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Germany’s Hitparade 1938-45

May 14th, 2020 17 comments

This is the second part of the recycled German hitparade of the era just before and during the war. Again, if you dig genocidal fascism and want this mix to have a Nazi party, please go somewhere else. This mix was not made for your sorry Nazi asses. Part 1, covering 1930-37, was posted on Tuesday.

In 1944, the Third Reich’s propaganda and culture minister Joseph Goebbels issued a list of artists who were exempted from military duty. The list included individuals deemed too valuable for sacrifice on the battlefield — and friends of the regime. The Gottbegnadeten-Liste (God-gifted list) included authors, architects, painters, sculptors, composers (including 80-year-old Richard Strauss), conductors as well as singers and actors. Those included on that list have featured on these two compilations included Willy Fritsch, Paul Hörbiger (soon to be arrested for resistance activities), Hans Albers, Wilhelm Strienz, and Heinz Rühmann.

These artists enjoyed protection because of their sometimes unwitting collaboration in Goebbels’ endeavours of feeding a positive mood among an increasingly demoralised German population that had lost its youth on battlefields, its homes in bombed cities and its comforts with shortages in food, heat and clothing.

It had long been Goebbels’ strategy to distract the German population from the less savory sides of life under Nazism. Throughout the Nazi-era, he actively promoted light and apolitical feel-good films and songs (much as Hollywood did during the Depression). This meant that artists who were critical of the regime could work in the German film industry without troubling their conscience. Most probably did not realise that they were being used.

 

In the notes to the German Hitparade 1930-37 we encountered the affable Heinz Rühmann, who demonstrably differed with the Nazis on notions of racial purity. Yet it was he who prepared Germans for the war and the encouragement to see it through stoically when his signature hit Das kann doch einen Seemann nicht erschüttern (That can’t rattle a seaman) was released just a month before the invasion of Poland. The song came from the film Paradies der Junggesellen (with Josef Sieber and Hans Brausewetter, who also appear on the song; watch the clip and note the swastika on the walls of the hall). It seems more of a coincidence, however, that Lale Andersen recorded her famous Lili Marlen, the original, almost exactly a month before the start of World War 2.

Zarah Leander confidently predicts that there will be a miracle in the 1942 film Die grosse Liebe.

 

During the war, many songs that ostensibly dealt with matters of romance had a rather unsubtle subtext that exhorted Germans to endure the war until the inevitable final victory. As the news from the fronts became increasingly troubling, so these songs became more frequent. While Bomber Arthur Harris destroyed German cities, Zarah Leander sang Davon geht die Welt nicht unter (Cheer up, the Volk, it’s not the end of the world) and the optimistic Ich weiss, es wird einmal ein Wunder gescheh’n (I know there’ll be a miracle one day). In the clip of the song from the film, note the angels. They are SS officers.

Lale Andersen suggested that everything will pass eventually. By then, Read more…

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Germany’s Hitparade 1930-37

May 12th, 2020 19 comments

This mix was first posted in 2010, but with last week’s 75th anniversary of the the end of WW2 in Europe and the end of the Third Reich, the era covered by this collection and its follow-up is of heightened interest again — and maybe more so the stories behind the artists on this mix. Obviously, if you want this mix because you are nostalgic for the Third Reich, you are not welcome to it. As Indiana Jones so memorably put it: “Nazis. I hate these guys.” The 1938-45 mix follows on Thursday.

This is the first of two compilations of German hits covering the era from the rise of Nazism to its demise. The first compilation leads us through the latter years of the Weimar Republic to 1937, just before war became an inevitable prospect. The second mix will start in 1938 — the year of the Anschluss, or annexation of Austria — through the war to 1944 (there were no hits in 1945, it seems).

None of the pre-war Schlager featured here are of the Nazi propaganda sort, and even the propaganda of the war-period songs is subtle, framing national optimism and encouragement in romantic song (with sentiments such as “I know one day there’ll be a miracle” and “Everything must pass”), which was very much in line with Goebbels’ propaganda strategy which used film and song to distract the Volk‘s mind from matters of war.

The careers of some of the artists featured in the first mix ended with the advent of Nazism. Marlene Dietrich (1901-92), whose Ich bin die fesche Lola comes from Der Blaue Engel (filmed simultaneously as The Blue Angel in 1929), launched her Hollywood career before Hitler assumed power on 31 January 1933. While Dietrich agitated against the Nazis from the safety of Hollywood, her sister ran a cinema near the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, frequented mainly by SS guards. Marlene renounced her sister as a result, yet after the war helped her financially. In post-war West Germany, Dietrich was long regarded by many as a traitor on account of her support for the Allies in WW2. At a 1960 concert in Düsseldorf, an audience member threw an egg at her (in fairness, other audience members gave the offender a good beating for his troubles).

