar
John Hammond, Jr. – harmonica
Bobby Scott – piano
unknown – drums


Solitaire Miles — from the 2010 album Born to Be Blue


Laura Collins — from the 2010 album Introducing Laura Collins (Spolite)

Laura Collins – vocal
Dick Pearce – trumpet and flugelhorn
Sam Dunn – guitar
Barry Green – piano
Jeremy Brown – bass
Matt Skelton – drums


Kathy Blackburn — Jazzschool Institute Vocal Concert at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, CA on 5 December 2011

Kathy Blackburn link:


Frank Garland — at Hobgoblin Music in Leeds, accompanying himself with an Ashbury baritone ukulele borrowed from the wall



* Dick Hyman played under the pseudonym “Richard Lowman” for the session. The “ah” abbreviation for Dick Cary’s instrument stands for “alto horn.”


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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Charles Henry
    Jan 17, 2014 @ 17:27:47

    The best version of Baltimore Oriole was done by Frances Langford on the Decca label in the mid 40’s with Harry Sosnik and his orchestra, Hoagy Carmichael doing the whistling. Should be recognized, it’s a real gem.


    • doc
      Jan 17, 2014 @ 20:11:21

      Charles, Thanks. I was aware that Langford had recorded it, but haven’t found it yet. Was it in a film?


      • Charles Henry
        Jan 17, 2014 @ 23:55:12

        It’s on the CD April in My Heart, a compilation of Frances’ recordings from 1934-1947, still available on Amazon, on the Flare label. I believe there was a cartoon made of the song in the 40’s with Frances doing the sound track, but don’t hold me to it, lol. I believe I saw it when I was a kid. Frances sounds like a real tough girl on the record. Great acting job as well as a great vocal.

      • doc
        Jan 20, 2014 @ 13:29:57

        Online 78 rpm Discographical Project ( has Frances Langford’s recording issued as Decca 15063A, b/w “Gambler’s Blues” recorded by Stan Kenton. There’s no information provided on the orchestra backing Langford, and no recording date is given for 15063A, though the recording date of the B-side, 13 February 1942, and the fact that the catalog numbers of the 15000 Decca series tend to run in more or less chronological order, together suggest that her recording may have been made in 1942, which would make it the earliest I’m aware of, possibly the first recording of the song.
        I’ve only been able to find a 30 second sample.

      • Charles Henry
        Jan 20, 2014 @ 16:11:40

        You can download Frances Baltimore Oriole from Amazon for.99c. They list it as having been recorded in 1944. Maybe it was reissued in 1944

      • doc
        Jan 22, 2014 @ 19:24:54

        You mean pay for music? What a novel idea. I might try that some year. Thanks, Charles.

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