Duane Keilstrup Broadcast Archives
March, 2020

Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 3-1-20

This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 380

CLASSICS & CURIOS CONTINUES THE SERIES OF 1947 BROADCASTS OF THE HISTORIC PROGRAM “THIS IS JAZZ” STARTING SUNDAY, MARCH 1ST , ON JERRY HAENDIGES’ OLDE TYME RADIO NETWORK ONLINE — LOUIS ARMSTRONG TAKES CENTER STAGE (downloadable)

We continue with programs 11 and 12 of what jazz pioneer and Jazzology founder George H. Buck called “one of the greatest jazz programs ever aired in the history of jazz.” These shows of “This Is Jazz,” covering the period from 1870-1947 are virtually all collector pieces. When you listen to “This Is Jazz,” as Bing Crosby said to Louis Armstrong in the movie “High Society,” “Now you ‘has’ jazz.” (See more on Bing and Satch in NOTES below.)

Jazz historian and author Rudi Blesh is bandleader and narrator of the weekly Saturday afternoon thirty-minute broadcasts on Mutual station WOR in New York. Rudi emphasizes the improvisation nature of jazz and how improvisations almost miraculously fit together even though each new playing of a tune is different so that each performer is in effect a composer. Thus on this first show Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag,” written in 1897, virtually becomes new as the band adds improvisational nuances. Rudi adds, “It’s an American art form reflecting joy of living in both sweet and hot music.”

Joining regulars Pops, Baby, George, Danny, and Albert on the first program from April 19, 1947, are guest musicians James Johnson, Bill Davis, Sydney Bechet, and nineteen-year-old Bob Wilber.

Special tunes on the first of two 30-minute shows are:

Maple Leaf Rag
Basin Street Blues
Polka Dot Stomp
Dancin’ Through the Night
Jazz Me Blues
Carolina Shout
Panama March
Theme

The second broadcast of this episode is one of the series’ most famous productions, highlighting legendary Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong playing trumpet and adding vocals on tunes like:

When the Saints Go Marching In
Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?
Dipper Mouth Blues
Basin Street Blues
High Society
I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You
Theme

NOTES

One of my greatest joys during my 37 years as professor at The University of Texas at Arlington came when “Satchmo” and his All Stars played a concert on campus. The following notes are compiled from RadioSwissJazz.ch and Wikipedia:

Louis Armstrong’s career spanned five decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s, and different eras in the history of jazz. Prior to Armstrong, most collective ensemble playing in jazz, along with its occasional solos, simply varied the melodies of the songs. Armstrong was virtually the first to create significant variations based on the chord harmonies of the songs instead of merely on the melodies. This opened a rich field for creation and improvisation, and significantly changed the music into a soloist's art form.

With his instantly recognizable gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also very skilled at scat singing. Armstrong is renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice almost as much as for his trumpet playing, Armstrong's influence extends well beyond jazz, and by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general.

At a recording session for Okeh Records, when the sheet music supposedly fell on the floor and the music began before he could pick up the pages, Armstrong simply started singing nonsense syllables while Okeh president E.A. Fearn, who was at the session, kept telling him to continue. Armstrong did, thinking the track would be discarded, but that was the version that was pressed to disc, sold, and became an unexpected hit. Although the story was thought to be apocryphal, Armstrong himself confirmed it in at least one interview as well as in his memoirs. Actually, Ethel Waters precedes his scatting on record in the 1930s according to Gary Giddins and others.

The nicknames Satchmo and Satch are short for Satchelmouth. Like many things in Armstrong's life, which was filled with colorful stories both real and imagined, many of his own telling, the nickname has many possible origins. The most common tale that biographers tell is the story of Armstrong as a young boy dancing for pennies in the streets of New Orleans, who would scoop up the coins off of the streets and stick them into his mouth to avoid having the bigger children steal them from him. Someone dubbed him "satchel mouth" for his mouth acting as a satchel. Another tale is that because of his large mouth, he was nicknamed "satchel mouth" which became shortened to Satchmo. Early on he was also known as Dipper, short for Dippermouth, a reference to the piece Dippermouth Blues.

During his long career he played and sang with some of the most important instrumentalists and vocalists of the time; among them were Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines, Jimmie Rodgers, Bessie Smith and perhaps most famously Ella Fitzgerald. His influence upon Crosby is particularly important with regard to the subsequent development of popular music: Crosby admired and copied Armstrong, as is evident on many of his early recordings, notably "Just One More Chance" (1931).