Comedian Harmonists

The sextett Comedian Harmonists created many pre-Nazi classics which became German standards (such as Veronika, der Lenz ist da; Wochenend und Sonnenschein; Ein Freund, ein guter Freund; Mein kleiner Kaktus). Half of the group comprised Jewish members, and the group struggled soon after the Nazis took power. In 1934 Read more…

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Any Major Hits From 1944

August 8th, 2019 2 comments

 

This month it will be 30 years since I saw When Harry Met Sally in the cinema. I love almost everything about the film, including the wonderful soundtrack of standards (the soundtrack album by Harry Connick Jr was superb, too).

So I got it into my mind that a doing a compilation of hits from 1944 — 75 years ago — would be great fun. I wasn’t wrong. Putting together this mix of songs that were US hits in the penultimate year of World War II was hugely enjoyable; and I hope listening to it will be agreeable as well.

Maybe you know somebody who was around then. They might well love hearing some favourites and some long forgotten tunes. I’m thinking here of reader Johnny Diego (whom I haven’t heard from for a long while, alas) who played his 90-something year old German-raised mother the mixes of German hits between 1930 and 1945 I posted a few years ago (1930-37 and 1938-45). He reported that she was deeply touched by revisiting her youth.

As for the music, some of it is timeless, and some is much of its time. The joy to be derived from the firmer is self-evident; the joy in the latter resides in its anthropological values.

Two songs here are about the war: Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters are imagining the fun ass-kicking the Nazis will receive when the GIs march into Berlin (in the event, the Soviets got there first, and their version of ass-kicking was fun for nobody).

Where Bing and the Sisters are waxing patriotically with a light heart, Red Foley’s Smoke On The Water is pretty nasty in its jingoism. And it is fairly prescient when Foley predicts of Japan’s fate: “There’ll be nothing left but vultures to inhabit all that land, when our modern ships and bombers
make a graveyard of Japan…” Well, of two cities in Japan. File that song’s inclusion under anthropological value.

Talking of 1944 hits with the titles of future rock classics: Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)… what were the chances?

This mix is presented as a collection of hits of 1944. The concept of “hit” is a little stretched in the case of Stan Kenton’s Artistry In Rhythm, which was first recorded in 1943 and released on Capitol in February the following year. It was later re-recorded and issued to more successful effect, but in 1944 the single was a bit of a flop. Still, the track, which fuses jazz and (modern) classical music, shows musical innovation amid all the mainstream stuff.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-manufactured covers. PW in covers.

1. Woody Herman And His Orchestra – Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me
2. King Cole Trio – Straighten Up And Fly Right
3. Guy Lombardo feat. Skip Nelson – It’s Love-Love-Love
4. Louis Prima And His Orchestra – Angelina
5. Ella Mae Morse – Milkman Keep Those Bottles Quiet
6. Ink Spots & Ella Fitzgerald – Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall
7. Mills Brothers – Till Then
8. Louis Jordan – Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby
9. Cozy Cole Allstars – Jump Street
10. Dick Haymes & Helen Forrest – It Had To Be You
11. Frank Sinatra – Night And Day
12. Les Brown And His Orchestra – Twilight Time
13. Judy Garland – The Trolley Song
14. Jo Stafford – It Could Happen To You
15. Al Dexter & His Troopers – Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
16. Red Foley – Smoke On The Water
17. The Merry Macs – Mairzy Doats
18. Evelyn Knight – Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking)
19. Dinah Shore – I’ll Walk Alone
20. Andy Russell – What A Difference A Day Made
21. Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra feat. Kitty Kallen & Bob Jimmy – Besame Mucho
22. Glen Gray And Casa Loma Orchestra – My Heart Tells Me
23. Stan Kenton And His Orchestra – Artistry In Rhythm
24. Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters – (There’ll Be) A Hot Time In The Town Of Berlin
25. Benny Carter And His Orchestra feat. Dick Gray – I’m Lost
26. Russ Morgan – Goodnight Wherever You Are

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Any Major ABC: 1950s

January 22nd, 2019 4 comments

 

The ABC of the 1950s might be a random selection of songs, with each artist representing a letter of the alphabet, but there are some interesting tracks here.

