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HITS OF 1940

"Iíll Never Smile Again"

20 original mono recordings
Transfers by David Lennick and Graham Newton

NAXOS NOSTALGIA 8.120636 [63.41]

 

 

Crotchet Superbudget price



  1. FRENESI (Artie Shaw and His Orchestra)
  2. POLKA DOTS AND MOONBEAMS (Frank Sinatra with Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra
  3. FERRYBOAT SERENADE (The Andrews Sisters)
  4. TRADE WINDS (Bing Crosby with Dick McIntyre and his Harmony Hawaiians)
  5. MAKE BELIEVE ISLAND (Mitchell Ayres & his Fashions-In-Music;Mary Ann Mercer)
  6. FRIENDSHIP (Kay Kyser and His Orchestra; Ginny Sims, Harry Babbitt, Jack Martin, Ish Kabibbie)
  7. IMAGINATION (Glenn Miller and His Orchestra; Ray Eberle)
  8. MAYBE (The Ink Spots)
  9. WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR (Cliff Edwards & the Ken Darby Singers; Victor Youngís Orchestra)
  10. DARN THAT DREAM (Benny Goodman and His Orchestra; Mildred Bailey)
  11. THE BREEZE AND I (Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra;Bob Eberly)
  12. IíM STEPPING OUT WITH A MEMORY TONIGHT (Kate Smith with Jack Miller and His Orchestra)
  13. ONLY FOREVER (Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra)
  14. TUXEDO JUNCTION (Glenn Miller His Orchestra)
  15. CARELESS (Dick Jurgen and His Orchestra; Eddy Howard)
  16. IíLL NEVER SMILE AGAIN (Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra; Frank Sinatra)
  17. WOODPECKER SONG (The Andrews Sisters with Vic Schoen and His Orchestra)
  18. WHEN THE SWALLOWS COME BACK TO CAPISTRANO (The Ink Spots)
  19. FOOLS RUSH IN (Tony Martin with Ray Sinatra and His Orchestra)
  20. BEAT ME DADDY, EIGHT TO THE BAR (Will Bradley and His Orchestra with Ray MacKinley)

 

Here is a collection of records that became hits during 1940. All are recorded in America, a time when Britain had been at war nearly a year but a year before American entered hostilities.

From November 1939 in Chicago we have "Careless" with Dick Jurgen and his Orchestra. This is a delightful number and as I listened to the long introduction I thought how very appropriate the music was to the title. Then, as the voice of Eddy Howard sings, a picture formed in my mind of this music being a perfect number for waltzing to and perhaps someone whispering in your ear. That same month came the great Benny Goodman and his orchestra with "Darn That Dream" featuring Mildred Bailey on vocals. I canít recall hearing this before but Benny Goodmanís "big band jazz" is certainly familiar and their accompaniment to Mildred Bailey makes this a real pleasure and I like her voice a lot. What could be better to follow this than "When You Wish Upon A Star" recorded in Los Angeles with Cliff Edwards, the Ken Darby Singers and Victor Youngís Orchestra. I remember how popular this was in Britain at that time and what a gentle voice Edwards has as he tells with conviction how if you wish upon a star your dreams will come true. Thatís debatable, as we all know, but itís nice to gaze up at the stars and dream all the same. I do like this arrangement and the Ken Darby Singers add that extra touch of romance. The Orchestra never once crowds out either the singer or the chorus. A great song.

What a pleasure it was to hear once again "Friendship" with Kay Kyser and his orchestra with Ginny Simms, Harry Babbit, Jack Martin and Ish Kabibble on vocals. Itís a number thatís often played but I like this chirpy arrangement of Cole Porterís zany song done in real Ď20s style. Never once do the singing group change the pattern of this comic song and you might prefer a later version. However I donít think the same can be said of "Tuxedo Junction" with Glenn Miller and his Orchestra recorded in New York in February 1940. Who can fault or forget Glenn Miller? Try to imagine a railway junction with the old fashioned type of train as it slowly makes its way into the open and proudly gathers speed. That is how I have always thought when I have heard this music and to me thatís exactly what Glenn Miller is trying to depict. Happily we have another Glenn Miller number from that same month too: "Imagination" with Ray Eberle on vocals. Miller accompanies in his "laid back" style and I like the number but Eberleís very clear voice is disappointing. To me thereís nothing charismatic about him. But with Glenn Miller I think you will find this pleasant enough.

