Mark Warnow

Picture of Mark Warnow

During the 1930's and 40's, Mark Warnow was a featured name on the radio.   He enjoyed a lengthy and versatile career with the CBS Radio network and was sometimes described as "the busiest man in radio".

Warnow became the musical director at CBS in the early 1930's.  He would go on to conduct the orchestras of many of the network's most popular shows.  Most importantly, he led the orchestra on the CBS radio program "Your Hit Parade" from 1939 until his death in 1949.

In the 1940s, Warnow conducted and arranged for Frank Sinatra while the singer was still signed to Columbia Records, then owned by the CBS network. He also conducted the orchestra for the "Sound Off" Radio show in 1946.  Sound Off was sponsored by the U.S. Army and encouraged post World War II recruitment.  Warnow, surprisingly not busy enough during the decade, produced a Broadway musical-comedy called "What's Up?" in 1943 and also provided the musical soundtrack for many Hollywood movies.

It's also important to note that Warnow influenced The Big Band Era in another, huge way. He was the older brother of composer and bandleader Harry Warnow (better known as Raymond Scott), and is credited with steering his younger brother into a career in music. In 1931, he hired his younger brother as a keyboardist at CBS Studios, which provided Raymond the springboard to launch his career.

Sadly, Mark Warnow passed away at the young age of 49 of a heart attack.

Listen to: "I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire" performed by Mark Warnow 
and His Orchestra also featuring Barry Wood and The Hit Paraders from 1942.

You can hear the music of Mark Warnow right here on Swing City Radio.

Soundie: "Smiles" by Larry Clinton

Picture of Larry Clinton

Today's Soundie is by Larry Clinton and His Orchestra, a track called "Smiles".  This was filmed in 1941, but not released to Panoram until December of 1943.  By the time of this release, Clinton's Orchestra had already disbanded and Larry was off serving in the military during World War II.

This is yet another straight forward Soundie by Clinton.  All of his Soundies were quite basic but still entertaining in my opinion.  Enjoy!

Watch: Larry Clinton and His Orchestra perform "Smiles"

Podcast: Collection of Favorites (2022)

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Collection of Favorites (2022) - 

Ronnaldo plays his favorite songs that were featured on the podcast this year.  Includes vintage recordings by Cab Calloway, Kay Starr, Raymond Scott and Glenn Miller.

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

Listen to: Collection of Favorites (2022)

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Soundie: "Winter Wonderland" by the Dinning Sisters

Picture of Dinning Sisters

Today's Soundie is from 1945 and features the Dinning Sisters performing their version of "Winter Wonderland".  This just "popped" up on Youtube a few days ago so I don't know much about the history behind this clip.  But I love it and 'tis the season.  One thing I do know know about this Soundie, is that it is one of only three Christmas Soundies that were filmed.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Watch: "Winter Wonderland" by the Dinning Sisters from 1945

Yank Lawson

Picture of Yank Lawson

Yank Lawson was one of the premiere Trumpeters of the Big Band Era.  He's most known for his work with Bob Crosby and the Bobcats, but also spent time in the orchestras of Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey.

Lawson began to build his name while in the Ben Pollack Orchestra in 1933.  In the mid-1930's he became a founding member of Bob Crosby's Bobcats.  Yank's trumpet played an intrical part of the Bobcat's Dixieland sound.

Yank Lawson also spent parts of his career as a highly sought out studio musician, and he also led his own Dixieland orchestra for a time.  Lawson would later move on to form the very successful "World's Greatest Jazz Band" with Bob Haggart.

Listen to a V-Disc featuring Yank Lawson from 1945

You can hear the fierce and fiery trumpet playing of Yank Lawson right here on Swing City Radio.

Consider Swing City Radio During the Holidays

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Hey there everyone.  I just want to wish you all a Very Merry Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.  I also want to thank you for tuning in to Swing City Radio and The Big Band and Swing Podcast throughout the year.  In my opinion, the station has never sounded better and I plan to continue to come up with content and other ways to keep Swing City Radio a unique place to listen to and learn about Big Band music.

