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