“To help you relax and renew the energy all of us need these days,” here’s a recording of To Your Good Health from the House of Squibb. Lyn Murray directs the Squibb Orchestra and Chorus of Stars, with Hubie Hendrie.
This program includes a medley from the Broadway revival of “The Merry Widow,” (“Girls Girls Girls,” “Veila” and “Maxim’s”), “Molly on the Shore,” and “Where e’er You Walk.”
Contrary to what this broadcast is called, this isn’t a rehearsal. It’s a program that was produced in Detroit featuring Gus Haenschen and his orchestra. I found a great site that gave a history of Gus Haenschen (Tim’s Phonographs and Old Records), who also went by the name of Carl Fenton until 1927. Here’s the info that’s pertinent to this recording:
During the World War II years he conducted an all-string orchestra for a weekly show from Detroit sponsored by beer manufacturer Stroh’s. The show was broadcast in the Mid-West (Stroh’s was not sold in the Eastern states at the time). Singers included Margaret Daum and baritone Thomas L. Thomas.
That’s exactly what we have here, including Margaret Daum and Thomas L. Thomas. Unfortunately this show is not complete. My disc is marked #2 of 2, and I don’t seem to have #1. It also ends abruptly during an awesome commercial for Stroh’s Bohemian Beer. I do have quite a few other recordings of “Gus Haenschen’s Rehearsal” (15, I think), many of which are complete—and some of which I’m sure will have that great commercial in its entirety.
This program includes “I’m Making Believe,” “Tango of Roses” (in a rumba arrangement), and “White Christmas.” The first piece on the record is not credited during the program, but my grandpa’s index cards include a song called “Wang Wang Blues.” I’m guessing that’s what the first piece is.
One thing that makes me chuckle every time I hear this is the enthusiastic applause of the studio audience… which sounds like about three people.
If you’re using a screen reader, click here to go to my BandCamp site for a Flash-free download.
Today’s recording isn’t Christmas-y, but it was originally recorded on December 16, 1944 for broadcast on WJR on December 17, 1944 at 3:15-3:30am. That seems a suitable time of day for this recording, since (in my opinion) it would make a great cure for insomnia. This just isn’t my favorite style of music.
This is a program of Howard Smith on piano. He was born October 9, 1910 and from what I could find about him seemed to be a popular studio musician at the time. He recorded with Adrian Rollini (Adrian Rollini 1934-1938), Red Norvo (Knockin’ on Wood), Tommy Dorsey (This is Tommy Dorsey), and Tommy Dorsey and the Clambake Seven (The Complete Tommy Dorsey Vols. V and VI ) (thanks to www.raysherman.net/BANDS2.html for all that info). He also played with the Freeman String Band in the early ’50s (thanks to www.dixieswing.com/vol16.pdf). That’s about all I could find about him.
This recording contains only three songs: Body and Soul, I Told Every Little Star, and When a Woman Loves a Man. They are solo piano, no other instruments. The actual program was a little longer, but I wasn’t able to play the entire disc due to cracking and delamination of the shellac around the edges of the disc. I think I must have only lost one song though, since my recording is around 13 minutes long and each disc side can only hold 15 minutes. There are a some bursts of noise throughout the recording each lasting a few seconds long. I did my best with noise reduction but they’re still there.
This definitely isn’t my favorite disc in the collection, but since today is the 66th anniversary of its airing I thought it was as good a time as any to post it.
Here’s the link to the download page for those using screen readers: 12-16-1944
The podcast will include just the audio file and basic information—for all the juicy details you’ll still need to come here. Audio streaming will still be available here at the blog, courtesy of my bandcamp site. High-quality downloads will also still be available that way.
If there’s anything else I can do to make my material more accessible please let me know and I’ll do my best to accommodate. Thanks for your patience!
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I just found out that “Winter Wonderland” on my Christmas 1946 disc is from Perry Como’s “Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music.” Windows Media Player automagically found it for me when I was sampling my MP3 conversion. Now I feel like I’m being watched somehow.
Edited 12/15, 9:30am: I realized after posting this that there was a long period of silence at the beginning of the audio file. I’ve removed that and reloaded the file.
Today we move ahead a year to the disc my grandpa made for Christmas 1946. Here we have lots of Bing and what I think is Glenn Miller and his orchestra doing Jingle Bells—not sure about that, though. It’s a fun arrangement.
