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Friday, June 11, 2021

The Torch - June Valli

 

Stormy Weather

The Torch
June Valli
With Joe Reisman and His Orchestra
Photo by Jerry Saltsberg and Associates
RCA Victor LPM-1120
1955

From the back cover: The first time I ever heard June Valli, in person, was at the 4-H Club Convention, in Chicago. We were putting on a show there for the youngsters, and Kitty Kallen was to have flown out from New York to join us.

A few hours before the show, Irving Chezar, agent for Kitty Kallen, phoned from New York to tell me that Miss Kallen, ill, was still at La Guardia Airport. He suggested that I substitute June Valli, who was in Chicago.

So June rushed over, had a hurried rehearsal, and then stepped out on the stage and tied the show up in a knot. She's done the same thing for us ever since.

Here is a real young star, in the completest meaning of the that abused word. Millions of America who have enjoyed her on "Hit Parade", our "Toast Of The Town" and other TV shows, will welcome this album – June Valli is now a regular member of your family, instead of a TV visitor. – Ed Sullivan

One For My Baby
I Get It Bad And That Ain't Good 
My Man
Stormy Weather
You're Got Me Crying Again
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
But Not For Me
Bill
All Alone
I Get Along Without You Very Well
Body And Soul
Don't Take Your Love From Me

Watusi Trumpets - Claus Ogerman

 

Stingray

Watusi Trumpets
Claus Ogerman and His Orchestra
Produced by Andy Wiswell
Liner Photo: Dan Wynn
Recorded in Webster Hall, New York City
Recording Engineer: Mickey Crofford
RCA Victor LPM-3455
1965

It's Not Unusual 
Stingray
Watusi Trumpets
El Watusi
Downtown
Right Now
Harlem Watusi
One Step Above
The Joker
Poinciana
La Bamba
Land Of 1000 Dances

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Souvenir Album - Gertrude Niesen

 

Temptation

Souvenir Album
Gerturde Niesen
Decca Records DL 5138 (10 inch LP)

From the back cover: First of all, she comes from Brooklyn... which may explain everything. For, just as the Dodgers are the unpredictable of the sports world, Gertrude Niesen is one of the most deceptive personalities in show business. Her career has been marked by as many old twists and turns as the base path antics of the Beloved Bums.

Even her initial debut came unexpectedly: Gertrude was born on the high seas while her parents were returning from a trip to England. As a youngster she displayed an unusual flair for mimicry which earned for her the nickname of "Monkey," Later, the beautiful blond, who was to win fame for her Broadway impersonation of a burlesque queen, was educated at Brooklyn Heights Seminary, a genteel finishing school for young ladies. Still more surprising, is the fact that Gertrude once considered a career in grand opera. It was during her third year at Brooklyn Seminary that her soprano voice attracted the attention of Romano Romani, the famous operatic voice coach. Signor Romani urged the young girl to study for a future with the Met, but before Gertrude could make up her mind, her high voice changed to a lush contralto.

The sudden change was a blessing in disguise, for Gertrude discovered that her new voice was perfect for impressions and popular songs. At the insistence of her schoolmates, she canvassed the Manhattan theatrical agencies and was immediately booked into the 300 Club. Other engagements followed, and before long she made her radio debut on the Rudy Vallee program caused a nationwide furor and Gertrude was signed on as a regular member of the cast.

Gertrude followed her first Broadway stage role in "You Said It" with starring performances in such hits as "Calling All Stars" and the "Ziegfeld Follies," Then came a movie career in Hollywood, with La Niesen appearing in "Top Of The Town," "Start Cheering," "Rookies On Parade," and "Harem Nights." Despite her cinema successes, Miss Niesen decided that the restrictions and stereotyped roles of movieland were not for her. In short, she wanted to get away – far away. So she left America and went to London, where she was featured at the plush Cafe de Paris. Here she worked leisurely in a familiar medium before appreciative audiences. In London she was given an opportunity to try out the things she had only dared thing about in Hollywood and to develop her own distinctive flair for comedy blossomed forth in England and Gertrude returned to the United States a seasoned and successful international performer.

It was in the role of Bubbles LaMarr, in "Follow The Girls," however, that Gertrude enjoyed her greatest success. Sensation of the show was her long-to-be-remembered singing of the strip-teaser's lament "I Wanna Get Married," which, incidentally, is included on this Decca Long Play Record. The show ran on Broadway for more than two years and toured the nation to packed houses for another year, definitely establishing its star as a top-flight musical comedienne.

