Smorgasbord Summer Music Festival.. The Big Band Sound.

One of the sounds that filled the house as I was growing up was the Big Band Sound. I think my parents memories were firmly anchored in the years from 1935 to 1945 when they both went to dances, and in fact met at one in 1939… leading to their marriage in 1940.

And the first artist has to be the top of my parent’s danced list…. Glenn Miller and his orchestra.. Pennsylvania 6-5000…uploaded by WorldWar2Music

Here is an early recording of Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra.. Boogie Woogie.

And now another Glenn Miller favourite…dancing to In The Mood – I can picture my parents in full swing..

And now a big band that is still providing music for the new generation and I have had the privilege of interviewing Chris Dean their leader and saxophonist a number of times on radio and television..The Syd Lawrence Orchestra – Website

You can buy the Syd Lawrence Orchestra music:

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s music festival .. and next week for the last in the series…film hits… please tune in.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up- Glenn Miller, Roses, Mexico, New Books, Reviews and Guests.

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Some stand out moments from the week that I would like to make a special mention about.

The first was the nomination for the blog for the Versatile Blogger Award by Brigid Gallagher which I was very honoured to receive. I know that many bloggers are now award free. I quite understand, as when you are at full tilt, it is tough to take the time to respond to an award and also to draw up a list of willing nominees.

However… even after six years, I still get a kick out of awards and I have met so many wonderful bloggers through other people’s nominees, that it is well worth the effort. And also it is an opportunity to showcase newer bloggers who are still finding their feet or deserve to have some promotion.

Anyway.. this was my response with 7 more secrets about me…..and some nominees who are terrific bloggers.

The second highlight is the release of Understanding: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events… Compiled and contributed to by Stevie Turner and 18 other authors including myself and quite a few of our blogging community.

The proceeds from this anthology will be going to Cancer Research and it is a very worthy cause.

Over the next week I will be posing a number of author profiles of those who have contributed and I hope that you will follow those authors and also support their work in this collection.

About the anthology

The following authors and bloggers kindly answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

In this first post I share the authors who have contributed with a profile on Stevie Turner, D.G. Kaye and in the coming two weeks will feature the other authors in separate posts.

All proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research:

You can buy the anthology for only 99c:

And on Amazon UK for 99p:

Now on with the other posts this week.

This week William Price King shares the life and music of the legendary Glenn Miller whose music is still loved over 70 years since his untimely death during the Second World War.

In his final gardening post, Paul Andruss shares the beauty and background to the rose.

In the second part of her posts on Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, D.G. Kaye shares the fundamentals that you need to know about renting, shopping, tipping, exchanging your cash, dining and how to drink safe water.

This week my guest is author Ann Chiappetta who shares where she would love to live in the world, the animal she would most like to talk to and her favourite season.

My review for Small Town Kid by Frank Prem – recommended

This week Carol Taylor and I join forces to share the foods that contain good amounts of Vitamin B3 and the recipes that the whole family will enjoy.

A lovely guest post from Joy Lennick in tribute to her mother…

Sally’s personal stuff

This week in the R’s of Life,  I look at the true cost of retail therapy and the waste associated with our drive to own the latest and the most fashionable.  And also the mountains of food that goes uneaten in most of our countries when millions are starving.

This week I share the abundance of food that you can enjoy as you lose weight… starving the body is not an option, and cutting out food groups is counter productive.

Being the first week of the month… .Colleen Chesebro allowed us to pick our own words as prompts…My Etheree is entitled ‘April’


Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – the Prompt this week is ‘Fire’

Donna W. Hill is a breast cancer survivor and in this week’s inspiring post she shares her motivation and also encounters with butterflies and knitting.

Blue butterfly on milkweed: photo by Rich Hill

This week Jen Moore, shares the delightful character who is her son, and the warm and embracing way that the family manages his dyslexia.

This week Norah Colvin shares all things berry.. which resulted in a lot of discussion about what is a berry and what is not, and how to get hold of our favourites…


A new contributor this week and the first post from the archives of Susanne Swanson who shares her return to her kindergarten school, celebrating its 100th anniversary.

