Podcast: Show 164 - Club Fifteen: Mmm Mmm Good

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Club Fifteen: Mmm Mmm Good - Show 164 - 

Features Big Band music by Bob Crosby, The Pied Piper, The Modernaires and many more. We learn about the great music featured on the old radio show "Club Fifteen".

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

Listen to: Club Fifteen: Mmm Mmm Good (Show 164)
Podcast Episode

Listen to more episodes of The Big Band and Swing Podcast at: BigBandPodcast.com

Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street

Picture of The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street

The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street was a fantastic show that first appeared on NBC's Blue Network in February of 1940. The show ran until 1944 and some of it's later episodes were also carried by Armed Forces Radio Services (AFRS).  The show was rebooted in the 1950's, but in my opinion, lacked the appeal of the first run. 

Last week, I spent a considerable amount of time "mining" the series: identifying, isolating, and cleaning up the audio of select tracks to add to the Swing City Radio Playlist. And I have to say, I feel that I've uncovered some true gems that I'm sure you will really enjoy, over 50 different tracks.  So be sure to listen for them on the station.

As I wrote above, the show itself was fantastic. "The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street" was a satire of those old, stuffy, highbrow symphonic broadcasts that were so popular on 1930's radio.  The show featured Dixieland, Swing, Jazz and Blues music but introduced it in a comedic manner mimicking the dry, snobby way similar to those Classical Music Shows.  It was hosted by Gene Hamilton.  I rarely ever say this, but I enjoyed Hamilton's introductions just as much as the music itself.

"The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street" featured two house bands which were both excellent. Henry "Hot Lips" Levine, a former member of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, led an eight-member combo that handled the Dixieland songs and Paul Laval (who later changed the spelling to Lavalle) led a band that would perform the more swing based material.  Both of these bands were tight and talented and many of their show performances have been added to Swing City Radio.

The beautiful voice of Dinah Shore was discovered on this program. Some other vocalists featured were Delores O'Neill, Diane Courtney and Linda Keene.  I was also able to capture some very good guest appearances by Erskine Hawkins, Lionel Hampton, John Kirby and Toots Mondello.  The John Kirby appearance was especially good which included a great rendition of "Close Shave".

I plan on playing select tracks from this show on The Big Band and Swing Podcast in April, but until then, enjoy these classic Dixieland, Swing and Blues performances on Swing City Radio.

Here are two sides I have in my personal 78rpm Collection for you to enjoy:

The Dixieland Jazz Group Of NBC's Chamber Music Society 
Of Lower Basin Street performing East St. Louis Blues from 1941.

The Dixieland Jazz Group Of NBC's Chamber Music Society 
Of Lower Basin Street performing Aunt Hagar's Blues from 1941.

Johnnie "Scat" Davis on 78rpm

Pic of Johnnie "Scat" Davis

Johnnie Davis is more remembered for his work in Hollywood.  He appeared in over a dozen films including "The Varsity Show", "Hollywood Hotel" and "Cowboy From Brooklyn".  His success as an actor was a direct result of the attention he received while in the music industry.

Davis was a singer, trumpeter and led a band of his own for a brief time.  While still in high school, Davis worked as a musician in the bands of Paul Johnson and Leo Baxter.  It was also at this time that Davis Discovered and developed his skills as a scat singer. Hence the nickname, Johnnie "Scat" Davis. In the mid 1930's, he worked with Fred Waring as a musician and vocalist, and his success during this time led him to Hollywood.  

In 1937, he appeared in the movie "Hollywood Hotel", where he introduced the Johnny Mercer song "Hooray for Hollywood". His lively rendition became extremely popular and became closely associated with the film industry. Note that on the 78's below, he is credited as "Johnny".  I've found that he was listed as both "Johnnie" and "Johnny" throughout his career.

Listen to: "Hip Hip Hooray" (1942) by Johnny "Scat" Davis And His Orchestra
from my 78rpm Collection.

On the other side of this fine piece of shellac is his version of "White Christmas".  There's nothing like listening to a good Christmas Song when the weather is warm outside. 

Listen to: "White Christmas" (1942) by Johnny "Scat" Davis And His Orchestra 
from my 78rpm Collection.

Remember, I have a boatload of 78 recordings that I've posted on the Swing City Radio YouTube channel.  Check it out.

May 2023: New Additions To The Playlist

Pic of GI Journal

Recently, I've added some great music into the Swing City Radio rotation.  The bulk of the tracks come from two classic radio shows, "G.I Journal" and "Club Fifteen".  I thought it would be a good idea to provide a brief summary of the shows and the artists and music that was featured on both.  

Pic of GI Journal Transcription Disc

G.I Journal:

G.I. Journal's "first edition" was recorded on June 29, 1943.  The show can be described as "a news paper of the airwaves" and was from the same mold of other AFRS variety shows like "Command Performace and Mail Call".  The show host was known as the editor.  Throughout it's run Kay Kyser, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Jack Carson all served as "editors".  

Some of the great tracks you'll hear from this show are songs by Kay Kyser, Skinnay Ennis and Glenn Miller.  Very good stuff!

Pic of Bob Crosby

Club Fifteen:

Club Fifteen is a radio program that ran from June 1947 until January of 1953.  It was hosted for the most part by Bob Crosby, except for 1949-50 when Dick Haymes took over to host.  The program was sponsored by Campbell Soups.

Jerry Gray did a fantastic job leading a very talented show orchestra and Del Sharbutt was the announcer and played a big part in the show.  I was able to extract and "clean up" great tracks by the regulars and guests including songs by: The Andrews Sisters, The Modernaires, The Pied Pipers, Margaret Whiting, Gisele Mackenzie and many more.  Oh, and of course, Bob Crosby and Dick Haymes.  Very good music that I think you are going to enjoy.

Also, I was able to recover a boatload (or I should say, a heaping bowl full) of Campbell's commercials that are fun to listen to.

So keep an ear out for songs from these two classic shows.  They were added to the rotation the first week of May.  Enjoy!

Pic of Campbell's Ad

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