Marion Harris’s version of I’ll See You In My Dreams made number 4 in record sales in 1925. She was a very early recording artist having started with Victor records in 1916. According to Wikipedia, “She was the first widely known white singer to sing jazz and blues songs.” Although, she doesn’t sing dialect in this song. This is a great vocal but marred by the surface noise. Of course, that noise is what you would expect from an early and much loved and much played 78 record. For more:
Heartaches was written in 1931 music by Al Hoffman lyrics by John Klenner. Many versions of it were recorded but it wasn’t a hit until the Ted Weems-Elmo Tanner version below.
Patsy Cline had made the rough climb to stardom that so often was the story in Country Music. It was the second to the last song she recorded. I think the idea they had in mind when they made the record was as a cross over record and not strictly Country Western. I remember it most likely because it was still on the radio playlists when she was killed in a plane crash. Patsy Cline, like so many people who end up this way, was in a rush to get back to Nashville, Tennessee. The weather conditions were bad, visibility was bad. Unfortunately, the pilot was trained and rated for visual flight rules only and not for instrument flight rules. The plane nose dived into the ground and all on board were killed instantly in March 1963. I remember hearing that news on the radio that morning. For more, see here:
Thanks to Fost0989
The Al Bowlly on vocals with Sid Phillips and his Melodians versions recorded in late August, 1931. The Al Bowlly version was one of the early recordings, perhaps the earliest in the British Isles. This record was made before Bowlly joined Ray Noble in the U.S. Al Bowlly also had a bad luck story and an early death which is described here:
Thanks to the TheLimePopsicle for the You Tube
This version by the Ted Weems orchestra (whistling by Elmo Tanner) was originally recorded in 1938 but somehow wasn’t released or didn’t catch on. It did become a hit record when in 1947 a late night DJ in the Southeastern United States was running out of records to play and found it in a stack of old records. He played it and the audience went crazy. They called in and wanted him to play it again….and again and wanted to know where they could buy the record. Soon it caught on around the country and Decca pressed and released their version from 1938 and RCA pressed their version from 1933. It became a hit all over the country. Funny things happen in the record business.
Ted Weems thought the song was too slow so he added a faster tempo. He added a rumba rhythm, bongos, and conga drums to give the song a Latin flavor. He also didn’t think the lyric was very good so he had Elmo Tanner whistle the melody rather than sing the lyric.
I also hear someone playing “the spoons” on this record. That involves a couple of ordinary tablespoons used between the fingers like castanets. The bartender at Andelines Tavern and Truck Stop in Britt, Minnesota tried to teach me to play the spoons when I was four years old but my hands were too small. What a memory. I need to make a special mention of Chuck Cecil’s Swingin Years for reminding me of this version of the song. Chuck Cecil played Top Ten records for all of the Swingin’ Years including this one from 1947.
This is the original recording of the song in 1924 with Isham Jones conducting the Ray Miller Orchestra and Frank Bessenger on vocal. Isham is pronounced “Eyeshum.” He had teamed up with Gus Kahn who wrote the lyric and who also wrote the lyric for their other big hit, “It Had To Be You.” By the time this was recorded, Isham Jones was an established band leader as well as a music composer. His first band began touring in 1911. An interesting note on his musicians was his tuba player. He was a full blooded Sioux Nation member named Chief Red Cloud ( who also was called John Kuhn.) Red Cloud had previously played with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and the John Phillip Sousa Marine Corps Band. He joined Isham Jones band in 1920. Isham Jones’s Orchestras also included such future leaders and composers as Gordon Jenkins, Claude Thornhill. For more, click on the link.
I wrote earlier that I would give Art Tatum a rest. But I read on the KTLA news site that Andre Previn has passed away. The Previn family fled Nazi Germany in 1938 and settled in Los Angeles. He was a musical prodigy and did musical orchestrations for the movies. He won four Oscars including one for the 1964 movie My Fair Lady. Later in the 1960‘s, he became a symphony orchestra conductor at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the London Royal Philharmonic.
According the KTLA, he became interested in Jazz after hearing Art Tatum’s recording of Sweet Lorraine. There will never be another Art Tatum. And there will never be another Andre Previn.
This version of I’ll See You In My Dreams is not from the famous George Harrison tribute in 2001. It is from A Best of Joe Brown Album (Fifty Six and Taller Than You Think) and is note for note the same as the performance of the George Harrison Tribute. Now, it wouldn’t surprise me if most people hearing this song thought it was written by the Beatles or Joe Brown. Many will find it surprising that in five years, I’ll See You In My Dreams will be 100 years old.
It might have been that, in addition to the lyric of the song, Joe Brown was also recognizing the early origins of the Beatles as individual musicians in what in England were known as Skiffle bands. Skiffle bands played a variety of Dixieland or blues played on string instruments and kazoo’s. Joe Brown’s version of I’ll See You In My Dreams was also very much inspired by an early best selling version of the tune on a record by Ukulele Ike (Cliff Edwards.) Nothing wrong with that, I might add. I’ll play that version in a few weeks.