Listen to The Orioles‘ 1951 song Baby Please Don’t Go, which James Brown surely took more than just a dollop of inspiration from for Please Please Please. That song, better known as the soul classic that had James Brown fall to his knees in exhausted despair, features here in its initial version, which still had to acquire the raw soul of later interpretations.

Singing in 1959 about securing a date with the school’s prettiest girl, during biology class, is Tony Perkins, who a year later would use his formal name as an actor in the Alfred Hitchcock romantic comedy Psycho (I only got as far as just after the girl checks into the hotel run by the slightly geeky but nice young man played by Perkins. I left it when she takes a shower, which I’m sure will lead to screwball comedy stuff. No Spoilers, please).

 

The Hollywood Flames. In front are (left) Bobby Day and Earl Nelson.

 

The lead singer of R&B and doo wop band Hollywood Flames on their hit Buzz-Buzz-Buzz was Earl Nelson, half of the 1960s R&B duo Bob & Earl. And the writer of the song was fellow Hollywood Flame Bobby Day, who went on to be the original Bob in Bob & Earl. By 1962, Nelson recruited a new Bob and had a hit with Harlem Shuffle. By then Byrd had already a hit under his belt with Rockin’ Robin (later covered by Michael Jackson). Byrd also wrote the hits Over and Over by The Dave Clark Five and Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris. He died in 1990 at 60.

The singer of Real Wild Child, a cover of Australian rock & roller Johnny O’Keefe’s original and precursor of Iggy Pop’s version, is called just Ivan. That was Jerry Ivan Allison, drummer of The Crickets, who is backed here by Buddy Holly on guitar.

Few people on this mix were really likely to score a disco hit two decades after the setting of this ABC. Yet, this is just what R&B singer Dee Clark did in 1975 when he reached #16 in the UK charts with Ride a Wild Horse. Here, in 1959, he still fantasises about the content of high school girls’ sweaters. Clark died in 1990 at only 52.

Fifty-two was also the age at which Amos Milburn died, in 1980. Initially a jazz pianist and singer of those blues and boogie and jump songs that helped pave the way for rock & roll, Milburn’s line was good-natured songs about women and drinking too much which in his day were timeless stuff. His biggest fan was the similarly good-natured Fats Domino, who often cited Milburn as a major influence.

Even younger at the time of her death was Una Mae Carlisle, who was only 40 when she passed on of pneumonia in 1956. A performer since the age of three, the singer-pianist was discovered in the 1930s by Fats Waller. A bandleader in her own right (Lester Young was among her sidemen), Carlisle had as radio show, toured internationally, and wrote many songs, which were covered by the likes of Cab Calloway and Peggy Lee.

 

The Bobettes, whose record company made them turn their contempt for a teacher into a song of inappropriate infatuation.

 

And younger yet was Jannie Pought of the teenage R&B group The Bobettes, who was stabbed to death in a random killing at the age of 34 in 1980. Her group’s Mr Lee is about a schoolgirl’s crush on the eponymous teacher, though their song was initially intended to satirise their teacher, who apparently was indeed a Mr Lee. Atlantic Records ordered that the lyrics be rewritten. The song became a huge hit. The Bobettes continued to record into the early 1980s and performed together even longer. By now four of the five members are dead.

This mix was prepared before the death on December 28 of Christine McGuire of The McGuire Sisters, whose Rhythm ‘n’ Blues (Mama’s Got The Rhythm, Papa’s Got The Blues) is rather more entertaining than their dreary signature tune Sincerely.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-brylcreemed covers. PW same as always.

1. Amos Milburn and his Aladdin Chickenshackers – Bad, Bad Whiskey (1951)
2. Bobettes – Mr. Lee (1957)
3. Connie Francis – No Other One (1956)
4. Dee Clark – Hey Little Girl (In The High School Sweater) (1959)
5. Everly Brothers – Bird Dog (1958)
6. Four Aces – Love Is A Many Splendored Thing (1956)
7. Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps – Be Bop A Lula (1956)
8. Hollywood Flames – Buzz-Buzz-Buzz (1957)
9. Ivan – Real Wild Child (1958)
10. James Brown with The Famous Flames – Please Please Please (1956)
11. Kirby Sisters – Red Velvet (1956)
12. Little Richard – Ooh My Soul (1958)
13. McGuire Sisters – Rhythm ‘n’ Blues (Mama’s Got The Rhythm, Papa’s Got The Blues) (1956)
14. Nutmegs – Story Untold (1955)
15. Orioles – Baby Please Don’t Go (1951)
16. Penguins – Earth Angel (1954)
17. Quin-Tones – Ding Dong (1958)
18. Roy Orbison – Go! Go! Go! (1956)
19. Spaniels – Goodnight Sweetheart (1954)
20. Tony Perkins – Prettiest Girl In School (1959)
21. Una Mae Carlisle – Long (1950)
22. Valentines – The Woo Woo Train (1955)
23. Wrens – Come Back My Love (1955)
24. Xavier Cugat & Abbe Lane – Cuban Mambo (1955)
25. Youngsters – You’re An Angel (With The Devil In Your Eyes) (1956)
26. Ziggy Talent – Please Say Goodnight To The Guy, Irene (1950)