The songs on this disc include Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, O Come All Ye Faithful, and White Christmas. I’m pretty sure that everything but Jingle Bells is Bing Crosby (but again, I’m not positive). Winter Wonderland is by Perry Como, O Come All Ye Faithful is by Frank Sinatra and Silent Night is by Bing Crosby (thanks to readers Ed and Ray for getting me all the correct attributions). This recording is very noisy, despite having been run through my noise reduction program. I think it must have gotten a lot of play over the years.
Thanks again for all the encouraging messages and comments. I always welcome any suggestions or information that you might be able to pass along!
Here’s the link to the download page for those using screen readers: Christmas 1946
I can’t even tell you how excited I am to put this recording up. You see, I didn’t think it was possible. This record is cracked. Not just scratched or delaminating, but cracked all the way through from rim to label. In fact, I think the label is the only thing holding it together.
I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I had nothing to lose, except maybe my stylus. I put the record on the turntable and had to press it down to snap it together. But… it worked! I am amazed at how well this recording turned out.This is also my first recording using the noise reduction program. It did a really good job. Unfortunately it doesn’t take out clicks/pops, so those are still audible.
This is a record my grandpa made for his own use, for Christmas 1945. It includes “All Around the Christmas Tree,” by Warnow and Todd; an instrumental medley of “Skip to my Lou,” “Polly Wolly Doodle,” “Baby Bumblebee,” and “Jingle Bells” (performer unknown); “White Christmas,” by Bing Crosby (from the White Christmas album); and the hippest, coolest big band arrangement of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” that I’ve ever heard. I wish I knew who it was by!
Here is a link to the page with the audio file: Christmas 1945. Those of you using screen readers should have better success with downloading if you go there. For everyone else, here you go:
Well, I’m realizing I was being a bit overly ambitious when I said I’d try to post new audio every day. Recording and editing is taking longer than I thought it would. Life also gets in the way: Christmas, kids, yadda yadda. So I’m readjusting my expectations. I’m still planning to put up new audio several times a week—my goal is going to be around three files posted per week.
I just got a new noise reduction plug-in and am in the process of figuring it out: Voxengo Redunoise. It seems like it’s going to make a big difference in the audio quality of my posts, so I think I’m going to wait a few days and see if I can get it figured out. If it seems like it’s going to take me longer than that I’ll go ahead and put another file or two up, but I’d like to wait and try to improve the sound of what I’m doing.
Speaking of Christmas, I’m going to try to get some Christmas music up soon. I don’t think I have any complete shows of holiday music, but my grandpa made some recordings for his own use that have some good stuff on them. Some you’ve heard before (White Christmas, anyone?) but some you might not have (how about a version of Jingle Bells done with each chorus in a different language?).
I know some readers have had issues with Bandcamp, the site that’s hosting my audio files. They have informed me that they’re working on getting the Flash programming removed from their download flow and hope to have that resolved in the next couple of weeks. I want to wait and see how that goes before giving up on them. I like the fact that they provide both streaming and downloads in such a variety of formats, and it keeps things simple for me. I’m also still working on getting a podcast going. Just keep watching (and listening to) this space!
Sorry it’s been a few days since my last post. Life got a little crazy over the weekend. But I’m back with another audio file for you!
Today’s recording is a CBS show of Joan Brooks songs, which apparently was broadcast several times each week. The end of this recording is very bad. The lacquer on the disc has cracked, so the last few seconds skipped terribly. If anyone knows a way to “fix” this kind of cracking enough that it can be recorded, please contact me. I have quite a few records in this condition.
“CBS brings you Joan Brooks, the girl with the voice you won’t forget,” with Archie Bleyer and his orchestra. Includes “Look for the silver lining,” “I dream of you,” “Love, love, love,” “Don’t take your love from me,” “How much do I love you,” and “The blue room” (instrumental). One song has a nice dedication from a girl to her guy who is a staff sergeant in the war.
On a side note, I am working on getting a podcast going. I’m hoping that by the weekend I’ll be able to get it up and running. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who’s stopped by and who has contacted me with encouragement on this project. I really appreciate it!
Here’s some great wartime material. In this episode of the serial drama “This Life is Mine,” Eden felt sure she wanted to marry Bob Hastings. But she was engaged to Paul Warner, who is away in the war. A “Dear John” letter is written to Paul. Starring Betty Winkler in the role of Eden Channing.
Dated 2-16-1944, for broadcast on 2-17-44 at 3:00-3:15am.