|Welcome to the Seventh Floor of
Jan's 78 RPM Record Warehouse
All of the music selections presented here are from my personal collection of 78's. To listen to an individual selection, simply click on the record label.
George Fisher and his Kit-Kat Band with the Three New Yorkers - with Vocal Chorus - Metropole 1004 - M.17-2
Recorded London, Spring 1928. I was unable to find any information about this lovely recording in the books, so I posted a question to a British dance bands newsgroup British dancebands newsgroup and to my surprise received a reply from Ned Newitt of Leicester, son of the original Kit-cat banjoist Nigel Newitt. Ned supplied the following information. The Kit-Cat Club was one of the most exclusive clubs in London's West End after WW1. It became the favourite late-night spot for film stars, composers and writers, as well as the Prince of Wales. Leader George Fisher (Fishberg) (photo) was an American pianist, who had recruited some of the top British dance band musicians of the day to play at the club. Between March 1928 and January 1929 nearly 70 sides were recorded. The Three New Yorkers were a genuine American vocal trio. After WW2 Fisher became accompanist to Marlene Dietrich during her world tours. Ned Newitt has a website about the Kit-Cat Band.
no angel (Dubois-Ellison-Brooks)
Mae West - avec accompagnement d'orchestre - Brunswick - LA 33A CA - A 500.349
Recorded Los Angeles, October 3, 1933. Mae West was born on August 17, 1893, in Brooklyn, New York. She learnt her comedic techniques as a child star in Vaudeville. As she grew older, she began writing plays of her own. She wrote, produced and directed the 1926 Broadway show Sex, for which she was jailed on obscenity charges. With Diamond Lil (1928), she became the toast of Broadway and in 1932 signed with Paramount. She became a controversial sex symbol in the US. Here you can hear her singing the title song of her third film in which she co-starred with Cary Grant. Of her singing style she said, "I did the "operatic" bit just to show that I can sing, but I preferred to half-speak most of my songs, it gave them a more suggestive effect". By the time she retired from the silver screen, she had made nine films. Of those, she had writer's credits for five. She attempted a comeback in the 70's without success. She died on November 22, 1980, of natural causes. NB. the recording session was exactly 25 years earlier on the same day as I was born!
Dance (A. Cfasman)
Orchestra conducted by A. Cfasman - Leningrad Factory - #3 - 6376/4 - ?-0386 - rocy5289-50 - Ministry of culture of the USSR
April 22, 2001 I
visited Tallinn, capital of Estonia. Until 1991 Estonia
was part of the Soviet Union and traces of that history
can still be found in the many antique shops in this
pretty medieval town. In one of
these shops I purchased a pile of Soviet 78's. Most of
them are rather dull folk tunes with lots of accordion
accompaniment, but the recording presented here is
different and sounds like jazz! Gene from Boston, USA, supplied me with the following info: Alexander Cfasman (Tsfasman) - pianist, conductor, arranger and band leader was quite famous in the USSR in his times (1920's-60's). He was born Dec 14, 1906 in Eastern Ukraine (Zaporizze), as son of the local barber. He studied music since he was 7 (violin, then piano) and graduated from Moscow Conservatory (Bluemenfield's class) in the early 1920's. His first band (AMA-Jazz) was formed in Moscow in 1926. They played big restaurants, movie theaters (before the viewing) and the prestigeous Ermitage-Garden. In 1928 - their first radiobroadcast and then records. As the jazz became less and less acceptable for the powers to be in the communist establishment, his style transformed, in the attempt to preserve some of the improvisationial spirit of the jazz without being banned or better yet, imprisoned. They succeeded. The band never quite fall out of favour, had quite a few records in the late 30's and 40's and, finally, in 1946, Tsfasman's band becomes an official Staff Orchestra of the All-Union (Federal) Radio Committee.
Song (Weill, Anderson)
Jo Stafford - Vocal, with Orchestra conducted by Lloyd Shaffer - Capitol CAP.1249 - CL.13372
Recorded October 18, 1946. One of my favourite singers singing a beautiful song by one of my favourite composers, Kurt Weill. He wrote it with his good friend Maxwell Anderson for the show Knickerbocker Holiday (opening New York Oct.19, 1938). Jo Stafford was born November 12, 1920 in Coalinga, near Fresno, California, USA. She was one of the most popular female singers of the 40s and 50s. While still at high school she studied serious music with the intention of pursuing a career as a classical soprano. After five years she abandoned this idea and joined her two older sisters in their country music act, but later left to freelance on radio with the seven-man vocal group, the Pied Pipers. In 1939 they joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and reduced the group to a quartet. While with Dorsey, Jo had solo success with various recordings. When the Pipers left Dorsey in 1942, she was soon out on her own as one of the top stars of the 40's. She married ex-Dorsey arranger Paul Weston, who became her musical alter ego. Between the releases of many of their hits, Jo and her husband also made a series of albums as "Jonathan and Darlene Edwards", in which they wickedly sent up amateur pianists and singers. Nowadays Jo lives a quiet life in Los Angeles. Click here for the photo with autograph that Jo Stafford sent me.
Taut I Taw a Puddy Tat (Livingston, May)
Mel Blanc - Vocal, with Music by Billy May - Capitol CAP.6170-1D-1 - CL.13407
Recorded June 29, 1950. Born Melvin Jerome Blank on May 30, 1908, in San Francisco, Mel Blanc was the famed voice of popular and beloved animated cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Pie, Sylvester and many others. Known as "The Man of 1,000 Voices", Blanc's voice, as these cartoon characters, became instantly recognisable to generations of children, starting from the golden era of Merrie Melodies cartoons by Warner Bros. He began his career in show business as a musician and radio performer in 1927, when he sang and performed on a Portland radio show called "The Hoot Owls". His first Warner Bros. character was a drunken bull in the 1937 Looney Tunes short, Picador Porky. As legend has it, the actor playing Porky Pig in that short actually did stutter. A few months later, Mel took over the role, stuttering intact, and created Daffy Duck at the same time. His final cartoon contribution came with 1988's popular animation/live action film "Who framed Roger Rabbit?" in which he did all his famous cartoon characters for the last time. He died in 1989 in Los Angeles. On this recording, which features Blanc in a duet as the little yellow bird Tweetie Pie and Sylvester the Cat, he is accompanied by none less than Billy May and his band. On this same session the band also recorded with Fanny Brice/Baby Snooks.