On behalf of Isham Jones and Gus Kahn, it would be very heart warming that their song has had so many updated versions and revivals. Cliff Edwards would also be smiling at the thought that his interpretation of the song lives on today.
So I offer a brief history here for the next 20 weeks of the many twists and turns of Isham (pronounced Eyesham) Jones’s and Gus Kahn’s I’ll See You In My Dreams. It has certainly proven adaptable and it has survived incredibly well for a song written and first performed in 1924 and played and performed up to the present day, almost 100 years later. Recorded music had a long way to go in sound quality, but this song survived nonetheless. Next week will be the first version recorded in 1924. If you come late to this collection, I suggest you space them out as you listen so that you don’t get tired of the melody.
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February 20th is Nancy Wilson’s birthday. She passed away in December but asked that she be remembered on her birthday. So here it is. Here is the late Nancy Wilson singing the great old Ray Noble song, The Very Thought Of You. This is a clip from an ABC Television broadcast of the Hollywood Palace in 1964. Nancy Wilson had a wonderfully powerful voice and her phrasing was superb. This was broadcast on television about the time I was buying her records.
I had lost touch with her career in later in years. So, I was saddened to hear of her passing this past December. I was surprised to learn that she was living in the California high desert town of Pioneertown. My family once owned property about 10 miles from there from 1956-1994. Her Wikipedia page listed lung problems a decade ago. Pioneertown would be an excellent place to live with lung problems. The air in the California high desert is clean, clear and dry.
This old Ray Noble song sung by Nancy Wilson back in the 1960‘s is a treasured memory. This was how she preferred to record her music…in live performances. Today, February 20, she would have been 81 and I understand that today there is to be a Celebration of her Life. R.I.P. Sweet Lady.
Well, it’s Valentines Day so why not play the song I’m in Love Again, an early one written by Cole Porter? This was a Red Nichols band called the Six Hottentots. Red Nichols seemed to have a new name for his group on every record session, but he made a lot of great records in his era. The session was from 1927, and consisted of Red Nichols, cornet; Miff Mole trombone; Jimmy Dorsey clarinet and alto sax; Arthur Schutt, piano; Joe Tarto on tuba; Vic Berton, drums; and Irving Kaufman sang the vocal. Recording Date March 23, 1927. Atticus Jazz has a tremendous photo collection from the era. These photos are of Carole Lombard (1908-1942.) She was primarily an actress in “screwball” comedies. Tragically, she died in a plane crash while promoting World War II war bonds. For more on Carole Lombard, see here.
I have decided to relaunch the University of Calidus Aura website for the time being. I will start posting sometime later in February. I don’t see any evidence of vandalism and quite a few people have subscribed since I quit posting so I’ll take another shot at it. I’m giving Fats and Art a rest; I’ve posted plenty of their records. I will be posting once a week and see how it goes. Most of the posts will be on a special theme which I will write about when I post about it.
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With regret, especially for the recent subscribers, I am now announcing the closing of the University of Calidus Aura website. Hackers have succeeded in disabling the security software I recently installed. I wrote when I stopped posting that if the hacking didn’t stop, I would shut it down. I didn’t start this website as an amusement park for thieves. I meant what I wrote.
It was all right when all I had to do was think up music for three posts and write what I knew about it and why I was posting it. This website was a hobby for me. I didn’t expect to make any money off it. I posted links to Amazon for my books, although that didn’t work very well. But, I enjoyed posting the music so it didn’t matter so much.
There won’t be any more posts after this one. I will take it down no later than the end of the month. So don’t subscribe, it will soon be gone.
Thanks to all my subscribers. With the deepest regret, goodbye and good luck.
With regret, I am announcing another hiatus from posting on this blog. Since I installed new security software, my email box has been overwhelmed with notices of failed hacking attempts. I do have the IP address and in some cases the names of the persons involved.
This is very stupid. There is nothing here of value to steal. Any attempt to alter the contents would be immediately reversed. I suppose the challenge of trying to break the code is just too attractive for some, but to me, it’s just a pain in the ass. I feel it’s like people trying to steal my house keys.
I am not naive about human nature, having once been involved in politics and having studied Thomas Hobbes and Baltasar Gracian. I was never one of those who believed that the internet would change human nature, as did some of my friends. Along with the good it would do, I knew that it would multiply exponentially the opportunities for crime and evil. And it has.
I love playing this old music but I don’t need to do this. To borrow a quote from B.B. King, “The Thrill Is Gone.” In other ways, I have taken and I am taking steps to reduce my presence online.
But, I want to thank all those who have subscribed to this site. I am glad to have found a worldwide audience with almost 8,000 subscribers. I hope I have shown that there is a musical gold mine hidden in dark closets, or out in the garage. To my subscribers, good luck and probably Goodbye: