Valaida Snow: selected recordings, 1935-1946, and gallery
- Memorylane.org (link fixed, 4 March)
- Women In History
- Take the “A” Train: Notes on Valaida Snow
Valaida Snow: selected recordings, 1935-1946
I Can’t Dance I’ve Got Ants in My Pants (Clarence Williams, Charlie Gains)
Valaida Snow with Billy Mason and his Orchestra — B-side of Parlophone (UK) single I Wish I Were Twins (F 118), issued in 1935
I Wish That I Were Twins (m. Joseph Meyer, w. Frank Loesser, Edgar De Lange) — Hit recording in 1934 by Fats Waller and His Rhythm. Also recorded that year by Emil Coleman and His Orchestra, and Henry “Red” Allen and his Orchestra.
Valaida Snow with Billy Mason and his Orchestra — issued in 1935 as Parlophone (UK) single F 118, b/w I Can’t Dance I’ve Got Ants in My Pants
High Hat, Trumpet and Rhythm (Valaida Snow)
This song, which became Snow’s theme song, has been used in the title of one of two compilations of recordings issued by World Records, Valaida: High Hat, Trumpet and Rhythm (World EMI SH 309), and as the title of a biography, subtitled The Life and Music of Valaida Snow, by Mark Miller, 2007.
Singin’ in the Rain (m. Nacio Herb Brown, w. Arthur Freed) – recorded 26 April 1935
Until the Real Thing Comes Along
According to one version of the original sheet music, the songwriting credits read: “Words and Music by Sammy Cahn, Saul Chaplin and L.E. Freeman”. Another version has, immediately below the title, the words: “with Piano Accordion”. According to this version, the songwriting credits read: Words and Music by Mann Holiner, Alberta Nichols, Sammy Cahn, Saul Chaplin and L.E. Freeman. Otherwise, graphically, the two versions are identical. ASCAP lists all five as co-writers.
I Want a Lot of Love (Valaida Snow) — recorded by Valaida Snow and The Six Swingers. Snow’s vocals are full of scat and verbal patter. Among the latter, we have (in the last minute):
I don’t care how hard you hit me, just so long as you don’t quit me.
If you didn’t even have no hair, I’d say, “Sic ‘im on me, I don’t care.”
Turn the hose on me, boys, I’m burnin’ up again.
The Mood That I’m In (Abner Silver & Al Sherman)
Valaida Snow with Derek Neville and his Orchestra, recorded in London on 7 July 1937 — Valaida Snow (voc, tp); Derek Neville (as, bar, ldr); Johnny Claes (tp); Reggie Dare (ts); Gun Finley (p); Norman Brown (g); Louis Barreiro (b) and Ken Stewart (d)
Creator of the slide show in the first video below, Crownpropeller’s Blog, indicates that the photographs used were “taken by Hans Spreng when Valaida Snow was playing at the Sihlporte, Zürich, in summer 1937,” and that the band seems to be the “almost the same” as the personnel credited on the recording.
Caravan (Juan Tizol, Duke Ellington, w. Irving Mills)
(Below) In a scene from the 1939 French film Pièges, Snow performs My Sweetheart, accompanied by Freddie Johnson on piano. I’ve been unable to identify the songwriter(s).
You’re Driving Me Crazy (What Did I Do?) (Walter Donaldson) — First recorded by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians on 11 November 1930. Sometime in the next 8 weeks or so it was added to the 1930 musical Smiles, a Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. production which premiered on 18 November 1930. The opening night numbers featured 17 Vincent Youmans compositions with lyrics by either Clifford Grey and Harold Adamson, or Ring Lardner. The show closed on 10 January 1931 after 63 performances. According to secondhandsongs.com, You’re Driving Me Crazy was performed in the show by Adele Astaire & Eddie Foy, Jr.
The most popular early recordings were those by Guy Lombardo, Rudy Vallee & His Connecticut Yankees, and Nick Lucas with Victor Young & his Orchestra. The song was also covered early by The New York Twelve (Harry Reser) with vocal by Frank Luther, Ben Selvin and his Orchestra (8 December 1930), and by Lee Morse and her Bluegrass Boys (26 November 1930). Among the “Bluegrass Boys” for this session were Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Eddie Lang.
I’ve preceded Snow’s 1940 cover with Louis Armstrong’s 1930 version. You’ll find additional recordings, in chronological order, in our feature page: You’re Driving Me Crazy (What Did I Do?).
Louis Armstrong and his Sebastian New Cotton Club Orchestra — recorded 23 December 1930
Valaida Snow – 1940
St. Louis Blues (W. C. Handy)
Valaida Snow with Winstrup Oleson, recorded in Denmark, 1940
I Can’t Give You Anything But Love (m. Jimmy McHugh, w. Dorothy Fields)
Valaida Snow with Winstrup Oleson’s Swingband — recorded August 1940 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Fool That I Am (Floyd Hunt)
Valaida Snow & the Day Dreamers — recorded in LA, 1945
Patience and Fortitude (Blackie Warren, Billy Moore)
From a 1946 Soundie, Valaida Snow with the Ali Baba Trio