Goodman at Manhattan Beach

Goodman at Manhattan Beach

This is a picture of Benny Goodman playing on the Manhattan Beach bandstand as Martha Tilton sings.  I just love this picture!  The picture can be found in the liner notes booklet of The Swing Years.  The Swing Years is record collection that was put out by Reader's Digest.  I'll be featuring the collection in a future post.

Be sure to check out our Pinterest page to see more pictures and liner notes from this record collection.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

Andrews Sisters Video


Here's a fun video of the Andrews Sisters performing "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" from 1942.  Shemp Howard from The Three Stooges makes an appearance in this clip.  Enjoy!


Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.



The Glenn Miller Orchestra Tour Dates

Glenn Miller Orchestra

The Glenn Miller Orchestra has been “on the road” longer and more continuously than any other Big Band ever. The band travels over 100,000 miles each year, playing nearly 300 dates. I've had the pleasure of seeing them live in the past and I highly recommend checking them out when playing in your area.  (If you can get tickets, they can sell out quite fast!)

The band has been directed by Nick Hilscher since 2012 and he does a fantastic job at continuing the Glenn Miller legacy.  The musicians and vocalists in this band are top-notch!  An interactive tour schedule, band lineup and other details can be found on their website at: glennmillerorchestra.com.

Below, I've included a list of their current show dates.  I wasn't kidding when I wrote that they tour a lot!  ...and of course you can listen to music of The Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Nick Hilscher right here on Swing City Radio.

February 2020

02/03/2020 - 7:00 pm | Turner Auditorium at TCC - Tallahassee, FL
02/04/2020 - 7:00 pm | Naval Air Museum - Pensacola, FL
02/05/2020 - 7:00 pm | Chipley High School - Chipley, FL
02/06/2020 - 7:00 pm | Dixon Center for the Arts - Andalusia, AL
02/07/2020 - 7:30 pm | Princess Theatre - Decatur, AL
02/08/2020 - 7:30 pm | Niswonger PAC - Greeneville, TN
02/10/2020 - 7:00 pm | Thalia Mara Hall - Jackson, MS
02/11/2020 - 7:00 pm | Robinson Performance Hall - Little Rock, AR
02/13/2020 - 7:00 pm | Crockett Theatre - Lawrenceburg, TN
02/15/2020 - 7:00 pm | Texan Theatre - Greenville, TX
02/16/2020 - 6:00 pm | Louis D. Brandeis High School - San Antonio, TX
02/17/2020 - 7:00 pm | Cullen Theater at Wortham Center - Houston, TX
02/19/2020 - 7:00 pm | Casa Del Sol MH/RV Resort - Donna, TX
02/20/2020 - 7:30 pm | Texas A&M-Corpus Christi - Corpus Christi, TX
02/22/2020 - 7:00 pm | The McSwain Theatre - Ada, OK
02/23/2020 - 3:00 pm | Majestic Theatre - Dallas, TX
02/26/2020 - 7:00 pm | Boulder Dinner Theater - Boulder, CO
02/27/2020 - 7:00 pm | Boulder Dinner Theater - Boulder, CO
02/28/2020 - 7:45 pm | Boulder Dinner Theater - Boulder, CO
02/29/2020 - 1:30 pm | Boulder Dinner Theater - Boulder, CO
02/29/2020 - 7:45 pm | Boulder Dinner Theater - Boulder, CO

March 2020

03/01/2020 - 1:30 pm | Boulder Dinner Theater - Boulder, CO
03/03/2020 - 7:00 pm | Rio Rancho High School - Rio Rancho, NM
03/04/2020 - 7:00 pm | Rio Grande Theatre - Las Cruces, NM
03/06/2020 - 7:00 pm | Sedona Performing Arts Center - Sedona, AZ
03/07/2020 - 3:00 pm | Del E. Webb PAC - Wickenburg, AZ
03/08/2020 - 2:00 pm | Virginia G. Piper Theater - Scottsdale, AZ
03/08/2020 - 7:30 pm | Virginia G. Piper Theater - Scottsdale, AZ
03/10/2020 - 7:00 pm | West Ranch HS Theater - Stevenson Ranch, CA
03/11/2020 - 7:00 pm | Royce Hall - Los Angeles, CA
03/12/2020 - 7:00 pm | Fox Performing Arts Center - Riverside, CA
03/13/2020 - 7:00 pm | Fox Theater - Bakersfield, CA
03/14/2020 - 3:00 pm | Clark Center - Arroyo Grande, CA
03/15/2020 - 3:00 pm | Desert Empire Fairgrounds - Ridgecrest, CA
03/16/2020 - 7:00 pm | Saroyan Theatre - Fresno, CA
03/18/2020 - 7:30 pm | The Center for the Arts - Grass Valley, CA
03/20/2020 - 7:00 pm | Admiral Theatre - Bremerton, WA
03/21/2020 - 6:00 pm | Federal Way PAEC - Federal Way, WA
03/22/2020 - 2:00 pm | Tillamook High School - Tillamook, OR
03/25/2020 - 7:00 pm | California Theatre - San Jose, CAC
03/28/2020 - 7:00 pm - Hult Center-Silva Concert Hall - Eugene, OR
03/29/2020 - 3:00 pm | Elsinore Theatre - Salem, OR
03/30/2020 - 7:00 pm | Martin Woldson Theater - Spokane, WA

