Victor 36205 – Benny Goodman and his Orchestra – 1937

Besides Prohibition, another momentous event that occurred on January 16 was Benny Goodman’s legendary concert at Carnegie Hall, which happened in 1938.  It was the first jazz concert ever held at Carnegie Hall, and has been credited as the event that brought swing jazz into the mainstream.  Though Goodman was initially hesitant to take the gig, he did following the success of Hollywood Hotel, in which he appeared.  At first, the audience’s reception was lukewarm, but soon Benny won them over, and it became one of the greatest landmarks in music history.  Particularly popular with the audience were Martha Tilton’s swinging of the Scottish folk song “Loch Lomond” (how’d you like for me to post the record of one sometime?), and the band’s legendary performance of Louis Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing”. The entire concert at Carnegie Hall was recorded and released by Columbia Records on the new LP format in 1950.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t post two records in the same day, but the date of Goodman’s concert came to me long after I had already planned the other one, so all you lucky readers get a two-fer today.

Victor 36205 was recorded July 6, 1937 in New York City by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra.  This one was not recorded at the Carnegie Hall concert, but rather a few months earlier, around the time he was filming Hollywood Hotel.  According to the label, the band includes Benny Goodman on clarinet, Hymie Schertzer, Arthur Rollini, George Koenig, and Vido Musso on saxophones, Harry James, Chris Griffin, and Ziggy Elman on trumpets, Murray McEachern and Sterling “Red” Ballard on trombones, Harry Goodman on string bass, Jess Stacy on piano, Allan Ruess on guitar, and Gene Krupa (whose birthday was just yesterday, the 15th) on drums.

Here it is, the legendary “Sing, Sing, Sing”, played with a bit of “Christopher Columbus” interpolated within.  Both sides of a longer playing twelve inch 78 played end-to-end for your listening pleasure.

Sing Sing Sing

Sing Sing Sing (Parts 1 & 2), recorded July 6, 1937 by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra.

Electro-Vox – Farewell Message of King Edward VIII – 1936

On December 11th in 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry the American Wallis Simpson, becoming the Duke of Windsor.  After revealing his plans to marry Simpson to British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, his cabinet informed him that the people would not tolerate the divorced woman as queen, as remarriage was opposed by the Church of England.  King Edward was faced with three options: to dump Wallis, to go against the wishes of the British government, or to abdicate the throne.  Unwilling to give up his fiancée, Edward chose to abdicate.  He signed the papers on December 10, and on the evening of December 11, 1936, King Edward VIII, in a speech broadcast around the world via radio, formally abdicated the throne of England, and his brother, George VI became king thereafter.  After the change, George granted Edward the title of “Duke of Windsor”.  George would be the king that would see England into World War II.

This unnumbered Electro-Vox record was recorded December 11, 1936 in Los Angeles, California from the live radio broadcast of King Edward VIII’s abdication speech in London.  This speech was also issued on a variety of other labels, including Brunswick and Columbia.  Many of those other issues were on standard sized ten-inch records; this one is a twelve-inch.

Besides the speech, one highlight of this recording is a chance to hear the tolling of Big Ben, all the way back in ’36.

Farewell Message, recorded December 11, 1936 by King Edward VIII.

Farewell Message, recorded December 11, 1936 by King Edward VIII.

Brunswick 20108 – Casa Loma Orchestra with Connie Boswell – 1932

Connee Boswell in the late 1930s (autographed in 1940).

Connee Boswell in the late 1930s (autographed in 1940).

December 3 marks the 108th anniversary of the incomparable Connie (or Connee) Boswell’s birth, she was born on that day in 1907.

Connie Boswell, the second born of the Boswell Sisters, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, moving with her family to Birmingham, Alabama around 1910, then to New Orleans shortly thereafter.  As a young child, she was either involved in a coaster wagon accident or stricken with polio, leaving her completely paralyzed for a short time, and unable to walk properly for the rest of her life, requiring the use of a wheelchair for most of her life.  She and her sisters were immersed in the world of music from a very young age, Connie learning to play cello, and later saxophone (she also claimed to be able to play trumpet and “could pick up most any instrument with a little practice”).

Connie began recording with her sisters as a vocal group in 1925, and after a five year hiatus, they returned to recording in 1930.  Connie began recording solo in 1931 while still performing with her sisters, and continued to record by herself after the act broke up in 1936.  Around 1942, Connie changed the spelling of her name to “Connee”, with potential reasons ranging from it being easier to sign autographs that way to her sister Martha, who studied numerology, telling her it would bring her better luck that way.  She continued to sing throughout the 1940s and 1950s, making a few movie and television appearances along the way, before mostly retiring by the beginning of the 1960s.  Connie Boswell died of stomach cancer in 1976, a year after her husband’s passing.

Brunswick 20108 was recorded March 16, 1932 in New York City by the Casa Loma Orchestra with Connie singing the vocal on the first side.  This twelve inch 78 boasts nearly double the playing time of an ordinary ten inch record, and allows for a more concert-like performance.  On these sides, the Casa Loma Orchestra consists of Sonny Dunham, Grady Watts, and Bobby Jones on trumpets, Pee Wee Hunt and Billy Rauch on trombones, Clarence Hutchinrider on clarinet and alto sax, Kenny Sargent and Glen Gray on alto sax, Pat Davis on tenor sax, Mel Jenssen on violin, Joe Hall on piano and celeste, Gene Gifford on banjo and guitar, Stanley Dennis on string bass, and Tony Briglia on drums.

Accompanied by the always outstanding Casa Loma Orchestra, Connie sings a heartfelt rendition of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Washboard Blues”.

Washboard Blues, recorded March , 1932 by the Casa Loma Orchestra with Connie Boswell.

Washboard Blues, recorded March 16, 1932 by the Casa Loma Orchestra with Connie Boswell.

On the flip-side, Connie unfortunately does not sing, instead, the Casa Loma Orchestra plays an instrumental, “Four Indian Love Lyrics”, which are “Kashmiri Song”, “Less Than the Dust”, “The Temple Bells”, and “Till I Wake”.

Four Indian Love Lyrics, recorded March 16, 1932 by the Casa Loma Orchestra.

Four Indian Love Lyrics, recorded March 16, 1932 by the Casa Loma Orchestra.

Updated on June 24, 2016.