|Duane Keilstrup Broadcast Archives|
This Week's Classics & Curios Show:
"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"
THE KORN KOBBLERS: "AMERICA'S MOST NONSENSICAL DANCE BAND"
From the HALLOWEEN silliness of last week's "downer" Drackie and Monsterland Music to the upbeat musical tradition of the Schnickelfritz Band, the Hoosier Hotshots, and Spike Jones, the Korn Kobblers take center stage this time on CLASSICS & CURIOS on Jerry Haendiges Olde Tyme Radio Network online beginning Sunday, November 5.
Discovered by Guy Lombardo and billed in the1940's as "America's Most Nonsensical Dance Band," the Korn Kobblers sextet was part comedy act and part big band. The group enjoyed national airplay on nearly 200 radio stations, recorded for the OKeh label, and also made it into several films. In addition to traditional musical instruments, they added their own self-invented instruments like the "skoocherphone" and the "tuned smokestack," not to mention the one instrument no hill-billy band should be without, a washboard. Their jugs, automobile horns, tonettes, whistles, mouth harps, duck quackers, etc. made more people laugh at the time than any other band in the country.
So on this encore Classics & Curios, three fifteen-minute Korn Kobblers episodes reveal the group's unique musical approach in songs, starting with "Ida," then "Oh, Them Golden Slippers," and a favorite of mine, "The Cuckoo Waltz," which, of course, brings to mind the background music for the great comedy films of Laurel and Hardy.
In the second episode, the "classical" Kobblers offer intentionally and totally useless clarinet and trumpet lessons, along with their versions of "A Bicycle Built for Two" and "Georgia on My Mind."
In the closing episode there are three tunes, "Barnacle Bill the Sailor," "Brazil,' and an Israeli folksong, "Chiri Biri Bim," not with Harry James. Definitely not "worth" mentioning, but entertainingly appropriate, is an extra piece, "Concert for Drum and Orchestra."
Find out more about the Korn Kobblers at online sources such as Eugene Chadbourne's allmusic.com. As always, please also check out Bill Bragg's yesterdayUSA and Jonathan Rios' The Apple online for more great music and shows from the Golden Age of radio and from my archives.
This Week's Classics & Curios Show:
"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"
EDDIE HUBBARD SPECIAL: [CELEBRATING THE BLESSINGS OF] FOOD & DRINK
Anticipating the approaching holiday of Thanksgiving, this week’s CLASSICS & CURIOS SHOW features an Eddie Hubbard special, probably from 1988, and the song subject is food & drink. It’s online at Jerry Haendiges’ The Olde Tyme Radio Network with artists like Nat King Cole, Charlie Barnet, Frank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte, Jo Stafford, Dinah Shore, Tony Bennett, Nelson Riddle, Louis Jordan, and especially Julie Andrews.
Celebratory songs of food and drink on this encore presentation include “Ma, I Miss Your Apple Pie,” “Jambalya,” “Shoo Fly Pie,” “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” “They’ve Got an Awful Lot of Coffee in Brasil,” “Candy Kisses,” “Dinner for One,” “The Banana Boat Song,” “At a Dixie Road Diner,” and a personal favorite, “Saturday Night Fish Fry.” Eddie’s Extras are “My Truly Truly Fair” by Guy Mitchell, Andy Williams’ “The Village of St. Bernadette,” and Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual.” As much as I enjoy pop songs and big band classics, for this broadcast set, standing out for me is Julie Andrews singing “Feed the Birds, Tuppence a Bag.”
Julie’s song may not be listed among American classics, but in my mind it is among the most moving and meaningful film songs. The song is from the 1964 movie ‘Mary Poppins” and, as Walt Disney pointed out, “This is the metaphor for the whole film.” Speaking of the song “Feed the Birds, Tuppence a Bag,” Disney observed, “That’s what this is all about.” Robert Sherman, the song’s composer, agreed that the song became a metaphor for why Mary Poppins came — to teach the children and their father the value of charity.
As Julie Andrews sings the song to the two children of the Banks family, visuals show a scene at St. Paul’s Cathedral where an elderly beggar woman sits feeding the birds and calling for others to buy a bag of crumbs to do the same at a price of a mere tuppence. What makes the scene even more poignant is that the beggar woman is played by academy award winner Jane Darwell who long ago played Henry Fonda’s mother in the 1940 movie “The Grapes of Wrath.” Living in the Motion Picture Country Home in her middle eighties and long retired, Jane was reluctantly convinced by Disney to do the part. Jane’s presence added to the almost spiritual scene of the cathedral saints and apostles as they observed the birds enjoying the crumbs from the humble beggar woman. In fact, lyrics in the song at one point say:
“All around the cathedral the saints and apostles look down as she sells her wares. Although you can’t see it, you know they are smiling each time someone shows that he cares. Though her words are simple and few, ‘Listen, listen, she’s calling to you, ‘Feed the birds, tuppence a bag.’”
