Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Paul Whiteman, Part 9--"Canadian Capers," Ramona, Billy Murray, more! (1921-1935)


You know, I think I ripped many of these as far back as 2017.  (Talk about ancient history...)  Anyway, two Virginians sides (1922; the group's line-up is listed here), two Columbias (1929), and one Ramona (1935).  Also, three Jerome Kern numbers, including the charming Raggedy Ann (1923); a so-so Gershwin tune, South Sea Isles (1921); plus songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Sigmund Romberg.  The two Rombergs, both 1929 Columbias, are among my favorite Whiteman records, even with Jack Fulton doing his falsetto thing on Lover Come Back to Me.  I especially love Marianne (vocal by Norman Clark), and both sides were gifted to us by Whiteman's chief arranger Ferde Grofe.  Despite their sometimes "dated" harmonies, these scores are important in the evolution of jazz, simply in the extent to which Grofe (and, during the same period, Bill Challis) achieved that big sound we associate with, well, the big bands.  Both men were amazing orchestrators.

Got No Time (Grofe, again) is excellent early-electrical-era arranged jazz, and I've always been confused by the controversy over same (arranged jazz, that is).  I mean, you can't get a jazz degree nowadays without learning jazz orchestration, so why was it an incorrect practice in the 1920s?  (Clearly, it was not.)  Also, from 1925 (and from Grofe): Sonya, a hilarious novelty whose ethnic stereotypes might or might not fly these days.  I love the line, "'Twas in November, my heart was full of vodka."  Twenties humor at its most Twenties.  Our two extremely fun Virginians sides are the usual mid-tempo, strong-four-beat-pulse orchestrated-Dixieland (say that 20 times) performances that typified this Paul Whiteman sub/"satellite" group.  If Kiss Mama, Kiss Papa suggests a silly time, then you are correct.  Sound effects played a major role in acoustical dance sides; I guess it was a matter of compensating for the limited audio quality and range (as much as I love horn recordings).  

If I say so myself, my rip of 1935's a Picture of Me Without You is pretty good, and 1930s Whiteman was certainly interesting, even if I prefer his innovative 1920s shellac.  The Irving Berlin Pack up Your Sins benefits from a superb melody, and the regular Whiteman band out-jazzes the Virginians on this one--Grofe's charts are brilliant.  Tell Me Dreamy Eyes is another toe-tapping gem (I've always wanted to type "toe-tapping gem"), and 1922's Crinoline Days (flip of Pack up Your Sins) is another priceless Berlin-Grofe pairing. 

The best of the Grofe-Berlin pairings, however, may be 1921's Everybody Step (which I just now had to correct from Everyone Step).  A very bluesy number with an aggressively four-beat pulse, and fine work by Henry Busse on cornet.

Kern's Ka-Lu-A--Blue Danube Blues swiped the bass line from Fred Fisher's Dardanella, which resulted in Fisher successfully suing Kern.  And, oddly enough, there's no trace of that figure in Whiteman's 1921 recording, though you can hear the phrase in this Edison Diamond Disc recording by the Broadway Dance Orchestra.

Anyway, a focus on early Whiteman today--and who knows what Part 10 will bring?  Still working on it as we speak...

DOWNLOAD: Paul Whiteman, Part 9 (1921-1935)

Everybody Step (Berlin--A: Grofe)--1921

Ka-Lu-A--Blue Danube Blues (Kern)--1921

Canadian Capers (A: Fred Van Eps?)--1921

Sweetheart Lane--Medley (Hirsch, A; Grofe)--1922

The Yankee Princess--1922

South Sea Isles--Medley (Gershwin)--1921

Make Believe--Medley--1921

Some Little Bird--Medley (Intro. The Mocking Bird)--1921

Pack up Your Sings (Berlin, A: Grofe)--1922

Crinoline Days (Berlin, A: Grofe)--1922

Kiss Mama, Kiss Papa--The Virginians, Dir. by Ross Gorman, 1922

Choo-Choo Blues--Same

In Love with Love (Kern)--1923

Raggedy Ann (Kern)--1923

Tell Me Dreamy Eyes (A: Grofe)--1924

A Picture of Me Without You (Porter)--V: Ramona and Ken Darby, 1935

Got No Time (A: Grofe)--1925

Sonya (A: Grofe)--V: Billy Murray, 1925

Marianne (Romberg, A: Grofe)--V: Norman Clark, 1929

Lover Come Back to me (Romberg, A: Grofe)--V: Jack Fulton, 1929



Buster said...

Thanks, Lee - you have quite a collection!

Lee Hartsfeld said...

And I can't remember buying half of them. But, clearly, I did. Hope you enjoy!

Ernie said...

Good one, Lee. Thanks for continuing the series!

Diane said...

Lee, you have the patience of a saint! I love my album thrifting, but I don't have it in me to sort through 78s or 45s for the odd song or two. I don't know how you find all these wonders. But I'm glad you do.