Johnnie "Scat" Davis on 78rpm

Pic of Johnnie "Scat" Davis

Johnnie Davis is more remembered for his work in Hollywood.  He appeared in over a dozen films including "The Varsity Show", "Hollywood Hotel" and "Cowboy From Brooklyn".  His success as an actor was a direct result of the attention he received while in the music industry.

Davis was a singer, trumpeter and led a band of his own for a brief time.  While still in high school, Davis worked as a musician in the bands of Paul Johnson and Leo Baxter.  It was also at this time that Davis Discovered and developed his skills as a scat singer. Hence the nickname, Johnnie "Scat" Davis. In the mid 1930's, he worked with Fred Waring as a musician and vocalist, and his success during this time led him to Hollywood.  

In 1937, he appeared in the movie "Hollywood Hotel", where he introduced the Johnny Mercer song "Hooray for Hollywood". His lively rendition became extremely popular and became closely associated with the film industry. Note that on the 78's below, he is credited as "Johnny".  I've found that he was listed as both "Johnnie" and "Johnny" throughout his career.

Listen to: "Hip Hip Hooray" (1942) by Johnny "Scat" Davis And His Orchestra
from my 78rpm Collection.

On the other side of this fine piece of shellac is his version of "White Christmas".  There's nothing like listening to a good Christmas Song when the weather is warm outside. 

Listen to: "White Christmas" (1942) by Johnny "Scat" Davis And His Orchestra 
from my 78rpm Collection.

Remember, I have a boatload of 78 recordings that I've posted on the Swing City Radio YouTube channel.  Check it out.

May 2023: New Additions To The Playlist

Pic of GI Journal

Recently, I've added some great music into the Swing City Radio rotation.  The bulk of the tracks come from two classic radio shows, "G.I Journal" and "Club Fifteen".  I thought it would be a good idea to provide a brief summary of the shows and the artists and music that was featured on both.  

Pic of GI Journal Transcription Disc

G.I Journal:

G.I. Journal's "first edition" was recorded on June 29, 1943.  The show can be described as "a news paper of the airwaves" and was from the same mold of other AFRS variety shows like "Command Performace and Mail Call".  The show host was known as the editor.  Throughout it's run Kay Kyser, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Jack Carson all served as "editors".  

Some of the great tracks you'll hear from this show are songs by Kay Kyser, Skinnay Ennis and Glenn Miller.  Very good stuff!

Pic of Bob Crosby

Club Fifteen:

Club Fifteen is a radio program that ran from June 1947 until January of 1953.  It was hosted for the most part by Bob Crosby, except for 1949-50 when Dick Haymes took over to host.  The program was sponsored by Campbell Soups.

Jerry Gray did a fantastic job leading a very talented show orchestra and Del Sharbutt was the announcer and played a big part in the show.  I was able to extract and "clean up" great tracks by the regulars and guests including songs by: The Andrews Sisters, The Modernaires, The Pied Pipers, Margaret Whiting, Gisele Mackenzie and many more.  Oh, and of course, Bob Crosby and Dick Haymes.  Very good music that I think you are going to enjoy.

Also, I was able to recover a boatload (or I should say, a heaping bowl full) of Campbell's commercials that are fun to listen to.

So keep an ear out for songs from these two classic shows.  They were added to the rotation the first week of May.  Enjoy!

Pic of Campbell's Ad

Podcast: Show 163 - Music and Service

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Music and Service - Show 163 - 

Features music by some of the great Service Bands of World War II to honor Memorial Day.  These bands can REALLY swing!

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

Listen to: Music and Service (Show 163)

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

Podcast: Show 162 - The Hepster’s Dictionary

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - The Hepster’s Dictionary - Show 162 - 

Features vintage recordings by Glenn Miller, Cootie Williams and Gus Arnheim.  We also learn a little bit about a popular book written by Cab Calloway.

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

Listen to: The Hepster’s Dictionary (Show 162)

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

John Kirby

Picture of John Kirby

John Kirby led a successful band in the late 1930's - early 40's, and was a fantastic double-bassist.  He also played trombone and tuba.

Kirby began his career in the late 1920's and by 1930, he landed a spot in Fletcher Henderson's great band as a tuba player.  As the tuba fell out of favor as a popular instrument, Kirby switched over to double-bass and later played in the bands of Chick Webb and Lucky Millinder.

