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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Connie Haines Sings


Stormy Weather

Connie Haines Sings
Accompanied by Ray Bloch and His Orchestra
Recorded under the supervision of Bob Thiele
Coral Records CRL 56055 (10 inch LP)

From the back cover: About Connie Haines

The glamorous Connie Haines had an even more glamorous name to start with. She was born Yvonne Jamis in Savannah, Georgia, a captivating mixture of French and Irish ancestry. She broke into radio at the age of four. At ten she won an audition for singers on an NBC affiliate, WJAX, in Jacksonville, Florida, and was rewarded with a commercial show which billed her as "The Little Princess Of The Air." At fourteen she became the youngest star ever to grace the Roxy Theatre in New York.

She then went on an extended year's tour of Eastern niteries. While at the Colonial Inn in New Jersey, she was heard and hired  by Harry James who had just left Benny Goodman to form his own band. James changed her name to Connie Haines. After three months with the band, she switched to Tommy Dorsey's orchestra and gained further distinction as one of the nation's most popular band singers. With the Dorsey menage at the time were Jo Stafford, the Pied Pipers and a promising lad named Frank Sinatra.

After a long stay, the Savannah thrush left Dorsey and headed for Hollywood. She made several pictures there including "A Wave, A Wac And A Marine," "Moonlight Over Las Vegas" and "Twilight On The Prairie." She also appeared as the featured on such radio shows as Fibber McGee And Molly, Abbott And Costello, Edgar Bergens, Old Gold Show," Chesterfield Supper Club and many others.

While on the Coast, her appearance at the well-known Ciro's drew attention from all sides and gained her an invitation to appear on the famous radio program beamed to the fighting men abroad, "Command Performance," her greatest thrill. In the fall of '47, Connie came East for the first time in years and went into the featured spot at the famed Paramount Theatre in New York. She appeared subsequently at the famous Harem night club in New York; the Chez Paree in Chicago; the Copa in Pittsburgh and the Bowery in Detroit. Connie wound up the year (1948) with her second Paramount Theatre date.

The Savannah songbird went on to television. She made guest shots on Ed Sullivan's video show, Jack Eigen's and opened a month-long stand at the Copacabana in New York. In 1949 she began another chapter in her colorful career. She signed a contract with Coral Records and immediately registered two smash hits: "How It Lies, How It Lies, How It Lies," and "You Told A Lie."

About Ray Bloch

Diminutive, bespectacled Ray Bloch, conductor of Ed Sullivan's CBS-TV "Toast Of The Town," Steve Allen's "Songs For Sale" and CBS-Radio "Big Time," NBC-TV's "Kate Smith Evening Hour," is a tireless working who seems never the least upset by the pressure of combined radio and video chores.

When still quite young, Bloch was brought to America from Alsace-Lorraine, where he was born August 3, 1902. In The United States, his father, a chef, encouraged his musical ambitions making sacrifices in order to pay for lessons. At the age of eight, the Bloch childish soprano could be heard in neighborhood choirs. Singing in choirs didn't appeal to him, but directing them did. So when he was 12, he conducted his first chorus at a Christmas festival. He has been leading choral groups ever since.

Ray Bloch was first employed as office boy at $6.00 a week for the New York French language newspaper, Courier de Etats-Unis. His first job of any importance was a piano player for a leading music publisher. He turned from this to play piano with ballroom bands in the city. During these formative days in the early 1920's he also played with an orchestra quintet which was billed opposite the famed original Dixieland Jazz Band, a fact which gave him the greatest emotional boost of his young professional life.

Bloch's initial experience as a maestro came when his organized a jazz quintet which toured from New York To California. In the late 1920's he switched to radio, as pianist at various stations. In 1931, he acme arranger-accompanist for the popular quartet of the day, the Eton Boys. Following a long stay with this foursome, he became leader of several choral groups, the most notable of which was the Swing Fourteen. His advent into conducting cam through a CBS sustaining series and a prominent sponsored show, "Johnny Presents," which had been fronted by such toppers as Ferde Grofe, Leo Reisman, Russ Morgan and Johnny Green. Early in this series, Bloch had charge of the choral group. Later, he was promoted to orchestra leader. This was the turning point of his career – he launched into an energetic schedule of conducting, coaching, orchestrating and choral directing that gained tempo and laurels with the passing years.

As a vocal coach, one of his proudest achievements was the development of soloists from his vocal groups, a few of which are Jack Smith, Gordon MacRae, Genevieve Rowe, Benay Venuta, Alan Dale, Sally Sweetland and others too numerous to mention. His baton has directed the music of many major shows during the last decade or more.

You Made Me Love You
Darktown Strutters Ball (with Alan Dale)
Stormy Weather
Will You Still Be Mine
My Man
But What Are These
What Has Happened To Joe
Silly No – Silly Yes

1 comment:

  1. It's coincidental that you should post this right after the Frankie Laine album - the talented Haines was a frequent performer on the Frankie Laine TV show in 1954.


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