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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

Call Of The Wild - Frankie Laine


The Swamp Girl

Call Of The Wild
Frankie Laine
Produced by Irving Townsend
Cover Photo: Leigh Weiner
Columbia CL 1829

From the back cover: Johnny Williams, brilliant young California conductor-arranger, provides Frankie with apposite orchestral and choral support. What Frankie provides in all the ballads in this album is akin to his vocal appearances in nightclubs and on television, through music.

Song Of The Open Road
North To Alaska
The Swamp Girl
Beyond The Blue Horizon
Call Of The Wild
On The Trail 
The Wayfaring Stanger
Tumbling Tumbleweeds
The High Road
Rolling Stone
The New Frontier 
The Girl In The Wood

Muted Memories - Carl Stevens


Harlem Nocturne

Muted Memories
Carl Stevens
His Trumpet and His Orchestra
Mercury Wing MGW 12138

From the back cover: Versatile arranger-trumpeter Carl Stevens leads a group of Mercury All-Stars through this delightful session. Tympanist-Percussionist Bobby Christian has his own LP, MR Percussion (MG 20335 and SR 60015). Guitarist here, but also top vocalist on his own LP (MG 20418 and SR 60064), is Frank D'Rone. Bassist John Frigo switched to fiddle for his own Mercury 12-inch package (I Love John Frigo – He Swings MG 20285). And we can't overlook talented 88-er Dick Marx whose LP's are available under his own name on several other labels.

With trumpet gaining in popularity continually, Carl Stevens, Aurora, Illinois' gift to the valve and mouthpiece coterie, has carved a most unique approach to the rocky up-hill success climb.

While other trumpeters play routine standards in a style that dates back to 1930's, Stevens has a brand new approach. Utilizing all-star rhythm section, Stevens has actually written the musical backdrop for his rendition of the evergreens herein.

On previous trumpet efforts, the headlined horn has played against the tight rhythm section which Benny Goodman introduced. Stevens believes in variety. Not only does he switch the spotlight to his four cohorts for solos, but his own work is backed by a rhythm section that is conspicuous by its musical presence.

Michel LeGrand, writing in Down Beat recently, said modern recording technique is forcing arrangers to score differently!

Stevens, a long way from LeGrand's hometown, Paris, France, proves it with the dashes of tympani, percussion, music-box piano effects and guitar patterns.

And, as to mutes, Stevens raided four music stores of everything in the way of a plunger to the vastest audio-sensation mutes, to gain the fiery effects and the completely restful gimmicks you'll dig herein.

I Concentrate On You
Jeepers Creepers
A Handful Of Stars
Satin Doll
The Song Is You
That Old Feeling
Harlem Nocturne
You Belong To Me
Out Of This World
Younger Than Springtime
What's New

Dorothy's Harp - Dorothy Ashby


Dorothy's Harp
Dorothy Ashsby
Produced by Richard Evans
Engineer: Stu Black
Album Design: Randy Harter
Photographs: Jeff Lowenthal
Cadet Records
Stereo LPS-825

From the back cover: Dorothy's Harp is a magical experience, indeed! It shimmers, glimmers and soars! It's funky, baroque and beautiful. Soulful, haunting, melodic. And besides that, it sounds good. An unbelievably versatile instrument, it offers the simple directness of the guitar, the fluidity and grace of the piano, the Old World delicacy and charm of the harpsichord. Not surprising, really, since all of these instruments evolved from the harp.

What is surprising is that, until Dorothy Ashby, the harp has been consistently #1 in Downbeat's Category of "Most Forgotten Miscellaneous Instrument," easily edging such contenders as the theremin and seraphim. Yet, with all the versatility and beauty the harp has offered through the ages, most folks can name only two harpists, and they're remembered for skills other than their harping. David, who played head harp in King Saul's Army Band, achieved his fame first by bonking Goliath in the Super-Philistine, and later by becoming King of the Israelites. What' more, he looked like Gregory Peck. And finally, his harping wasn't that good. Like President Nixon on piano, he played everything in "G"."

Harpo Marx was an incredible harpist who could have done much to popularize the instrument,  but he's remembered primarily for inventing the hydrogen bomb, which he kept in his pocket... next to the telephone, which was invented by Don Ameche. 

So much for history. The fact is the harp has needed a champion for aeons, and  it finally has one in Dorothy Ashby, as one hearing of Dorothy's Harp will reveal.

If you're a professional musician or jazz fan, chances are you're already aware of just how great Dorothy is; if this is your first exposure, you're in for a great treat that'll make you glad to have ears.

Producer Richard Evans' arrangements showcase Dorothy's Harp to perfection and reflect everything that is tasteful and exciting in today's popular music. In addition to the six recent standards, you'll be delighted by two Evan's originals "Tarth Spoken Here" and Toronado" and two Asby originals "Cause I Need It" and "Just Had To Tell Somebody".

The fender piano work of Odell Brown is also first rate, as are the flute and oboe solos by Lennie Druss.

This is the kind of album I'm happy to share with an audience. 

Fitz Peerenboom
WBNS Radio
Columbus, Ohio

By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Canto De Ossanha
Love Is Blue
This Girl's In Love With You
Truth Is Spoken Here
The Windmills Of Your Mind
Cause I Need It
Just Had To Tell Somebody
Fool On The Hill

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

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
All Alone
I Get Along Without You Very Well
Body And Soul
Don't Take Your Love From Me

Watusi Trumpets - Claus Ogerman



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

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

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Souvenir Album - Gertrude Niesen



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

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)

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)

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

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

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

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

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