Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street

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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.

Soundie: Frankie and Johnny

Picture of Linda Keene

Today's Soundie is a great Dixieland version of the famed jazz standard "Frankie and Johnny".  It features Henry Levine and his "Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street" band along with the fine vocals of Linda Keene.

This Soundie was filmed and released in 1942 and also stars the dance team of Moore and Revel.  It's a very catchy rendition of "Frankie and Johnny" and shows off the true talents possessed by Levine and his band.  The film short also gives us a small glimpse of vocalist Linda Keene.  Keene was quite gifted, but failed to receive the publicity needed to become a household name. Enjoy!

Watch the Soundie "Frankie and Johnny"


Picture of Henry Levine and Band



Podcast: Show 100 - Another Jukebox Saturday Night

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Another Jukebox Saturday Night - Show 100 - 

Features vintage music from the Archives of Old Time Radio by Jerry Grey, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller and more.  Ronnaldo also plays the audio from a great Soundie by Louis Jordan.

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

Listen to: Another Jukebox Saturday Night (Show 100)

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

Playlist: Teagarden, Brown and Morrow

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Last week I continued to insert more V-Discs to the rotation.  But, I also cleaned up and added some fantastic "One Night Stand" performances from Jack Teagarden, Les Brown and Buddy Morrow.

Listen for these newly added recordings to the Swing City Radio playlist:

Picture of Jack Teagarden

Jack Teagarden - "One Night Stand" Ep #374 - Aug 15, 1944
Includes songs like "Rompin' and Stompin'", "Poinciana" and a song featuring vocalist Phyllis Lane called "And Then".

Picture of Les Brown

Les Brown - "One Night Stand" - Ep #328 - July 17, 1944
This performance was recorded at the CafĂ© Rouge and includes the songs "Okay For Baby", "G.I. Jive", "I Dream of You" and many others.  Vocalists Doris Day, Gordon Drake and Butch Stone are all featured.

Picture of Buddy Morrow

Buddy Morrow - One Night Stand - Ep #1026 - May 27, 1946
Buddy had made quite a few appearances on "One Night Stand" at this point, and this performance is among his best on the show.  He performs great versions of "Smoke Get's In Your Eyes" and "How High The Moon".  Also, be sure to listen for Helen Lee on vocals on "Snap Your Fingers" and "Shoo Fly Pie".

Picture of Marion Hutton and Andy Russell

Songs on a Silver Platter
I also added some tracks from an AFRS show called "Silver Platter".  The episode starred Marion Hutton, Andy Russell and The Pied Pipers.  I was able to restore six songs from that recording including "Love Is So Terrific" by The Pied Pipers, "But Beautiful" by Marion Hutton and "The Best things In Life Are Free" by Andy Russell.  Also, two duets featuring Hutton and Russell.  Very good stuff!

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

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

Soundie: Wham

Picture of The Four Ginger Snaps

Today's Soundie is a great version of "Wham Re-Bop-Boom-Bam" by a vocal group named The Four Ginger Snaps from 1943.  The song title was shortened to "Wham" for this film.  I think you'll find this version quite entertaining and I definitely want to dig up more music by this group.

The Four Ginger Snaps were are composed of a girl trio (Leona Virginia Hemingway, Ethel E. Harper, Ruth Christian) and one male, piano playing member (Charles Ford).  They recorded some sides for RCA Victor during the mid-1940's but never really made much of a splash.

They are credited with three Soundies and their song "The Shrimp Man" was released on a V-Disc in 1946.  I've searched the archives of Old Time Radio looking for some performances by the group, but I'm yet to find any.  They were believed to have done a guest spot on a 1944 episode of G.I. Journal so I will be sure to keep my eyes and ears out for that.

Enjoy!

Watch: "Wham" by The Four Ginger Snaps

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

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

Podcast: Show 99 - Kick It, Gene

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Kick It, Gene - Show 99 - 

Features vintage recordings by Gene Krupa, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman and others.  The Panoram 2000 makes it's first appearance of the year.

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

Listen to: Kick It, Gene (Show 99)

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

George Paxton

Picture of George Paxton

George Paxton led a very good band from 1944 until about 1949.  He got his start in the late 1930's as an arranger and saxophonist for George Hall's Orchestra. At that time, George Hall was turning over the reigns of his band to his popular vocalist, Dolly Dawn, and Paxton's excellent arrangements helped make the transition a success.

In the early 1940's, Paxton began arranging music for Bunny Berigan, Charlie Spivak, Vaughn Monroe and Sammy Kaye.  His top shelf arrangements also played a large role in the comeback of bandleader Ina Ray Hutton.

