On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe

Picture of On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe

"On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" was a chart topping song from the mid 1940's written by Johnny Mercer and Harvey Warren.  You might be more familiar with Judy Garland's version of the song but it was also covered by Bing Crosby, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra and The Andrews Sisters to name a few.  The song is about the former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, and was featured in the 1946 film, The Harvey Girls, where it was sung by Judy Garland. (I included a Youtube audio version of the song at the end of the article.)

Despite mentions in the lyrics of the song, the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe (AT&SF) never directly reached Laramie, Wyoming or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good song? :)

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (reporting mark ATSF), often referred to as the Santa Fe or AT&SF, was one of the larger railroads in the United States, named after the cities and towns of Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe.  Despite it's name, it  did not directly serve Santa Fe, due to the mountainous terrain, the city of Albuquerque instead served New Mexico and the Santa Fe area.

AT&SF was widely known for its passenger train service. The railway introduced many innovations in passenger rail travel, among these the "Pleasure Domes" of the Super Chief and the "Big Dome" Lounge cars and double-decker Hi-Level cars of the El Capitan. The railroad was also among the first to add dining cars to its passenger trains, a move which began in 1891, following the examples of the Northern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads. The AT&SF offered food on board in dining cars or at one of the many Harvey House restaurants that were strategically located throughout the rail system. "The Harvey Girls" (the movie in which the song was written for) was a story about the waitresses of those Harvey House restaurants.

Harvey Girls

In the 1970s, the railroad used Crosby's version in a commercial.  The railroad officially ceased operations on December 31, 1996, when it merged with the Burlington Northern Railroad to form the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway.

Video of  Judy Garland version of "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe"

Video of the Johnny Mercer version of "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe"

You can also hear the song "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" 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.

Woody Herman

Woody Herman

Woody Herman was a leading clarinetist, saxophonist, singer, and a very progressive band leader.  Herman came to prominence in the late 1930's. In the early days of his career Woody recorded with bands led by Harry Sosnick, Gus Arnheim and Isham Jones.  When he finally broke off to lead his own band, the band quickly became known for its orchestrations of the blues, sometimes being billed as "The Band That Plays The Blues".

In the mid 1930's Woody Herman and his band recorded for the Decca label.  Believe it or not, they originally served as a cover band, doing songs by other artists under the Decca umbrella. By 1937, they were getting some nice exposure and building a firm reputation.  George T. Simon, who was one of the most influential reviewers and beat writers of the Swing scene wrote:  "This Herman outfit bears watching; not only because it's fun listening to in its present stages, but also because it's bound to reach even greater stages." Nice words from a man so important to the Big Band Era.

In 1939, Woody Herman recorded his first hit, "Woodchopper's Ball".  The song eventually sold more than five million copies and was the biggest hit he ever had.  Other hits soon followed including: "Blues in the Night", "Blue Flame" and "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me".

By 1942, the musical style of his band was changing and evolving.  Bebop was was taking hold and soon you could hear the influences of Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Count Basie in his music.  Great examples of this change can be found in songs like "Swing Shift" and "Down Under".

In the mid 40's, he signed with Columbia Records where he recorded more hits including "Laura" and "Caldonia". At this stage he was calling his talented band The First Herd. The First Herd's music with its lively arrangements, bop themes and swinging rhythm parts, soon became greatly admired by both fans and other musicians.

Woody Herman remained musically active until his death in 1987.  A true great of the Big Band Era!

You can hear Woody Herman's music 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.

Podcast: Episode 8

The Big Band and Swing Podcast

Listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Episode 8: Less Smoke, More Swing


Audio Player to Listen to Podcast

This episode features music Tex Beneke, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Ina Ray Hutton and more. We enjoy a classic performance by Harry James from Casino Gardens recorded in August of 1944. Also, you don't want to miss Ronnaldo going off on a small rant about smoking after listening to some old cigarette ads. Fred and Barney make an appearance.

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.

Girls in the Band

Video of Girls in the Band

Here is a short video documentary that explores the history and impact of all-female jazz and big band groups.  Includes interviews and music.  I found it very interesting.  Enjoy!

Video of Girls in the Band

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.



LP Info and Care

Liner Notes

I love the fact that I can have my complete music collection in my pocket.  It's one of the many joys of living in the digital age that we live in today.  One thing I do miss though is the interesting liner notes that were included with records back in the day.  You can learn so much more about a specific recording or artist when you take the time to read the liner notes and inserts that were included with many albums.

During the technological transition between 78s and LPs (Long Playing Records) there always seemed to be parts of the liner notes dedicated to why one company's records were better quality than the others.  Reading these years later is fascinating and sometimes hilarious to me.

I've included some record care and general information from Columbia Records taken from an original pressing of a Benny Goodman record I have in my collection.  Great reading!  Also, be sure to check out the Swing City Radio Pinterest Page for more liner notes as I stumble upon them.

