Soundie: "Here Comes the Fattest Man in Town"

Picture of Gloria Parker

Today's Soundie features the beautiful and multi-talented Gloria Parker.  This gem is called "Here Comes the Fattest Man in Town" and was filmed in 1946.  It also includes an appearance by the legendary Mel Blanc.

This is just one of a handful of great Soundies that showcases Miss Parker's many talents.  She also stars in "Broadway and Main", "Four Letters", "Penthouse Party" and "Wise Men Say".  Unlike many other Soundies, these were well produced and Parker herself composed the music and wrote the lyrics.  Her backup musicians in this performance include members of the house band from the Edison Hotel in New York.

Gloria Parker was much more than a pretty face that looked good on film.  She worked as a songwriter, bandleader, musician and actress.  A complete entertainer. She performed with her orchestras playing the marimba, piano, organ, violin, viola, vibraphone, xylophone, guitar, drums, all types of Latin percussion instruments and, of course, glass harp or what many people call "musical glasses".  Now for the record, I've seen many people "play" musical glasses in the past, but Gloria's performances are simply amazing.

Her radio program "The Gloria Parker Show", which aired from 1950 to 1957, featured her all-female "Swingphony", the largest big band led by a woman.  During her career, she also led "Gloria Parker and the Coquettes" and "Glorious Gloria Parker and Her All-Girl Rumba Orchestra." 

Enjoy!

Watch: "Here Comes the Fattest Man in Town" by Gloria Parker

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Podcast: Show 208 - The Sun In The Morning

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - The Sun In The Morning - Show 208 - 

Features vintage recordings by Mal Hallett, George Olsen and The Boswell Sisters.  We also listen to a Soundie by Larry Clinton and Ronnaldo answers Listener Mail.

* The musical performances and recordings featured in this podcast are in the Public Domain.  Artists are credited within the podcast.

Listen to: The Sun In The Morning (Show 208)

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: "Opus One" by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 
written and arranged Sy Oliver from 1943.

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.

Podcast: Show 207 - Why?

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Why? - Show 207 - 

Features vintage music by Jan Savitt, Sister Rosetta Sharpe and Artie Shaw.  We listen to clips from a 1951 Educational Film called "Answering The Child's Why" and we also hear a Soundie by The Four Ginger Snaps.

* The musical performances and recordings featured in this podcast are in the Public Domain.  Artists are credited within the podcast.

Listen to: Why? (Show 207)

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

Podcast: Show 206 - Louise The Chatterbox

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Louise The Chatterbox - Show 206 - 

Features vintage recordings by Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Red Norvo.  We also learn a little about Oscar DuMont's Orchestra and Ronnaldo answers Listener Mail.

* The musical performances and recordings featured in this podcast are in the Public Domain.  Artists are credited within the podcast.

Listen to: Louise The Chatterbox (Show 206)

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

Soundie: "Count Me Out"

Picture of Henry "Red" Allen

Today's Soundie features trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen joined by J.C Higginbotham (trombone) performing "Count Me Out".  This was released to Panoram viewers in June of 1946.  Other notable names in this Soundie are bassist Benny Moten and Alvin Burroughs on drums.

Prior to leading this talented band, Henry "Red" Allen had played in the orchestras of Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman and Eddie Condon.  This clip really captures the energy he brought to his performances and it also showcases some terrific dancing.

Enjoy!

Watch: "Count Me Out" by Henry "Red" Allen from 1946

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