Tiny Hill

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Tiny Hill (Harry Lawrence Hill) was one of the biggest bandleaders of the era.  Not purely based on his popularity, it was because he weighed in at over 365 lbs.  For a time, Hill was billed as "America's Biggest Bandleader".  Hill was also a drummer and a vocalist.

In 1931, Hill formed his first band which was simply known as the "Fat Man's Band." Dixieland jazz and hillbilly music was their original focus but by the last 1930's, Hill and his band were churning out warm dance music.

Helped by good exposure on the radio station "WGN" based out of Chicago, Tiny Hill aquired a nice follwing throughout the Midwest. In the early 1940's, Hill branched out and developed a national audience and toured the country.  1943 saw Tiny Hill and His Orchestra become the summer replacement band on the hit radio show "Your Hit Parade.

Listen to: "Angry" by Tiny Hill and His Orchestra from 1939

Tiny and his band continued to enjoy success for many years, well into the 1950s, until the end of the big band era.  You can hear the music of Tiny Hill right here on Swing City Radio.

Soundie: "Drink Hearty"

Picture of Red Allen

Today's Soundie features Red Allen and J.C. Higginbotham performing "Drink Hearty".  This was released to Panoram in March of 1946.  It was one of five Soundies the duo did together.  Two others were: "Count Me Out" and "House On 52nd Street".

Red Allen is best remembered as an excellent sideman that played with Fletcher Henderson and Benny Goodman.  J.C. Higginbotham is best known for his work with Chick Webb, Mills Blue Rhythm Band and Louis Armstrong.

Excellent Soundie.  Enjoy!


Watch: "Drink Hearty" by Red Allen and J.C. Higginbotham from 1946.

Podcast: Show 146 - Swingin' In Las Vegas

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Swingin' In Las Vegas - Show 146 - 

Ronnaldo is on the road in beautiful Las Vegas.  Features recordings by Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima and Ray Anthony.  We also listen to a couple of clips from Jack Benny.

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

Listen to: Swingin' In Las Vegas (Show 146)
Podcast Episode

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

Nancy Norman

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Little Nancy Norman made her mark on the Big Band Era as a vocalist for Sammy Kaye and His Orchestra.  At the age of 16 years old, she entered a "Who Wants to Sing With the Band" contest that held by Kaye. Sources say that Kaye was so impressed with Norman that he immediately signed her on as one of his female vocalists in his band.

In 1942, Norman became Kaye's leading female singer and would "Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye" until 1945.  These were some of the band's most popular years and you can hear Nancy Norman's vocals featured on the Kaye hits "Chickery Chick", "There Will Never Be Another You" and "There Goes That Song Again" just to name a few.

Additional Notes:
Her nickname, Little Nancy Norman, was due to the fact that she was just 4'11' and weighed barely 100 pounds.  Also, she is still alive today (97 years young) living in Beverly Hills, California.  Nancy, if you ever read this, thank you for the great music.


Listen to: "I’m Beginning To See The Light" by Sammy Kaye featuring Nancy Norman

You can hear the beautiful voice of Nancy Norman right here on Swing City Radio.

Soundie: "Half Past Jump Time"

Picture of Mabel Lee

Today's Soundie features the beautiful Mabel Lee singing a song called "Half Past Jump Time".  This was released to Panoram in December of 1945 and the music was provided by Deryck Sampson and His Band.

Mabel Lee started to appear in Soundies a few years before this release as an extra.  One of her first was in Louis Jordan's "Old Man Mose".  By 1945 she had become a star on the small screen of the Panoram.

"Half Past Jump Time" is a catchy, fun song that shows off Mabel Lee's talent.  It's one of the few clips where she is conservatively dressed, but while dancing she still manages to put in a racy performance.  There's no doubt that her popularity was tied to her great looks, but Lee's talent as a performer shouldn't be overlooked.

I'd also like to add that Deryck Sampson and His Band puts in a very nice performance as well.

Enjoy!

Watch: Mabel Lee perform "Half Past Jump Time" from 1945

Podcast: Show 145 - Krupa’s In The Mood

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Krupa’s In The Mood - Show 145 - 

Features recordings by The Hit Paraders, Erskine Hawkins, Gene Krupa and Woody Herman.  Ronnaldo plays a Soundie by the Dallas Bartley Orchestra and we also listen to an old radio ad from Buster Brown Shoes.

