1) TEA FOR TWO
2) I WANT TO BE HAPPY (Helen Clark and Lewis
3) NO, NO, NANETTE (Binnie Hale)
4) TAKE A LITTLE ONE-STEP (Binnie Hale and
George Grossmith Jnr.)
5) WILDFLOWER...BAMBALINA (Layton and Johnstone)
6) LIKE HE LOVES ME (Beatrice Lillie with
7) NOCODEMUS (Beatrice Lillie with Vincent
8) JOIN THE NAVY (Stanley Holloway)
9) HALLELUJAH (The Revelers)
10) SOMETIMES IíM HAPPY (Louise Groody and
11) GREAT DAY (Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra)
12) MORE THAN YOU KNOW (Helen Morgan)
13) WITHOUT A SONG (Lawrence Tibbett)
14) THE ONE GIRL (John Boles)
15) WEST WIND (John Boles)
16) TIME ON MY HANDS (Al Bowlly with Ray Noble
17) RISE ĎN SHINE (Roy Fox and band with Denny
18) THROUGH THE YEARS (Nelson Eddy)
19) FLYING DOWN TO RIO (Fred Astaire)
20) THE CARIOCA (Connee Boswell)
21) ORCHIDS IN THE MOONLIGHT (Rudy Vallee)
22) MUSIC MAKES ME (Fred Astaire)
23) TEA FOR TWO (Doris Day)
24) OH ME! OH MY! OH YOU! (Doris Day and Gene
25) I KNOW THAT YOU KNOW (Doris Day and Gene
26) I WANT TO BE HAPPY (Doris Day and Gene
27) TEA FOR TWO (Art Tatum)
Vincent Youmans was born
in New York in 1898, his father a milliner
by trade who had hopes his son would follow
him into the business. But Vincent, who for
some reason had the nickname "Millie",
had other ideas. His interest was the piano,
and to help finance advanced studies he worked
in a finance company in Wall Street. During
WW1 he joined the American Navyís Great Lakes
Naval Training Station and made his first
acquaintance in stage shows as co-producer
of musicals, and also as a writer of music
for Military Bands. His Unit Leader admired
his work, particularly "Hallelujah",
one of Vincent's compositions which was later
adapted from a march given lyrics to become
a hit in the show "Hit The Deck"
. In spite of the exceptionally high quality
of his work many of the shows he wrote music
for had short runs or even flopped. This was
mainly caused by his failure as producer and
trying to do too much himself instead of delegating
to professionals. He changed lyricists more
often than any of the other great song writers
of the time, yet in spite of this what you
hear on this disc are songs beautifully composed
and sung by well known performers of the time.
The first four are from "No,
No, Nanette" which ran in Chicago for
a year. In New York in October 1925 Marion
Harris recorded "Tea for Two". This
is a singer little known now, but she has
a voice no one could tire from, so easily
does she ensure every word is clearly heard.
Itís a simple song with a simple musical theme
not easily forgotten, and you will find yourself
humming along to the words . The year before
Helen Clark and Lewis James recorded another
hit from the show "I Want To Be Happy".
A light, airy duet that will also set you
humming, as it did me. What could be more
appropriate to follow than the title song
recorded March 1925 in London by Binnie Hale
with the original London Cast. I thought the
music a little loud, but it didnít in any
way spoil Haleís singing in the unique way
so many of the singers of that era had. The
chorus join in when needed and the whole performance
goes with the swing it did when performed
on stage. Again Binnie Hale delights us with
the original London cast in "Take A Little
One-Step". I loved this and Binnie demonstrates
how she is able to adjust her voice to any
tempo the music and song demands. A song perhaps
not too well known now but certainly a pleasure
to listen to.
In 1923 Youmans wrote a show
called "The Wildflower" and from
it come the following two songs, both recorded
in London in 1931. The always remembered Turner
Layton and Clarence Johnson are featured in
"Wildflower" and " Bambalina".
Turner Layton was well known to be different
in how he presented and performed, and when
you hear these two combined numbers you will
understand why. As I listened I visualised
his fingers tripping over the piano keys as
he sings, making sure his voice made the most
of every note of the music in the very special
way he always could.
Next come two recordings
from the Broadway show "Oh, Please".
Beatrice Lillie, who was in the original cast,
recorded "Like he Loves me" with
a male chorus and Youmans himself at the piano.
In spite of the show being a flop on Broadway
I thought these numbers well worth listening
to, particularly with Beatrice Lillie. The
male chorus sing the introduction with gusto,
and Youmans ably supports on the piano which
he continues to do when Beatrice Lillie starts
to sing in her own inimitable style. To listen
to her is always a joy and with the chorus
in the background she joins in with the same
zest. The second number is "Nicodemus"
with Youmans on the piano again. This is a
story/song with a definite stress on humour.
Beatrice Lillie is a lively performer who
can cleverly change her voice when she feels
its necessary and she makes this a real pleasure
to listen to.
We have three songs from
"Hit the Deck". In London in November
1927 "Join the Navy" was recorded
by Stanley Holloway from the original London
Cast with the Hippodrome Orchestra and Chorus.
