- "If I Knew You Were Cominí Iíd Have Bakes a Cake" (Eileen
Barton and the New Yorkers.
- "Rag Mop" (The Ames Brothers)
- "My Foolish Heart" (Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra with
- "Orange Colored Sky (Nat King Cole with Stan Kenton and his
- "Bonaparteís Retreat" (Kay Starr)
- "The Third Man Theme" (Anton Karas)
- "Daddyís Little Girl" (The Mills Brothers)
- "Dearie" (Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae)
- "The Cry of the Wild Goose" (Frankie Laine)
- "Count Every Star" (Ray Anthony and his Orchestra with
- "Music! Music! Music!" (Teresa Brewer)
- "Mona Lisa" (Nat King Cole)
- "A Bushel and a Peck" (Perry Como and Betty Hutton)
- "No Other Love" (Jo Stafford)
- "Dear Hearts and Gentle People" (Bing Crosby)
- "Goodnight Irene" (Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra with
- "Bewitched" (Bill Snyder and his Orchestra)
- "Thinking of You" (Don Cherry)
- "Tennessee Waltz" (Patti Page)
- "The Thing" (Phil Harris)
Many of the recordings on this disc of American recordings
from 1950 soon became favourites in Britain too. Like the people in
the USA one of the many changes taking place here at that time was the
influence of the "baby boomers" growing up and starting school.
In the USA as in Britain families could stay at home and watch TV if
they were lucky enough to have one but in both countries the cinemas
were still an attraction, as can be heard in some of these songs. Here
is an assortment of 1950 novelties and other light hearted numbers,
many you will recognise, even though there may be a slight difference
in how they are sung now.
The earliest recording is one everyone will know and
comes from a movie. Itís "The Harry Lime Theme" from the film
"The Third Man" with Anton Karasís zither recorded in London
September 1949. Just as distinctive as the day it was made, you can
still see the film on television from time to time and like so many
of these old black and white films it is still good to watch. A very
different recording to follow this in order of recording is Bing Crosby
with Jud Conlonís Rhythmaires and Perry Botkinís String Band from October
1949 singing "Dear Hearts and Gentle People". Itís a great
song and the young Crosby sings as only "the old groaner"
can. Next comes a soft and slow introduction from Gordon Jenkins and
his orchestra leading in Joe Graydon in singing "My Foolish Heart"
recorded in November 1949 in Los Angeles. Itís a short song but what
you hear is gentle and silvery from both the orchestra and Joe Graydon
who has a voice that is soothing and mellow without being too cloying.
I smiled when I heard the start of the next recording.
Nothing could be more different from the previous one than The Ames
Bothers in this novelty song "Rag Mop" made in New York in
February 1950. Itís a "quick fire" number and the brothers
sing it so fast itís hard to figure out what they are singing about.
The word "Mop" was the only word that dominates. Did I like
it? I did, I suppose, but wouldnít wish to hear it too often. If you
happen to still be in a daydream after listening to a romantic song
and still glowing from it perhaps "Rag Mop" is ideal to break
the spell. Again we have a change with Ray Anthony and his orchestra
and Dick Noel on vocals in "Count Every Star" recorded in
Hollywood in December 1949. This hasnít really survived down the years.
I do like how the orchestra plays the introduction and then lowers the
volume when Dick Noel starts to sing in a low, very tuneful voice. You
certainly know he means all he is telling you, which is all you can
ask. The next recording is another great novelty song with tremendous
appeal that has certainly lasted down the years and here it is in as
merry and lively version as you could want. Itís "Music! Music!
Music" with Teresa Brewer, Jack Pleis and The Dixieland All Stars.
This arrangement really gets you bouncing and the accompaniment from
all the different instruments is great fun.