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

Roy Eldridge

Roy Eldridge

This Thursday, January 30th, marks the birthday of trumpet player Roy Eldridge.  Nicknamed "Little Jazz", Roy was born in 1911 and passed away in 1989.  His solos exhibiting a departure from the dominant style of jazz trumpet innovator Louis Armstrong, and his strong impact on Dizzy Gillespie mark him as one of the most influential musicians of the swing era and a precursor of bebop.

Eldridge, originally from Pittsburgh, led and played in a number of bands during his early years, touring extensively throughout the Midwest United States. He was influenced greatly by Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins.

At the age of 20, Eldridge led a band in Pittsburgh, billed as "Roy Elliott and his Palais Royal Orchestra".  His agent at the time intentionally changed Eldridge's name because "he thought it more classy."  Roy left this position to try out for the orchestra of Horace Henderson, younger brother of Fletcher Henderson, and joined the band, which was being billed as The Fletcher Henderson Stompers, Under the Direction of Horace Henderson.  Eldridge then played with a number of other territory bands, he drifted from band to band making a name for himself and making strong contacts throughout the industry.

Eldridge moved to New York in November 1930, playing in various bands in the early 1930s.  It was during this time that Eldridge received his nickname, 'Little Jazz', from Ellington saxophonist Otto Hardwick, who was amused by the incongruity between Eldridge's raucous playing and his short stature.  At this time, Eldridge was also making records and radio broadcasts under his own name. He laid down his first recorded solos with Teddy Hill in 1935, which gained almost immediate popularity.  In October 1935, Eldridge joined Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, playing lead trumpet and occasionally singing.  Until he left the group in early September 1936, Eldridge was Henderson's featured soloist, his talent highlighted by such numbers as "Christopher Columbus" and "Blue Lou."

Eldridge, fed up with the racism he had encountered in the music industry, quit playing in 1938 to study radio engineering. But in April of 1941, after receiving many offers from white swing bands, Eldridge joined Gene Krupa's Orchestra, and was successfully featured with rookie singer Anita O'Day.  In accepting this position, Eldridge became one of the first black musicians to become a permanent member of a white big band. Eldridge and O'Day were featured in a number of recordings, including the novelty hit "Let Me Off Uptown" and "Knock Me a Kiss".

After complaints from Eldridge that O'Day was upstaging him, the band broke up when Krupa was jailed for marijuana possession in July 1943.  After leaving Krupa's band, Eldridge freelanced in New York during 1943 before joining Artie Shaw's band in 1944. Racial incidents that he faced while playing in Shaw's band prompted Eldridge to leave and form a big band, but this eventually proved financially unsuccessful, and Eldridge returned to small group work.

You can hear the influential trumpet playing of Roy Eldridge right here on Swing City Radio.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw (1910 – 2004) was a clarinetist and bandleader.   Widely regarded as one of the big band era's finest clarinetists, Shaw led one of the most popular big bands in the late 1930s through the early 1940s. Though he had numerous hit records, he was perhaps best known for his recording of "Begin the Beguine" in 1938. Shaw also recorded with small jazz groups drawn from within the ranks of the various big bands he led. He served in the US Navy from 1942 to 1944. He remained a force in popular music and jazz before retiring from music completely in 1954.  At that point in his life he focused on writing books and pursued his interests in mathematics.