Armstrong had nineteen "Top Ten" records including "Stardust", "What a Wonderful World", "When The Saints Go Marching In", "Dream a Little Dream of Me", "Ain't Misbehavin'", "You Rascal You", and "Stompin' at the Savoy". In 1964, Armstrong knocked The Beatles off the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart with "Hello, Dolly!", which gave the 63-year-old performer a U.S. record as the oldest artist to have a number one song.

Armstrong appeared in more than a dozen Hollywood films, usually playing a bandleader or musician. His most familiar role was as the bandleader cum narrator in the 1956 musical, High Society, in which he sang the title song and performed a duet with Bing Crosby on "Now You Has Jazz". Duke Ellington said, "If anybody was a master, it was Louis Armstrong." In 1950, Bing Crosby, the most successful vocalist of the first half of the 20th century, said, "He is the beginning and the end of music in America."

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Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 3-15-20


This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 381

CLASSICS & CURIOS CONTINUES THE SERIES OF 1947 BROADCASTS OF THE HISTORIC PROGRAM “THIS IS JAZZ” STARTING SUNDAY, MARCH 1ST , ON JERRY HAENDIGES’ OLDE TYME RADIO NETWORK ONLINE — LOUIS ARMSTRONG TAKES CENTER STAGE (downloadable)

The bandstand is buzzing! Here come Woody, Artie, Jimmy, Charlie, and Harry -- Herman, Shaw, Dorsey, Spivak, and James, respectively, along with Claude, Les, Glen, and Dick -- Thornhill, Brown, Gray, and Jurgens, that is! It's sort of a "battle of the bands" featuring songs such as "Dancing in the Dark," "Fools Rush In," "Stardust," "I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night," "Royal Garden Blues," "Deed I Do," "Maybe," "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me," "Ain't Misbehavin'," and "When the Lights Go On Again All Over the World." Vocalists such as Bob Eberle, Helen Forrest, Eddie Howard, Doris Day, the Andrews Sisters, and Vaughn Monroe bring their talents into the "battle," and the result is a remarkable bandstand standoff, making you and me the winners!

On this great show the Browsers also bring a trivia question "battle" designed to bring back some music memories, to expand our knowledge of big band history, or to add to our inventory of purely trivial information. For fun, who, for example, had the original recording of "Royal Garden Blues"? Can you name the instrument that comedian Jackie Gleason played as a young man? Or what was radio's Harry von Zell's show business profession before he became an announcer? What instrument did Spike Jones play? Can you name the movie that featured the song "I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night"? Or who wrote the song "Fools Rush In"? Maybe you know who first recorded the vintage song "Harbor Lights."

Also, can you name 3 instrumental versions of "Stardust"? Or perhaps Claude Thornhill's vocalists? You might know that Les Brown started his first band at Duke University, but can you come up with the band's name? How about identifying the president after whom Woody Herman was named? The first name of the singer on Phil's "Phooler" recording, by the way, is the same as the first name as one of the band leaders on this broadcast.

My favorite question involves the definition of a "sweet band." There was a "sweet band" that Louis Armstrong especially liked. Can you name it? And what "swing" band leader admitted to Sammy Kaye that he liked the "sweet band" sound during romantic moments, even though he made fun of Sammy's band with a recording that had the (here partial) title of "Swing and Sweat with ..."?

Of course, some of the Browsers occasionally can't come up with answers, but it's all great fun, and, of course, it's the music that is the main focus, and as usual Eddie keeps things moving along smoothly and adds a couple of Extras in place of commercials, such as the delightful curio "Civilization" with the Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye. The program begins with Eddie's Extra, the recording of "Crazy Otto," that delightful ragtime instrumental by Johnny Maddox which my high-school pals and I used to listen to on the car radio back in 1955. The "Otto" tune actually included 3 tunes popular in Germany along with Irving Berlin's "Play a Simple Melody." I did not know about the German connection at the time, and ironically, the Lord soon led me on a career path of joy, learning and teaching German language, literature, and culture. So, Crazy Otto, Achtung! Fertig! Los! (Ready! Set! Take it Away!)

Again, special thanks to Jerry Haendiges Productions for adapting the original studio tape of this "Browsers" show for highest quality rebroadcast.