If you enjoy all the programming and articles I deliver you throughout the year, please consider supporting my work by providing the station with a one time "gift" or by becoming a Hepcat Supporter.

I've made it simple to support Swing City Radio and The Big Band and Swing Podcast:

To provide a One Time "Holiday Gift" through Paypal simply go to:

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As always, thank you so much for listening and Happy Holidays to all of you and your families.  

~ Ronnaldo

Celebrating: A Big Band Christmas - Again! (2022)

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Celebrating: A Big Band Christmas - Again! (2022) -

Happy Holidays Everyone!  This show features vintage Big Band Christmas recordings by Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters, Peggy Lee and Glenn Miller.  This is a "regifting" of a special from 2020.

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

Listen to: Celebrating: A Big Band Christmas - Again! (2022)

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Soundie: Reed Rapture by Stan Kenton

Pic from Reed Rapture

Today's Soundie showcases Stan Kenton and His Orchestra performing the song, "Reed Rapture".  There were over a dozen Soundies filmed of Kenton's band and visually, this one might be the most pleasing to the eye.  Normally, Soundies were quickly filmed and produced.  But, this one is filled with interesting camera angles, unique uses of silhouettes, and creative lighting.

The music itself is a perfect example of Kenton's role as a trail blazer throughout the era. This was released to Panoram in March of 1942.


Watch the Soundie: "Reed Rapture" by Stan Kenton and His Orchestra from 1942

Podcast: Show 142 - Hot Dogs and a Milky Way

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Hot Dogs and a Milky Way - Show 142 - 

Features vintage Big Band recordings by The Andrews Sisters, Tony Pastor and Artie Shaw.  Ronnaldo also plays a Soundie by Will Bradley and His Six Texas Hot Dogs.

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

Listen to: Hot Dogs and a Milky Way (Show 142)

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Buddy Morrow

Pic of Buddy Morrow

Trombonist, Buddy Morrow, led a very entertaining band of his own during the 1950's.  He got his start playing gigs with the bands of Artie Shaw, Vincent Lopez and Eddy Duchin but started to make a name for himself after joining Tommy Dorsey's band in 1938.

In the early 1940's he spent time in the bands of Tony Pastor and Bob Crosby.  When he joined the U.S. Navy, he paired up with Billy Butterfield to entertain the troops during World War II.  

After the war, Buddy joined Jimmy Dorsey's band for awhile and then went out on his own.  Buddy Morrow and His Orchestra enjoyed some moderate commercial success which is impressive, because at that time the genre itself was in such decline. 

After dissolving his band in the early 1960's, Morrow was still in high demand as a sideman and made many recordings with names like Count Basie, Artie Shaw and Sarah Vaughn.  He also spent time as a member of "The Tonight Show Band".  In 1977, Morrow took over the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and led the band until his death in 2010.

Listen to: Night Train by Buddy Morrow and His Orchestra from 1952

You can hear the music of Buddy Morrow right here on Swing City Radio.

Louise Tobin's Soundies

Picture of Louise Tobin

Today, I'm posting two Soundies stitched together in one video.  They are the two Soundies that Louise Tobin filmed with Emil Coleman in 1945.  As I stated last week, Louise Tobin passed away on November 26, 2022 at the age of 104.  The Soundies are titled: " Just One of Those Things" and "June Comes Around Every Year".

As you'll notice, the credits are in reverse due to the fact that these were taken from the original film reels.  The quality of these are very good.


Watch: Two Louise Tobin Soundies from 1945

Podcast: Show 141 - Riffs and Sniffs

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Riffs and Sniffs - Show 141 - 

Features vintage Big Band music by Andy Kirk, Duke Ellington and Hal Kemp.  We also listen to select audio clips from a charming little film called "Let's Have Fewer Colds".

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

Listen to: Riffs and Sniffs (Show 141)

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The Passing of Louise Tobin

Pic of Louise Tobin

I'm sad to report that vocalist, Louise Tobin, passed away on November 26, 2022 in Carrollton, Texas at the age of 104.  She recorded with the orchestras of Ben Pollack, Bobby Hackett, Jack Jenney, Benny Goodman and Will Bradley.