The song’s somber melody is in stark contrast to the buoyant, jolly songs in the rest of the film. The children’s father, who first ignores the woman’s pleas, finally learns the lesson Mary came to teach. I must admit that only now do I also fully appreciate and grasp the majesty of the scene and the song. Julie Andrews’ performance of the song is truly beautiful and powerful in its humble message.
I invite listeners to judge for themselves by “tuning” in a youtube version of Julie and the song at https://youtu.be/XHrRxQVUFN4. Also check out YesterdayUSA and The Apple online for more great OTR programs.
Feed The Birds - Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews)
Mary Poppins (1964) Starring: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns Directed by Robert Stevenson
This Week's Classics & Curios Show:
"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"
"TURN YOUR RADIO ON" FOR A CLASSICS & CURIOS BIG BAND THANKSGIVING! AND THANKING GOD FOR AMERICA AND HER VETERANS!
Welcome again to a traditional Classics & Curios Big Band Thanksgiving special from our Archives. If you're thankful for great upbeat Big Band recordings from all the way back to 1929, this is a show for you. Andy Griffith begins the show by asking you to "Turn Your Radio On" as we "tune" into God, the generous Giver of our blessings.
We'll begin by jumping back to the 1940's as we listen to Evelyn Knight and the Stardusters perform a praisworthy "Powder Your Face with Sunshine." This recording was on "Your Hit Parade" for 15 weeks in 1948-1949, 2 weeks at number 1. Evelyn had a bunch of top 40 hits and was a pioneer in early TV, appearing on shows such as "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Colgate Comedy Hour," and "Abbott and Costello."
Peggy Lee blessed us with many songs, including one back in 1947 with the title "It's a Good Day." This is a song that will pick up your spirits and inspire you to sing right along with Peggy, who incidentally wrote the lyrics. Not surprisingly it was on "Your Hit Parade" for 11 weeks. Peggy hit the big time with Benny Goodman, taking Helen Forrest's place in 1941. Her first million seller was "Why Don't You Do Right" in 1943, and she went on to have top 10 hits in 3 consecutive decades. She had success on radio (for example, "Chesterfield Supper Club" and "Jimmy Durante Show"), wrote several song hits, and even mentored artists such as Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra in the art of jazz singing.
Another feel good tune takes us into the snow season and gets us looking not only at Thanksgiving but also toward Christmas. One of my favorite bands had a really great instrumental version of it: Les Brown's 1946 recording of Irving Berlin's "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," and Les sent the tune on a “Your Hit Parade" sleigh ride serenade for 7 weeks. It first appeared in the film "On the Avenue" with Dick Powell and Alice Faye and was recorded first by the Mills Brothers in 1938. Later Les and his band of renown performed the song on the Bob Hope's Show, and the reaction was so great that Les' recording company, Columbia, asked him to record it. His response was to tell Columbia to check its vault of recordings because it was already there and had never been released. The Lloyd "Skip" Martin arrangement made it a true classic, and the song was one of the last great big band instrumental hits. Later in 1949-1950 the amazing Mills Brothers put the song back on "Your Hit Parade" for 11 more weeks.
The Mills Brothers give us cause to give thanks for their countless hits, many radio performances, and films. We hear them get softly sentimental with a tune called "Put Another Chair at the Table." A loved one coming home is a special heartfelt blessing, and the Mills Brothers make the most of it, first, as a ballad and, then, in their upbeat swing-touched style making us feel the joy of anticipation of reunited loved ones, as when soldiers return home from war. No group could sing better, ever!
Fred Waring was known as "the man who taught America how to sing" and "America's singing master." President Reagan appropriately awarded him the "Congressional Gold Medal" for his musical contributions to American society. His Fred Waring Banjo Orchestra in the 1920's eventually became Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians. His band performed "You Gotta Be a Football Hero" on radio in 1933 to great acclaim, and he went on to sell millions of records in the 1940's and 1950's. I especially enjoy his early band recordings, and also his popular later choral works like "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." One of my Mother's favorite songs was one that she would often hum in the kitchen, and to her it told of her deep love for her family. That beautiful song: "I'll Always Be in Love with You." She first heard Fred Waring performing it on his 1929 recording. Now she sings it in the Lord's heavenly choir with my Dad, and the message is still true.
