Duane Keilstrup Broadcast Archives
August, 2017

Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 8-6-16


This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 264

EDDIE HUBBARD SPECIAL: SONGS OF SPRING—AN ANNIVERSARY ENCORE

Although spring has given way to summer, sweet songs of spring headline this Eddie Hubbard Special from March 20, 1990. This CLASSICS & CURIOS rebroadcast is dedicated to my "main squeeze," with songs like "Song of Love," "A Little Bird Told Me," "Roses," "Queen of the Senior Prom," and "Blue Gardenia." Our spring/summer love has remained in all seasons for 55 years, through sunshine and clouds.

Every year with her is like "Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover" (a rare blessing from the Lord). Moreover, with her, "Spring Is Here" every day in my heart. Truthfully after 55 years "Everything Is (Still) Coming up Roses." As Perry Como sings, "Love makes lovely out of lonely" and "speaks with a smile" for our lifetime.

Other sweet spring songs for the show include "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano," "Red Sails in the Sunset" (a favorite of my Mother), "April in Paris," "April Showers," "Whispering Grass," "It Might As Well Be Spring," and "Graduation Day."

Artists who perform the songs include Evelyn Knight, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, the Ink Spots, Russ Morgan with the Ames Brothers, Ella Fitzgerald, the Mills Brothers, Perry Como, Mel Torme, Count Basie, the Four Freshmen, Carly Simon, and the Platters.

A song about one-night stands definitely does not belong in a romantic dedication of true and lasting love, even though it and another questionable one are fine songs, so I hope you enjoy them, too, as played by Eddie Hubbard and as sung by Tom Jones, Willie Nelson, and Julio Iglesias.

Lord, help me to show true love to my bride into eternity as these words define it in 1 Corinthans 13: 4-7: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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Thanks to Jerry Haendiges Productions for remastering the original studio tape for this rebroadcast. This show is available for purchase online, also from Jerry Haendiges Productions.

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Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 8-13-17


This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 265

EDDIE HUBBARD SPECIAL: SEASONS OF LOVE, AN ENCORE

Continuing the theme of love and seasons, this Eddie Hubbard Special of January 11, 1990, offers a celebration of love in songs relating to all four seasons. Eddie plays great recordings beginning with a winter love song during a frightful snowfall, namely, “Let It Snow” by Vaughn Monroe and featuring the Norton Sisters. What a great recording! This song reminds us that from 1940 to 1954, Vaughn Monroe had close to 70 chart records, including many #1 hits. Three of those songs, “Let It Snow,” “Riders in the Sky,” and “Ballerina,” rank among the all-time top #1 songs, each dominating the Billboard charts for 10 weeks or more. Vaughn was known as a pretty good trumpet player who was blessed with one of the most memorable singing voices in the history of recorded music. His vocal range perhaps could not compare with the likes of Bing Crosby or Perry Como, “Yet, when that baritone hit the stage, it was magic.” (reference.com)

Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting get together on “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Jo Stafford does “September in the Rain,” and Mel Torme sings “Autumn in New York.” Engelbert Humperdinck performs “Winter World of Love,” and Eydie Gorme recalls “The Things We Did Last Summer (I’ll Remember All Winter Long).”

Spring and summer offerings include “The Summer Wind” with versions performed by both Wayne Newton and Frank Sinatra, “Happy Summer Sounds” by Robert Goulet, “Cruising’ Down the River” by Blue Barron, “Spring Is Here” by Carly Simon, and “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano” by the Ink Spots.

One song, “Autumn Leaves” by Nat Cole, had to be deleted because of an audio malfunction, but Eddie tosses in 3 Extras suitable in any season with “Nevertheless” by the Mills Brothers, “I’m a Prisoner of Love” by Perry Como, and the curio “Spanish Flea” by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

Special thanks to Jerry Haendiges Productions for expert restoration of the original studio tape for rebroadcast.

