To break the monotony of all the jazz and blues, here’s a bit of a departure from the style of music I’ve been featuring here for the past couple weeks, two early 1930s dance band records on Victor’s Bluebird label.
In the early days of the Victor budget label, Bluebird featured, in addition to some great jazz and country, many excellent dance bands, which played the popular tunes of the day. These two records, the consecutively numbered Bluebird B-5268 and B-5269, feature some of the popular hits of 1933, by Sam Robbins and Reggie Childs’ orchestras.
The first of the two is Bluebird B-5268, recorded on November 22, 1933 by Sam Robbins and his Hotel McAlpin Orchestra, and featuring on the “A” side the “down home” Billy Hill hit “The Old Spinning Wheel”.
They back it up with Zez Confrey and Byron Gay’s “Sittin’ on a Log (Pettin’ My Dog)”, both sides performed in a sweet style with a smooth sax section that puts one in mind of Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians.
The second disc, Bluebird B-5269, features Reggie Childs and his Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra (I presume he took over for Ben Bernie), playing Mack Gordon and Harry Revel’s “Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?”, from Sitting Pretty, with vocals by Don Howard, a performance that has long been one of my favorites in that genre.
On the other side, a real tour de force on “Many Moons Ago”, another Gordon and Revel tune, with a vocal by Duke Durbin. Both sides were recorded on November 27, 1933, five days after the previous record.
Updated on April 28, 2018.