As the great English author Thomas Carlyle said, "Music is well said to be the speech of angels." So it follows that through good music angels often remind us of precious past blessings and anticipate future blessings together. Appropriately Andy Griffith sings "Precious Memories" to end this show in celebration of Thanksgivings past and present with some of God's blessings in music. My Thanksgiving wish for you, in the words of a Meredith Willson song title, is: "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You."
On a personal note, I am especially thankful for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who enables us to sing and soar freely in His glory, infinite grace, perfect love, sacrificial forgiveness, wondrous joy, and eternal hope. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! And please pray in the name of the Lord for the USA!
Next are two CLASSICS & CURIOS favorite patriotic productions from years past as we thank God for veterans and America.
The first patriotic show salutes our veterans and supportive families back home, starting with "Wings Over the Navy" by Lew Stone, followed by Sammy Kaye's "Remember Pearl Harbor." Then Ted Lewis and his band perform "Buy American," and the Sons of the Pioneers perform "Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima Isle." Martha Tilton sings "I'll Walk Alone," the great war time song relating to lonely but brave gals on the home front, followed by William Bays' touching "A Soldier's Last Letter." This show's closing song is the 1942 World War II classic "White Cliffs of Dover" by Vera Lynn.
Our second show of this episode saluting America and its veterans begins and ends with “This Land is Your Land" by Bing Crosby. Spaced throughout the program are patriotic recitations spoken by Senator Everett Dirksen whose deep euphonious voice underscores the depth of meaning of the words. The senator performs portions of "Gallant Men," including "The Mayflower Compact," and "The Battle of Fort McHenry" with the story of the birth of our national anthem. Actor Tyrone Power powerfully narrates "The Ballad of the Leatherneck Corps" by Herman Wouk -- a great piece of radio theater recalling achievements of our American soldiers through the years. A very special feature on this show is Red Skelton performing his classic and famous "Pledge of Allegiance" exposition and interpretation to children.
Interspersed are Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" by the Boston Pops and "The Halls of Montezuma." A high point of the program comes with Elton Britt's "There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere."
So as we hear and sing such sterling songs of America and faith in God during a time today when we face violence and political/social upheaval in our land may we pay continued heartfelt tribute to our armed forces, along with first responders who continue to serve gallantly and faithfully to keep us safe and free "in" — as the Mayflower Compact ends — "the name of God."
In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, "There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy her citizens cannot cure.” And finally these words from Abraham Lincoln: ”America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
This Week's Classics & Curios Show:
"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"
CLASSICS & CURIOS DOUBLEHEADER: CLASSIC SONGS OF WINTER, PLUS SONGS OF DREAMS & MOMENTS TO REMEMBER (REPRISE WITH EDITED NOTES)
Spring or fall may still be in our hearts, but the season is almost winter, and winter brings a special reason to sing on this Episode. Winter's gentle snowflakes signal the advent of the Christmas season and its reason: the birth of Jesus Christ, when "the mountains and hills will break forth with shouts of joy ... and all of the trees of the field will clap their hands." (Is. 56) Time to toss some logs on the fire, turn on the old phonograph to spin some golden records, and rejoice in the beauty of the Lord's wintry musical majesty as we set the scene for Christmas.
So it’s time for another favorite CLASSICS & CURIOS tradition of the season. our classic and much requested winter songs about cold weather, snow, and of keeping warm by a delightful fire.
Here on this slightly edited Episode 234 are a few of my family's winter favorites, such as 1950's "Looks Like a Cold, Cold Winter" by Bing Crosby, "Button Up Your Overcoat" by Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest, "The Skaters' Waltz (in Swingtime)" by Bob Crosby (originally on a V-Disc recording), and "Happy Holiday" by Bing Crosby from the wonderful 1942 film "Holiday Inn." I especially love songs like "Baby It's Cold Outside" by Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer, "Snow" by Bing, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen from the 1954 movie "White Christmas," and "Sleigh Ride" by Jo Stafford and the Pied Pipers.
More great snow songs are "Winter Wonderland" by Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers (on a radio broadcast), "Let It Snow" by Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers, 1959's "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," by Dean Martin, and "Frosty the Snowman" by Gene Autry. Gene and Rosemary Clooney also bring cute snow song curios like "What If It Doesn't Snow on Christmas" and "Suzy Snowflake," respectfully. Les Brown provides our opening and closing theme with his famous 1946 instrumental version of "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm."