Liner Notes
Click on Image to Enlarge
Pictured Above: The record companies must have been quite concerned on how the general public would care for their record albums.  Thankfully William S. Bachman, the Director of Columbia Records Sound Laboratories took the time to establish this guide to help us understand the proper safeguards of record care.  :)

Pictured Below: Earth altering information on why Columbia's High Fidelity was leaps and bounds above the competition.  Thank goodness they provided the illustration so I could understand the science behind the process.  :)

Liner Notes
Click on Image to Enlarge
The information below explains the benefits of the Long Playing record.  All kidding aside, I can understand how happy people must have been not to have to get up and change a record after every song like you had to do with 78s.  I truly enjoy the illustration as well.  Luckily, the artist had the insight to provide arrows to show which way the hands on a clock move.   Also, the drawing itself could have easily been used for a Viagra ad if the product was around back then.  :)

Liner Notes
Click on Image to Enlarge
... and to prove my point about my Viagra comment I provided the image below.  (Spare time can a dangerous thing at times.  Haha!)  I see a T-Shirt of this drawing in my future.

Liner Notes
Click on Image to Enlarge
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.

Skeets Tolbert

Skeets Tolbert performing live

Skeets Tolbert played clarinet and saxophone, he was also a vocalist and bandleader. His nickname "Skeets" was short for "Mosquito."  Not sure why. But it stuck with him throughout his life. He composed and arranged a great number of tunes that would become hits for others, including names like Nat King Cole, Count Basie and Louis Jordan.

Skeets joined "Taylor's Dixieland Serenaders" in 1929, where he had his first known recording in 1931, as a vocalist and on alto sax. In 1934, he moved on to play with Charlie Alexander before joining the house band at the New York night club, The Savoy Ballroom.

In 1936 he played alto sax along side the legendary Fats Waller. The time he spent with Waller ended up being highly influential on Tolbert's writing and arranging style.

Something I was surprised to learn was that in 1937, Skeets played in a band with famed Olympic Athlete, Jesse Owens.  I had no idea Jesse Owens was a musician.

In 1939, Skeets formed his own band and recorded under the name "Tolbert's Gentlemen of Swing." Babe Hines and Yack Taylor were featured female vocalists. He rarely used a single male lead vocal in his music. He also used elements of vaudeville in many of his songs along with darker lyrics. None of his songs ever charted or became standards but were intended for dancing in nightclubs and living rooms. He recorded with this band on the Decca Records label.

Tolbert also filmed his share of Soundies. In 1944, the band recorded four Soundies of the tunes "No No Baby", "'Tis You Babe", "Blitzkrieg Bombardier", and "Corn Pone."  Skeets eventually left the music business by the late 40's to persue a career of teaching and lived to be 91 years old.

You can hear "Skeets Tolbert and His Gentlemen of Swing" 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.

Unboxing Video: The Podcast Mug

The Big Band and Swing Podcast Coffee Mug

Greetings People of Swing!  So, i finally did one of those "unboxing" style videos you see on YouTube all of the time.  I just received "The Big Band and Swing Podcast" Coffee Mug I ordered from the Swing City Radio Swag Store and wanted to show it off to all of you.  Check out the video below, and hold on tight!  It doesn't get anymore exciting than this! :) lol - Enjoy.

Video of "The Unboxing"

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.

Podcast: Episode 7

The Big Band and Swing Podcast

Listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Episode 7: The Charlie Barnet Episode


Audio Player to Listen to Podcast

This episode is focused on the life and music of Charlie Barnet. Charlie was a fantastic sax player and an even better band leader. We listen to many of his hits including "Pompton Turnpike" and "Skyliner." We also enjoy some of his stomping live performances. So have a listen and celebrate with us the wild, talented and always interesting Charlie Barnet.

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.

Evelyn Dall: Videos

Evelyn Dall

Evelyn Dall was known in the UK as England's "Original Blonde Bombshell".  Originally from New York City, Dall began her career in short films and in supporting roles on Broadway.  In 1935, she moved to England to become the female vocalist for Bert Ambrose and his Orchestra.

Here's a video featuring excerpts from a 1941 British film "He Found a Star". Evelyn Dall sings the songs "Salome" and "Costa Rhumba" in this clip. I get such a kick out of "Salome".  I think I've watched it a dozen times and can't get the darn song out of my head.  :)

Evelyn Dall Video

Below is a peek into the personal life of Evelyn Dall.  Her fun, quirky personality shows through in this video.

Evelyn Dall Video

You can hear Evelyn Dall sing with Bert Ambrose and his Orchestra 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.

Podcast Now on iHeartRadio and Deezer

Deezer and iHeartRadio

The Big Band and Swing Podcast is now available on Deezer and iHeartRadio!  I included direct links below so you can check it out on those platforms.  Enjoy! ...and don't forget to mark us as a favorite of yours.  :)

Deezer

iHeartRadio


You can also listen to most episodes on the Swing City Radio Youtube Channel.