New Book on the Shelves

Author Updates


Thank you very much for visiting this week and for all your support, it is always appreciated.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – Glenn Miller #Trombonist, Composer, Big Band Leader

This week one of the iconic band leaders of all time whose music is still played today by big bands for those who love to dance. The legendary Glenn Miller has been immortalised on film and many of the war-time generation felt great sorrow at his untimely death in an air crash in 1944 at age 40.

This week William Price King pays tribute to this incredible artist.

Glenn Miller was born in Iowa in 1904 to Lewis and Mattie Miller. When he was eleven years old his family moved to Missouri and he made enough money from milking cows to buy his first trombone and began playing for the local orchestra. He also played cornet and Mandolin but dropped them to focus on the trombone. The family moved again in 1918 to Colorado where he went to high school. Despite playing for the school football team during his senior year he developed an interest in ‘dance band music’ and he formed a band with class mates. When he graduated in 1921 he decided to become a professional musician.

He spent a short term at the University of Colorado in 1923 but spent much of his time attending auditions and playing any gigs that he could. He dropped out of school to pursue his music full-time. He did study with Joseph Schillinger a composer, music theorist and teach who originated the Schillinger System of Musical Composition.

By 1926 he was touring with several groups including Ben Pollack and Victor Young which enabled him to take advantage of the mentorship of other professional musicians. He was originally the main trombonist for Ben Pollack but was sidelined with the arrival of Jack Teagarden which led Glenn to focus on arranging and composing

He published a songbook in Chicago in 1928 ‘Glenn Miller’s 125 Jazz Breaks for Trombone’ and he also wrote several arrangements and his first composition ‘Room 1411 with Benny Goodman. He joined Red Nichol’s orchestra in 1930 and played with the band for two of the hit Broadway shows of the day Strike up the Band and Girl Crazy.

Glenn freelanced as a trombonist with Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and other big bands of the day as well as continuing to arrange for the Dorsey Brothers on their recordings including ‘My Kinda Love’. He also worked vocalists such as Bing Crosby.

The melody for “Moonlight Serenade” was composed by Glenn Miller in 1935 when he was a trombone player in Ray Noble’s band. The lyricist Eddie Heyman added words, and the song was titled “As I Lay Me Down To Weep.” However, Miller didn’t record nor publish the song with these lyrics, but in 1938 used the instrumental as theme music for his radio broadcasts on the NBC network. In 1939 Robbins Music bought the music and asked Mitchell Parish (Stardust) to write a new set of lyrics, which he did, and called the song “Moonlight Serenade”. This became Glenn Miller’s signature song and a Top Ten hit, reaching #3 on the Billboard charts for fifteen weeks. It has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

In 1935, he assembled an American orchestra for British bandleader Ray Noble and developed the arrangement of lead clarinet over four saxophones that became a characteristic of his own big band in 1937. However, it failed to stand out against all the other successful bands of the time and it folded after a show at the Ritz Ballroom in Connecticut in January 1938.

“In the Mood”, written by Wingy Manone, Andy Razaf, and Joe Garland was recorded by Glenn Miller in 1939 on the Bluebird label and topped the charts for 13 weeks in a row. A year later it was featured in the movie “Sun Valley Serenade”. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1983 and in 1999 the National Public Radio added the song to its list of ‘The 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century.’ “In the Mood” was also inducted into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry in 2004 which honors songs it considers culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

Discouraged, Miller returned to New York. He realized that he needed to develop a unique sound, and decided to make the clarinet play a melodic line with a tenor saxophone holding the same note, while three other saxophones harmonized within a single octave. George T. Simon discovered a saxophonist named Wilbur Schwartz for Glenn Miller. Miller hired Schwartz, but instead had him play lead clarinet. According to Simon, “Willie’s tone and way of playing provided a fullness and richness so distinctive that none of the later Miller imitators could ever accurately reproduce the Miller sound.”

With this new sound combination, Glenn Miller found a way to differentiate his band’s style from the many bands that existed in the late thirties. Miller talked about his style in the May 1939 issue of Metronome magazine. “You’ll notice today some bands use the same trick on every introduction; others repeat the same musical phrase as a modulation into a vocal … We’re fortunate in that our style doesn’t limit us to stereotyped intros, modulations, first choruses, endings or even trick rhythms. The fifth sax, playing clarinet most of the time, lets you know whose band you’re listening to. And that’s about all there is to it.”

From the end of 1938 the band began recording for Bluebird records a subsidiary of RCA Victor. They began to play popular venues including the Glen Island Casino where they attracted a record breaking audience of 1800. In 1939 Time Magazine noted. “Of the twelve to 24 discs in each of today’s 300,000 U.S. jukeboxes, from two to six are usually Glenn Miller’s. ‘Tuxedo Junction’ sold 115,000 copies its first week and Glenn Miller topped this in October 1939 with an appearance at Carnegie Hall.

During the early years of the war until September 1942 Miller’s band performed three times a week on CBS radio, with The Andrew Sisters and then on then on its own.  In 1941 and 1942 the band appeared in two Hollywood films, Sun Valley Serenade and Orchestra Wives with Jackie Gleason. Glenn Miller was contracted to appear in a third film, Blind Date but he entered the U.S. Army.

“ Chattanooga Choo Choo”, featured in the movie “Sun Valley Serenade “, was composed in 1941 by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren while they were travelling on the Southern Railway’s Birmingham Special train. This song tells the story of their voyage from New York City to Chattanooga. In 1942 this song received the first gold record ever, presented by RCA Victor for sales over 1.2 million copies and remained the #1 song in the US for nine weeks. In this 8 minute video vocalists Tex Beneke, Paula Kelly, Dorothy Dandridge are featured as well as the famous Nicholas Brothers in a tap dance routine. In 1996 Glenn’s version of this song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

After being turned down by the Navy, Glenn Miller persuaded the US army to accept him to be placed in charge of a modernized Army band. His popular approach to entertaining the troops with his dance band resulted in a promotion to Captain in 1944. His band expanded to a 50 piece Army Air Force Band and he took it to England in the summer of 1944 where they gave 800 performances. Now a major, Glenn also recorded at Abby Road Studios with some songs in German which were used as counter-propaganda to denounce oppression in Europe. Others were used to boost morale of allied troops as they pushed through Europe.

On December 15th Glenn Miller was due to fly to Paris to make arrangements to move the entire AAF band there as soon as possible. He plane disappeared over the English Channel and that is still being investigated today. As recently as January this year, new witness accounts have led the investigators to believe that the wreckage of the plane is 30 miles south of the Portland Bill in Devon. There are hopes to relocate the wreck and raise it later this year.

“ (I’ve Got a Gal in) Kalamazoo*” was the best-selling US recording in 1942, according to Billboard, spending 19 weeks on the Billboard charts and 8 weeks as #1. It was nominated for an Oscar Award for ‘Best Music, Original Song’ in 1943 – Harry Warren for the music, and Mack Gordon for the lyrics. This swinging, serious, and powerful song is featured in the 1942 20th Century Fox movie « Orchestra Wives » featuring the Nicholas Brothers.

*Kalamazoo is a city in the southwest region of the US state of Michigan. The name Kalamazoo has become a métonym for exotic places as in the phrase ‘from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo.’

Buy the music of Glenn Miller:

Other sources:

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION

Connect with William

Regular Venue 

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory:

As always we would love to receive your feedback.. thanks Sally and William


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – World War I and II songs that entertained the troops

At this time of the year, many of us will be remembering those who have died in conflict and also those brave men and women who served. My grandfather was on the front line in World War One in many of the major battles and survived three wounds, only to be killed the week before the armistice. My father served at sea in the North Atlantic in World War Two and saw much he was reluctant to talk about.

But as we remember those who have fallen or were left with physical and emotional scars, it is also important to celebrate their bravery and spirit. I do not believe in war, but sometimes it is a form of defensive action we are forced into by aggressors. And young men and women on both sides of a conflict are not responsible for the actions of those in power. Certainly during the last two world wars, entertainers were on the front line often at a danger to themselves to entertain the troops and to bring some few hours of respite from their fears.

