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  Big Bands on One Night Stand, Volume 3 - 10 hours [Download] #RA663



 
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The Big Bands on One Night Stand
Volume 3




Woody Herman and his Orchestra circia 1946Twentieth century America enjoyed many trends in musical entertainment - vaudeville to operetta to musical theater, blues to rhythm and blues to rock and roll, fiddle tunes to backwoods bluegrass to country western, disco to hip-hop to rap - but the music of the big band era, encompassing musical compositions from many different sources, has proved to be one of our most memorable and enduring styles. Although the heyday of the big band s was relatively brief - roughly 1935 to 1946 - the sounds and music of this era remain a strong influence on popular music today.

It's no coincidence that the rise of radio, recordings, and motion pictures corresponded with the rise of the big bands. All of these forms of entertainment and communication relied strongly on a constant influx of music to fill the airwaves, the juke boxes, and the movie screens of America - entertainment that a growing number of bands were more than happy to provide. In earlier years, when a band relied almost solely on a constant schedule of personal appearances to gain name recognition, radio and records allowed a band to perform in a single location and still be heard and enjoyed by many more people than could fit into even the largest theater or ballroom. When economic times were tough and there was little money to be spent on entertainment, a musical program or recording played on radio could still be enjoyed by those of even the most limited means. And during the war years, when there was a constant need for morale boosting both stateside and overseas, the big bands played literally thousands of war production plants, military installations, and GI-friendly nightspots to entertain both troops and civilians alike.

From about 1943 on, the music of the big bands was also heard by soldiers, sailors, Marines, and Coast Guard personnel worldwide via the shortwave outlets of the Armed Forces Radio Service, which made it a practice to record the thousands of live remote broadcasts that aired nightly over all of the nationwide radio networks. Undergoing only nominal editing (usually to remove date-specific references), the AFRS pressed these broadcasts onto 16" vinyl records and distributed them throughout the world to be played and heard exclusively by military personnel. Since musical remotes were almost always aired live in the late night hours and seldom recorded for domestic rebroadcast, the efforts of the AFRS have left us with an impressive musical legacy: thousands of hours of musical entertainment featuring hundreds of orchestras performing at the top hotels, ballrooms, nightclubs, and theaters of the time.

Sonny Dunham and his Orchestra take a break from the traditional travel of bus and auto and, instead, hop a streamlined plane to make their next engagement One of the delights of hearing these live broadcasts today, in addition to the quality and variety of the music, is their sheer sense of immediacy. It's one thing to hear recordings made by the bands and orchestras of the 1940s and 1950s, but quite another to hear these same aggregations live and, essentially, in person. In much the same way that watching a televised stage play at home is far different that seeing that same play with an audience in a theater, it's immediately apparent that the musicians gained considerable energy and enthusiasm when they were playing for an excited and responsive audience. Likewise, knowing full well that a sizable radio audience could lead to equally sizable record sales and increased attendance for in-person appearances, most bandleaders rehearsed their groups to be as polished, professional, and exciting as possible when on the air, resulting in bright performances often highlighted by distinctive solo work.

Of course, that same enthusiasm that could make a remote broadcast an exciting event could also lead to problems - particularly when one considers all that can possibly go wrong during any live performance. Soloists found their microphones had accidentally been turned off, leaving them struggling to be heard over a host of well-amplified sidemen; a gorgeous passage in an instrumental number might come across oddly unbalanced if the sound engineer wasn't informed of the need to emphasize the reeds over the brass in the mix; an announcer might trip over his tongue introducing a vocalist, lose his place in the script, or - as is the case with one of the broadcasts in this collection - even forget the name of the bandleader he's introducing! (We shouldn't forget that most of these shows were being broadcast during the late night hours, when the liquor flowed freely and even the most conscientious of announcers must have been tempted to take the occasional nip.)

Taken in total, however, and even with the occasional mistakes and mishaps, this collection of live broadcasts truly brings to life the sounds, the emotions, and the genuine thrills of the big band era. Listening to these rare recordings well over half a century after they were first heard is rather like stepping into a time machine. Close your eyes and it's easy to imagine dancing among the two or three thousand people at the vast Hollywood Palladium, sharing a drink with the sophisticates at the Copacabana, or dining in the elegant Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, site of so many cotillions and special events. Likewise, hearing broadcasts from Frank Dailey's legendary Meadowbrook Ballroom, the New Jersey nightspot where so many bands got their big break at a national audience, makes one wish that that time machine really existed - if only to spend a few hours reveling in the music of an earlier time.