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Any Major Doo Wop X-Mas

December 6th, 2018 12 comments

 

This Christmas we’re going doo wopping, with The Cameos, Marquees, Marshalls, Moonglows, Penguins, Ravens, Dominoes, Voices, Marcels, Uniques, Melodeers, Martells, Larks, Orioles, Falcons , Ebonaires, Ebb Tides, Blue Notes, Valentines, Sherwoods, Playboys and some of their pals.

I had written up a nice post about the stories of some of these acts — and it somehow disappeared. So, here is the mix without a history lesson.

Companion mixes to go with this would be Any Major ’50s Christmas and ’60s Christmas, Any Major R&B Christmas, and Christmas in Black & White Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and Vol. 3.

Happy Advent season! And if your Dutch, Belgian or German, happy Saint Nicholas Day!

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-shoo-da-ba-da-ho-ho-hoed covers (which, I must confess, I’m quite pleased with). PW in comments.

1. The Cameos – Merry Christmas (1957)
2. The Marquees – Santa’s Done Got Hip (1959)
3. The Marshalls – Mr.Santa’s Boogie (1951)
4. The Moonglows – Hey Santa Claus (1953)
5. La Fets & Kitty – Christmas Letter (1957)
6. The Five Keys – It’s Christmas Time (1951)
7. The Penguins – Jingle Jangle (1957)
8. The Ravens – White Christmas (1958)
9. Billy Ward & The Dominoes – Christmas In Heaven (1963)
10. The Voices – Santa Claus Baby (1957)
11. Frankie Lymon – It’s Christmas Once Again (1957)
12. Lonnie & The Crisis – Santa Town USA (1961)
13. The Marcels – Don’t Cry For Me This Christmas (1961)
14. The Uniques – Merry Christmas Darling (1963)
15. The Platters – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (1963)
16. The Melodeers – Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1960)
17. The Martells – Rockin’ Santa Claus (1959)
18. Oscar McLollie and his Honey Jumpers – God Gave Us Christmas (1955)
19. The Larks – All I Want For Christmas (1951)
20. Sonny Til & The Orioles – O Holy Night (1950)
21. The Ebonaires – Love For Christmas (1955)
22. The Cashmeres – I Believe In St. Nick (1960)
23. The Drifters – I Remember Christmas (1964)
24. The Dynamics – Christmas Plea (1962)
25. The Falcons – Can This Be Christmas (1957)
26. Nino & The Ebb Tides – The Real Meaning Of Christmas (1958)
27. Blue Notes – Winter Wonderland (1960)
28. The Valentines – Christmas Prayer (1957)
29. The Playboys – The Night Before Christmas (1963)
30. The Sherwoods – Happy Holiday (1961)

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More Christmas Mixes
Any Major Christmas Favourites
Any Major 1980s Christmas
Any Major 1970s Christmas
Any Major 1960s Christmas
Any Major 1950s Christmas
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Carols (in pop)
Any Major Christmas Bells
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Doop Wop Christmas
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3
Song Swarm: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

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Any Major Love in Black & White

February 11th, 2016 6 comments

Any Major Love in B&W

Last year”s Any Major Love mix featured a general spread of songs about being in love. For this year”s Valentine”s Day I”ve created a mix of songs about being in reciprocated love spanning the era between 1933 and 1962 (equivalent to a time span from 1987 to today, if I may make you feel very old).

Many of these are standards performed by the big names of that era, though not all are obvious choices. So we have Sinatra singing a song which 14 years later would be a hit for Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby sings with his wife at the time, both of whom are billed below the bandleader.

So grab your one true love, and get jiggy in the ways of a 1990s romantic comedy. It would work particularly well if you are a Harold and have a Maude.

