About

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  • latest revision: 24 March 2017

Welcome to Songbook.

All of the research, collection, and organization of materials (videos, images, text, links, etc.) for the site is done by doc, aka Jim Radcliff. Every page and post is created by and published by me. Excluding comments by visitors, and the occasional video or link they might provide, I am the sole contributor to, and sleigh-driver-guider-puller of, the site. All commentaries on the songs, recordings etc. when not otherwise attributed are by moi.

About the site, and hints for easier access:

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29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 13:50:59

    This is one great site as befits the music it represents. The articles are excellent and I spend much time reading about the songs and artists that performed them. I’m looking forward to a write up of one of my favorites…The Way You Look Tonight. One thing that would help getting around the site is a search function. Maybe there is one but I have not found it yet. And finally…..the Boswell Sisters were way too cool! Thanks!

    Reply

    • doc
      Mar 05, 2010 @ 16:00:30

      Hi John, Thanks for the comment. There is a search tool; I have it just below the top image in the sidebar. I guess I ought to put it right at the top. [note, 12 June 2014: I added more sidebar search boxes soon after receiving the above comment, and have since typically had several available at intervals from the top to the bottom of the sidebar]

      My “posts” are nearly all duplicates of “pages” published at virtually the same time. Most posts will be deleted within a period of a few days to a few weeks after being published.

      The WordPress search tool is limited by the number of posts allowed per page which is selected by me, but determined largely by the length and density of the average post on the front page.

      Post archives are not very useful on this site due to the fact that most of the content is in pages, rather than posts. I began using pages for content when I saw how easy it was to make indexes with them. Pages can be arranged in a heirarchy (they permit you to arrange a blog like a book) whereas posts and links cannot be ordered in this way. You can use multiple links to manipulate the order of a sidebar index, but there is no hierarchy allowed. That may be more info than you wanted.

      Very recently I simplified my index into several major categories. You click on one of these at the top of the sidebar and it opens to an index of feature pages and links:

      * Songwriters
      * 1890-1950s selected standards and hits by decade
      * Feature Page Index: category and alphanumeric page indexes
      * Film Musicals and Revues: selected films and songs, 1929-47
      * Galleries: performing artist, songwriter, etc.
      * Jazz Age
      * Performing Artist features
      * Pre-Swing and Swing Eras
      * _documentary
      * __about the site + messages

      – Cheers, Jim

      P. S. The Boz Sisters Rule

      Reply

  2. viva creativa
    Apr 12, 2010 @ 18:36:57

    What an awesome blog! I can’t wait until I have time to really go through it!

    I have a question for you. I don’t know if this song falls under your expertise, but I am curious about the song “Why Don’t You Do Right?” Peggy Lee sang it w/ Benny Goodman, and it was covered by the gothic pop band Rasputina in the 90s. I heard it is an anonymous song from the Depression. Maybe you know more about it? Oh, I just saw the Song Title Searches on the sidebar so I will check that. Thanks again! I love this stuff!

    Reply

    • doc
      Apr 12, 2010 @ 20:30:41

      Hi viva, Thanks. Yes I know the song Why Don’t You Do Right. I think I might do a feature on it soon. I’m proceeding year by year with occasional exceptions and presently I’m immersed in 1934. This song is from 1936. Here is some information on the number from wikipedia:

      “Why Don’t You Do Right?” is an American blues- and jazz-influenced pop song – now a standard – written in 1936 by Kansas Joe McCoy. It is a twelve-bar song written in a minor key. Although it is not in the twelve-bar blues form (it is more of an aabc form in which the c part is similar to the a part), its considered a classic “woman’s blues” song.

      The song first appeared in 1936 as “The Weed Smoker’s Dream”, composed by McCoy and recorded by his band, the Harlem Hamfats. The song was subtitled “Why Don’t You Do Now” on the original release. McCoy later rewrote the song, refining the composition and changing the lyrics entirely. The new tune was titled “Why Don’t You Do Right?” and was recorded by Lil Green in 1941 (with guitar played by Big Bill Broonzy). The recording was an early jazz and blues hit.

