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Any Major ABC of the 1940s

 

It is time to revive the ABC of … series, which I find a real joy (and challenge) to compile. And because the concept — one act for each letter of the alphabet — by its nature creates pretty random playlists, a jumble of genres and/or eras, I find listening to these mixes to be great fun.

The idea initially was to create an ABC for each decade, and there have been ABCs of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1990s, and 2000s. But then I expanded the subject field, so there have also been ABCs of Soul, Country, Canada and South Africa. All links are live again.

There are still other ideas in the works, but today we return to the original concept, with an ABC of the 1940s. Being pre-rock & roll, the ’40s were always a bit marginal in the history of popular music (as are the 1930s). I hope the Any Major Hits of 1944 and 1947 have given lie to the idea that the decade was some kind of medieval age in pop.

Rock & Roll grew out of the R&B, country and gospel of the 1940s. Hear Yank Rachell’s track from 1941 and tell me that Chuck Berry never heard that, or listen to Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s guitar for a taste of what was to come.

Certainly lyrically, it was a golden age. Some titles on this mix promise a dose of humour. Una Mae Carlisle’s Blitzkrieg Baby (You Can’t Bomb Me) combines wit and Zeitgeist.

Tex Williams was on a big smoking trip. There was the satirical Smoke Smoke Smoke (on Any Major Hits from 1947), and here the country singer makes the case for quitting smoking, long before such a thing was fashionable or even regarded as sensible — in exchange for libidinous benefits. Williams died in 1984 — inevitably of lung cancer.

Sometimes the joke came much later. In 1947, Frank Sinatra recorded Everybody Loves Somebody (a week after Peggy Lee laid down the first recording of the song; both flopped). Some 16 years later, Dean Martin covered the song. Having completed the recording, the story goes, Dino walked out of the studio, saw Sinatra, and said: “That’s how you do it.” The story may be apocryphal, but Dino was right.

The US in the 1940s was racially segregated, an apartheid state before South Africa really got into that evil concept. I have made it a point to integrate the music of the 1940s on this mix.

Also see a related group of mixes of Music in Black & White.

This mix is CD-R length, and includes home-whamrebopboombammed covers. The text above is in PDF, and PW is in comments.

1. Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds Of Joy – Wham (Wham Re Bop Boom Bam) (1940)
2. Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters – Pistol Packin’ Mama (1943)
3. Cootie Williams & His Orchestra with Eddie Vincon – Cherry Red Blues (1944)
4. Dooley Wilson – As Time Goes By (1946)
5. Ella Fitzgerald with The Day Dreamers – I’ve Got A Feeling I’m Falling (1948)
6. Frank Sinatra – Everybody Loves Somebody (1948)
7. Glenn Miller and his Orchestra – (I’ve Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo (1942)
8. Horace Henderson and his Orchestra – Oh Boy, I’m In The Groove (1940)
9. Ink Spots – Someone’s Rocking My Dreamboat (1941)
10. Judy Garland & Gene Kelly – For Me And My Gal (1942)
11. Kay Kyser and his Orchestra – A Zoot Suit (For My Sunday Gal) (1942)
12. Lena Horne – Deed I Do (1948)
13. Mel Tormé – Careless Hands (1949)
14. Nat ‘King’ Cole – You Can’t Lose A Broken Heart (1949)
15. Orioles – It’s Too Soon To Know (1948)
16. Peggy Lee – That Old Feeling (1944)
17. Quintones – Harmony In Harlem (1940)
18. Ravens – Write Me A Letter (1947)
19. Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight – Didn’t It Rain (1947)
20. Tex Williams – With Men Who Know Tobacco Best (It’s Women Two To One) (1947)
21. Una Mae Carlisle – Blitzkrieg Baby (You Can’t Bomb Me) (1941)
22. Vaughn Monroe and his Orchestra – Rum And Coca-Cola (1945)
23. Woody Herman and his Orchestra – Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me (1944)
24. Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra – Make It Another Old Fashioned, Please (1940)
25. Yank Rachell – Tappin’ That Thing (1941)
26. Zutty Singleton’s Creole Band – Crawfish Blues (1945)

GET IT!

PREVIOUS ABCs:
ABC of 1950s
ABC of 1960s
ABC of 1970s
ABC of 1990s
ABC of 2000s
ABC of Soul
ABC of Country
ABC of Christmas
ABC of South Africa
ABC of Canada

Categories: ABC in Decades, Black & White Music Tags:
  1. halfhearteddude
    June 5th, 2024 at 17:21 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. June 7th, 2024 at 19:40 | #2

    This looks like a great collection, thanks for putting it together. Everything we hear today started somewhere, and you can always push it back a little further than you think.

  3. June 8th, 2024 at 19:40 | #3

    Thanks for all you do!

  4. June 11th, 2024 at 05:37 | #4

    I love the variety of music you have on this site. When I first got into big band/swing I knew the big names like Goodman and Kyser and Miller. Then got into more like Bunny Berigan, Andy Kirk, Roy Eldredge, etc. You always turn me on to other artists from every generation. Thanks.

  5. Muddy
    June 11th, 2024 at 07:44 | #5

    Rosetta THARPE (not Sharpe)
    But hey, love being exposed to great music from whatever decade.

  6. amdwhah
    June 11th, 2024 at 21:46 | #6

    Of course. Corrected in the text.

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