Artie Shaw started his music career in the early 1920's.  From 1925–36, Shaw performed with many bands and orchestras; from 1926 to 1929, he worked in Cleveland and established a lasting reputation as music director and arranger for an orchestra led by the Austin Wylie. In 1929 and 1930, he played with Irving Aaronson's Commanders.  In 1932, Shaw joined the Roger Wolfe Kahn Orchestra and made several recordings on of which was "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)".

In the mid 1930's Shaw formed his first big bands.  During the swing era, his big bands were popular with hits like "Begin the Beguine", "Stardust","Back Bay Shuffle", "Moonglow", "Rosalie" and "Frenesi". Shaw was also known for uncovering talent.  In addition to hiring Buddy Rich, he signed Billie Holiday as his band's vocalist in 1938, becoming the first white band leader to hire a full-time black female singer to tour the Southern United States which was still segregated at that time.

Similar to Benny Goodman, and other leaders of big bands, Shaw put together a smaller "band within the band" in 1940.  He named it Artie Shaw and the Gramercy Five after his home telephone exchange. The original Gramercy Five pressed eight records, then Shaw dissolved the band in early 1941.

Throughout his career, Shaw had a habit of forming bands, developing them according to his immediate aspirations, making a quick series of records, and then breaking them up.

Shaw did many big band remote broadcasts. Throughout the autumn and winter of 1938, he was often heard from the Blue Room of the Hotel Lincoln in New York. After touring in 1939, he led the house band at the Cafe Rouge of the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York.

A self-proclaimed "very difficult man", Shaw was married eight times.

You can hear the music of Artie Shaw right here on Swing City Radio.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

History of Record Albums

78 Record out of its album sleeve

Have you ever wondered where the term "Record Album" came from?

Originally, 78 rpm records were normally sold individually in brown paper or cardboard sleeves that were plain, or sometimes printed to show the producer or the retailer's name. They were extremely generic.  Just imagine great musical works packaged in plain thin cardboard, not very pleasing to the eye, huh.  Generally the sleeves had a circular cut-out exposing the record label to view. Records could be laid on a shelf horizontally (not recommended) or stood on an edge, but because of their fragility, breakage was common.  As 78s became more popular it became clear that something needed to be done to make storage more safe, consistent and reliable.

We can thank Germany for the idea of the "album."  The German record company Odeon pioneered the album in 1909 when it released the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky on 4 double-sided discs in a specially designed package.  Deutsche Grammophon had also produced an album for its complete recording of the opera Carmen around the same time.  For the first time, a collection of music was packaged together for easier storage and organization.

Record Album Cover
Generic Record Album Cover
By about 1910, bound collections of empty sleeves with a paperboard or leather cover, similar to a photograph album, were sold as record albums that customers could use to store their records (the term "record album" was printed on some covers). These albums came in both 10-inch and 12-inch sizes.  In most cases, the inside cover provided an index area to write down information about the recording as well as where the record was located within the album. The covers of these bound books were wider and taller than the records inside, allowing the record album to be placed on a shelf upright, like a book, safely suspending the fragile records above the shelf and protecting them.

Record Album Index
Record Album Showing Index
In the 1930s, record companies began issuing collections of 78 rpm records by one performer or of one type of music in specially assembled albums, typically with artwork on the front cover and liner notes on the back or inside cover. Most albums included three or four records, with two sides each, making six or eight tunes per album. When the 12-inch vinyl LP era began in 1948, each disc could hold a similar number of tunes as a typical album of 78s, so they were still referred to as an "album", as they are today.

Glenn Miller Record Album
Glenn Miller Record Album Containing 78s
To learn more about this I encourage you to read the Wikipedia article on The Phonograph Record.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

The Duke's Ideas by Charlie Barnet

The Duke's Ideas by Charlie Barnet Album Cover

What a fantastic album and one that I highly recommend.  I got my hands on this LP just before the holidays and is well worth the $1 purchase price.  I truly love that you can still find gems like these in used record stores at bargain prices.

"The Duke's Ideas" Volume 1 (1939-1941) was the first in a reissue program dedicated to Charlie Barnet.  The album, as the liner notes state, is built around themes by Duke Ellington or compositions inspired by the Duke's style. Charlie was a very big fan of Duke Ellington and it shows through in these recordings.

I've added the majority of the songs contained in this album to the Swing City Radio normal playlist including the tracks The Duke's Idea, Harlem Speaks and Midweek Function.

Like I said, if you have a chance to pick this up somewhere, do it!  It's a keeper.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

Happy Birthday, Ray!