Frankly, when La Niesen comes out on the stage and starts rolling her eyes and swaying her hips, she seems more than mischievous – she looks downright wicked. But away from the spotlight she is earnest almost to the point of being demure. Gertrude more than anyone else, enjoys the joke of being able to carry on under the spotlight in a fashion that has nothing to do with her real personality. Her flamboyant dress and combed blonde bangs are misleading cues. One would hardly suspect from her stage appearance that behind the outer facade lies a keen business mind. For example, Gertrude picked up a 50-room $2,000,000 Newport, R.I. mansion for $21,000 a few years ago. They laughed even more when the water pipes froze and burst. But Miss Niesen had the last laugh when she sold the estate a short time later for considerably more than she had paid for it.

At present, she owns large estates in California, an island off Greenwich, Connecticut, and a little place in New York's fashionable East Sixties. Gertrude, who is also a talented interior decorator,  and fills them with her collections of Chinese antique and English Sheffield silver. Just as her homes are the showcase of Gertrude Niesen's vocal ability. These eight songs are typical of the colorful Niesen repertoire... and she sings them like nobody else. But nobody!

I Wanna Get Married
Twelve O'Clock And All Is Well
I'm A Big Girl Now
Legalize My Name
Sooner Of Later
That's Good Enough For Me
Body And Soul
Temptation

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

It's Been So Long - Helen Ward

 

It's Been So Long

It's Been So Long
Helen Ward
Orchestra under the direction of Percy Faith
Columbia CL 6271 (10 inch LP)
1953

From the back cover: The charming girl on the cover of this set has enjoyed a unique career. She left New York University in the middle of her sophomore year to join a new band just formed by a young clarinetist named Benny Goodman. It was New Year's Eve when she made her debut with Benny. Two years later, in December 1936, Benny Goodman was the biggest and hottest name in the band business. Helen had reached the top of her profession as a band singer, and she threw it all over for marriage.

Although the marriage broke up a few years later, Helen did not at first return to singing in public, except for brief appearances with Gene Krupa and Harry James, her close friends from the Goodman band, and a season on the Camel radio show with Bob Crosby. She also made occasional recordings with Krupa, Crosby, James, Teddy Wilson and Joe Sullivan. During World War II, she toured extensively with the orchestras of Hal McIntyre and Harry James. In 1946 and '47, she became a radio producer for an independent New York station; among her programs were the Morey Amsterdam, Vic Damone and Toni Arden shows.

Helen was happily re-married and settled down when one day in October 1952 her telephone rang and there I was at the other end inviting her to a cocktail party in honor of Fletcher Henderson, the great arranger, who had done so much for the Goodman band of the thirties. Although Helen did not know it then, this was the first step which Benny and I had cooked up toward having her come back and sing in public again.

The plot centered around the fact that Benny was organizing an all-star band to tour in the spring of 1953, with as many of the former stars as were available. The conversation got around to the business of using a vocalist, and went something like this: "How," we both said simultaneously, "about Helen Ward?" Well, neither of us had heard Helen sing in years, but we knew that kind of singer would always be good.

As Helen sang in the lyrics of the special-material song which Frank Loesser and Milton DeLugg created for her return to Benny, "he didn't even have to ask me twice". Helen came down to the Columbia Studios one night, and after warming the band up with an instrumental, Benny signaled Helen to come over and make a side. (We still hadn't heard her sing.) But from he first four bars we knew we were in. If anything, Helen was better than ever.

Helen went on that tour with Benny; although Benny had to drop out after the first ten days when he suffered a physical collapse in Boston, the tour went on without him and was still a phenomenal success. Everywhere she appeared, Helen found that her old friends turned out in cheering droves, and that the newcomers who had not heard her in public before were just as enthusiastic. This double-barreled success which Helen enjoyed was the final bit that earned her the right to an album of her own.

This record evolved out of a series of conferences among Helen, myself and Percy Faith, Columbia's extraordinarily versatile East Coast arranger and conductor. The sessions were a happy dream; Percy flipped over Helen, Helen thought Percy was just great, and the musicians were inspired by both of them. The results, as you can hear, justified everyone's excitement.

It's Been So Long
You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me (Two Versions)
You're Mine
I'm Nobody Baby
Same Old Moon
When You Make Love To Me (Don't Make Believe)
It All Depends On You
Nice Work If You Can Get It

This Is Benny Goodman And His Orchestra

 

Wrappin' It Up

This Is Benny Goodman And His Orchestra
Popular Collector's Issue
RCA Victor LPT-3056 (10 inch LP)
1953

Swingtime In The Rockies (Recorded June 15, 1936)
Changes (Recorded September 6, 1937)
Sugarfoot Stomp (Recorded July 7, 1937
Big John Special (Recorded May 28, 1938
Camel Hop (Recorded November 12, 1937)
Riffin' At The Ritz (Recorded October 7, 1936)
Wrappin' It Up (Recorded May 28, 1938)
Life Goes To A Party (Recorded November 12, 1937)