      One of the best known versions of the song is Peggy Lee’s, which was recorded July 27, 1942 in New York with Benny Goodman. It sold over 1 million copies and brought her to nationwide attention. Lee often stated that Green’s recording was extremely influential to her music. In a 1984 interview she said “I was and am a fan of Lil Green, a great old blues singer, and Lil recorded it. I used to play that record over and over in my dressing room, which was next door to Benny’s (Goodman). Finally he said, ‘You obviously like that song.’ I said ‘Oh, I love it.’ He said ‘Would you like me to have an arrangement made of it?’ I said, ‘I’d love that,’ and he did.”

      Cheers, Doc

      Reply

  3. William F. Torpey
    Apr 12, 2010 @ 20:18:42

    This is a wonderful site, but I keep getting an “Error 404” message. However, the links seem to work OK. I’m not sure what trouble the error message is referring to. It keeps saying, “Sorry, but what you’re looking for isn’t here.”

    Reply

  4. viva creativa
    Apr 19, 2010 @ 19:29:08

    Hey Doc,

    Awesome. Thanks for looking it up! I originally heard it from this band of gothic cellists (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p9uzm4u9qg) when I deejayed a radio show in college. I like it when contemporary bands cover old songs that might otherwise be forgotten. Apparently Sinead O’Connor and Jessica Rabbit have covered it as well. I had no idea it was so popular.

    Also, I found the original recording of “The Weed Smoker’s Dream” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p9uzm4u9qg). It’s good but the popular version is definitely more accessible in my opinion.

    Your blog is so packed w/ info. On this visit I’ve noticed the sheet music section for the first time. Can’t wait to try some of these out on the piano!

    I also thought of an other song I’m curious about called “Waltzing Matilda.” I think it probably came out after 1934 though. One time I was humming the Tom Waits version in the kitchen and my Nana just started chuckling. I had no idea it was from when she was young!

    Thanks again!

    Reply

    • doc
      Apr 20, 2010 @ 06:27:26

      G’day Viva creativa! Waltzing Matilda is a very popular Australian song. Wikipedia calls it “Australia’s most widely known bush ballad” and a “country folk song.” I don’t know how it qualifies as the latter unless they mean that the music is traditional, because the lyrics were written in 1887. The title is an Aussie expression for a foot traveler carrying his goods in a bundle or sack. In this song it applies to a “swagman,” a traveling laborer who carries his belongings in a rucksack or the like. I think the term has broader applications now. — Jim

      Reply

  5. tom walls
    Feb 02, 2011 @ 06:07:09

    What a great resource! Thanks a million.

    Reply

  6. Michael
    Apr 22, 2011 @ 16:21:06

    Jim,

    What a great site! I stumbled onto it looking for pictures and, wow, what a treasure trove…

    I have a question — I’m making a documentary about the World Championship Old-Time Piano playing contest — I really like a picture you posted of Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle. Here’s where you had it: https://songbook1.wordpress.com/pp/fx/features-2-older-2/shuffle-along1921-mills-hall-galleries/sissle-noble-eubie-blake-mt-e1/

    Where did you get it? We’re putting together a sequence on the history of ragtime and old-time piano, and I was curious about this picture (its copyright status, origin, etc) as well as any others of ragtimers you might know about. I’d really appreciate any help or suggestions you have to offer. Thanks very much!

    Best,
    Michael

    Reply

    • doc
      Apr 27, 2011 @ 23:12:19

      Hi Michael, Thank you for the boost.