Next week”s mix will provide an antidote to all the amorous happiness.

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes covers made by a sweatshop-full of cupids. PW in comments.

1. Sammy Davis Jr. – Face To Face (1961)
2. Anita O”Day & Billy May – I Could Write A Book (1960)
3. Peggy Lee – Cheek To Cheek (1958)
4. Ella Fitzgerald – I Only Have Eyes For You (1962)
5. June Christy – The First Thing You Know, You”re In Love (1954)
6. Tony Bennett – Happiness Street (Corner Sunshine Square) (1956)
7. Frank Sinatra – Everybody Loves Somebody (1948)
8. Margaret Whiting – Come Rain Or Come Shine (1946)
9. Billie Holiday – Let”s Do It (Let”s Fall In Love) (1941)
10. Lena Horne – As Long As I Live (1944)
11. The King Cole Trio – I”m In The Mood For Love (1945)
12. Victor Young with Bing & Dixie Lee Cosby – The Way You Look Tonight (1936)
13. Mildred Bailey – These Foolish Things (1944)
14. Doris Day – Again (1949)
15. Gene Kelly – I”ve Got A Crush On You (1951)
16. Julie London – You”re Getting To Be A Habit With Me (1958)
17. Chris Connor – Embraceable You (1957)
18. Dinah Washington – What A Diff”rence A Day Makes (1959)
19. Ray Charles – It Had To Be You (1959)
20. Eddie Fisher – So In Love (1955)
21. Mel Torm̩ РOh What A Night For Love (1961)
22. Billy Eckstine – No One But You (1954)
23. Dean Martin – I”ll Always Love You (1950)
24. Sarah Vaughan – These Things I Offer You (1951)
25. Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra ft. Anna Boyer – I Concentrate On You (1940)
26. Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye – Let There Be Love (1940)
27. Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra – I”ve Got The World On A String (1933)
28. Joe Turner”s Orchestral with Pete Johnson – Baby, Won”t You Marry Me (1948)

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Any Major Paris In Black & White

November 17th, 2015 8 comments

Any Major Paris In Black & White

Here is my tribute to Paris, a city that will not be defeated by terrorists. I wish my music collection would allow me to likewise compile collections in tribute to the people of Beirut, Baghdad, Ankara, Gaza or whichever city the genocidal bastards of Boko Haram are blowing up this week — or, indeed, whichever Afghan hospital the US destroys in a case of couldn’t-give-a-damn.

And on that cheerful note, to the music. Unlike the first Any Major Paris mix, which I posted last year, this one trades bilingually in nostalgia: there are tracks by great French singers such as the majestic Edith Piaf, her ex-lover and protégé Yves Montand, the great entertainers Charles Trénet and Maurice Chevalier, the powerful Gilbert Bécaud, and the godmother of them all, Mistinguett.

Among the English tracks, Petula Clark’s song is a cover of a French chanson which is best heard in Piaf’s version.

A couple of the American artists who sing here in French once scandalised prim Parisian society. Josephine Baker’s story is well-known, that of Joan Warner less so. The tall blonde used to dance in Parisian joints in various stages of nudity. For that she was tried in 1935. Found guilty she fined, just a nominal sum, even though she contended that she had been painted all in white make-up and was partly covered with a transparent silk cloth which served as a “fig leaf” — without that, the judge said, her fine would have been fined eight times as much. Warner is still alive, it seems, at the age of 102.

And speaking of Piaf, should you go to Paris and want a guided tour of Edith Piaf’s life, I know someone who does that. Message me for contact details (ideally via Facebook; become my friend here).

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-bricolé covers. PW in comments.