This came as a complete surprise as I have
never heard this version before. But what
a pleasant surprise when I heard the sonorous
sound of the orchestra start in the introduction
and then how they slow the tempo before we
hear Holloway chatting to someone in the background
until he breaks into song. This is a thoroughly
musical version with variations on a song
occasionally sang now. The young Holloway
sounds as good as he has always done and this
arrangement proves what a well performed and
successful show it must have been. "Hallelujah"
was recorded in New York in April 1927 and,
said earlier, was originally a march for the
US Navy with the lyrics added later. Here
you will hear the popular group Revelers with
Frank Black at the piano. They sing in a whimsical
style and itís a number that will set your
feet tapping and your hands beating on your
knees. This is followed by "Sometimes
I Think Iím Happy", a duet between Louise
Groody and Charles King from the original
Broadway cast in 1927. A quiet, pleasant love
song, and both singers are beautifully in
accord with each other.
From "Great Day"
we first hear the title music recorded in
New York in 1929 with no less than Paul Whiteman
and his Orchestra and four vocalists of which
a young Bing Crosby is one. This recording
belongs to Whiteman and his instrumentalists
play brilliantly in what could have been classed
as a very ordinary number. "More Than
You Know" follows with Helen Morgan from
the original London Cast in 1929. She has
a voice full of warmth and feeling, her top
notes clear and effortless and she sings without
any elaboration. This is followed by the great
Lawrence Tibbett in the wonderful "Without
a Song", recorded in New York in 1931.
To me Tibbett can never be faulted and he
sings here as he always does without apparent
effort. His voice rings out clearly no matter
what. He has great charm and itís so easy
to fall under his spell.
The following two songs are
from the film "Song of The West".
In California in November 1929 John Boles
recorded "The One Girl". Immediately
my mind went back and I remembered that when
I was very young I waited impatiently to see
all his films. What a real heartthrob he was,
and how when I knew one of his films was going
to be shown the anticipation I felt while
waiting to see it. That was many years ago,
and I hadnít seen or heard him since so I
was anxious to hear him again. What a disappointment.
His voice didnít match up to what I remembered
of him, and I realise it had been his good
looks that had appealed to me. This recording
proves that he did have a voice that was pleasant
and easy to listen to, but no more than that.
I canít really say the song is one that appealed
to me but it does have a pleasant enough melody.
At the same time Boles made "West Wing"
. This is much better as Boles sings well,
every word clearly heard, every note clear
and smooth. A sad song, though, not one that
will make you want to stand up and dance.
From the show "Smiles"
comes "Time On My Hands" recorded
in London in 1931 by Al Bowlly with who else
but Ray Noble and his Mayfair Orchestra. Al
is a great favourite of mine and he sings
in his usual sparkling, stylish manner. As
always his singing portrays perfectly what
he is telling you and Noble supports superbly.
I loved this. Next we have a number from the
show "Take a Chance", "Rise
and Shine" recorded in London in May
1936 with Roy Fox and his orchestra accompanying
Denny Dennis. This recording must be attributed
chiefly to Roy Fox as itís his band you hear
more than Dennis. There is no mistaking the
playing. Itís so typical of how the bands
of that time played. Never would you hear
in these days a band play in the same way.
I thought Dennisís voice mediocre but it was
enough to make the playing of "Rise and
Shine" into a charming tuneful melody.
Next is the title song from "Through
The Years" recorded in Hollywood in December
1935 and sung by Nelson Eddy, another heartthrob.
I liken this song to a serenade because this
was his natural way of singing.
Next we have four different
songs recorded from different films at various
times. From "Flying Down To Rio"
we have the title song from the ever-popular
Fred Astaire. In his inimitable way he sings
with all the dynamism and energy he always
had. Next we have "The Carioca"
sung by Connie Boswell and although I didnít
dislike how she sang it I did feel it was
too slow. This should be a quick, lively number
that makes you want to stand up and twist
your body in time to the music. You will enjoy
"Orchids in the Moonlight" recorded
by Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees.
The start of the number is typical tango music
and I would have liked it to go on. But when
Rudy joins in the whole concept changes from
a delightful tango to a straight song. I havenít
heard a great many of Rudy Vallee recordings
over time and although he does have a delightful
voice I wasnít greatly impressed. We follow
this with "Music Makes Me", a lesser
known recording by Fred Astaire who you hear
not only singing the number but every now
and again tapping a few steps as he sings.
In Hollywood in 1950 Doris
Day recorded four Youmans songs from films,
the first of which is a new arrangement of
"Tea For Two". Itís always a pleasure
to hear Doris no matter what she sings. Next
is "Oh Me! Oh My! Oh You!" with
a mixture of foot tapping and musical chat.
The same applies in the next number "I
Know That You Know" and with the same
accompanists as before Doris makes this another
lively number. The last of these Doris Day
recordings is "I Want To Be Happy".
A really familiar number and Doris, with that
vivacious, bubbly, friendly way she has no
matter what the song, sings with great feeling
in a stylish arrangement.
There is one last recording
of "Tea For Two" made in Los Angeles
in 1939 very much in Jazz Style for piano
only and performed brilliantly by the great
Art Tatum. You hear his hands tripping over
the keys with no apparent effort and amazing
dexterity. Perfect to listen to.
I highly recommend this disc.
The transfers from long ago are well up to
the standard we have come to expect from "Living