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Hello Benny! - Benny Goodman

 

The Girl From Ipanema

Hello Benny!
Benny Goodman
Plays The Fresh New Sounds Of The Great New Tunes
Produced by David Cavanaugh
Capitol Records T2157
1964

Complete personnel includes:

Clarinet and Leader: Benny Goodman
Trumpets: Tony Terran, Ray Triscari & Jimmy Zito
Alto Saxes: Skeets Herfurt & Herb Steward
Tenor Saxes: Teddy Edwards & Bob Hardaway
Trombones: Bob Edmondson & Vern Friley
Piano: Pete Jolly
Drums: Colin Bailey
Bass: Monty Budwig
Guitar: Benny Garcia

Great Day arranged by Fletcher Handerson
La Boehm arranged by Tommy Newsom
Call Me Irresponsible arranged by Bill Holman
People arranged by Tommy Newsom
Hello Dolly! arranged by Tommy Newsom
The Girl From Ipanema arranged by Tommy Newsom
The Pink Panther Theme arranged by Joe Lippman
The Lamp Is Low arranged by Fletcher Henderson
Hallelujah, I Love Her So arranged by Gerald Wilson
Them There Eyes arranged by Fletcher Henderson

The Classics Ala Dixie - Pee Wee Hunt

Cotton Pickin' Carmen

The Classics Ala Dixie
Pee Wee Hunt
Arrangements by Van Alexander and Dave Cavanaugh
Capitol Records T846
1958

Twelfth Street Toreador
Rigoletto Rock
Hi-Ho Pee Wee
Springtime Down In Dixie
Cotton Pickin' Carmen
Oh! Martha, Oh!
Hunt's Goulash
The Iceman Cometh

I Don't Want To Be Hurt Anymore - Nat King Cole

 

I'm All Cried Out

I Don't Want To  Be Hurt Anymore
Nat King Cole
Orchestra Arranged and Conducted by Ralph Carmichael
Produced by Lee Gillette 
Cover Photo: Capitol Record Studio/Ken Veeder
Capitol Records STEREO ST 2118
1964

I Don't Want To Be Hurt Anymore
You're Crying On My Shoulder
Only Yesterday
I'm Alone Because I Love You
Don't You Remember?
You're My Everything
I Don't Want To See Tomorrow
Brush Those Tears From Your Eyes
Was That The Human Thing To Do?
Go, If You're Going
Road To Nowhere
I'm All Cried Out

Monday, June 7, 2021

Red Sails In The Sunset - Dick Hyman

The North Sea (Dick Hyman)

Red Sails In The Sunset
Dick Hyman At The Organ
With Instrumental Accompaniment
MGM Records E3483
1957

From the back cover: Dick was born in New York City in 1927... graduated from Columbia College in 1948... free-lanced with many orchestra and singers... joined Benny Goodman in the maestro's European tour in 1950... then concentrated on radio and television work... currently on NBC staff as a conductor, pianist and organist, in addition to leading his own trio, famous to record fans through such M-G-M hits "Theme from 'The Threepenny Opera'"... has recorded with LeRoy Holmes, Joni James, Mary Mayo and many other stars in addition to producing his own hit recordings... Dick's trio has won the Cashbox Award (jukebox operator's trade magazine) several times.

From Billboard - March 9, 1957: The fourth MGM album by this fine keyboard stylist should be a profitable item for dealers. Hyman, a remarkable musician, has been growing in popularity – and in the last six months has been getting considerable promotion via singles as well as packages. In this album he plays the organ. The mood is quiet and moody, with the sound of surf and crying sea gulls interspersed among the numbers. In fact, one might say it has sort of Jimmy Kennedy quality. In addition to the latter's title tune, there are "Sleepy Lagoon," "Harbor Light," "Drifting And Dreaming," etc.

Red Sails In The Sunset
Island In The West Indies
My Ship
Sleepy Lagoon
I Cover The Waterfront
Drifting And Dreaming
Harbor Lights
My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean
The North Sea
Galway Bay
Beyond The Sea (La Mer)
You Have Cast Your Shadow On The Sea

The Little World Of Tiny Tears

 

My Breakfast I Must Eat

The Little World Of
Tiny Tears
Tiny Tears Favorite Games, Songs And Nursery Rhymes
Play House With Tiny Tears!
Majorette Records M-307

Mommy Where Is My Dolly
Mommy I Found My Dolly
My Breakfast I Must Eat
Going Bye Bye
The Story Of Cinderella
Lunch Time
All Around The Mulberry Bush
A Tisket, A Tasket
Three Little Kittens
Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be?
Little White Duck
Bath Time With Tiny Tears
Ten Little Indians
Bedtime: Lullaby Songs