I spent some time carefully deliberating over an appropriate record for this Easter. I considered a variety of rural sacred material, but nothing seemed to fit properly, before it hit me: what song could be more fitting for the occasion than Irving Berlin’s “Easter Parade”! I don’t know how I could have initially made such an oversight.
While these sides bear the name of Joe Venuti (though it was largely just an ARC studio band that included Venuti), they’re not particularly hot music. In fact, they’re rather run-of-the-mill Depression-era pop tunes, not bad by any means, quite good actually, but not hot jazz. However, these sides are remarkable for at least one reason: they both feature a vocal refrain by one Dolores DeFina, using the name Dolores Reade at the behest of her agent. Less than a year after this record was made, Dolores Reade married an emergent vaudevillian by the name of Bob Hope. Though she had to put up with Bob’s womanizing habit, the two remained married until Hope’s death in 2003. Dolores passed in 2011 at the age of 102.
Melotone M 12828 was recorded October 26, 1933 in New York City by Joe Venuti and his Orchestra, featuring a vocal chorus on both sides by Dolores Reade. Both songs originate from Irving Berlin’s 1933 revue, As Thousands Cheer. While the full personnel is not known, the band includes, besides Venuti on violin, Max Farley on clarinet and alto sax and Pat Davis or Bud Freeman on tenor sax.
In celebration of the holiday today, here’s a charming rendition of “Easter Parade”.
On the other side is another song from As Thousands Cheer, though it’s not as well remembered as “Easter Parade”, “Heat Wave”.
Updated on June 24, 2016.