In 1937, Kirby put together a sextet that later became known as The Onyx Club Boys and was promoted as "The Biggest Little Band in the Land".  Kirby and the band were famous for their Chamber Jazz style, which was a lighter, Classical influenced style of Jazz.  They scored a few hits including "Loch Lomond" and "Undecided". 

Listen to: "Tweed Me" by John Kirby from my 78's Collection.

The most prominent vocalist for John Kirby's band was Maxine Sullivan, who later became Kirby's second wife.  As Kirby's career declined in the late 1940's, he drank heavily which led to an issue with diabetes.

Listen to: "Loch Lomond" by John Kirby with Maxine Sullivan on vocals.

Kirby planned a comeback in the early 1950's but died at the young age of 43.

You can hear the music of John Kirby right here on Swing City Radio.

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

Podcast: Show 161 - Lanes and Routes

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Lanes and Routes - Show 161 - 

Features Big Band music by Les Brown, Anson Weeks, Sammy Kaye and many more. We also listen to a catchy little "jingle" for Lucky Strike.

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

Listen to: Lanes and Routes (Show 161)

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

The Ink Spots

Picture of The Ink Spots

The Ink Spots were a Vocal group who gained world wide fame in the 1930s and 1940s. They had a unique musical style and landed over 30 hits on the US Pop Charts with 18 of them on the top 10 during the 1940's. 

The Ink Spots formed in 1934 in Indianapolis. The original line-up included Charlie Fuqua, Deek Watson, Jerry Daniels and Orville Jones.  They achieved so initial success when touring the United Kingdom with Jack Hylton's Orchestra.  Their early record releases were not commercially successful but they were steadily gaining a following.

In 1936, Daniels was replaced by Bill Kenny. When Kenny added his unusual high tenor ballad singing style with the rest of The Ink Spots, the result was almost magical. This was when things really started to happen for the vocal group and this lineup is considered by most to be their "classic" lineup.  

In January of 1939, the band recorded "If I Didn't Care."  This ballad became one of their biggest hits and has sold over 19 million copies through the years. It was also their first of many, many recordings to reach the US Pop Charts.

Listen to: "The Gypsy" by The Ink Spots from my 78rpm Collection.

In 1943, singer and guitarist Fuqua was drafted into the US Army and Jones died in October of 1944, after collapsing on stage in New York City.  This started a merry-go-round of line-up changes within the band that lasted until their break up in 1954. 

An interesting note: Since the Ink Spots broke up in 1954, there have been over 100 vocal groups calling themselves "The Ink Spots" without any rights to the name, and without any original members of the group. These groups often have claimed to be "2nd generation" or "3rd generation" Ink Spots.

You can hear many of The Ink Spots ballads right here on Swing City Radio.

Podcast: Show 160 - Skunks and Price Stabilization

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Skunks and Price Stabilization - Show 160 - 

Features vintage recordings by The Dorsey Brothers, Martha Tilton and Harry James.   Ronnaldo dusts off the Panoram 2000 to play a Soundie called "The Skunk Song".

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

Listen to: Skunks and Price Stabilization (Show 160)

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

Red Norvo

Picture of Red Norvo

Red Norvo was known as Mr. Swing and enjoyed a musical career that spanned over six decades.  Along with Lionel Hampton, Red helped establish the xylophone, marimba, and vibraphone as jazz instruments.

Norvo began his career in Chicago, IL in the mid 1920's playing for the famous "Collegians" in 1925.  Throughout the 1930's and 40's, Red played in the orchestras of Benny Goodman, Paul Whiteman, Charlie Barnet and Woody Herman.  He also led his own band at times, which proved very successful.

In 1933, Norvo married vocalist Mildred Bailey, and they soon became known as Mr. and Mrs. Swing.  The marriage lasted almost ten years and even after their divorce in 1942, the two remained friends and continued to record together. 

During the height of his career, Norvo also recorded tracks with Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Dinah Shore, Dean Martin and many others. He landed a bunch of charted hits and also managed to appear in a handful of films.

Listen to: "Please Be Kind" by Red Norvo with Mildred Bailey on vocals recorded in 1938
from my personal 78rpm Collection.

You can hear the music of Red Norvo right here on Swing City Radio.

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