Watch: Recording Session of G.I. Journal

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The G.I. Journal was a popular show that aired on the Armed Force Radio Service.  It was a variety show known mostly for it's comedy sketches but also featured a lot of good music including performances by Glenn Miller, Kay Kyser, Tommy Dorsey and many others.

In 1944, film footage of an episode of "G.I. Journal" being recorded appeared in a bi-weekly newsreel called The Army-Navy Screen Magazine which was viewed by U.S. soldiers.

This video clip includes a track featuring Kay Kyser and His Orchestra.  The beautiful Georgia Carroll provides the vocals.  Kyser was the guest host for the episode.  It provides a "behind the scenes" look at how they pulled off these great recordings.  I think you will find it interesting to watch.  Enjoy!

Watch: Kay Kyser hosting "G.I. Journal" in 1944

The "Sound Off" Program

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The radio program "Sound Off" was a mainstay on the Armed Forces Radio Service from late 1942 to 1947.  This popular "request" show included a countdown each episode and was approx. 15 minutes in length.  Most importantly, it featured a great selection of music.

Throughout the month of March, I spent a lot of time "mining" the series and was able to extract and "clean up" about 100 songs that I think you will enjoy.  Many of these versions were never released commercially.

Listen for great tracks from the "Sound Off" series by artists like: Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Louis Jordan, Jimmie Lunceford, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and many, many more.  They have already been added to the Swing City Radio song rotation and I will be dedicating a whole podcast episode featuring music from the series in April.

Below is an example of an episode I found posted by someone on Youtube.  The audio hasn't been cleaned up but you'll get the idea what the series was like.  Enjoy!

Listen to an example of the AFRS show "Sound Off"

Podcast: Show 153 - Arabella Follows The Night Train

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Arabella Follows The Night Train - Show 153 - 

Features Big Band music by Art Mooney, Artie Shaw, Les Brown and Bobby Sherwood. We also learn about life "BD" and "AD" according to DUZ.

* All music in this podcast are Creative Commons.  Artists are credited within the podcast.

Listen to: Arabella Follows The Night Train (Show 153)
Podcast Episode

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Tex Beneke

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Tex Beneke was a talented saxophonist and singer closely associated with Glenn Miller and His Orchestra.  His personal band is also associated with the careers of Eydie Gormé and Henry Mancini. It's Tex we hear soloing on the iconic Miller song "In The Mood" and it's his unique vocals we hear on Miller's recording of "Chattanooga Choo Choo".  Beneke has one of those voices that just stands out.

Tex Beneke started playing saxophone when he was nine years old.  His first professional work was with bandleader Ben Young in 1935, but it was when he joined the Glenn Miller Orchestra three years later that his career took off. Glenn Miller immediately featured Beneke as his primary tenor sax soloist and Beneke played all but a few of the tenor solos on the recordings and personal appearances made by the Glenn Miller Orchestra until it disbanded in late 1942.

Tex moved on to play in Horace Heidt's band for a short time then led a couple of bands while serving in the navy.  Beneke kept in touch with Glenn Miller while they were both in the military and he made it clear that he wanted to reunite with Miller after the war and learn more about leading a band.  That sadly never happened due to Miller's death overseas.

Listen to: "Give Me Five Minutes More" by Tex Beneke

Tex Beneke eventually went on to lead his own successful band as well as becoming the first leader of the post-war, Glenn Miller "ghost" band.

You can hear his music right here on Swing City Radio including the songs:  "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop", "Give Me Five Minutes More" and "A Girl in Calico".

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