Ray turned 98 today

Warm Birthday Wishes go out to Ray Anthony!  Ray turned 98 today and by all reports is still going strong.  Ray Anthony is the last surviving member of the original Glenn Miller Orchestra and had  a very memorable solo career as well.

Swing City Radio wants to thank you for all the great music you have provided us over the years.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.


1942–44 Musicians' Strike

American Federation of Musicians Logo

On August 1, 1942, the American Federation of Musicians, at the instigation of union president James C. Petrillo, began a strike against the major American recording companies because of disagreements over royalty payments. This strike seriously hurt Big Band artists and helped bring on the denise of the era.  Beginning at midnight, July 31 1942, no union musician could make commercial recordings for any commercial record company.  That meant that a union musician was allowed to participate on radio programs and other kinds of musical entertainment, but not in a recording session. The 1942–44 musicians' strike remains the longest strike in entertainment history.

The strike did not affect musicians performing on live radio shows, in concerts, or, after October 27, 1943, on special recordings made by the record companies for V-Discs for distribution to the armed forces fighting World War II, because V-Discs were not available to the general public. However, the union did frequently threaten to withdraw musicians from the radio networks to punish individual network affiliates who were deemed "unfair" for violating the union's policy on recording network shows for repeat broadcasts.

The strike had a big impact, since at the time, union bands dominated popular music. After the strike, and partly as a result of it, vocalists dominated popular music.

Petrillo had long thought that recording companies should pay royalties. As head of the Chicago local chapter of the union in 1937 he had organized a strike there. Petrillo was elected president of the American Federation of Musicians in 1940. When he announced that the recording ban would start at midnight, July 31, 1942, most people thought it would not happen. America had just entered World War II on December 8, 1941, and most newspapers opposed the ban. By July, it was clear that the ban would take place and record companies began to stockpile new recordings of their most popular artists.

Several months passed before any effects of the strike were noticed. At first, the record companies hoped to call the union's bluff by releasing new recordings from their unissued stockpiles, but the strike lasted much longer than anticipated and eventually the supply of unissued recordings was exhausted. The companies also reissued long deleted recordings from their back catalogs, including some from as far back as the dawn of the electrical recording era in 1925. One reissue that was especially successful was Columbia’s release of Harry James’ "All or Nothing at All", recorded in August 1939 and released when James' new vocalist, Frank Sinatra, was still largely unknown. The original release carried the usual credit, "Vocal Chorus by Frank Sinatra" in small type. It sold around five thousand copies. When Columbia reissued the record in 1943 with the now famous Sinatra given top billing, and "with Harry James and his Orchestra" in small type below, the record was on the best–selling list for 18 weeks and reached number 2 on June 2, 1943. In 1942, the song "As Time Goes By" became immensely popular after it was featured in the Warner Bros. film Casablanca. Rudy VallĂ©e recorded the song for RCA Victor in 1931, and the reissue of his 12 year old record became a number-one hit.

As the strike extended into 1943, record companies bypassed the striking musicians by recording their popular vocalists singing with vocal groups filling the backup role normally filled by orchestras.

One unexpected result of the strike was the decline of the importance in popular music of the big bands of the 1930s and early 1940s. The strike was not the only cause of this decline, but it emphasized the shift from big bands with an accompanying vocalist to an emphasis on the vocalist, with the exclusion of the band. In the 1930s and pre–strike 1940s, big bands dominated popular music; after the strike, vocalists dominated popular music.

During the strike, vocalists could and did record without instrumentalists; instrumentalists could not record for the public at all. As historian Peter Soderbergh put it, "Until the war most singers were props. After the war they became the stars and the role of the bands was gradually subordinated."

Before the strike began there were signs that the increasing popularity of singers was beginning to reshape the big bands. When Frank Sinatra joined Tommy Dorsey's band in 1940, most selections started with a Tommy Dorsey solo. By the time Sinatra left in 1942, his songs with the band began with his singing, followed by any solos by Dorsey or others.

The other major cause of the decline of the big bands was World War II itself—and the resulting loss of band members to the military, curtailment of traveling by touring bands because of gasoline rationing, and a shortage of the shellac used to make records.

If you'd like to learn more about this strike visit the full article here.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.


Tell Your Friends About Us

Logo

Hi everyone!  I hope you have been enjoying the music and the programming we've been playing on the station.  If you have any friends, family or co-workers who enjoy Big Band and Swing Music then please share the station with them.  Don't keep us Swing City Radio your little secret.  :)

Adding a steady flow of new listeners allows us to continue to "Bring the Swing in 2020!"

