Welcome to the new series of the music column where I am joined as always by Jazz singer and composer William Price King. We hope you will join us every Tuesday for some of the chart hits of the big band era from the 1930s through to the 1950s.
Some of the earlier videos are not of the best quality however where possible we have sourced remastered copies to share with you. Considering some are almost 100 years old, it is remarkable that they exist at all. A testament to the love of the music of that era. Along with our selections each week we will also be showcasing one of the dance crazes from the 1920s onwards and as with the music videos some are not of the highest quality but in some cases there are some more modern versions.
Delighted to be starting 2023 with a new series and hope you will enjoy the music. Here is my first selection from the Big Band chart in the 1930s when they certainly knew how live it up.
Earl Burtnett with Harry Richman “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (1930)
“Puttin’ On the Ritz” was composed by Irving Berlin in 1927 and introduced by Harry Richman in the musical film of the same name in 1930. It was directed by Edward Sloman and starred Harry Richman, Joan Bennett, and James Gleason. According to “The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin,” this was the first song in film to be sung by an interracial ensemble. The title comes from from the slang expression “to put on the Ritz,” meaning to dress very fashionably. This expression was inspired by the opulent Ritz Hotel in London. The song topped the Billboard Chart in the US at #1 for 8 weeks. warholsoup100
There were certainly some humourous songs in the early days and here is one that made me smile.
Cab Calloway “Minnie the Moocher (The Ho Do Ho Song)” (1931)
“Minnie the Moocher” is a jazz song first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, selling over a million copies. “Minnie the Moocher” is most famous for its nonsensical ad libbed (“scat”) lyrics (for example, “Hi De Hi De Hi De Ho”).
In performances, Calloway would have the audience and the band members participate by repeating each scat phrase in a form of call and response, until making it too fast and complicated for the audience to replicate it.Released by Brunswick Records, the song was the biggest chart-topper of 1931. moontreal
Since man first made music feet have been tapping and the urge to move in time to the beat became irresistible. Ballroom dancing has been enjoyed for centuries but over he decades other dances have become popular, often beginning spontaneously on the streets and then filtering into the dance halls.
This week the Jazz Foxtrot/One Step from 1928 as seen in three different scenes from the Joan Crawford film “Our Dancing Daughters“. The music is “I’m Feeling Good” from Gus Arnheim and his Orchestra.
The foxtrot is a smooth, progressive dance characterized by long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor. It is danced to big band (usually vocal) music. The dance is similar in its look to waltz, although the rhythm is in a 4 4 time signature instead of 3 4. Developed in the 1910s, the foxtrot reached its height of popularity in the 1930s and remains practiced today.
At its inception, the foxtrot was originally danced to ragtime. From the late 1910s through the 1940s, the foxtrot was the most popular fast dance, and the vast majority of records issued during these years were foxtrots. The waltz and tango, while popular,
never overtook it. Even the popularity of the Lindy hop in the 1940s did not affect the foxtrot’s popularity, since it could be danced to the same records used to accompany the Lindy hop.
Other sources: Wikipedia
Your Hosts for The Big Band Era
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.
Blog– IMPROVISATION – William Price King on Tumblr – Buy William’s music: William Price King iTunes – Facebook – William Price King – Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – Cave Wilson
Sally Cronin is an author, blogger and broadcaster who enjoyed four years as part of the team on Onda Cero International’s English speaking morning show in Marbella and then for two years as a presenter on Expressfm the local radio station in Portsmouth. She co-presented two ‘Drive Time’ shows a week with Adrian Knight, hosted the live Thursday Afternoon Show and The Sunday Morning Show guests including musicians and authors. Following this she became Station Director for a local internet television station for two years, producing and presenting the daily news segment, outside broadcasts and co-presenting the Adrian and Sally chat show live on Friday evenings.
She and her husband David have now returned to Ireland where they live on the Wexford Coast where she blogs and continues to write books.
Books :Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads – blog: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin
Thanks for tuning in and as always we love to hear from you.. thanks William and Sally.