Recorded in New York that same month is "Iím Stepping Out With A Memory Tonight" with Kate Smith and Jack Miller and his Orchestra. Smith sings with her usual clarity and itís a pleasant song with the orchestra playing a long introduction. The problem is that they remain too loud from then on and I found them discordant in parts. I wasnít impressed. However, the next one I like much more. There really is something nostalgic about the Andrews Sistersí recording of "Woodpecker Song" with Vic Schoen and his Orchestra recorded in New York in February 1940. This is a great song and one that has survived well but I have always considered this to be an Andrews Sistersí song only which they deliver with such enthusiasm you know they are really enjoying themselves. Its not surprising when once again on this CD we have a complete reversal of mood with Artie Shaw and his orchestra with a brilliant clarinettist playing the Mexican "Frenesi". This is a number that makes you want to beat time to, even get up and dance to. It has that kind of rhythm and the instrumentalists can be heard with real clarity. There is another Andrews Sisters recording here, though. Itís a delightful, cheerful and animated version of "Ferryboat Serenade" with Vic Schoen and his orchestra. This is another typical Andrew Sistersí jingle and very enjoyable though perhaps they sing it faster than many other who have sung it before. But to hear the Sisters harmonising in their songs either way is a treat.

 

Now I suppose this is the time when I should swoon as "ole blue eyes" puts in an appearance. Though at this stage in his career he was more "young blue eyes" as itís a very young Frank Sinatra when he was still with Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra. They lead Frank in with an introduction that has a really soothing quality. I liked it and it proved to be a first hit for Dorsey while at the same time it matched the never forgotten Sinatra singing "Polka Dots And Moonbeams". A beautifully relaxing song Frank really makes the most of. He tells you his heart knows all the answers and I can well believe that in the way Frank sings. A really great recording. The next song from Frank is ideal for a follow-up. This is the great "Fools Rush In" with Tony Martin and his Orchestra recorded in New York that same month March 1940. This, of course, is a great standard. The orchestra plays the long introduction with smooth, measured, relaxing tempo, which I was drawn into straight away. Then with the dulcet voice of the great man Iím sure you will appreciate the excellence of this. Sinatra appears again here with "Iíll Never Smile Again", again with Tommy Dorsey. Recorded in New York in May 1940 the young voice of Sinatra is a real marvel. You know that you are listening to someone who would one day be world famous.

Another song that promotes the same feeling of the last one is "Make Believe Island" with Mitchell Ayres and his Fashions-In-Music and Mary Ann Mercer on vocals. I have never heard either the band or singer before, yet I think this a delightful ballad. Mary Ann Mercer sings with feeling and makes you believe all she is telling you in music that is moving and uplifting. Listen and I am sure you will enjoy this. The perfect song to bring you down to earth after this is "The Breeze And I" also made in April 1940 with Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra and Bob Eberly on vocals. The band plays the introduction and you hear the Bolero for a short time before Eberley sings. What a soothing voice he has, and together with the relaxing sound of the music this is a number that gains from this distinctive arrangement.

When I saw the next recording was by the Ink Spots I had no idea of the heart-rending song I was going to hear. I love all the records of this group but this one, recorded in May 1940, took me by surprise. Itís "When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano". Itís not their usual kind of number and you will hear only one of the group sing. He does it beautifully and you really will feel sorry for him. He sounds so sad. Itís a simple song but he puts such feeling into the words and the background music with the brilliant pianist playing in the background respond so well. Then what could be more different than "Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar" made in New York in May 1940? This is with Will Bradley and his orchestra. A fast number and I had difficulty making out the words but it didnít seem to matter.

At last we have the "Old Groanerí himself, Bing Crosby. I consider him easily the best of the crooners. He was the best-selling recording artist of all then with an estimated 300 hits. "Only Forever" was recorded in Los Angeles in July 1940 with John Scott Trotter and his orchestra. Itís a song I have heard Bing sing before and like so many of his is a real favourite of mine. In that melodious voice he sings with such conviction you just believe every word. Perhaps there is no better song that could follow than "Trade Winds", a superb number at any time. It was recorded about the same time in Los Angeles with Bing accompanied by Dick McIntyre and his Harmony Hawaiians. I have never been able to resist Hawaiian guitars and with Bing crooning away it is a lovely recording. You will like it.

I can warmly recommend this CD. Although there were many numbers I had not heard before I was especially aware of names that became household names not long after. All these tracks are well worth listening to for both young and old and are transferred with the usual clarity we expect from Naxos Nostalgia.

Joan Duggan

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