      Regarding that Sissle and Blake photo: I’m pretty sure it came from a Black Heritage site, but it was an accidental find and I’m not certain I’ve still got the link. I’ve just been hunting for it and haven’t found it yet. Let me meditate on this awhile and my memory might be jogged by a clue which presently eludes me. You’ve got me interested now too, because that was a valuable source which I intended to return to. I think the images may have been listed at the source by brief descriptions; so you had to click each link to see the image. However, the one I’m thinking of might have been the source of another photo of the pair instead.

      You might want to check out also the three flickr collections I’ve links to in the sidebar under “photographs, black history (flickr).” Good luck. I’ll get back to you if I remember or come across the source again. — Jim

      Reply

    • doc
      May 16, 2011 @ 16:59:53

      Michael, The collection I referred to in my previous message was of the Maryland Historical Society, though I haven’t yet found the exact page I saw before in my recent searches. They do have a very large collection of Eubie Blake photos, here: The Eubie Blake Collection – Maryland Historical Society.* However, the majority seem by far to be from quite late in his long life. — Jim

      * Update, 21 March 2013: This collection was evidently removed not long after I published this link. I’ve been unable to access it since the late spring or summer of 2011.

      Reply

  7. Athena at McElrath Cabaret
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 21:36:53

    Thank you so much for including us in your “Friends” (blogroll) list–we are very appreciative! I would like to let you know that we have a new and improved blog, and it is at a different URL than the one you have listed. The new URL is: http://mcelrathcabaret.com I would like to invite you to participate in our Cabaret Soiree Link party, which is held every Monday. You may place a link on our site to one of your blog posts, and visitors to our site can click on it and be taken to your post. This is a way for you and us to get new visitors to our blogs. You can see all the details at our blog. Hope to see you there! I’d also like to let you know that I featured your blog on our Featured Cabaret Blogs and Performers post that will go up on this Thursday, Feb. 2nd!

    Reply

  8. Athena at McElrath Cabaret
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 18:52:53

    Thank you for the link love–much appreciated!

    Reply

  9. John Hines
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 13:05:12

    Jim,

    Thank you so much for this wonderful site. The amount of effort you’ve put into this is truly impressive, and very much appreciated.

    I’m writing to share with you what I hope is the solution to a riddle: the definitive lyrics to “The Land of Let’s Pretend” from the short film “Bubbles” (1930), featuring a tiny Judy Garland, then the youngest member of the Gumm Sisters. I’ve watched the clip many times on your site, and each time I’ve been intrigued by the odd, haunting quality of it. Unfortunately, I’ve also been confounded by some of the unintelligible lyrics, and after reading comments regarding this song on the internet, I’ve realized that I haven’t been the only one confused.

    Fortunately, today I believe I’ve cracked it. Using my own transcription as a base (which was very much like your transcription), I stumbled across a couple of recently scanned newspaper articles from 1929, which were reviews of the film “On with the Show!” Though jumbled and without formatting, they did include fragments of lyrics, which helped to fill the gaps. Here, then, are the complete lyrics:

    “The Land of Let’s Pretend”
    From the film “On with the Show!” (1929)
    Music and lyrics by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke

    Come, dear, and wander through

    The land of let’s pretend
    
Away out yonder where

    The springtime knows no end

    Just as a child would
    
Let’s make believe

    We’re in the wildwood

    Dreaming knighthood was in flower

    You’ll find no sorrow there
    
‘Cause everyone’s your friend

    And each tomorrow there

    You’ll find the rainbow’s end

    We’ll weave a life of dreams

    With threads from bright moonbeams

    They’ll all come true, dear
    
In the land of let’s pretend

    I believe this is the only complete set of lyrics for this song on the internet. I hope you enjoy it.

    Thanks again for this wonderful site.

    Sincerely,
    John Hines

    Reply

    • doc
      Jan 18, 2013 @ 16:54:39

      John,

      Excellent! Good job. I’ve been going back to that periodically for a year and half or so, trying to complete the lyric.

      Please, if you will, post your comment also in my Gumm Sisters page, where it will be more useful. Including sources would be very helpful.