"Daddyís Little Girl" by the Mills Brothers
was made in Los Angeles in January 1950. Sentimental and cloying, I
can hear some say, but Iím sure there will equally be many who will
appreciate this and acknowledge the melodious voices of the Mills Brothers
as I did. What could be more different from the previous song than Frankie
Laine in "The Cry of The Wild Goose" with Carl Fischerís Orchestra
and Chorus in New York in January 1950. Iíve a strong feeling Frankie
really enjoyed himself singing this racy song as he sings it so very
well. But keep on chasing, Frankie, this is not a song that does anything
What a perfect follow up is the next recording: "If
I Knew You Were Coming Iíd Have Baked A Cake" with Eileen Barton
and the New Yorkers. I have never heard this particular arrangement
before, but then I had never heard Eileen Barton before. But she and
the New Yorkers make this into something special and I hope youíll clap
along with them. Such a difference is the next recording, "Bonaparteís
Retreat" with Kay Starr and Lou Busch and his Orchestra recorded
in Hollywood. This is termed a Country tune. I canít say on first hearing
that I cared for it very much, although now and again I thought there
was something about the melody I could become accustomed to. But it
was so fleeting it didnít register for long and Kay Starr makes the
most of the number, as always.
The next recording is "Dearie" and it really
cheered me up when I saw it was by Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae. Jo
has always been a favourite and she and Gordon MacRae make an ideal
pair to sing a duet while at the same time indulging in amusing repartee
as the song proceeds. The orchestra plays along in a lazy slow rhythm
making sure the words are heard, while at the same time seemed to be
part of the number, never once diverting from their melody. This is
a remarkable production and a real gem. You can hear Jo Stafford again
in "No Other Love, once again with Paul Westonís Orchestra and
George Greeley on the piano. I have always loved this song adapted from
Chopinís Nocturne in E flat, and itís a treat to hear it once more.
The orchestra plays the theme beautifully in a slow, somnolent way while
keeping pace with Jo. George Greeley is the pianist who suits the soft,
plaintive tone of the music too. It will cast a spell over the more
romantic of you, as it does me. I was still in the same frame of mind
as I listened and remembered "Goodnight Irene" with Gordon
Jenkins and his Orchestra and The Weavers. What memories some of these
songs evoke to take you back into the distant past. This particular
song does just that to me as good as any of them and this version is
excellent. Next the great Nat King Cole singing in that soothing, caring
and comforting way the lovely song "Mona Lisa" with Les Baxterís
orchestra and recorded in March in Los Angeles. Nat is a great favourite
and this is a great song, one of his standards. We
hear a complete change of mood from Nat in his other recording on this
disc that he made with Stan Kenton in Los Angeles. Itís "Orange
Colored Sky" and I really would have preferred this without the
sudden outbursts from the chorus, but Iím sure some will disagree with
me. I think the song would have been good enough without it.
Now is the time to sit back and become "Bewitched",
which is the next recording with Bill Snyder and Orchestra recorded
in Chicago. You will hear a first class pianist and an orchestra who
make this melody into something you will want to hear again. Like me
you will probably have heard a vocal arrangement, but agree try this
version for something different.
I was interested to hear "Thinking of you"
with Don Cherry and Dave Terryís Orchestra and Chorus. I have never
heard this before, or even heard of Don Terry, but I was impressed as
itís most pleasant to listen to and the arrangement made it even better.
A pleasant novelty number to follow is "A Bushel and A Peck"
with Perry Como and Betty Hutton recorded in New York. This particular
number has survived well and you will love the chirpy singing of Perry
and the responses that Betty Hutton makes when the words of this lively
song demand it. Great record this, and quite an unusual one for Perry
Como whose soft and romantic voice normally brought us love songs and
What a delight to hear Phil Harris with Walter Scharfís
Orchestra. I love Phil Harrisís records. No one could help but be amused
by his clever songs and unique delivery of them. This one, "The
Thing", was recorded in Hollywood October 1950 and is a warning
to everyone of picking up a box while on the beach and never being able
to be rid of it. Philís unique singing compels you to listen to his
clear voice, and you can, with a little imagination, follow his progress
trying to get rid of The Thing. To follow this with "The Tennessee
Waltz" is perhaps inappropriate but I really liked the arrangement
with Pattie Page with Jack Raelís Orchestra very much. She sounds so
crestfallen and sad and the orchestra plays up to how she feels that
I began to feel for her and imagined myself in her place.
After listening to these "Hits of 1950" I
was aware that many of these singers were to become even more famous
in later years. Thanks to Naxos for their excellent transfers to build
up such an enjoyable profile of a great year.