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

Listen to: Krupa’s In The Mood (Show 145)
Podcast Episode

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

Sy Oliver

Picture of Sy Oliver

Sy Oliver led a very good orchestra of his own but is most known for his work with the bands of Jimmie Lunceford and Tommy Dorsey.  He was a very skilled trumpeter, arranger and composer, as well as a decent singer.

Oliver got his start with the famed "territory band", Zack Whyte and his Chocolate Beau Brummels, at the age of 17.  He quickly made a name for himself with his trumpet but also gain a lot of arranging experience with them. 

In 1933, Oliver joined Jimmie Lunceford's band and recorded with them for over six years.  His arrangements for Lunceford were top shelf and really helped that band become such an influence on the era.  

In 1939, Tommy Dorsey lured Oliver away from Lunceford by offering him a very nice salary at the time.  Oliver's influence helped lead the transition of Dorsey's band from a Dixieland flavor to a more popular swinging sound. His arrangements of "On the Sunny Side of the Street",   "Yes, Indeed!", "Opus One" and "Well, Git It" are great examples of what Oliver added to Dorsey's rise in popularity in the 1940's.

Listen to: Yes Indeed! by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 
featuring Sy Oliver and Jo Stafford on vocals from 1941.

Sy Oliver stayed with Dorsey for about seven years and then moved on to work as a freelance arranger and eventually led his own band full time.

You can hear the music of Sy Oliver right here on Swing City Radio.

Watch: Parade of the Milk Bottle Caps

Picture of Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra

Today's video clip is by Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra.  "Parade of the Milk Bottle Caps" is just a small portion of a short film that featured Jimmy and the band at a time when the Swing Era was just about to reach a fever pitch. This is such a great song!  And, if you look closely, you can see a young Ray McKinley on the drums.

The film was produced by Vitaphone in 1938 and also includes the songs: "Beebe", "It's the Dreamer in Me", "I Love You in Technicolor" and "Dusk in Upper Sandusky".

Enjoy!

Watch: "Parade of the Milk Bottle Caps" by Jimmy Dorsey from 1938

Podcast: Show 144 - Voodoo Fire and a Hot Toddy

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Voodoo Fire and a Hot Toddy - Show 144 - 

Features vintage Big Band recordings by Lionel Hampton, Jimmie Lunceford, Ralph Flanagan and Artie Shaw.  We also listen to a track from Sinatra's last performance with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra.

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

Listen to: Voodoo Fire and a Hot Toddy (Show 144)

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

Ella Mae Morse

Picture of Ella Mae Morse

Vocalist, Ella Mae Morse, was quite the firecracker.  She got her start with Jimmy Dorsey's Band late in 1938 while still in her teens.  Some reports say she was 17, others say she was 14.  Regardless, her time with Dorsey was quite short.

Morse began to make a name for herself after joining Freddie Slack's Orchestra in the early 40's.  Slack and Morse recorded "Cow-Cow Boogie" and "Milkman, Keep Those Bottles", both songs became standards of the Big Band Era. 

In 1943, Morse began to record solo and she even had a #1 hit in the R&B charts with her recording of "Shoo-Shoo Baby".  Because Morse's musical style frequently blended jazz, blues, and country, she has sometimes been called the first rock 'n' roll singer.

Ella Mae quit recording in 1957 but continued to perform into the early 1990's.  Such a unique voice and fiery personality.

Watch: "Cow Cow Boogie" by Ella Mae Morse

You can hear the vocals of Ella Mae Morse right here on Swing City Radio.

Snader Telescription: "I May Be Wrong"

Picture of Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour

Today's Snader is "I May Be Wrong" featuring the beautiful vocals of Peggy Lee with music by Dave Barbour and His Quartet.  This is one of 10 Snader Telescriptions that Peggy Lee recorded in the early 1950's.

This song and clip is simply fantastic.  The most impressive part may be Dave Barbour's guitar solo while Peggy sews a button on his collar.  They were still married at this point and their chemistry really shines through.

Enjoy!

Watch: "I May Be Wrong" by Peggy Lee and the Dave Barbour Quartet

Podcast: Show 143 - Tobin, Tech and the Telephone

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Tobin, Tech and the Telephone - Show 143 - 

Features music by Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Charlie Barnet.  We also listen to select audio clips from a 1952 cinematic masterpiece called "Telephone Etiquette."

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

Listen to: Tobin, Tech and the Telephone (Show 143)

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

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