Beautiful Love (m. Wayne King, Victor Young, Egbert Van Alstyne, w. Haven Gillespie)
According to Wikipedia: “It was introduced by the Wayne King Orchestra in 1931. The song has been called the “second favourite number” of King, after the Orchestra’s theme song The Waltz You Saved for Me.”
The song was featured in the soundtrack of the 1932 horror film The Mummy, played (according to IMDb) “during the ball sequence where Helen is telepathically called to the museum.”
This is a popular jazz standard. Ten to fifteen minute combo and solo excursions in which the melody is inevitably obscured, or ignored entirely, for long tedious stretches are not uncommon. I’ve omitted renderings of that sort for now.
This orchestra came up with frequent hit recordings during the 30′s, including classics of Americana such as “I Love a Parade”. For a decade beginning in 1925, the Arden-Ohman orchestra held forth in the ‘pits’ of many long-running Broadway hits, and recorded a repertoire of mostly show tunes. The membership of the pit bands and the recording studio orchestras was sometimes quite different, the bandleaders allowing the evening show players to get some rest while tunes were being recorded during the day. The group was formed by a pair of pianist and songwriters. Victor Arden came to New York quite early in the 20th century in order to make piano rolls. This is where he met Phil Ohman, another hotshot keyboard dazzler. The two formed a piano duo based on their many mutual musical interests, gaining an impressive reputation in the many small clubs clustered around the area of 52nd Street. [read more]
Victor Arden-Phil Ohman and their Orchestra, vocal: Frank Luther — recorded on 24 April 1931; issued as the B-side of Victor 22690, “In a Cafe on the Road to Calais”
This music was recorded from a 10 inch LP, “Favorites for Listening,” issued sometime in the early 1950s on the TOPS label, serial number L 967. These LPs sold for 98 cents each. Tops discontinued this series around 1956.
Dancing In the Dark…was first introduced by John Barker in the 1931 revue The Band Wagon. The 1941 recording by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra earned Shaw one of his eight gold records at the height of the Big Band era of the 1930s and 1940s.
It was subsequently featured in the classic 1953 MGM musical The Band Wagon and has since come to be considered part of the Great American Songbook. In the film it is given a ‘sensual and dramatic’ orchestration by Conrad Salinger for a ballet performance by Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse.
(above) Waring’s Pennsylvanians photographed in front of Les Ambassadeurs in Paris, 1928
Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians — recorded on 18 May 1931; issued as the B-side of the Victor single 22708, “High and Low (I’ve Been Looking For You)” (Schwartz, Dietz). The chorus is initially sung by a male vocal group, and then the B-section or bridge is sung by a female group, the “Three Waring Girls,” followed by an instrumental break (the third A section). The two groups share the vocals in an abbreviated final section.
Jacques Renard and his Orchestra, vocal: Frank Munn – Brunswick label 78 rpm single 6136, b/w “High and Low (I’ve Been Looking For You)”, both sides recorded on 3 June 1931
Bing Crosby — recorded on 19 August 1931 and issued in 1931 as the Brunswick label 78 rpm single 6169, c/w “Stardust” (recorded on the same day) — Bing Crosby (voc), Victor Young (dir), Joe Venuti (vln)
Audio file, from the Internet Archive (archive.org)
Victor Salon Orchestra, conducted by Nathaniel Shilkret — recorded on 15 October 1931; issued as the B-side of the Victor 78 rpm single “Stardust”, 22848.
Ben Selvin and his Orchestra — 1931
Ambrose and his Orchestra at the May Fair Hotel, London, vocal: Sam Browne — recorded on 11 January 1932
Music by Harold Arlen for all songs except “Smoke Rings”
Stepping Into Love (m. Harold Arlen, w. Ted Koehler)
Leo Reisman and his Orchestra, vocal: Harold Arlen — This is an independent song, not associated with any show, and (according to Fadograph’s Weblog) it became the first song recorded by Reisman featuring Arlen as the vocalist. It was recorded on 19 January 1932 and issued on Victor 22913, with flip-side “Tango Americana”, recorded by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra.
Audio file, from archive.org (Click here, to play the file externally if the player below malfunctions. This is the only one in the post which isn’t playing.)*:
Leo Reisman and his Orchestra, vocal: Harold Arlen — the recording date of the second Reisman recording to feature Harold Arlen as vocalist is unknown; issued as the B-side of Victor single 24716, “Night and Day” (vocal by Fred Astaire, recorded on 22 November 1932)
Let’s Fall in Love (m. Harold Arlen, w. Ted Keohler) — written for the 1933 film Let’s Fall in Love
Harold Arlen with orchestra conducted by Ray Sinatra — recorded 1 November 1933; issued on Victor 24467, c/w “This Is Only the Beginning” (m. Harold Arlen, w. Ted Koehler), another song from the film
Smoke Rings (m. H. Eugene Gifford, w. Ned Washington)
The Casa Loma Orchestra recorded Gifford’s instrumental composition in 1932, and it soon became their theme song. A 25 January 1933 recording by the Mills Brothers may have been the earliest to incorporate Washington’s lyric, but the copyright date for the vocal version is almost two months later, 31 March 1933.