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Philco Radio Click to hear the Program of 3-22-20
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This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 382

EDDIE HUBBARD & THE BROWSERS: "A DREAMER'S HOLIDAY"

Time to return to Trivia Tower and the Browsers with several songs centering on the theme of love. The Mills Brothers set the stage for the show with "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby," a song they originally recorded in 1932 with a tune on the flip side called "Diga Diga Doo." Phil's "Phooler" is "You Are Too Beautiful" by a captivating crooner who was killed in a plane crash at the height of his career at the age of 37. This singer's most popular recording was "Linda," which reached number one on the charts in 1947. His real name was Sam Goldberg. Enough hints?

Standout love tunes on this program include the lovely 1940 hit "Imagination" by Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra. This recording focuses on the Browsers' question, "Who had the biggest hit recording of the song?" Louis Armstrong performs 1951's "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," which leads to the question, "What was the original title of the song?" Then there is "I'll Never Say Never Again, Again," made popular in 1952 by Benny Goodman and Helen Ward. The question for this tune is, "Can you name songs with 2 of the same words in the title?" Another great tune is "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans." The Browsers for that one ask, "Can you name which band had this for its theme song?" Oscar Peterson's orchestra performs "Shiny Stockings," which poses the question, "What other songs had only 2 words in the title?" Also, Wayne King brings a pleasing medley of "Wabash Blues" and "I Cried for You," but can you identify who had the original hits for these songs? Another question is based on the recording by Tony Pastor called "Paradiddle Joe" and asks us to give Tony's real name. (I had to go to the dictionary to discover that "paradiddle" means a regular series of drumbeats.)

In place of radio commercials Eddie Hubbard plays extras that fit into the love theme, such as Dick Haymes' 1952 recording "When I Fall in Love," Leroy Anderson's beautiful 1952 instrumental hit "Blue Tango," and the "Love Theme" from the 1980 film "Airport."

Then we arrive at 2 recordings that, for me, make up the "piece de resistance" of this set of songs: "Stardust" with Hoagy Carmichael and "A Dreamer's Holiday" with Perry Como. The question for Perry's recording has to do with his marriage, specifically how long they were married until his bride and best friend Roselle passed away in 1998. Mr. "C" sings 1949's "A Dreamer's Holiday" for us with lyrics that include poetic phrases like "scrambled stars" and "rainbow candy bars." The song takes us aboard a butterfly on breezes and asks us to "sprinkle [happiness] with mirth" all the while taking "along the one we love." Mr. "C" was probably one of the most loved and respected entertainers ever and arguably among the top 2 or 3 crooners of the 20th century. He remained faithful to Roselle throughout their marriage and was respectful and tasteful to all in all his performances. Whenever he performed he indeed took his audience with him on "A Dreamer's Holiday."

"Stardust," first recorded as "Star Dust" without lyrics by Hoagy in 1927 by "Hoagy and His Pals," -- among them the Dorseys -- combines melody and lyrics to make it perhaps the most beautiful popular song of the 20th century. Hoagy's song about a song about love turns out to be the perfect fit for lyricist Mitchell Parish's 1929 poetic phrases such as "the stardust of yesterday," "the stardust of a song," "a song that will not die," "the melody haunts my reverie." And "the purple dusk of twilight time steals across the meadows of my heart." Gently "the little stars" climb in the sky as reminders to the singer that he is apart from his lover. Evidence of the song's significance can be found in the ever growing number of recordings through the years, now approaching 2000. Perhaps the most important version was by bandleader Isham Jones who brought popularity to the tune as a ballad in 1930. A very young Bing Crosby cut a recording in 1931 which pretty well launched the "Stardust" tune into a "little stars" orbit of "cover" recordings. While Hoagy's recording here on this show is wonderful, moving, and appropriate, I believe no one yet surpasses Nat King Cole's version for beautiful lush arrangement, perfect voicing, unsurpassed orchestration, and heart. Reviewers have called "Stardust" the song of the century, and it has truly earned it's proper place in the Library of Congress. Mr. "C" and "A Dreamer's Holiday" is great, but "Stardust" itself is "A Dreamer's Holiday" come true.

Closing the show is Pete Fountain's recording of Sy Oliver's jazz/gospel song "Yes, Indeed!" as if to affirm the theme and celebration of genuine love touched on in the music of this episode. .