1. Dean Martin – I Love Paris (1961)
2. Patachou – Sous le Ciel de Paris (1956)
3. Edith Piaf – Notre-Dame de Paris (1952)
4. Petula Clark – Mademoiselle de Paris (1963)
5. Gilbert Bécaud – Dimanche à Orly (1963)
6. Jacques Dutronc – Il est cinq heures, Paris s’éveille (1968)
7. Mel Tormé – Paris Smiles (1967)
8. Sammy Davis Jr. – April In Paris (1965)
9. Francis Lemarque – Lair de Paris (1957)
10. Mouloudji – Le Mal De Paris (1954)
11. Charles Trénet – Le Coeur de Paris (1946)
12. Maurice Chevalier – Place Pigalle (1946)
13. Yves Montand – À Paris (1948)
14. Kate Smith – The Last Time I Saw Paris (1940)
15. Joan Warner – Etre Parisienne (1936)
16. Mistinguett – La tour Eiffel est toujours là (1942)
17. Django Reinhardt et le Quintette Du Hot Club De France – Belleville (1942)
18. Josephine Baker – Paris Paris Paris (1949)
19. Eartha Kitt – Under The Bridges Of Paris (1953)
20. Les Baxter – The Clown On The Eiffel Tower (1957)
21. Catherine Sauvage – L’Île Saint-Louis (1954)
22. Pierre Dudan – Ciel de Paris (1957)
23. Georgette Plana – Le Dimanche à Paris (1953)
24. Quincy Jones – Evening In Paris (1957)
25. Judy Garland – Paris Is A Lonely Town (1962)
26. Max Steiner – Casablanca: Paris Montage (1942)

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Any Major Paris
Any Major London Vol. 1
Any Major London Vol. 2
Any Major London Vol. 3
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NYC in black & white

November 10th, 2014 13 comments

New York in Black & White

A reader asked me to re-up the broken link to this mix, first posted in early 2010. So here I post the whole shebang again, this time with covers, since I suspect some thoughtful children and grandchildren of people who witnessed the time this compilation recalls might want to give the mix as a Christmas present. As always, the thing is timed to fit on a standard CD-R. PW in comments.

I hope that this collection of songs about or set in New York, spanning 30 years, will find an audience. And I hope that some of these songs will inspire the listener to seek out more music by some of the artists who are largely forgotten now.

Here I think of the great Anita O’Day, featured here twice, an extraordinary vocalist whose lifestory would mirror any sordid rock & roll tale. Or Red Nichols, the innovative jazzman who is said to have recorded 4,000 songs before he turned 25. Danny Kaye played him in the 1959 biopic The Five Pennies, which also starred Bob Crosby, the younger brother of Bing, who was a vocalist and bandleader in his own right, though here he appears as a guest of The Dorsey Brothers, both of who feature in this mix heading their own bands.

Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey played with Sam Lanin as did two other future bandleaders included here: Red Nichols on the cornet and saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer. Lanin was more an arranger than he was a musician, but a 1920s hit factory nonetheless (Bing Crosby got his break with Lanin’s orchestra). By the late 1930s, Lanin had retired from the music business.

The Mills Brothers may be most widely remembered better for their 1952 proto-doo wop hit Glow Worm, but by then they were veterans in the music game, having started in 1928, paving the way for the similar Ink Spots. The brothers stopped performing 61 years later, in 1989 (by then having been decimated to two by death).

Dolly Dawn, known to her mother by the more demure name Theresa Maria Stabile, was a massive singing star in the 1930s and early ’40s. She was one of the very first female singers to lead her own band, the Dawn Patrol. Her career was cut short when many members of her band were drafted to serve Uncle Sam in WW2.

The 1920s and ’30s were the golden age of African-American vaudeville acts of the age of the tap dance and the soft-shoe, silver-capped canes and gleaming cufflinks, the Bojangles scene. Jimmy Lunceford, whose orchestra began as a high school band which Lunceford taught in Memphis, is perhaps the best example here of that influence on jazz, incorporating humour in the music (in much the some way the Italian Louis Prima would). Rumour has it that Lunceford died in 1947 after being poisoned by a restaurateur in Oregon who resented the presence of a black patron in his establishment. More extreme things happened in the sorry history of 20th century US racism.

TRACKLISTING
1. Anita O’Day – Take The ‘A’ Train (1958)
2. Tommy Dorsey & Jo Stafford – Manhattan Serenade (1943)
3. Dolly Dawn and her Dawn Patrol – Blossoms On Broadway (1937)
4. Mound City Blue Blowers – She’s A Latin From Manhattan (1935)
5. Louis Prima and his Orchestra – Brooklyn Bridge (1945)
6. The Dorsey Brothers feat. Bob Crosby – Lullaby Of Broadway (1935)
7. The Quintones – Harmony In Harlem (1940)
8. The Mills Brothers – Coney Island Washboard (1932)
9. Tempo King’s Kings Of Tempo – Bojangles Of Harlem (1936)
10. Albert Ammons & Pete Johnson – Sixth Avenue Express (1941)
11. Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra – Cowboy From Brooklyn (1938)
12. Judy Garland & Fred Astaire – A Couple Of Swells (1948)
13. Lee Wiley & Ellis Larkins – Give It Back To The Indians (1954)
14. Dinah Washington – Manhattan (1959)
15. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Autumn In New York (1956)
16. Gene Krupa feat. Anita O’ Day – Let Me Off Uptown (1941)
17. Cab Calloway Cotton Club Orchestra – Manhattan Jam (1937)
18. Mills Blue Rhythm Band – There’s Rhythm In Harlem (1935)
19. Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra – Slumming On Park Avenue (1937)
20. Artie Shaw and his Orchestra – To A Broadway Rose (1941)
21. Red Nichols and his Orchestra – The New Yorkers (1929)
22. Sam Lanin’s Orchestra with Jack Hart – The Broadway Melody (1929)
23. Frankie Trumbauer – Manhattan Rag (1929)
24. Leadbelly – New York City (1940)