Leo Reisman and his Orchestra, vocal: Harold Arlen — recorded on 11 July 1933 and issued as Victor (US) 24358, b/w Heart of Stone (vocal: Fred Astaire). According to the DJ, the disc being spun is HMV no. EA1250 (AU).
(above) Leo Reisman and his Orchestra
Happy As the Day Is Long (m. Harold Arlen, w. Ted Koehler)
Arlen and Koehler penned this song for the 22nd Cotton Club Parade in 1933. Other Arlen-Koehler tunes from this show include “Get Yourself A New Broom (And Sweep The Blues Away),” “Raisin’ The Rent,” and the immortal “Stormy Weather.” Originally Cab Calloway’s orchestra was scheduled to accompany the show, but other obligations (due no doubt to Cab’s meteoric rise to fame) kept him away from the Cotton Club. So Duke Ellington accepted the club owners’ offer to rejoin the stage show — the spot that first boosted Ellington to stardom four years earlier.
Leo Reisman and his Orchestra, vocals: Harold Arlen (singer), Reisman and Arlen (spoken) — recorded on 2 May 1933; issued as the B-side of Victor 24315, “The Gold Diggers’ Song” (vocal: Fred Astaire)
I’m Getting Sentimental Over You (m. George Bassman, w. Ned Washington)
The Red Hot Jazz Archive indicates that the song was first recorded by the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra on 24 September 1932 (Columbia 36o65). A second recording by the band is dated 15 August 1934 (Decca 115, Decca 3942). The Online 78 rpm Discographical Project confirms that Columbia single 36065 , c/w “By Heck”, was recorded on 24 September 1932. The Project also attests that the second recording, Decca 3942 (with the vocal by Bob Crosby), b/w “How Many Times”, was recorded on 15 August 1934.
The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, vocal by Jean Bowes — recorded on 24 September 1932
I haven’t found the 15 August 1934 recording, with vocal by Bob Crosby.
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra — recorded on 18 October 1935; issued as the B-side of the Victor 78 rpm single 25236, “I’ve Got a Note”
The Ink Spots — recorded on 11 October 1939 and issued in 1940 as the 78 rpm single Decca 3077, b/w “Coquette”; one of ten top forty hits by the Ink Spots in 1940, it peaked at #26
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra — 1947?
From the 1956 ABC-Paramount label album “The Vinnie Burke All-Stars” (ABC 139)
Urbie Green (trombone)
Al Cohn (tenor sax)
Eddie Costa (piano)
Jimmy Raney (guitar)
Vinnie Burke (bass)
Joe Morello (drums)
Thelonius Monk — solo piano, from the 1957 LP Thelonious Himself
Mel Tormé — recorded in December 1957, arranged and conducted by Marty Paich, and issued on the 1958 LP Prelude to a Kiss
The song was originally recorded on 26 September 1935 by the composers, Eddie Farley and Mike Riley, with a band credited on the record label as Eddy-Reilly and their Onyx Club Boys. Since Eddy-Reilly combines the first name of one musician-songwriter with the second name of the other, and each are spelled incorrectly, it seems likely that Decca made multiple errors. At least one other 1935 recording exists under the same moniker: “Lookin’ for Love” (w.m. Ed Farley, Mike Riley, and Ed Cannon), which is the B-side of “The Music Goes Round and Round”. However, the pair made other Decca recordings in 1935 under the more accurate name Reilly-Farley and their Onyx Club Boys. Sides under this name include the jazz standards “South” (m. Bennie Moten and Thamon Hayes, 1924) and (B-side of “South”) “I Never Knew”, a 1925 composition with music by Ted Fio Rito and words by Gus Kahn.
Eddy-Reilly and their “Onyx Club Boys” –recorded on 26 September 1935; issued as the Decca 78 rpm single 578, b/w “Looking For Love”
Tommy Dorsey & his Clambake Seven, lead vocal: Edythe Wright – recorded on 9 December 1935
Red McKenzie and his Mound City Blue Blowers — recorded on 3 January 1936; single issued on two labels: Champion 40081 A, and Montgomery Ward 5022-A
The Boswell Sisters — recorded on 6 January 1936 in New York — personnel: The Boswell Sisters (v) Russ Case (tpt) Russ Jenner (tbn) Artie Shaw (cl) Martha Boswell (p) Dick McDonough (g) Artie Bernstein (b) Stan King (d)
Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra — recorded on 18 January 1936, New York (Decca 685)
Benjamin Robertson “Ben” Harney (6 March 1872 – 2 March 1938) was a songwriter, entertainer, and pioneer of ragtime music. His 1895 composition “You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon but You Done Broke Down” is regarded as one of the first published ragtime songs. In 1924, the New York Times wrote that Ben Harney “probably did more to popularize ragtime than any other person.” Time Magazine termed him “Ragtime’s Father” in 1938. — from the Wikipedia profile of Ben Harney
You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon But You Done Broke Down (Harney & Biller) — Ben Harney and John Biller
Ben Harney sings a cappella, in a performance recorded by the archivist Robert Winslow Gordon, possibly in 1925* (Gordon Cylinder G24)
(above) The style of Harney’s song in the Gordon recording does not seem to exemplify ragtime. In this recording, reportedly the only existent one of “The Father of Ragtime” performing, Harney sings a folk song, in a simple “country” style. Which folk song? Read on…
(below) Jamie Levac plays solo on an 1869 square grand piano made in London, Ontario. Well done, but I would like to ask Mr. Levac why that’s not Frog Went A-Courtin’. The same question must be asked of Harney’s recording.