This collection, the third in a series taken from the Armed Forces Radio Service "One Night Stand" radio series, offers a diverse array of orchestras, heard in broadcasts dating from between 1944 and 1958. We offer twenty broadcasts featuring eighteen different bands - in many cases performing at the height of their popularity. As you listen to these programs, you'll hear melodies both familiar and obscure, Hit Parade favorites as well as once-popular songs that have since faded from memory. In addition to the piano artistry of Stan Kenton, the smooth saxophone of Freddy Martin, the trumpet of Louis Prima, and Tony Pastor's swinging rhythms, you'll "Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye", dance to the deep, deep vocals of Vaughn Monroe, and enjoy performances by the orchestras of Sonny Dunham, Henry Busse, Lucky Millinder, Randy Brooks, and many, many more of the best bands in the land.


#209 Sonny Dunham and his Orchestra from the Café Rouge, Hotel Pennsylvania, New York City
with vocals by Billy Usher, Pat Cameron, and Howard Waller
Friday, April 14, 1944 - 30:00 - AFRS

#371 Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra from the Astor Roof, Hotel Astor, New York City, New York
with vocals by Nancy Norman, Sally Stewart, Billy Williams, and the Three Kaydettes
Monday, August 14, 1944 - 30:00 - AFRS

#737 Henry Busse and his Orchestra from the Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, California
with vocals by Elaine Bauer, Phil Gray, and Wyatt Howard
Thursday, September 14, 1944 - 30:00 - AFRS

#705 Louis Prima and his Orchestra from Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, Cedar Grove, New Jersey
with vocals by Lucy Ann Polk and Louis Prima

Saturday, December 23, 1944 - 30:00 - AFRS

Freddy Martin#545 Freddy Martin and his Orchestra from the Cocoanut Grove, Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, California (#545)
with vocals by Artie Wayne, Gene Cochran, Glen Hughes, and The Martin Men

Wednesday, January 3, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

#761 Joe Reichman and his Orchestra from the Biltmore Bowl, Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, California
with vocals by Maureen O'Connor, Ray Sherrill, and Jimmy Castle

Tuesday, February 6, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

#725 Vaughn Monroe and his Orchestra from the Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, California

(The AFRS announcer incorrectly identifies this broadcast as emanating from the Hotel Commodore, New York City.)
with vocals by Vaughn Monroe, The Norton Sisters, and Johnny Bond
Thursday, February 8, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

#634 Tony Pastor and his Orchestra from the Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, California
(The AFRS announcer incorrectly identifies this broadcast as emanating from Jantzen Beach, Portland, Oregon.)
with vocals by Ruth McCullough and Tony Pastor
Tuesday, May 15, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS


#802 Enric Madeguera and his Music of the Americas from the Copacabana, New York City, New York
with vocals by Patricia Gilmore and Eddie Gomez
Thursday, July 5, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

#735 Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra from the Savoy Ballroom, Harlem, New York City, New York
with vocals by Leon Ketchum and solos by George Matthews, trombone, Archie Johnson, trumpet, Bull Moose Jackson, tenor sax, and Charles Thompson, piano
Tuesday, July 10, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

#757 Randy Brooks and his Orchestra from the Roseland Ballroom, New York City
with vocals by Margie Wood, Billy Usher, and Freddy Manne
Saturday, July 14, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

#744 Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra from the Savoy Ballroom, Harlem, New York City, New York
with vocals by Leon Ketchum and solos by Bernie Peacock, clarinet, and Charles Thompson, piano
Wednesday, July 17, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

#702 Woody Herman and his Orchestra from the Cafe Rouge, Hotel Pennsylvania, New York City, New York
with vocals by Frances Wayne and Woody Herman
Monday, August 6, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

Jan Savitt#664 Gay Claridge and his Orchestra from the Chez Paree, Chicago, Illinois
with vocals by Mary Osmond
Tuesday, August 21, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

#762 Jan Savitt and his Orchestra from the Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, California
with vocals by Joanne Ryan
Thursday, September 20, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

#807 Louis Prima and his Orchestra from Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, Cedar Grove, New Jersey
with vocals by Lily Ann Carroll and Louis Prima
Friday, September 28, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

#763 Duke Ellington and his Orchestra from Club Zanzibar, New York City, New York
with vocals by Joya Cherrill and Albert Hibbler
Sunday, October 7, 1945 - 30:00 - AFRS

Charlie Spivak#888 Bob Crosby and his Orchestra from the Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, California
with vocals by Jewel Hopkins, Quiq Quigley, and Bob Crosby
Thursday, February 21, 1946 - 30:00 - AFRS

#1411 Charlie Spivak and his Orchestra from the Marine Ballroom, Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey
with vocals by Tommy Mercer and Rusty Nichols
1947 - 30:00 - AFRS

#4968 Stan Kenton and his Orchestra from the Marine Ballroom, Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey
1958 - 30:00 - AFRTS


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