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Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 8-20-17

This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 266

TWO BIG BAND VINCENTS & ONE JIMMIE & ONE TOMMY

This episode of Classics & Curios features two Vincents. Only one is real: Vincent Lopez. The other one is actually Ted Fio Rito with the pseudonym Vincent Valsanti. Due to an existing recording contract, Transco was not allowed to use Fio Rito's name in association with their pre-recorded "Cocoanut Grove Ambassadors" radio series, so he and some of his featured vocalists were given pseudonyms. Thus, Fio Rito (born Theodore Salvatore Fiorito) is referred to as Vincent Valsanti, Muzzy Marcellino (Fio Rito’s guitarist and primary vocalist) sings as Jack Howard, and Howard Phillips sings under the name of Bill Thomas.

Vincent Lopez, appearing on the Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands on March 3, 1945, was cited by Ripley as having hand speed on the piano of 2200 notes per minute by playing the melody with his left hand and the harmony with his right. On this Spotlight Bands program he illustrates his dexterity on “Tico, Tico,” and the band plays tunes like “Till the End of Time, while Gerry Larsen performs “It’s Gotta Be This or That.”

Vincent Lopez began his radio programs by announcing "Lopez speaking!” and his theme song was "Nola," Felix Arndt's novelty ragtime piece of 1915. Noted musicians who played at various times in his band included Artie Shaw, Xavier Cugat, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Mike Mosiello, Fred Lowery, and Glenn Miller. He also featured singers Keller Sisters and Lynch, Betty Hutton, and Marion Hutton.

Lopez's flamboyant style of piano playing influenced such later musicians as Eddy Duchin and Liberace. He became one of America's most popular bandleaders, and would retain that status through the 1940s.

Ted Fio Rito, the other “Vincent,” before coming to the Cocoanut Grove in mid-1933, had spent a number of years touring the East Coast and Midwest. An early radio enthusiast, Fio Rito's band was frequently heard on the air from various nightspots - preparing him well for his regular broadcasts from the Grove.

Musically, the orchestra that Fio Rito brought to the Grove was sweet, smooth and clever, playing highly danceable music accented with temple blocks, rapid triplets, and even an occasional solo by Ted on the Hammond organ .

On this show from the early 1930’s, Fio Rito’s band performs “Have a Little Dream on Me” with Bill Thomas (Howard Phillips), the instrumental “Sweet Lorraine,” “Love Is Just Around the Corner” with Jack Howard (Muzzy Marcelino) , and “You’re a Builder Upper.” (See Wikipedia online.)

Next Jimmie Lunceford takes the Spotlight with four tunes entertaining the soldiers in Jefferson Barracks in LeMay, Missouri on November 23, 1945. Jimmie gets things moving with “Deep Rhythm” followed by “What to Do.” While Jimmie’s Spotlight dedication to the soldiers is a fine swinging performance of “For Dancers Only,” the program’s pinnacle is his extended show-stopping version of “Blues in the Night,” with the boys in the band providing the lyrics as well as outstanding instrumental interpretations.

Finally, the great Tommy Dorsey orchestra takes the bandstand in Fort Dix, New Jersey. Tommy demonstrates his sentimental side with “How Deep Is the Ocean?” with Phillip Fosser on the vocal and his swingin’ side with “The Minor Goes a Muggin,” but Tommy really swings with “That’s It.” My personal favorite on this broadcast is Harry Warren’s and Johnny Mercer’s “On the Atcheson, Topeka, and the Santa Fe” with the Sentimentalists.

Both of the fifteen-minute “Vincent” programs were broadcast on AFRS, as were the Jimmie Lunceford and Tommy Dorsey Spotlight Band performances. All of them are available for purchase in the vast Jerry Haendiges Productions collection.

As I am about to celebrate my 82nd birthday this thought plays in my heart and mind: “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” — Song Lyrics by Country Singer Lee Greenwood

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Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 8-27-17