The tune [Good Old Wagon] is similar to that of “The Crawdad Song,” and almost all the verses can be found in standard folksong collections. For instance, a single collection—Volume III of the Frank C. Brown omnibus from North Carolina—contains at least four songs which have elements of either verse or structure which parallel “The Wagon”: “The Dummy Line” (p. 521), “Sugar Babe” (p. 550), and “Went Down Town” and “Standin’ On The Street Doin’ No Harm” (p. 562). Of course, because Harney published his text in 1895 and performed it frequently for the next thirty years, it is quite possible that at least some of the texts recorded by folksong collectors during the early decades of this century reflect the popularity of Harney’s song.
Second, in an article in the journal American Music, in Volume 13, No. 2 (Summer 1995), titled “Ben Harney: The Middlesbourough Years, 1890-1893,” by William H. Tallmadge (p. 167ff.), on pages 180-181 the author points out African-American folk blues (“common in the Appalachian Mountains”) sources of Harney’s “Good Old Wagon”, noting similarities to “Sugar Babe”, “Sweet Thing”, and “Crawdad Song”, and quotes John and Alan Lomax on the adoption of the Negro blues “Sweet Thing” by white banjo and guitar pickers to the extent that “today it can be heard wherever a hillbilly unlimbers his git-box” (p. 181).**
Tallmadge says that he agrees with the Lomaxes, but goes further, stating (p. 181) that “the basic folk tune common to the many variants, both black and white, derived from the much earlier British folk song “A Frog He Went a-Courting”.”
A Blues Serenade(Frank Signorelli, Vincent Grande, Jimmy Lytell, Mitchell Parish)
The earliest recording I’ve found is the 28 December 1926 instrumental by the Original Memphis Five. Six days later, on 3 January 1927, Johnny Sylvester and his Playmates recorded an instrumental version which was issued as the B-side of Gennett 6026, with the songwriters credited on the label as “Signorelli — Grande — Lytell.”
Pianist Frank Signorelli founded the Original Memphis Five with trumpeter Phil Napoleon in 1917. According to Wikipedia, Jimmy Lytell was a member of the band from 1922 to 1925, yet he plays the solo on this late 1926 recording. Vincent Grande played trombone in the The Original Indiana Five, which also recorded as Johnny Sylvester and his Orchestra, Johnny Sylvester and his Playmates, and the Memphis Melody Players
A vocal version of A Blues Serenade was recorded in 1935 by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, featuring a lyric written by Mitchell Parish, sung by Smith Ballew. Other artists to record the song include Bing Crosby (1938), Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra (1938), Sarah Vaughan (1952), Johnny Hodges and his Orchestra, and Anita O’Day (LP “Waiter, Make Mine Blues“, 1961).
Some recordings credit the music to Frank Signorelli alone, possibly because Glenn Miller’s 1935 arrangement not only included the Parish lyric, but eliminated much of the music found in the earlier recordings, keeping just the melodic middle section, which in the original is a clarinet solo by Lytell, accompanied by Signorelli on piano. Only Signorelli and Parish are credited on the sheet music cover left (date unknown), featuring a photo of bandleader Henry King, who reportedly adopted A Blues Serenade as his theme song.
(above) The Original Memphis Five — left to right: Phil Napoleon, Frank Signorelli, Miff Mole, Jimmy Lytell, Jack Roth
The Original Memphis Five – recorded in New York on 28 December 1926, and issued on the Victor label; features a clarinet solo by Jimmy Lytell, accompanied by Frank Signorelli on piano — See the Red Hot Jazz Archive articles on the band, and on Frank Signorelli.
Johnny Sylvester and his Playmates (pseudonym for The Original Indiana Five) — recorded on 3 January 1927 and issued as the B-side of Gennett 6026, with “There Ain’t No Maybe In My Baby’s Eyes” by Harry Pollock’s Diamonds on the A-side. It was also issued under the pseudonym the Memphis Melody Players as the B-side of Challenge 234.
Novelty piano solo (roll?), 1927
Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, vocal: Smith Ballew — 1935