      “Dreaming knightwood was in flower” sounds like the correct fourth line of the second section of the chorus as sung in both versions included in the aforementioned page. Also, “With threads” sounds right. However, I would like to suggest that a few couple of footnotes be appended:

      1. In the Gumm Sisters version, in Bubbles (1930), they definitely modify the line “Away out yonder where,” as heard in the number in On With the Show!(1929), to “Away out just where.”

      2. In the fourth line of the first section of the Bubbles version, the Gumm Sisters sing “The spring can know no end” rather than “The springtime knows no end.”

      2. In the second line of the final section, Baby Gumm (in her solo) seems sing the line exactly as you’ve given it: “With threads from bright moonbeams
.” But in On With the Show!, the line (I think) is slightly different: “With threads of bright moonbeams.”

      Warm regards,
      Jim Radcliff

      Reply

  10. Cookie's Jam
    Mar 21, 2013 @ 08:46:41

    Hello there,
    thanks to facebook(!!!), I found your blog. Thank you ever so much, I will be back regularly. :)

    Reply

    • doc
      Mar 22, 2013 @ 13:47:54

      Hi Cookie, Thank you. Enjoying your blog. I’ve been recently considering doing another feature page or two on early jazz music and jazz dancing in African-American musical theater. I might consult you for advice on the project.

      Focus might variously fall on songwriters, bands, choreographers, as well as on selected performers such as Lottie Gee, Florence Mills, Adelaide Hall, Josephine Baker, Bill Robinson, Fredi Washington.

      Reply

  11. rubyfoot
    May 05, 2013 @ 09:48:15

    Such an amazing blog. It will be difficult not to spend hours & hours here listening to this incredible selection of music

    Reply

  12. Bill
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 05:52:24

    Hello Doc,

    I found your nice site by searching for some missing discography in my music files
    and found your item about Benny Goodman and “I didn’t know what time it was”
    You couldn’t find the date for his performance, and maybe this is it, part of the Rogers & Hart medley? (No strings mentioned though) CD info From my files.
    I’ll need to cruise your site some more, I found a lot to like.

    Cheers, Bill

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Yale University Music Library-Benny Goodman Vol 8 1957-1961

    Benny Goodman-Cl all tracks
    Andre Previn-P, Barney Kessel-G, Leroy Vinnegar-B, Frank Capp-D
    1 It’s All Right With Me 4:58 Hollywood, Sep 3,1958
    Bernie Priven-T, Lou McGarity-Tb, Toots Mondello-As, Zoot Sims-Ts,
    Hank Rowland-P, Tony Mattola-G, George Duvivier-B, Morey Feld-D,
    Eddie Costa-Vb, Bill Stegmeyer-Arr
    2 Willow Weep For Me 4:48 NY, Jan 24,1961
    3 My Little Grass Shack 2:29
    4 Too Many tears 3:22
    Andre Previn-P, Barney Kessel-G, Leroy Vinnegar-B, Frank Capp-D
    5 Easy To Love 5:19 Hollywood, Sep 3,1958
    6 Who? 4:21
    Bernie Priven-T, Lou McGarity-Tb, Toots Mondello-As, Zoot Sims-Ts,
    Hank Rowland-P, Tony Mattola-G, George Duvivier-B, Morey Feld-D,
    Eddie Costa-Vb, Bill Stegmeyer-Arr
    7 Sweet Leilani 2:01 NY, Jan 24,1961
    8 Song Of The Islands 3:14
    9 The Moon Of Manakoora 3:12
    10 On The Beach At Waikiki 2:38
    11 Blue Hawaii 1:53
    Mannie Klein/Conrad Gozzo/Irving Goodman/Don Fagerquist-T,
    Joe Howard/Murray McEachern/Milt Bernhart-Tb, Herb Geller/Bud Shank-As,
    Buddy Collette/Dave Pell-Ts, Chuck Gentry-Bs, Russ Freeman-P,
    Al Hendrickson-G, Leroy Vinnegar-B, Frank Capp-D, Martha Tilton-Voc
    12 Bei Mir Bist Du Schon 2:28
    Mel Powell-P, Roy Burnes-D
    13 Gershwin Medley: 5:50 Stamford,CT, May 16,1957
    The Man I Love
    Embraceable You
    Oh, Lady Be Good!
    Somebody Loves Me
    Liza
    14 Rogers And Hart Medley: 7:20
    Where Or When
    I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
    There’s A Small Hotel
    This Can’t Be Love
    Sing For Your Supper
    Blue Room