Thank you all for listening and your continued support.  Again, please share us with your friends, I've provided some links below to make it easy to post our station on your social media.  It would be very cool to have you spread the word about Swing City Radio on your Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter accounts.





Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.



Got Swing Fever?

Clip from Swing Fever

Here's a clip from the 1944 movie, "Swing Fever."  It's a pretty good dance scene and hope you all enjoy it!  The music is provided by Kay Kyser and His Orchestra.


Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA



Jammin' for the Jackpot

album cover

A very entertaining and interesting album I recently picked up is "Jammin' For The Jackpot: Big Bands and Territory Bands of the 30s."  The record features a collection of music performed by some nearly forgotten regional bands of that decade mixed in with songs from some well known names like Cab Calloway and Chick Webb.  It's the lesser known bands that make this album worthwhile.

Some of the more obscure territory bands included are:

  • Boots and His Buddies - They were based in the Southwestern portion of the U.S.
  • Hunter's Serenaders - The band was popular in the Omaha, Nebraska area
  • Grant Moore and His New Orleans Black Devils - They were ironically NOT based in New Orleans. The played out of Milwaukee and through Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas.
  • J. Neal and His Orchestra - Prominent in the Atlanta, Georgia region
  • Zach Whyte's Chocolate Beau Brummels - Made recordings in Indiana


I was able to get my hands on a very good, well preserved record and the sound quality of some of the songs can be a little sketchy.  This isn't due to the vinyl condition, it's more of a result of the poor recording of the original performances.  This is probably because many of these session took place in smaller town studios.  Still, the music holds up and it's a fun record to listen to.  I will not be able to play some of the songs on the station because of audio quality issues, but listen out for the songs I do include because they are worth the listen.

The album also came with some great information about some of the bands in a booklet included as part of the original design and packaging of the record.  A very nice find and a fantastic look at some of the lesser known Big Bands of the 1930s.

Inside bookletInside Booklet


Listen for songs from "Jammin' For The Jackpot: Big Bands and Territory Bands of the 30s" on Swing City Radio.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.


Video of Raymond Scott performing "Powerhouse"

Raymond Scott

Here is a video of the Raymond Scott Quintette performing "Powerhouse" live on the show Hit Parade in April of 1955.  I just simply love Raymond's compositions.  They were so creative and so different.  Check out the video below.  Enjoy!


Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.


Just Like Heaven

Natalie Angst

Glenn Miller was famous for his "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue" medleys.  Well, Glenn would have proud of this "Something New" version of "Just Like Heaven" performed by The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra.  "Just Like Heaven" is a song from the late 80's by an alternative rock band named The Cure.  (I was a big Cure fan growing up and have seen them in concert many times!)  I simply love this cover since and I'm quite a fan of the original as well. As much as I have listened to this song in the past, I never imagined how it could be converted into a Big Band style. I think I like this version better than the original now.  :)

The lead vocals are handled by the magical voice of Natalie Angst and the orchestra is directed by Nick Hilscher.  Nick has been doing a fantastic job directing the Glenn Miller Orchestra for years now.  Give it a listen!  I've included the video below.

The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra is constantly touring and I encourage you to go out and see them live!  It's a great show and the band is very tight.

Enjoy!


Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA

Wild Bill Davison: That's A Plenty

Wild Bill Davison on Swing City Radio

Just before the holidays I did my rounds of the local used record stores looking for music to feature on the station.  There are times I go out looking and come back empty handed.  That's just how it goes sometimes.  But this trip I found many interesting records.  One of those records is "That's a Plenty" by Wild Bill Davison.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with Davison, he was a fantastic cornet player that started out in the 1920's but didn't start to make an impact until the early 40's.  He also had a reputation for heavy drinking and womanizing, hence the nickname "Wild Bill."

This album features many great musicians including Pee Wee Russell and Eddie Condon.  Davison plays both the cornet and trumpet on different tracks on this album.  If you like your Big Band music to have a dixieland feel to it, then you'll enjoy this record.  You can hear the songs "That's A Plenty", "Panama", "Muskrat Ramble" and "Clarinet Marmalade" right here on Swing City Radio.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Have a Healthy and Happy 2020 Everyone!  ...and thank you for listening to Swing City Radio!

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

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