G.I. Jill is on "After Dark"

Picture of G.I. Jill with Bing Crosby

Starting this week, you will be able to hear select clips and songs from G.I. Jive featuring the legendary voice of G.I. Jill.  These classic tracks have been added to the "After Dark" playlist. 

"After Dark" streams every evening from 8pm to Midnight (ET) right here on Swing City Radio.  The show not only plays the vintage music you love to hear, but also includes Old Radio Ads, quirky clips from Educational Films, and Public Service Announcements that will just amaze you.  Now, you can add classic clips from G.I. Jill to that list.

G.I. Jive was one of the most popular programs on The Armed Forces Radio Service.  It was broadcasted daily on over 400 Armed Forces Radio Stations.  G.I. Jill, whose real name was Martha Wilkerson, had a true connection with her audience.  Servicemen from all around the world constantly sent her letters and song requests and Jill would try to reply to each letter she received.  It's rumored that Jill would personally answer as many as 500 letters per week with personally written letters of her own.

G.I. Jill, with the voice of the girl who lived next door, was a true radio talent.  Have a listen when you have a chance.

Picture of G.I. Jill

The Starlighters

Picture of The Starlighters

The Starlighters were a vocal group that formed in 1946.  This talented signing group were cut from the same cloth as The Modernaires, The Pied Pipers and The Merry Macs.  They served as backing vocalists for many artists, but they are usually associated with Jo Stafford.  The Starlighters appeared countless times with Stafford on "The Chesterfield Supper Club" and "The Jo Stafford Show". 

The original line-up featured alumni of the popular "Six Hits and a Miss" and included:  Pauline Byrns, Howard Hudson, Vince Degen, Tony Paris and Andy Williams.  Williams left early on to embark on a very successful solo career and was replaced with Jerry Duane. In January of 1950, Byrns had her final recording session with the group and Imogene Lynn officially took her place as female vocalist.

Listen to: "Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella" by The Starlighters from 1949

You can hear many songs by The Starlighters right here on Swing City Radio.

Podcast: Show 104 - V-Discs and a Flight To Mars

Picture of Big Band Podcast Logo

The Big Band and Swing Podcast - V-Discs and a Flight To Mars - Show 104 - 

Features songs by Lee Castle, Gene Krupa and The Ink Spots.  We also listen to a bunch of V-Discs.  Fun times for all.

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

Listen to: V-Discs and a Flight To Mars (Show 104)

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

Soundie: Sizzle With Sissle

Picture of Noble Sissle and Mabel Lee

Today's Soundie is called "Sizzle With Sissle" by Noble Sissle and His Orchestra.  This was filmed in 1946, and is just one of several Soundies that Sissle made at that time.  This film also features the always sexy, Mabel Lee.  Her dancing truly does make this Soundie sizzle.

If you manage to shift your eyes away from Mabel Lee for a few moments, you'll notice the bouncy nature of Sissle leading his band.  I've watched many, many Soundies over the years, and a common theme is the almost stoic, rigid nature of the bandleaders themselves.  It's nice to see Noble Sizzle "feel" the music and express it in his performance.  His energy really adds something to the film in a "Cab Calloway" sort of way.


Watch the Soundie: "Sizzle With Sizzle" featuring Noble Sissle and Mabel Lee

Anson Weeks

Picture of Anson Weeks

Anson Weeks led a very good dance band for over thirty years.  Based on the West Coast, Weeks started his band in the mid 1920's.  By the end of the decade, his band was regularly featured at the most popular hotel ballrooms in Oakland and Sacramento, California.

By the early 1930's, Anson Weeks had gained national attention on the "Lucky Strike Magic Carpet" radio program.  This led to him signing a more favorable recording contract with the Brunswick Label and they did a very good job promoting Weeks on a nationwide level throughout the balance of the 30's.

There were some big names and talent that passed through the ranks of the Anson Weeks Orchestra including: Bob Crosby, Xavier Cugat, Griff Williams, Tony Martin, Carl Ravazza, Harriet Lee and Dale Evans.

In 1941, Weeks was sadly involved in a very bad auto accident and was out of the music business for several years.  He returned to the scene in the late 1940's and continued to find success.  In the early 50's, he released a series of popular recordings called "Dancin' With Anson".

Listen to: "Who's Your Little Who-Zis" by Anson Weeks from 1932

You can hear the music of Anson Weeks right here on Swing City Radio.

Soundie: I Don't Know Why

Picture of Phyllis Lane with Tommy Reynolds

Today's Soundie is called "I Don't Know Why" from 1946.  It features the beautiful Phyllis Lane along with Tommy Reynolds and His Orchestra.  This is a cute little song and the Soundie itself was filmed quite well.

I do have to point out one little part of the Soundie that gave me a chuckle.  Lane and Reynolds do such a great job giving the song depth and emotion, but as the music picks up in the middle of the song, a dancer (Rose Marie McGill) enters the scene and proceeds to "shake her goods" for the viewer. It's by no means offensive, it just doesn't fit into the overall "feel" of the song and it left me thinking "I Don't Know Why" they did that.

See what I did there? 😀

Watch: "I Don't Know Why" featuring Phyllis Lane with Tommy Reynolds

Podcast: Show 103 - Two Jumps at the End

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Two Jumps at the End - Show 103 - 

Features vintage recordings by The Pied Pipers, Glenn Miller, Count Basie and more.  Ronnaldo also plays some tracks from the AFRS show "One Night Stand".