    Reply

  13. doc
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 16:06:57

    Bill,
    Thanks. It could be from within that time frame, 1957-1961. However, in the information you’ve provided I see recording dates for a few of the individual songs, plus the Gershwin Medley, but not for the song/recording in question, within the Rodgers & Hart medley.

    Reply

  14. Pam
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 12:00:20

    Love this site. Looking for a little assistance-trying to locate the arrangement, Cheek to Cheek, by the amazing Boswell Sisters so a trio of us can sing it in our choir performance. Any ideas of where to look. Thanks for any help you could give.

    Reply

    • doc
      Feb 25, 2014 @ 16:06:08

      Pam, Thanks. I’m sorry to say that your arrangement request is quite out of my realm. Due to the complexity of the Boswell Sisters’ vocals, I doubt whether sheet music containing their unique arrangements were published at the time of the release of their recordings. Arrangements might have later been created for groups which imitate them. You might begin your search there.

      Reply

  15. Barbara Effros
    Mar 05, 2014 @ 00:40:36

    Your site/blog/art is impressive! Especially narrative of US Jazz History. My grandpa Bob Effros performed with the Boswell sisters. I just posted one of Boswell Sisters songs on my blog. You might contact the granddaughter /neice
    of Boswells at their wonderful site. Boswellsisters.com

    Reply

  16. Robert
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 09:11:40

    Hi Doc,
    This is my second visit here. I subscribed to updates the first time. I have decided that it is a must for researching so much of the Jazz that I love. I am especially fond of the Swing period, and the 30s and 40s and the music of Fred Astaire. I have the album “Starring Fred Astaire” with all it’s stories behind his films and songs, and would like to know if you are considering adding this anytime soon.
    http://www.musicstack.com/album/fred+astaire/starring+fred+astaire
    Once again, this site is fantastic. I congratulate you.
    Robert

    Reply

    • doc
      Mar 07, 2015 @ 19:35:49

      Robert,
      Hi, and thanks for the compliment. That looks like a great album. I haven’t done many features on albums on the site — two or three, if I recall correctly, out of over 800 feature pages and posts. So it’s not very likely I’ll be doing another soon, especially one of that magnitude. However, your comment reminded me that the site is in need of more artist index pages, the Astaire links in the Performing Artist index were scattered, and incomplete. The new Fred Astaire pages index, published today, is a result of your inspiration. — doc

      P.S.
      In various pages, I presently have Astaire film clips, studio recordings, or both, of about half the songs on the version of “Starring Fred Astaire” which you provided the link to (the release reviewed at AllMusic has an additional 5 tracks).

      Reply

  17. Robert
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 08:50:41

    Doc,
    So glad to see the new Astaire pages. I appreciate how quickly you responded with that. Just sampled Cheek To Cheek and am very impressed.
    Yes, that album is extensive, but so are Fred & Ginger. Thanks for the work you do in keeping this music alive, and the artists who gave life to it.
    ~Robert

    Reply

  18. Robert
    Mar 10, 2015 @ 08:12:18

    Outstanding, Doc. If you organize it as you have by timeline, I think it would work out perfectly. Joe Pass’ guitar on They Can’t Take That Away From Me is spot on. I’m trying to spend at least 30 minutes a day here. Have a great one !

    Reply

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