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Any Major Christmas in Black and White Vol. 3

December 12th, 2013 13 comments

Any Major Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3

In 2009 I put up two well-received mixes of Christmas recordings from the 1930s to early “60s, calling the shebang Christmas in Black & White (HERE and HERE). And, like the football world cup, another instalment arrives four years later.

Of course, this being Christmas and the time before colour was invented, there”s a lot of cheese involved. But, hey, what would Christmas be without it? And there is much that is wonderful to make up for it, especially Ella”s take on “The Christmas Song”, and the cool jazz section in the middle (the drums on the Lionel Hampton track!). And how lovely is “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot” by British singer Lita Roza? Also, do check out a young Aretha Franklin getting into the mistletoeing spirit of it all.

I”m not sure whether this compilation constitutes another mortar in the War on Christmas (™ Fox “News” and Britain”s Daily Stürmer). None of these songs are speaking of the Reason for the Season as embraced by the fear-mongering Tea Party demagogues: serving the Lord of Mammon by means of excess commercialism. I wonder what those idiots would make of the grinching Christmas, Not For Mother mix (link of which is live again).

I have considered doing a mix of Christmas songs that might appeal to that other bogeyman of Fox and Limbaugh, the Marxist Pope Francis; but that will have to wait till next year. Instead I”ll have another soulful seasonal mix next week, just in time for Christmas.

As  ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-jinglebelled covers. PW in comments.

1. Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians – Ring Those Christmas Bells (1959)
2. Alma Cogan – Christmas Cards (1954)
3. Rosemary Clooney & Gene Autry – The Night Before Christmas Song (1952)
4. Ella Fitzgerald – The Christmas Song (1960)
5. Aretha Franklin – Kissin’ By The Mistletoe (1963)
6. Doris Day – Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (1964)
7. Lita Roza – The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot (1953)
8. Nat ‘King’ Cole – Toys For Tots (1956)
9. The Andrews Sisters with Guy Lombardo – Merry Christmas Polka (1949)
10. Fats Waller – Swingin’ Them Jingle Bells (1936)
11. Lionel Hampton – Gin For Christmas (1939)
12. Louis Armstrong and the Commanders – Cool Yule (1953)
13. Louis Prima – Shake Hands With Santa Claus (1958)
14. The Enchanters – Mambo Santa Mambo (1957)
15. Perry Como & the Fontane Sisters – It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (1951)
16. Mills Brothers – Here Comes Santa Claus (1959)
17. The De John Sisters – The Only Thing I Want For Christmas (1955)
18. Harry Belafonte – Christmas Is Coming (1958)
19. Vera Lynn – I’m Sending A Letter To Santa Claus (1945)
20. Johnny Mercer – Winter Wonderland (1946)
21. Dinah Washington – Ole Santa (1959)
22. Julie London – I’d Like You For Christmas (1958)
23. Connie Francis – I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1959)
24. Frank Sinatra – White Christmas (1946)
25. The Beverley Sisters – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (1953)
26. Dick Roman – Christmas Village (1962)
27. Dickie Valentine – Christmas Alphabet (1955)
28. Eddie Fisher – You’re All I Want For Christmas (1952)

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More Christmas Mixes
Any Major Christmas Favourites
Any Major 1980s Christmas
Any Major 1970s Christmas
Any Major 1960s Christmas
Any Major 1950s Christmas
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Carols (in pop)
Any Major Christmas Bells
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Doop Wop Christmas
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3
Song Swarm: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Or all in one place

 

 

Any Major Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3 - back

Categories: Black & White Music, X-Mas Tags:

Saved! Vol. 4

March 28th, 2013 3 comments

Another Easter, another mix of Christian music. This fourth volume of the Saved! series covers gospel, R&B, country and a hint of jazz in the 1950s and early ’60s. Some of the artists are well-known gospel outfits (such as Claude Jeter’s Swan Silvertones, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Brother Joe May, Clara Ward), others are quite obscure (such as the Friendly Brothers). Gospel groups used to be a breeding ground for later soul stars: Sam Cooke was a gospel singer, of course. On this mix we meet Johnny Taylor “” who two decades later would sing about the Disco Lady “” as a member of the Highway QC’s. And in The Gospel Stars we have not only Motown’s first gospel outfit, but also the stars of the young label’s very first LP.