This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 267

SHOWCASE SERIES PART 1: VAUGHN MONROE/JUNE HIETT

Here, beginning with this episode, is the first of my 3-PART Showcase Series featuring Vaughn Monroe and June Hiett Bratone. The series is together for the very first airing in sequence on Classics & Curios. In following weeks Episode 181 will feature Part 2, and Episode 182 will feature Part 3. Here, slightly edited, is the original description of this first Showcase show featuring Vaughn and June: Vaughn Monroe's band was considered extremely popular because of the singers, especially, of course, because of Vaughn himself, whose handsome appearance, baritone voice, and dynamic personality held highly romantic attractions for women. While Vaughn was considered the best singer among the singing band leaders, he had, however, earlier become a respectable trumpeter after lack of funds curtailed his ambitions to become an operatic performer. Music critic George T. Simon wrote that Vaughn was "the Rudy Vallee of his generation." (The Big Bands) Concerning Vaughn the person, "Metronome" writer Barbara Hodgkins wrote that he "was one of the most polite, pleasant, and peaceful citizens in the music business -- a very normal person in a very crazy world." Yet Vaughn readily understood the commercial side of the big bands, along with the importance of upgrading his group such as hiring trombonist and arranger Ray Conniff, but ultimately it was because of Vaughn's virile voice that the band first hit "the big time," which happened to occur in the Boston area.

While several instrumentally oriented bands faded toward the end of the big band era, singers such as Marylin Duke, the Lee Sisters, the Murphy Sisters, and saxophonist/comic vocalist Ziggy Talent helped keep the band's popularity alive. Vaughn wanted to record more jazz instrumentals, but Victor Recordings needed him to sing to sell records, and sing he did. In fact, according to band guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, he could sight-sing, and "when arrangers would bring their new arrangements on the job, and ... pass out the music, and we would play it, he would sing it like he'd been singing it forever." ("There, I've Said It Again," BigBandLibrary.com)

Vaughn became a huge hit on radio, especially by way of his Camel Cigarettes commercials and especially the "Camel Caravan" which was broadcast every Saturday night from a different university. And with the band's one-nighters each week, life, of course, could be stressful, as this sample booking schedule from 1947 suggests:

June 13, Geo. F. Pavilion, Johnson City, NY

June 14, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

June 15: Pleasure Beach, Bridgeport, CT

June 16: Scranton, PA

June 17: Berwick, PA

June 18: Dorney Park, Allentown, PA

June 19-25: Hippodrome Theatre, Baltimore, MD

June 26: recording session, RCA Victor, New York, NY

June 27-July 17: Strand Theatre, New York, NY

July 18: Worcester, MA

July 19: radio broadcast, New York, NY

In her interview June Hiett Bratone shares some one-nighter memories of Vaughn, the Moonmaids, and life with a big band. Composed of different girls between 1946 and 1953, the Moonmaids were at first to be called "The Moonbeams," but Kay Kyser had already used a group by that name, so they then were to be "The Moon Racers" but they finally became "The Moonmaids," a sweet set of young singers who raced with the moon in harmony along with Vaughn. Young Moonmaid Mary Jo Grogan related that "He was nice to us ... He protected us. We went to a Victor recording party ... and he was running around there getting lemonade for us, just to be sure nobody gave us anything stronger." (BigBandLibrary.com)

Vaughn, his band, and his Moonmaids gave me much joy through the years starting back during my early years in Nebraska. Imagine my surprise a few years ago to learn that one of the Moonmaids was living just a few blocks away from my home in Arlington, Texas. And it has been a blessing and privilege to have come to know her as a very dear friend. One of the delights of my life was when the Moonmaids were reunited at June's house, and they invited me over on my birthday to meet them and share our love of big band music. But an even more joyful turn took place that day: During our fun time together the amazing Maids surprised me by singing "Happy Birthday" to me in their wonderful angelic harmony. What a treat for a fat little kid (now a fat little codger) from a little town in the cornhusker state!

So it's only fitting that we feature June in an interview on this episode. June also tells about things like her early performing in Texas as a teenager and a typical day with the Monroe band. In addition she talks about the character of Vaughn himself, some of the band's most requested songs, her time with the Camel Caravan, special guests on the Caravan show, a typical recording routine, some funny moments while touring, a burning travel bus, and more. The interview was recorded in 2006 on YesterdayUSA with me and Walden Hughes as interviewers.

Leading up to the interview we'll go "Racing with the Moon" with Vaughn and his hit recording "There I Go," which spent 4 weeks at the top of "Your Hit Parade" in 1940-41 and a grand total of 19 weeks in the top 10. So, Vaughn and June, you're on!

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