Listen to: A 1940's New Year's Eve Celebration

Picture of New Year's Eve

To warm everyone up for tonight's "Swing City Radio - New Year's Eve Special", I decided to post a program entitled “Swing Around The Clock”.  This program was broadcasted worldwide by the Armed Forces Radio Service to ring in the year 1946.  It contains some very good performances by some of the biggest names of the Big Band Era.

The audio for this video is fantastic.  It was posted to Youtube by Barry Papiernik and he always does such a great job with his YouTube creations.

Enjoy!  ...and I hope you all have a fantastic 2022.

Listen to: The Big Bands Celebrate New Year's Eve

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Podcast: Collection of Favorites (2021) - Part 2

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Collection of Favorites (2021) - Part 2 - 

Ronnaldo ends 2021 by playing some of his favorite tracks from the past year.  Includes vintage music from Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and Stan Kenton.  Also, a suggestion for a new holiday is discussed. Deco Down Day.

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

Listen to: Collection of Favorites (2021) - Part 2

Consider supporting Swing City Radio by becoming a Hepcat.  Learn more at: SupportSwing.com.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Favorites from the Archives of Old Time Radio! - Listener Supported and Streaming Commercial Free.

History of the Song: "Begin The Beguine"

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The classic song, "Begin The Beguine", is one of the most famous and popular recordings of the Big Band Era.  It was originally written by Cole Porter in 1935 while aboard an ocean liner.  Such a weird place to write a song.  On a cruise in the Pacific.

So what is a Beguine anyway?  A Beguine is a dance and music form, similar to a slow rumba.

The song was first introduced to the public later in 1935 by June Knight in the Broadway musical, "Jubilee".  Xavier Cugat recorded one of the first versions of "Begin The Beguine" with a much stronger Latin sound than later versions. It was recorded as an instrumental track, although Cugat's vocalist, Don Reid, sang the title at the beginning and the end of the song.  But the song gained little popularity.

In 1938, "Begin the Beguine" was recorded by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra.  Shaw and his lead arranger Jerry Gray, had put together an extended swing version of the tune which gave it a whole new "feel".  Their version was an instrumental as well and was released as a B-Side of another Shaw song, "Indian Love Call". "Begin the Beguine" later became one of the best-selling records in 1938, peaking at Number 3, and it launched Artie Shaw and his band to a new level of fame and popularity.

The instrumental version of "Begin the Beguine" was covered by all of the major bands of the era including: Harry James, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald were among the vocalists that recorded versions of the song that included the original lyrics.

Listen to: "Begin The Beguine" by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra.

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Soundie: "Dreamsville, Ohio"

Picture of Buddy Rogers and Marilyn Maxwell

Today's Soundie is "Dreamsville, Ohio" and was filmed in 1942.  It features vocals by Buddy Rogers and Marilyn Maxwell.  The music is provided by Hal Bourne and His Orchestra.

The "plot" of this Soundie is road weary bandleader "Biff Morgan" (played by Rogers) along with his band "The Cats" are waiting for a 4am Greyhound Bus.  There's a bunch of waiting, a bunch of kissing and a whole bunch of dreaming.

This is a fun little Soundie with Rogers and Maxwell doing a good job with the vocals.  Enjoy!


Watch: "Dreamsville, Ohio" featuring Buddy Rogers and Marvel Maxwell

Consider supporting Swing City Radio by becoming a Hepcat.  Learn more at: SupportSwing.com.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Listener Supported and Streaming Commercial Free.

Podcast: Collection of Favorites (2021) - Part 1

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Collection of Favorites (2021) - Part 1 - 

This collection of vintage Big Band recordings features Ronnaldo's favorites that he played on the podcast this year.  Includes tracks from Raymond Scott, Ben Pollack, Harry James, Jerry Gray and more.

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

Listen to: Collection of Favorites (2021) - Part 1

Consider supporting Swing City Radio by becoming a Hepcat.  Learn more at: SupportSwing.com.

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

Bob Chester

Picture of Bob Chester

Bob Chester led a band that was billed as "The New Sensation of the Nation" from the mid-1930's to the mid-1940's.  They had a Glenn Miller-influenced sound to them, but in later years, managed to create a style of their own.

Like most bandleaders, Chester began his career as a sideman.  He gained a lot of experience playing tenor sax in the orchestras of Irving Aaronson, Ben Bernie, and Ben Pollack.  In 1935, Bob Chester put together his first band based in the Detroit area but it proved unsuccessful.  About a year or so later he tried again, this time based on the East Coast, and that band did quite well. 