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

Listen to: Two Jumps at the End (Show 103)

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

Playlist: T. Dorsey, Prima, Rich and Garber

Picture of Tommy Dorsey

Over the last few weeks I've been a "busy little bee" adding some great vintage recordings to the Swing City Radio playlist rotation.  Here are some highlights of the music that has been newly added:

Your Navy Show:
In the early 1950's, "Your Navy Show" was a U.S. Navy Recruitment Show that appeared on AFRS.  The main artists associated with that program were Tommy Dorsey and Ray Anthony.  Sammy Kaye was also featured in a few of the earlier episodes.

The majority of the Dorsey recordings are in fantastic condition and I was able to include over 50 of those tracks on the station.  Tracks include: "Song of India", "Opus #1" and "On The Sunny Side of the Street".   The Ray Anthony material took a little bit of work to clean up, but they ended up sounding pretty good as well. Keep an ear out for a great version of "Begin The Beguine" that Anthony performed on the show.

Also recently added to Swing City Radio:

Picture of Louis Prima
Louis Prima:
Select tracks from a December 23, 1944 performance at The Meadowbrook. Songs include "Robin Hood", "Every Now and Then" and others.

Picture of Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich:
A handful of recordings from an April 16, 1946 concert at the Hollywood Palladium. Songs include "Let's Blow", "The Wonder of You" and more.

Picture of Jan Garber
Jan Garber:
Many tracks from a December, 1950 radio remote recorded at the Melody Mill Ballroom.  Contains a fantastic of version of "Humpty Dumpty Heart" among other classic Jan Garber material. 


Watch: It's Easy To Remember

Picture of the King Sisters

Today's Snader Telescription features The King Sisters performing "It's Easy To Remember" from 1951.  Alvino Rey and His Orchestra provide the music. The video is well produced and the sound quality is excellent.  "It's Easy To Remember" is a great example of The King Sister "sound" and features some pleasant harmonies from those four beautiful sisters who were so popular the decade before.

In December of 1950, The King Sisters came out of retirement to make a series of video shorts for Snader Telescriptions. Just to remind you, Snaders were very similar to Soundies. Instead of being made for video juke boxes (Panorams), they were produced for television to air as fillers between sporting events or movies. 


Watch: "It's Easy To Remember" by The King Sisters

Podcast: Show 102 - Molly Malone and a Tired Teddy Bear

Picture of Big Band Podcast Logo

The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Molly Malone and a Tired Teddy Bear - Show 102 - 

Features vintage tracks by Raymond Scott, Charlie Barnet, Sam Donahue and Guy Lombardo.  We also listen to an old Chesterfield ad.

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

Listen to: Molly Malone and a Tired Teddy Bear (Show 102)

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

Ukrainian Bandleader: Phil Spitalny

Picture of Phil Spitalny

So many of us have been glued to our televisions watching what has been going on in Ukraine.  I thought it might be interesting to write a quick post featuring one of most famous Ukrainian bandleaders - Phil Spitalny.

Spitalny was born in Tetiev, Ukraine in 1890 and was considered a child prodigy on clarinet.  He spent a large amount of his childhood touring Russia then came to the United States when 15 years old.

In the early 1930's he rose to fame leading orchestras under the name Phil Spitalny and His All-Girl Orchestra and the Hour of Charm Orchestra.  His All Girl Orchestra received nationwide attention via his radio program, "The Hour of Charm" in 1934.  The program would go on to last for over ten years on radio. I have to admit, his style of music was usually a bit too sweet for my personal tastes but there are many recordings where he and his orchestra would show off their swinging side.

Picture of Phil Spitalny and His All-Girl Orchestra

Even though his orchestras were a bit of a novelty at the time, it should be noted that these were VERY talented orchestras.  It's been documented that Spitalny auditioned over one thousand women to fill the twenty-two piece orchestra. One of those extremely gifted female musicians was violinist Evelyn Kaye Klein.  She was regularly introduced as Evelyn and Her Magic Violin.  Klein and Phil Spitalny later married in 1946.  

Watch the Film Short "Phil Spitanly and his Musical Queens" from 1934

Watch: Artie Shaw in 1939

Picture of Artie Shaw

This film short from 1939 features the legendary Artie Shaw and his band in their prime.  It was produced and released by Vitaphone as part of their Melody Master series and was later re-released in 1948 and 1955.

The song tracks included are: 
Begin The Beguine 
Let's Stop The Clock
Non-Stop Flight
Pross Tchai (Goodbye)

It's just great to see the brilliance of Artie Shaw captured on film as he leads this great band he had assembled.  Tony Pastor's sax playing is featured throughout, and vocalist Helen Forrest sings the lead on "Let's Stop The Clock".


Watch: Short Film featuring Artie Shaw's and His Orchestra from 1939

Podcast: Show 101 - A Dose of Swing Tonic

Picture of Big Band Podcast Logo

The Big Band and Swing Podcast - A Dose of Swing Tonic - Show 101 - 

Features recordings by Abe Lyman, Benny Goodman, Ray Noble and more.  Ronnaldo also plays some Glenn Miller to celebrate his recent birthday.

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

Listen to: A Dose of Swing Tonic (Show 101)

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

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