Friday, October 15, 2021

Shellac for October, 2021--Bob Haring, Paul Specht, Varsity Eight, Fred Waring, Erskine Hawkins


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.


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
Carolina Mammy--Same
To-morrow--Same, 1922
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.



Buster said...

Thanks for this nice collection, Lee!

Old 78s with one destroyed side are sometimes jukebox copies, especially from the era when jukeboxes only played one side.

DJ annotations are interesting. I assume the check marks denote the plug side, and may be actually he handiwork of the promo person. But notes like "too slow" or "dull" are always fun. I have one or the other that identifies the record as "Negro," presumably so it wouldn't be played (but who knows).

Lee Hartsfeld said...


You're welcome. And I wonder if it's possible that some stations set aside certain hours to play black material--hence, the annotation? I was thinking plug side, too, but both sides are checked, so... hm. And I find your explanation highly probable, that the plug side (on the Dorsey 78) was played to death on the jukebox, while the flip side was spared. That hadn't occurred to me!

King Krispi said...

Great stuff! Thanks for making it available. Love that Guy Lombardo!

rev.b said...

Thanks Lee!

A man for whom Christ died said...

Again, had to download this one, because of your commentary LOL and even though I haven't listened to every song, some interesting stuff herein. Per the stations setting aside time for different music, such was a common practice, even up to when I was in High School in the NC Piedmont. Such is called block programming. We had a thousand-watt station in the next town, which did such every day of the week, for various reasons/formats and one closer to us, which did it mainly on Sunday morning and night, secular programming being the norm all the other times. Going for now, Daniel's reading over my shoulder, as he likes to do whenever he's in here and I'm writing LOL! Looking forward to your next SMG, love and prayin' for ya!

Romans 11:33-36 KJB

Phone Ministry: (563) 999-3967
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Ernie said...

Oooh, a nice big batch of shellac! Thanks, Lee!

Larry said...

It looks like my comments aren't getting through. I keep getting error messages.

If you get this thanks for the big band 78s. I listened to them straight through in one sitting.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


This one came through. Thanks for the nice words, and sorry about the error messages. A Blogger glitch, maybe?

Ravel said...

Had to DL those for a few reasons (love 1920's Jazz!) but with you, I know it will always be fine transfers !
Greetings from Montreal, Quebec.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


Thanks! I hope you enjoy these.