By 1939, Bob Chester and His Orchestra had already signed with Bluebird Records and briefly had it's own radio show during the fall of that year. His band also managed to land some minor hits with songs like "From Maine to California", "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie", "Madeliaine", and "A Nickel to My Name".  Also, his recording of "With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair" became a hit on a national level.

His band included some talented musicians over the years.  Names like Peanuts Hucko and Alec Fila immediately come to mind. Chester also featured some very good vocalists as well. His female singers included Dolores O'Neill, Kathleen Lane, and Betty Bradley. His male singers were Gene Howard, Peter Marshall, Bob Haymes, and Al Stuart.  Not bad at all.

In the mid-1940's, Chester dissolved his Orchestra because he was losing key bandmembers to the armed forces and the overall decline of the Big Bands was starting to take effect. Chester assembled another band for a short time in the early 1950s, but after it failed he retired from music and returned to Detroit.

Listen to: "Practice Makes Perfect" by Bob Chester and His Orchestra

You can listen to the music of Bob Chester and His Orchestra right here on Swing City Radio.

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Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Listener Supported and Streaming Commercial Free.

Soundie: "He Plays Gin Rummy"

Picture of Gale Storm and Iris Dawn

Today's Soundie is a charming little song from 1942 called "He Plays Gin Rummy" and features vocalists Gale Storm and Iris Dawn.  The Ted Fio Rito and His Skylined Music provide the music. The credits listed on Youtube claim that this is from 1948 with Ivan Scott and His Orchestra providing the musical background, but my sources tell me otherwise.

Regardless, this is a cute little number and quite entertaining.  I'm not the biggest fan of colorized Soundies, but this still manages to retain it's charm.

I don't know much about Iris Dawn, other than the fact that she made appearances in a couple of Soundies.

Gale Storm, who's real name was Josephine Owaissa Cottle, was an actress who appeared in many films during the 1940's, as well as starring in over a half a dozen Soundies.  She later starred on two television program in 1950's and even landed a couple of Billboard hits as a singer.

Enjoy!

Watch: "He Plays Gin Rummy" featuring Gale Storm and Iris Dawn

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Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Listener Supported and Streaming Commercial Free.

Podcast: Show 92 - Emily Brown At Sundown

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Emily Brown At Sundown - Show 92 - 

Includes some great Big Band recordings by Harry James, John Kirby and Gus Arnheim.  We also learn what kept cars looking brand new.

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

Listen to: Emily Brown At Sundown (Show 92)

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

How Are Things in Glocca Morra?

Pic of Village

The song "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" is such a beautiful tune. It's been recorded by so many iconic vocalists including Buddy Clark, Dick Haymes, Martha Tilton and covered by so many more.  The song evokes a sense of nostalgia and a longing for home. Glocca Morra sounds like such a wonderful little village with it's weeping willow trees and leaping little brook that run through it. But, how are things in Glocca Moora?  What's really going on there?

Well, sadly, Glocca Morra, Ireland, is a fictional place.  It's a shame, because it sounds like it would be a charming place to visit. The song was published in 1946.  The music was composed by a gentleman named Burton Lane and the lyrics were written by E.Y. Harburg. The original working lyrics were "There's a glen in Glocca Morra" but later changed to "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" to evoke that nostalgia I mentioned before.  

The song was featured in the musical "Finian's Rainbow" and versions recorded by Buddy Clark and Dick Haymes found their way into the Top 10 on the Billboard Charts.  I've included Clark's recording below for your listening pleasure.  A funny side note:  In an episode of the television show "All In The Family", Archie Bunker refers to New York City as a "regular Sodom and Glocca Morra."  Such great writers.

Listen to: "How Are Things In Glocca Morra" by Buddy Clark

You can hear many different versions of "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" right here on Swing City Radio.

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Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Listener Supported and Streaming Commercial Free.

Soundie: "Here Comes the Fattest Man in Town"

Picture of Gloria Parker

Today's Soundie features the beautiful and multi-talented Gloria Parker.  This gem is called "Here Comes the Fattest Man in Town" and was filmed in 1946.  It also includes an appearance by the legendary Mel Blanc.

This is just one of a handful of great Soundies that showcases Miss Parker's many talents.  She also stars in "Broadway and Main", "Four Letters", "Penthouse Party" and "Wise Men Say".  Unlike many other Soundies, these were well produced and Parker herself composed the music and wrote the lyrics.  Her backup musicians in this performance include members of the house band from the Edison Hotel in New York.