In 1944, Paxton stepped out of the background and formed his own band. George Paxton and His Orchestra went on to enjoy a good level of success and popularity.  The band toured the eastern part of the United States and reached a national audience via broadcasts from the Roseland Ballroom.  

His band featured some pretty big names including Nick Fatool on drums, Doc Goldberg on bass and vocalists Alan Dale and Liza Morrow to name just a few.

George Paxton later went on to influence the music of the 1960's with a record label he co-founded called Coed Records.

Listen to: "Screamliner" by George Paxton and His Orchestra

You can hear the music of George Paxton right here on Swing City Radio.

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

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

Soundie: I Dreamt I Dwelt in Harlem

Picture of The Delta Rhythm Boys

Today's Soundie features a long-lasting vocal group called The Delta Rhythm Boys.  The Delta Rhythm Boys were active from 1934 until 1987.  They were known for their close harmonies and energetic performances.  In 1956, they relocated to Europe where they spent the rest of their careers.  

"I Dreamt I Dwelt in Harlem" was released as a Soundie in 1941 and is the first of nine Soundies the group appeared in.  The Delta Rhythm Boys also appeared in many Hollywood films as well.  Steve Schultz and His Orchestra provide the music for this one.  Enjoy.

Watch: "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Harlem" by The Delta Rhythm Boys

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

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

Podcast: Show 98 - Starr, Wain and The Robot Monster

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Starr, Wain and The Robot Monster - Show 98 - 

Includes vintage Big Band recordings by Duke Ellington, Kay Starr, Bea Wain and The Dorsey Brothers.  We also learn Ronnaldo still needs a lot of work with his German and we are introduced to the Robot Monster.

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

Listen to: Starr, Wain and The Robot Monster (Show 98)

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

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

Sam Donahue

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Sam Donahue was an excellent saxophonist and a darn good bandleader as well.  Before leading his own band, Donahue was a sideman in the bands of Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman during the 1930's.  He started his own band in 1940 and recorded some sides but then was called into military service in 1942 where he served as a sideman again in Artie Shaw's Navy Band.  When Shaw was discharged in early 1944, Donahue took over that band and made it his own.  You can hear many recordings by Donahue's Navy band right here on Swing City Radio. He recorded many V-Discs and some great live performances for the Armed Forces. Great stuff!

Listen to: C Jam Blues by Sam Donahue's Navy Band from 1945

After the war, Sam formed his new, civilian band and it enjoyed some moderate success.  His orchestra featured names like trumpeter Doc Severinsen, vocalists Frances Wayne and Jo Stafford, and even had Leo Reisman aboard as an arranger.  It was a good band, but in 1951 it dissolved due to Donahue re-enlisting in the Navy to serve in the Korean War.

After serving his second tour of duty, Donahue returned to the States and again worked as a sideman in Tommy Dorsey's band in 1952, in Billy May's Orchestra from 1954 to 1956, and with Stan Kenton in 1960.

In late 1961, Donahue was named the leader of the late, Tommy Dorsey's band. Donahue and the Dorsey Orchestra recorded and toured throughout the early part of the 1960's and the band would later feature the vocals of a young Frank Sinatra Jr.

You can hear the music of Sam Donahue right here on Swing City Radio.

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

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

Playlist: V-Discs

Picture of V-Discs

By the end of this month, I should have over 700 V-Disc recordings added to the Swing City Radio rotation.  These classic, vintage recordings contain some of the best music of the Big Band Era in my opinion.  Those of you that listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast should be quite familiar with V-Discs by now. If you've never heard of V-Discs, you can learn about them here.  In a nutshell, V-Disc was a record label that was formed in 1943 by the U.S Armed Forces to provide recorded entertainment for U.S. military personnel serving around the world during World War II.

The majority of recordings were top shelf, performed by the most popular artists of the era and never released commercially.  The V-Disc program ran from October 1943 to May 1949.  I dedicated a whole episode of the podcast on the subject and covered just a fraction of the history and the material the program produced.  Click here to listen to Show 75: "V-Discs and Some More V-Discs".

So as I led off with, by the end of this month Swing City Radio will have over 700 different V-Disc recordings in it's normal playlist rotation. I'm so excited to share these with you and I'm sure you will really enjoy them.  I will also be adding more in the future as I locate and clean up the audio of these fantastic recordings.  Enjoy! 

Picture of a V-Disc

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

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

Podcast: Show 97 - A String Bean Boy and a Dolly

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - A String Bean Boy and a Dolly - Show 97 - 

Features vintage Big Band music by Jerry Gray, Charlie Barnet, Benny Carter and others.  We also learn about some of the changes at Swing City Radio.

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

Listen to: A String Bean Boy and a Dolly (Show 97)

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

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

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