Tobin was a great talent and possessed a beautiful voice, but the biggest impact she made on the Big Band Era was the part she played in discovering Frank Sinatra.  Tobin was listening to the radio in 1939 and heard a broadcast from a New Jersey venue called the Rustic Cabin.  A young Frank Sinatra was the emcee that night, Frank Sinatra, and his singing caught the ear of Louise. She told her then husband, Harry James he should tune in another night to hear Sinatra’s skill and style. James was impressed and hired Sinatra as part of his band.  That was the first major steppingstone to Sinatra’s meteoric rise to fame.  Tobin and James divorced in May of 1943.

Louise Tobin may have made more of an impact on the Era herself but she took time off from her singing career to raise her two sons she had with James.  She returned to performing in the 1960s, and later married famed clarinetist, Peanuts Hucko and toured alongside him for years.

Thank you Louise for the music you left behind for us.  Your voice will continue to touch so many of us. 

Listen to: Louise Tobin sing "There’ll Be Some Changes Made" with Benny Goodman from 1941.

Another Pic of Louise Tobin

The Madhattan Room Broadcasts of 1937

Pic of Benny Goodman

Over the holiday weekend I "cut up and cleaned up" over 70 tracks by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra performing at The Madhattan Room in NYC.  I got the sound quality sounding "pretty darn good" and I think you will enjoy them.  Many of these songs were never recorded by Goodman in the studio.

In the Fall of 1937, Benny Goodman had a season long engagement at The Madhattan Room in New York City.  Swing was about to explode onto the forefront of American culture and Benny Goodman and his talented orchestra were on the rise and leading the charge.

Goodman had also been featured at that same venue in the Fall of 1936 and in the Spring of 1937, but this engagement was different.  There was a national wide "buzz" around Benny Goodman at this point and CBS Radio planned on beaming live remotes of these gigs to their affiliates.

The Madhattan Room was located on the lower level of the Hotel Pennsylvania, which also contained the legendary Café Rouge.  The Madhattan Room wasn’t as glamorous or as large as the Café Rouge, but it had fine acoustics and its small size and low ceiling provided an intimate feel to the music.

Pic of The Madhattan Room

These broadcasts catch Goodman and his band, in my opinion, at their best. Martha Tilton had just joined during the summer and had fully adjusted into her lead vocal role. The band featured Gene Krupa, Harry James, Jess Stacy, Ziggy Elman, Art Rollini, Harry Goodman and other greats.  Teddy Wilson, and Lionel Hampton were also being featured in Goodman's trio and quartet.  In fact, this was pretty much the same lineup that appears in the famous Carnegie Hall Concert of 1938.

So keep in ear out for these great songs that have just been added to the Swing City Radio rotation.

Soundie: All Ruzzit Buzzit

Pic of Dallas Bartley and His Orchestra

Today's Soundie features Dallas Bartley and His Orchestra.  "All Ruzzit Buzzit" was released to Panoram in August of 1945 and is one of five Soundies that the band released during the mid-1940's.

Dallas Bartley was the former bassist for Louis Jordan's band, he formed his own band in the early 1940's.  As you can see, he always seemed to prefer to stay in the background.  His band had a very nice groove to it, but I feel that their vocalist lacked the energy and "pizzazz" to make their songs really jump.

Regardless, it's still an entertaining tune, and the dancers in the background silhouette make this a fun little Soundie.


Watch: "All Ruzzit Buzzit" by Dallas Bartley and His Orchestra

Podcast: Show 140 - Gas and Jump Sauce

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Gas and Jump Sauce - Show 140 - 

Features recordings by Ted Heath, Hal McIntyre, Bunny Berigan and Charlie Barnet.  Ronnaldo plays some select audio clips from a 1947 educational film called "Gasoline For Everybody."

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

Listen to: Gas and Jump Sauce (Show 140)

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