Other artists are very well known, though they are not usually thought of as purveyors of Christian music. It is no revelation, of course, that rock & roll pioneers Elvis, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis were men of deep faith, but also featured here are Charlie Rich, Patsy Cline and Dinah Washington, whose religious faith did not feature prominently in the public image.

Lula Reed has been largely forgotten, which is a shame. She was the first performer of the soul classic Drown In My Own Tears, and recorded both secular and sacred music. She could be described as a soul pioneer who retired from secular music before the genre really took off. She refused all offers to record a soul album. Lula Reed died in 2008 at the age of 82.

Of all acts featured here, The Prisonaires have the best story. As their name suggests, they were inmates at a Tennessee jail. Sun Records’ Sam Philips heard of their jailhouse music and recorded them, including their song Crying In The Rain, which later became a huge hit for Johnny Ray. The Prisonaires even performed, under guard, at the mansion of Tennessee’s governor.

And then there is the catchy Do Lord by the unwieldily named quartet of Jane Russell, Connie Haines, Beryl Davis, Della Russell (their alternative name, The Four Girls, never really caught on). Yes, it is that Jane Russell, actress and friend of Marilyn Monroe, who was a devout Catholic, and roped in fellow stars into a Christian Hollywood society, whence her singing group appeared. Davis and Haines were big band singers, though Haines appeared in a few films. Della Russell was the singer wife of crooner Andy Russell, with whom she regularly appeared in TV in the 1950s.Actress Rhonda Fleming was also a member of that group, though not on Do Lord.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-baptised covers. If you believe, have a happy Easter inspired by this mix; if you don’t, enjoy the chocolates and the music on this collection of fine music.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Zeb Turner – Why Don”t You Haul Off And Get Religion (1950)
2. The Spirit Of Memphis – Atomic Telephone (1952)
3. Brother Joe May – When The Lord Gets Ready (1959)
4. The Staple Singers – I Know I Got Religion (1959)
5. Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers – Jesus, Wash Away My Troubles (1955)
6. Clara Ward & The Ward Singers – Faith That Moves Mountains (1953)
7. The Chosen Gospel Singers – Watch Ye Therefore (1954)
8. The Friendly Brothers – You Can”t Even Thumb A Ride (1959)
9. The Dixie Hummingbirds – Devil Can Harm A Praying Man (1959)
10. Lula Reed – Just Whisper (1954)
11. Sister Wynona Carr – The Ball Game (3:04)
12. Little Richard – Every Time I Feel The Spirit (1959)
13. The Pilgrim Travelers – I”ve Got A New Home (1953)
14. The Zion Travelers – A Soldier Of The Cross (1957)
15. The Orioles – Deacon Jones (1950)
16. The Prisonaires – My God Is Real (1953)
17. Elvis Presley – It Is No Secret (What God Can Do) (1959)
18. The Louvin Brothers – The Great Atomic Power (1952)
19. Patsy Cline – Life”s Railway To Heaven (1959)
20. Dinah Washington – Lord, You Made Us Human (1960)
21. Louis Armstrong – Ezekiel Saw Da Wheel (1958)
22. Jane Russell, Connie Haines, Beryl Davis, Della Russell – Do Lord (1954)
23. Ken Carson feat. Hal Kanner – Wond”rous Word (Of The Lord) (1951)
24. Jess Willard – Boogie Woogie Preaching Man (1951)
25. Hank Williams – Thank God (released 1956)
26. Charlie Rich – Big Man (1959)
27. Jerry Lee Lewis – When The Saints Go Marching In (1959)
28. The Swan Silverstones – Jesus Remembers (1956)
29. The Highway QC”s – Somewhere To Lay My Head (1955)
30. The Gospel Stars – Make Everything Alright (1961)

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(PW in comments)

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Categories: Black & White Music, God Grooves Tags: