The V-Disc Episodes - Starting September 2022

Logo of The V-Disc Episodes

I'm happy to announce that "The V-Disc Episodes", a Podcast Extra of "The Big Band and Swing Podcast", will makes its debut on September 7th.  The initial release will include an introduction to the new series and the first episode.  If you have "Subscribed" or "Follow" The Big Band and Swing Podcast - these episodes will automatically show up in your podcast feed.

In case you are unfamiliar with the V-Discs Recordings, - they were a unique collection of records produced by the US Armed Forces during World War II and for a short time after.  They were made specifically for the US troops and military personnel that were serving all around the world. V-Discs provided soldiers with entertainment from home, and were considered a huge morale booster.

This special series of podcasts will focus on the fantastic music from this collection, disc by disc. I will be unpacking the history, the musicians, the STORY behind each one.  

To learn more about the series, be sure to check out the "Introduction" episode on September 7th.

Also, I'd like to thank so many of you out there that have encouraged me to do this series, your continued interest in this music is the primary force that drive me.  Thank you for your support.

Added to Playlist - Aug 2022

Picture of Fats Waller

I've been a busy little beaver over the last couple weeks and have added some great recordings to the station rotation from the archives of Old Time Radio including music by:

Fats Waller
(Radio Remote - Panther Room in Chicago - December 1940)
Songs include: "Whatcha Know Joe?", "Lila Lou" and a very interesting version of "Frenesi".

Harry James
(Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands - AFRS - May 1942)
Tracks include: "Music Makers", "Sleepy Lagoon" and a fantastic rendition of "The Devil Sat Down and Cried"

Ray Anthony
(Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands - AFRS - Jan 1952)
Songs are from two separate performances from January of 1952 and includes: "Solitaire", "Cook's Tour", "Brokenhearted" and many more.

I also added vintage music from: Gene Krupa, Frankie Carle, Chuck Foster, Les Brown and Louis Prima.  VERY GOOD STUFF!

Enjoy. 

Watch: "Smoke Rings" by Glen Gray

Picture of Glen Gray

Today's film short is called "Smoke Rings" and stars Glen Gray and His Casa Loma Orchestra.  It was released in July of 1943 by Universal Studios and features vocal performances from Pee Wee Hunt, The Pied Pipers and Eugenie Baird.  

The Casa Loma Orchestra formed in 1929. When Eugenie Baird was hired on as a lead female vocalist in the 1940's, it marked the first time a female vocalist was featured in the band. 

This is a great film and is filed with energy and fantastic music!  Songs included: "Can't Get Stuff in Your Cuff," "That's My Affair" and "Little Man with the Hammer" and more.

Please excuse the time strip on the bottom of the film.  I found this on the Periscope Film Youtube Channel.  If you haven't visited that channel yet, it's a fun place to find some of this old footage.

Enjoy!

Watch: The Short Film "Smoke Rings" by Glen Gray from 1943

Podcast: Show 126 - Focus On The Basics

Picture of Big Band Podcast Logo

The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Focus On The Basics - Show 126 -

Features vintage music by Frank Sinatra, Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman.  We also learn about The Basic Musical Library that was issues by the AFRS and Ronnaldo plays some tracks from the collection.

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

Listen to: Focus On The Basics (Show 126)

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

Jimmy Mundy

Picture of Jimmy Mundy

Jimmy Mundy was best known for his classic arrangements for Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Earl Hines.  The saxophonist / arranger first developed in skills in the 1920's playing with local bands in the Cincinnati, Ohio area.  In the early 1930's he got his big break when he wrote and sold some of his arrangements to Claude Hopkins.  Mundy was then hired by Earl Hines to play sax in his famous "Grand Terrace Orchestra" and this is where Jimmy developed the reputation of a top rate arranger.

By 1935, Mundy had attracted the attention of Benny Goodman. Goodman hired Mundy and by 1938, he along with Fletcher Henderson, were considered Goodman's principle staff arrangers.

In late 1938, drumming great Gene Krupa, departed Goodman's band to form his own outfit and Mundy followed.  Even though he was connected with Krupa, Mundy still continued to contribute arrangements to Goodman on a freelance basis.

Throughout the 1940's, Mundy led his own band on a limited basis, but he's most remembered in that decade for his compositions and arrangements he supplied to some of the biggest bands of the era including: Harry James, Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Charlie Spivak, Paul Whiteman and many others.

The band he personally led didn't make much of an impact, but they did manage to make some great recordings and their performances on Jubilee were legendary.

Listen to: "Fiesta In Brass" by Jimmy Mundy and His Orchestra

You can hear the music of Jimmy Mundy right here on Swing City Radio.

Watch: Symphony of Swing

Picture of Artie Shaw

Today's video is a short film called Symphony of Swing and features Artie Shaw and His Orchestra.  This was released by Warner Bros. and Vitaphone back in 1939.  The cinematography and editing were top shelf (for 1939) and it truly captures the essence of Artie Shaw and His Band at the time.

The songs included in this short are: "Alone Together," "Jeepers Creepers", "Deep Purple" and "Lady Be Good".  Helen Forrest and Tony Pastor were handling the primary vocal duties for Shaw during this time.  If you watch close, you can just make out a young Buddy Rich on drums.  He is not credited in the film.

Enjoy!

Watch: Artie Shaw and His Orchestra in "Symphony of Swing" from 1939

Podcast: Show 125 - Woody, Cab and Jack

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Woody, Cab and Jack - Show 125 - 

Features vintage recordings by Glen Gray, Connie Haines, Billy Mills and Woody Herman.  Ronnaldo also plays music performances from The Abbott and Costello Show.

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

Listen to: Woody, Cab and Jack (Show 125)

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

Basic Musical Library (AFRS)

Picture of Basic Musical Library

The AFRS Basic Musical Library (aka Basic Music Library) was a series of recordings of popular, jazz, and classical music that was distributed to every military radio station during World War II.  It became an audio/music library that allowed personnel at these military broadcast facilities to act as disc jockeys and to play the most popular songs and artists for their audiences - the American troops.

Swing City Radio plays MANY of the songs and artists that can be found in the "P" Series of this collection.  The "P" stands for popular.  Some of the many bands and singers represented in this fantastic collection include Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters, Frank Sinatra, Harry James, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Louis Prima, and Peggy Lee to just name a handful.

The sources of these historic recordings mostly came from alternate takes of commercial recordings from the major record labels; radio broadcasts and remotes (often the dress rehearsals); concerts; and the AFRS’s own recording sessions. They were distributed to the broadcast facilities on 16-inch Transcription Discs.

Picture of 16 inch disc
Picture of "Basic Musical Library" - 16 inch Transcription Disc

Listen to Swing City Radio to hear some of these great recordings.  Enjoy! 



Soundie: It's Been a Long, Long Time

Picture of Stan Kenton

Today's Soundie is yet another one from Stan Kenton. "It's Been A Long, Long Time" was released to Panorams in December of 1945 and just one of the eighteen Soundies Kenton and His Band filmed through the years.  It features the beautiful June Christy on vocals along with the postwar lineup of the Band.

This Soundie was filmed very well but the audio is a bit low.  It still manages to capture Stan Kenton being Stan Kenton.  Enjoy!

Watch: A Soundie by Stan Kenton - "It's Been a Long, Long Time" from 1945

Podcast: Show 124 - The Great Tobacco Wars

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - The Great Tobacco Wars - Show 124 - 

Features vintage music by Glenn Miller, The Boswell Sisters, Tony Pastor and Count Basie.  We also listen to old radio ads from the most popular cigarette companies of the 1940's.

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

Listen to: The Great Tobacco Wars (Show 124)

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

Johnny Desmond

Picture of Johnny Desmond

Johnny Desmond was a talented vocalist that was popular during the 1940's and 50's.  He started off by forming his own singing group in 1939 called the Downbeats.  This vocal group quickly caught the attention of Bob Crosby and in 1940, Crosby hired them to work with his band.  Shortly after, the band changed their name to the Bob-O-Links.

In mid-1941, Desmond moved on to become the featured vocalist for Gene Krupa's band.  He ended up replacing Howard Dulaney and recorded over a dozen sides for Krupa.

In 1942, Desmond made a big life decision and enlisted in the U.S. Army.  He eventually became a member of Glenn Miller's Army Air Force Band.  Desmond made many, many radio broadcasts being featured on lead vocals while with Miller.  He was discharged from the military in November of 1945, shortly after the end of World War II.

The name recognition he achieved while serving with Miller's band helped him solidify a successful solo career after the war.  He also starred in quite a few radio shows as well.

You can hear the music of Johnny Desmond right here on Swing City Radio.

Listen to: "Shoo-Fly Pie And Apple Pan Dowdy" by Johnny Desmond from 1946

Watch: Air Mail Special

Picture of Count Basie

Today's Soundie features Count Basie and His Orchestra performing the Goodman classic "Air Mail Special".  This film was released in 1941 and Basie's version REALLY SWINGS.  Such a great performance for the camera.

Also featured in the film is a "last couple standing" dance battle.  Now call me cynical, but I have a strange feeling the winner was picked long before the dance started.  😀  Spoiler alert: Long time Basie vocalist, Jimmy Rushing paired up with Winnie Johnson, were crowned the winners.

A very fun Soundie with some GREAT music.  Enjoy!

Watch:  Count Basie perform "Air Mail Special".  1941 Soundie.

Picture of Jimmy Rushing



Podcast: Show 123 - Kool Smoke Dreams

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Kool Smoke Dreams - Show 123 - 

Features vintage recordings by Teddy Powell, Cootie Williams, The Mills Brothers and Les Elgart.  Ronnaldo also plays tracks from "Let's Go Clubbing" and the "Jack Pearl Show". 

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

Listen to: Kool Smoke Dreams (Show 123)

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

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