I couldn't have planned it better--22 78s, with 11 from the acoustical era and 11 from the electrical era. It just came out that way--no conscious attempt on my part (though I was mostly conscious during the ripping of these). So, 22 dance (and big band) sides, ripped and restored by me from my own discs, with the earliest dating back 99 years to 1922, and the most recent dating back 70 years to 1951. In 78 rpm terms, 1951 is practically current.
First up: Bob Haring's Orchestra performing Charley, My Boy, with Al Bernard on the vocal. The Al Bernard credit comes from Discogs, as I was unable to find the info in either my Rust dance band discography or the huge online 78 discography. Things wrap up with (among other numbers) Avery Parrish's proto-R&B classic, After Hours, as redone in 1950 for the Coral label by Erskine Hawkins, who originally recorded it for RCA in 1940. The flip is called Station Break, and there's an interesting grease-penciled note on the label, probably by a DJ:
"Some blare." Interesting, because I didn't notice any blare. Unless "blare" is some complimentary slang, as in "This record is some blare--it really rocks." I doubt it, however. There are check marks on both sides.
Knock at the Door (1922) is a reasonably "hot" side by the California Ramblers, only under the name "Varsity Eight." I've seen a lot of Varsity Eight sides over the years, and I don't know why I'm just now finding out they were the California Ramblers. All Muddled Up, by Paul Specht and His Orchestra, had me expecting something a little eccentric, given that title, but it's merely an exercise in Zez Confrey-style syncopation--not a bad way to spend three minutes and 5 seconds, by any means, and there's a nice Dixieland-style ending. And the piano breaks on the flip, Waltzing the Blues, are amazing. Again, I was expecting something more novel with that title, too, but it's not a wasted three minutes and 8 seconds, by any stretch. I guess I was expecting something more blues-y, triple time or no.
And four fine 1922-1923 sides by the Great White Way Orch., directed by Hugo Frey, with a charming piano duet on To-morrow. Ross Gorman, of course, is best known for playing the Rhapsody in Blue clarinet glissando in the original (1924) version, which I believe was partially improvised. The famous opening glissando, that is. And we get Ross' orchestra, from 1926, performing a spirited Valencia, which features Elliott Shaw not at his best on the vocal. The silly Jericho (1929) by (Fred) Waring's Pennsylvanians, is a very "hot" and memorable number, even with lyrics about the jazz craze in "Bible days" and how the walls of Jericho melted from the impact of the hot music played by the Israelites. Something like that. Waring's novelties were the ideal type--totally unapologetic. If you're going to be silly, go all the way, I say. The flip is the only waltz in today's line-up, and it's nicely arranged and performed--a good cool-down from the wall-melting hotness of Jericho.
Then we have Erskine Hawkins' terrific 1950 Coral sides, then the overly cute but fun Us and Company by Leonard Joy's All String Orchestra. It has a very 1930 sound, which is not surprising, since it's from 1930. Next, the jazziest in our list: 1928's Waitin' for Katy by (wait) Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, which could be jazzy back in the late 1920s--the proof is before us. The Raymond Paige 78 is one I've been planning to put up for some time, though it's taken this long for it to make its debut, and I don't know why. Just fate, I guess. And I know that everyone is itching to hear a 1951 Mitch Miller sing-along-style side, and so we have (If You) Smile, Smile, Smile, a selection to definitely have on hand when visitors arrive, just to show them how cool your tastes are. ("Wow! That's really hip--in a not-hip sort of way!") I like it, but then I have a high tolerance for that kind of thing. Moving along, a title that would never be used today--I'll Always Be Following You, a 1950 Jimmy-Dorsey-on-Columbia side with Sandy Evans on the vocal. I bought the 78 for the flip, Wimoweh, but some previous owner destroyed that one with a bad needle--I'd need to have a lab examine it to find out what happened to the grooves. They were there at one time, we can be sure, but something silenced them. However, the reverse, Following, is nice (and a little bluesy), even if creepy by today's standards--we can almost picture the singer buying surveillance gear to keep track of his lady love. Of course, back in 1950, the lyrics would have registered pop-culturally as merely a declaration of attraction and devotion, but contexts can change over seven decades. They typically do.
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Charley, My Boy--Bob Haring and His Orch., V: Al Bernard, 1924
Knock at the Door--Varsity Eight (California Ramblers), 1924
All Muddled Up--Paul Specht and His Hotel Astor Orch., 1922
Waltzing the Blues--Same
Stella--The Great White Way Orch., Dir. Hugo Frey, 1923
You Gave Me Your Heart (So I Gave You Mine)--Same
I Wish I Knew (You Really Loved Me)--Clyde Doerr and His Orch., 1922
Valencia--Ross Gorman and His Orch., V: Elliott Shaw, 1926
Cherie, I Love You--Same
Jericho--Waring's Pennsylvanians, V: Fred Waring, Orch. members, 1929
Cherie, I Love You--Same, V: Clare Hanlon and Chorus, 1929
After Hours (Avery Parrish)--Erskine Hawkins and His Orch., 1950
Station Break--Same ("Some blare")
Us and Company--Leonard Joy's All String Orch., V: Chester Gaylord, 1930
I'll Still Belong to You--Same
Waitin' for Katy--Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, V: Vocal Trio, 1928
Love Thy Neighbor--Raymond Paige and His Orch., V: The Three Rhythm Kings, 1934
Once in a Blue Moon--Raymond Paige and His Orch., 1934
(If You) Smile, Smile, Smile--Mitch Miller and His Orch. and Chorus, 1951
I'll Always Be Following You--Jimmy Dorsey and His Orch., V: Sandy Evans, 1950.