Gloria Parker was much more than a pretty face that looked good on film.  She worked as a songwriter, bandleader, musician and actress.  A complete entertainer. She performed with her orchestras playing the marimba, piano, organ, violin, viola, vibraphone, xylophone, guitar, drums, all types of Latin percussion instruments and, of course, glass harp or what many people call "musical glasses".  Now for the record, I've seen many people "play" musical glasses in the past, but Gloria's performances are simply amazing.

Her radio program "The Gloria Parker Show", which aired from 1950 to 1957, featured her all-female "Swingphony", the largest big band led by a woman.  During her career, she also led "Gloria Parker and the Coquettes" and "Glorious Gloria Parker and Her All-Girl Rumba Orchestra." 

Enjoy!

Watch: "Here Comes the Fattest Man in Town" by Gloria Parker

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Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Listener Supported and Streaming Commercial Free.

Podcast: Show 91 - Mr. Zip and Tomato Soup

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Mr. Zip and Tomato Soup - Show 91 - 

Features vintage Big Band music by Bea Wain, Frank Sinatra, Tony Pastor and more.  Ronnaldo plays a bunch of Soundies and we hear an old ad from Campbell's Tomato Soup.

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

Listen to: Mr. Zip and Tomato Soup (Show 91)

Consider supporting Swing City Radio by becoming a Hepcat.  Learn more at: SupportSwing.com.

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

Lillian Lane

Picture of Lillian Lane

You may not recognize the name Lillian Lane, but during her career she managed to lend her voice to some of the biggest bands of the era. Lillian appeared on the scene as a solo vocalist with Claude Thornhill's Orchestra in 1941, she was also a member of the "Snowflakes" vocal group which featured with Thornhill.

In late 1942, Lane moved on to replace Anita Boyer in Jerry Wald's Orchestra, but then only months later, settled in with George Olsen's band for about a year.  By July of 1944, Lane had joined Gene Krupa's band and recorded many sides with them.  She was replaced by Anita O'Day in 1945 and Lillian found her way into the bands of Randy Brooks and Artie Shaw.

1946 was the year that Lane joined up with Tex Beneke and his Glenn Miller "ghost band".  She received increased attention with Beneke and in early 1947, she joined the ranks of Benny Goodman's Orchestra and scored a hit with the song "I Want To Be Loved".

From 1948 on, she recorded mostly as a solo artist and would show up in the liner notes of many reformed orchestras and tribute bands.  As you can see, Lillian rarely settled into a band for longer than a year.  Was it because she didn't have the "staying power" of some of the other featured female vocalists of the time, or was it because of her talent, that she was always being lured away to join the next big name orchestra?  You can decided that.

Listen to: Benny Goodman's "I Want To Be Loved" featuring Lillian Lane on vocals.

You can hear the beautiful voice of Lillian Lane right here on Swing City Radio.

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Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Listener Supported and Streaming Commercial Free.

Soundie: "The Singing Telegram Song"

Picture of The Singing Telegram

Today's Soundie is called "The Singing Telegram Song".  This was filmed in June of 1941 and features Johnny Downs on vocals along with Will Osbourne and His Orchestra.  Will and the band don't make an appearance in this one.

This is just a classic, simple story told through song.  An older, rich gentleman hires a singer (Downs) to deliver a message of love to a beautiful blonde bombshell (played by Etheldreda Leopold).  I could tell you the ending, but I don't want to ruin it for you.

The song itself is a catchy one and Johnny Downs does a good job with the vocals.  As a child, Downs was a member of "The Little Rascals" and would go on to have a decent career as an entertainer.

After viewing this, the biggest question I have is ... Did that older gentleman get a refund?

Enjoy! 

Watch the Soundie: "The Singing Telegram Song"

Consider supporting Swing City Radio by becoming a Hepcat.  Learn more at: SupportSwing.com.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Listener Supported and Streaming Commercial Free.

Podcast: Show 90 - Swing and Kitchen Safety

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Swing and Kitchen Safety - Show 90 - 

Ronnaldo plays some vintage recordings by Johnny Otis, Don Redman and Les Brown.  We also listen to some very important clips about Kitchen Safety.

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

Listen to: Swing and Kitchen Safety (Show 90)

Consider supporting Swing City Radio by becoming a Hepcat.  Learn more at: SupportSwing.com.

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

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