Sam Donahue

Picture of Sam Donahue

Sam Donahue was an excellent saxophonist and a darn good bandleader as well.  Before leading his own band, Donahue was a sideman in the bands of Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman during the 1930's.  He started his own band in 1940 and recorded some sides but then was called into military service in 1942 where he served as a sideman again in Artie Shaw's Navy Band.  When Shaw was discharged in early 1944, Donahue took over that band and made it his own.  You can hear many recordings by Donahue's Navy band right here on Swing City Radio. He recorded many V-Discs and some great live performances for the Armed Forces. Great stuff!

Listen to: "LST Party" by Sam Donahue's Navy Band from a 1946 V-Disc

After the war, Sam formed his new, civilian band and it enjoyed some moderate success.  His orchestra featured names like trumpeter Doc Severinsen, vocalists Frances Wayne and Jo Stafford, and even had Leo Reisman aboard as an arranger.  It was a good band, but in 1951 it dissolved due to Donahue re-enlisting in the Navy to serve in the Korean War.

After serving his second tour of duty, Donahue returned to the States and again worked as a sideman in Tommy Dorsey's band in 1952, in Billy May's Orchestra from 1954 to 1956, and with Stan Kenton in 1960.

Listen to: "Sunny Side Of The Street" by Sam Donahue's Navy Band 
from an episode of Yank Bandstand (AFRS)

In late 1961, Donahue was named the leader of the late, Tommy Dorsey's band. Donahue and the Dorsey Orchestra recorded and toured throughout the early part of the 1960's and the band would later feature the vocals of a young Frank Sinatra Jr.

You can hear the music of Sam Donahue right here on Swing City Radio.

Soundie: "Boardwalk Boogie"

Picture of Will Bradley and His Orchestra

Today's Soundie features Will Bradley and His Orchestra performing "Boardwalk Boogie."  Such a great song.  The Soundie itself was filmed in 1941, and filmed quite well capturing a great band in it's prime as well as some very good dancing. While watching this you can feel the raw energy that defined the Will Bradley Orchestra.

The "Beach Party" where the "jitterbugs" are hanging out is really a soundstage in New York City.  Ironically enough, this was shot in the chilly month of December.

There are some big names that appear in this clip including: Ray McKinley, Freddie Slack, Peanuts Hucko and, of course, Will Bradley himself.  This song was originally titled "This Little Icky Went to Town" but was later changed to "Boardwalk Boogie" for this Soundie.

Enjoy!

Watch the Soundie: "Boardwalk Boogie" featuring Will Bradley and His Orchestra

Podcast: Show 176 - Dreaming of a Rebel

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Dreaming of a Rebel - Show 176 - 

Features music by Kitty Kallen, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry James and more.  We also learn a little bit about Rebel Randall, Jukebox USA and listen to another Soundie by Miss Gloria Parker. 

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

Listen to: Dreaming of a Rebel (Show 176)

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

Podcast: Show 175 - Great Moments By The Riverside

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Great Moments By The Riverside - Show 175 - 

Features vintage recordings by Sammy Kaye, Lucky Millinder and Guy Lombardo.  We also learn a little bit about water safety from an educational film about the topic released in 1953.

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

Listen to: Great Moments By The Riverside (Show 175)

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

Podcast: Show 174 - Leaping On a Greyhound Bus

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Leaping On a Greyhound Bus - Show 174 - 

Features music by Gene Krupa, Harry James, Woody Herman and more.  We also listen to some audio reminders from Camay - "Remember Why Your Husband Married You".

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

Listen to: Leaping On a Greyhound Bus (Show 174)

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

Podcast: Show 173 - A Bunny, Four Kings and a Doctor

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - A Bunny, Four Kings and a Doctor - Show 173 - 

Features vintage recordings by Bunny Berigan, The King Sisters and Muggsy Spanier.  We also learn a little bit about small town doctors from an educational film called "The Doctor".

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

Listen to: A Bunny, Four Kings and a Doctor (Show 173)

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

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