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 Easter 2020



Happy Easter!

Swing City Radio wishes the people of the world a Happy Easter.

People of Swing, please stay healthy and safe as you celebrate this important holiday.  This will surely be an Easter that we will always remember as one that many of us couldn't celebrate with our families around us.

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.

Podcast: Episode 6

The Big Band and Swing Podcast

Listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Episode 6: Cooking, Cost of Living, Crosby and Clark


Audio Player to Listen to Podcast

Yummy! You can almost smell this delicious episode just waiting to be played. In this episode we hear songs from Stan Kenton, Buddy Clark, Bob Crosby and Charlie Barnet.  We also listen to a segment of a Jerry Gray radio performance recorded at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago from 1951.  The cost of living is also discussed as we look back at the prices of items in 1930.

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.

"All for You" - Kim Cypher & Her Swing Band

All For You

April 8th, 2020 - at around 3pm EST (8pm in the U.K.), "All For You" by Kim Cypher and Her Swing Band will make it's Swing City Radio debut on the Modern Block.  The song will then enter into regular rotation within the show.  You can also watch her new video for the song located at the bottom of this page right now and experience instant gratification. :)

Kim Cypher and Her Swing Band comes to us from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, England.  Kim has a quirky style and reputation for classy music which showcases her abilities as a saxophonist, vocalist, clarinetist and composer.

Cypher describes the unique story behind the inspiration for her new song "All For You":

"The song is inspired by my late mum and was composed as part of my recent larger project ‘For Mum’ which has been raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity. My 'For Mum' project has so far included a sell-out show in London on 2nd March with myself and my tour band performing alongside Jazz GIANT Ray Gelato. The project also includes an animated video in conjunction with the song 'All For You' created together with artist Martyna Sabadasz. The video reflects how I live my life without my mum but with my mum very much by my side inspiring everything I do. The video will be appreciated by anyone inspired by a loved one."  (Video of the song is provided below.)

"All For You" has a quirky vibe with a great modern Big Band/Swing feel to it and features top UK jazz musicians: Tom Berge (Piano), Ian Bateman (Trombone), Jonny Bruce (Trumpet), Chris Santo Cobbson (Guitar),  Raph Mizraki (Double Bass), Mike Cypher (Drums) and features Kim Cypher (Vocals, Tenor Saxophone and Clarinet).

Kim also let Swing City Radio know that: "There has been much interest and support in my project with The Brain Tumour Charity. People have been really getting behind me and there's been much interest from local Radio and TV.  So far the project has raised £2500!"

Listen to "All For You" on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/6KFHDG0SsTHHCXUxE57VOg

Listen to "All For You" on Bandcamp: https://kimcypher.bandcamp.com/track/all-for-you

The reviews of the song have been positive as well:

"A cheeky, joyous track" - David Craigie: 'Jazztonic Show' - Radio Nene Valley

"One classy, cool, inspirational song" - Peter Martin: Gloucestershire Jazz Live

"This song, has great sing-a-long, touching lyrics, great singing and great swing" - Nigel J Farmer: Jazz In Europe

"Wonderful! I love the vibe, I love the music, I love the artistry, I love the message! Congratulations on your latest, perfect outpouring of love and creativity" - Alex Steele: Improwise

You can learn more about Kim Cypher and Her Swing Band by visiting her website at: www.kimcypher.com.
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.

Podcast Now on Spotify and Tunein

Spotify and Tunein

The Big Band and Swing Podcast is now available on Spotify and Tunein!  I included direct links below so you can check it out on those platforms.  Enjoy! ...and don't forget to mark us as a favorite of yours.  :)

Spotify

Podcast


You can also listen to most episodes on the Swing City Radio Youtube Channel.



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.

Podcast: Episode 5

The Big Band and Swing Podcast

Listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Episode 5: Let Me Off Uptown for A String of Pearls


Greetings people of Swing! In this episode we hear songs from Martha Tilton, The Andrews Sisters, Glenn Miller and Gene Krupa.  We also check out a great Benny Goodman performance on Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands from September of 1943.

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.

New Song Release by The Swing Jumpers

Avec Mon Deja Vu

The Swing Jumpers have just released a new single entitled "Avec Mon Deja Vu" which will premiere on The Modern Block at 3pm EST today (April 2, 2020). I have it scheduled as the 2nd song in. So have a listen.  After today, the song will be added to The Modern Block regular rotation list.

More about The Swing Jumpers:
The band is based out of Alaska and is led by Don Walker.  Don has been performing live in the United States for over 40 years and has worked with Buck Ormsby in the past.  He has also produced a radio show called "Swing-n-Things."  I will have to ask Don how the Swing Music scene is up in Alaska.

The Swing Jumpers are currently in the studio working on the forthcoming album that this song will be on so we will keep you posted as it gets closer to release.

You can hear a sample of the song and purchase here: Avec Mon Deja Vu

Check out their website at: SwingJumpers.com and get on their mailing list!

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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