Music has always played a part in military and naval traditions. Drummers and pipers have escorted troops into battle and the beat and the stirring notes have been used to motivate men as they faced the enemy.

Away from the front lines, music has also played a huge part in providing men and now women with some form of normalcy as they enjoy infrequent rest periods far from home.

Here is just as small selection of the entertainers in the First and Second World War who became very dear to the hearts of the servicemen and women, especially for those who put themselves in harms way in war zones to bring this much needed light into their darkness.

John McCormack was born in Athlone in County Westmeath in 1884; one of 11 children. His early education was with the Marist Brothers and at The Summerhill College, Sligo. He sang in the church choir locally but when his family moved to Dublin he joined the choir of the St. Mary’s Protestant Cathedral where he was noticed by Vincent O’Brien a renowned church organist and composer. After some fund raising activities on his behalf, John was able to travel to Italy to study in Milan and he made his operatic debut in 1906 in Savona.

This would be the start of a highly successful and lucrative career. He was the first to record the war song It’s a long way to Tipperary as well as other songs during the First World War. Here he is with a song that has been recorded many times since by musical greats.

John McCormack with The Sunshine of Your Smile

Florrie Forde was born in Australia in 1875 and at sixteen ran away to appear in the Sydney music hall. After making a successful start to her career she left for London at age 21 and in 1897 appeared in three music halls all in one evening. She became an overnight sensation and made her first recordings in 1903. She was hugely popular with the troops in World War I and sang the most famous of songs such as Pack up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and here is an original recording of Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty. Sadly she died whilst entertaining troops in World War II during a concert in 1940 from a cerebral haemorrhage.

Florrie Forde with Take me back to Dear Old Blighty

Florrie had paved the way for others to become the forces sweetheart and for many in all of the armed forces; Vera Lynn was the greatest of them all.

Born in East Ham in London in 1917, Vera Lynn began performing at only seven years old. Her first radio broadcast was with the Joe Loss Orchestra in 1935 and she featured with the top dance bands of the era finally moving to one of the best conducted by Bert Ambrose.

She recorded We’ll Meet Again in 1939 and this was followed by a string of hits both at home and overseas with the troops. Vera toured the UK as well as Egypt, India and Burma as part of ENSA and she was awarded the Burma Star in 1985 in recognition of her bravery in entertaining the British Guerrilla units in Japanese-occupied Burma. At age 101 Dame Vera Lynn is very much a living legend and an amazing woman.

We’ll Meet Again by Vera Lynn in 1940

The Andrew Sisters were an American close harmony group of three sisters, La Verne, Maxine and Patty. Over their long career they sold over 75 million records and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy in 1941 is one of the earliest examples of rhythm and blues.

During World War II The Andrew Sisters entertained the allied forces in America, Africa and Italy visiting bases, war zones and hospitals. They volunteered their time for the War Bonds effort and also other charitable projects aimed at entertaining and providing support for servicemen. They were dubbed the Sweethearts of the Armed Forces Radio Service.

The Andrews Sisters The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy courtesy of swinginkatz

We could not play music that was loved by both the civilian population and the armed forces without including the incredible Glen Miller.

Born in 1904 he was to become the best-selling recording artist from 1939-1943 and as musician, arranger and composer there are few who can compare. His music is still hugely popular today with Big Bands around the world playing his music to audiences of all ages. Pieces such as Moonlight Serenade, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Tuxedo Junction, Little Brown Jug and the wonderful In The Mood.

Tragically on a flight across the channel in 1944 his plane was lost in bad weather and mystery still surrounds the loss. He was only forty years old and it was a tragic loss to both his family and those who loved his music.

Glen Miller and In the Mood.

Buy Vera Lynn music:

Buy Glenn Miller Music:

I hope you have enjoyed the selection, and of course there are many more brilliant musicians who have entertained troops in the other conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries. Korea, Vietnam, Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan to name just a few. If you would like to mention an artist who has entertained the troops or those at home during a time of war then please share in the comments. Thanks Sally