Back in my early teens in Nebraska my parents often took me to Omaha's Orpheum Theater to enjoy stage shows that featured great bands, such as those of Sammy Kaye, Gene Krupa, Horace Heidt, and others, Frankie Carle among them. Frankie, known as "The Wizard of the Keyboard,” became very well known while with Horace Heidt's band and even became co-leader of that orchestra. He later formed his own band in 1947 and his daughter Marjorie Hughes became the lead female vocalist. I can still hear the band at the Orpheum playing Frankie's theme "Sunrise Serenade," one of his several big hits in the 1940's and 1950's including "Oh, What It Seemed to Be." Frankie's delightful winter song on this show is "Little Jack Frost Get Lost" sung by Marjorie.
Several stars on our show have a history of performing together: Dick Haymes with Helen Forrest on recordings and on their CBS radio show from 1944 to 1947 and Margaret Whiting with long time friend and mentor Johnny Mercer. Sinatra harmonized exceptionally well with the Pied Pipers after his experience at the start of his career with the Hoboken Four in 1935. Jo Stafford was part of the original 8 member group which, after reducing their number to 4 when Tommy Dorsey could only afford that many, became famous with Dorsey and later on with Capitol records.
Band leader Paul Weston observed that the Pipers were ahead of their time. He said that "Their vocal arrangements were like those for a sax section and a brass section, and they would interweave, singing unison or sometimes sing against each other's parts. It was revolutionary and we'd never heard anything like it." That comment led Tommy Dorsey to hire the group to sing on the Raleigh Kool cigarettes program. All in all the group had some 13 charted hits with Dorsey, 9 of them with Sinatra. When Johnny Mercer's Capitol records signed the Pipers in 1945, 12 more hits resulted. Interestingly, that Capitol connection came about indirectly because Tommy's temper led him to fire one of the group for giving him wrong directions at a train station in Portland, Oregon. That in turn led the Pipers to quit the Dorsey band together in a display of unity.
So “Let It Snow” and let the music of “Winter Wonderland” begin!
As snowflakes fall and as Christmas and the New Year come into view it’s time for yet another Classics & Curios tradition: SONGS OF DREAMING AND MEMORIES. Songs, of course, often play a unique role in making dreams and memories special, and on this edition of Classics & Curios we'll listen to some of those wonderful songs that take us back to some moments that remain precious — songs that added such great joy and feeling to our lives long ago and that perhaps can do so again as we listen to them now.
The Four Lads start us on our dream and memory journey with their great "Moments to Remember," and joining the journey are performers like Perry Como, Andy Griffith, the Four Freshmen, the Pied Pipers, Doris Day and Les Brown, and (“Pretty") Kitty Kallen.
Along the way, Woody Herman shares the touching "A Soldier's Dream" (on the battlefield), Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters sing "I Can Dream, Can't I?" from Bing's radio show, and Bob Hope and Shirley Ross do "Thanks for the Memory" from their film "The Big Broadcast of 1938." Other songs include "Graduation Day," "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time," "A Dreamer's Holiday," "Dream," "Happy Talk," "When You Wish Upon a Star," and "Precious Memories."
The Statler Brothers give us a fun memory quiz as they ask, "Do You Remember These?" The Statlers want to know if you recall things like Captain Midnight, Howdy Doody, Dixie Cup tops, sock hops, lemonade stands, white bucks, peddle pushers, fender skirts, Cracker Jack prizes, along with expressions like "He's a real gone cat," and "Only the Shadow knows." If you do remember those, you're about my age -- or a "keenager," as Frankie Laine called us."
Finally, we end our journey with clips from the Guy Lombardo Show. Guy introduces his brothers and a classic Lombardo medley which here includes the songs "Shine on Harvest Moon," "Button Up Your Overcoat," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby," "My Gal Sal," and "Everywhere You Go. New Years Eve isn't quite here, but the band performs the Lombardo signature song "Auld Lang Syne."
Kitty Kallen closes the show to fadeout with a reprise of "Happy Talk" from the broadway musical "South Pacific." Truly 'tis a season of happy talk -- but also a time for making new memories, and for dreaming new dreams.
German poet Goethe wrote, "Dream no small dreams, for they have no power to move the hearts of men." Remembering C.S. Lewis' words that "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream," let us dream of a world with hearts transformed by the Christ of Christmas.