Archive for January, 2010

I’ve had a hard time finding out  much about the contents of this record. It’s a little odd. I think I’ve figured it out, though.

The label makes it look like this was the on-air broadcast disc. But when I played it, I found that at the beginning there’s one piece of music by a different band, then some dead air, then the second part of a “Music by Warrington” program which just fades out at the end. My guess is that my grandpa saw that there was enough blank space at the beginning of the record to squeeze in another song, so that’s what he did after the broadcast but before taking the disc home.

The first piece is “Siboney.” In my grandpa’s notes he said it was by Warrington, but it’s obviously not part of that program. The announcer says it’s “Andre Castellanich and his 45 Caballeros.”  I’m not sure of the spelling of the band leader’s name, and a Google search using various spellings found nothing for either him or the band. Maybe someone out there can fill me in on them.  Edit: thanks to reader Marcel for letting me know that the bandleader is André Kostelanetz.

Now, “Music by Warrington.” Johnny Warrington was a band leader, composer and arranger who had a show out of Philadelphia in the 1940s, which is where this broadcast came from. He became a prolific arranger in the ’50s and his arrangements are still popular with big bands. This program (which is part two of two, and I don’t have part one) includes “Barcarolle,” “Later Tonight,” and “Thou Swell.” Of the arrangement of “Barcarolle,” the announcer says, “Offenbach never meant it that way but it swings merrily along just the same.”  “Later Tonight” is sung by Jack Hunter.  All Google could find about him was that he sang with the Elliot Lawrence Orchestra in Philadelphia.

Another challenge of this recording was the noise level. At the beginning of the record it’s not bad, but toward the end it’s very noisy and has a lot of pops. I had to set the noise reduction kind of in the middle so I didn’t take too much away from the parts that weren’t too bad.

One last note–love my grandpa’s spelling on the label. :)

Here the direct link to my bandcamp page for this program.

“Romance,” 9-6-1943

January 20, 2010

Here is some serious melodrama! Unfortunately I only have part two, so this starts in the middle of the story. This episode is called “Wild Oranges,” based on a book by Joseph Hergesheimer. Helen Claire and Lawson Zerbe star.

Here’s the direct link to the bandcamp page for this program.

I asked my mom, Nansie Rice, to write down her memories of my grandpa. I wanted everyone to get a feel for the real person who was behind this collection. This will be available on the “About Grandpa” page as well, but I thought I do a post first so it wasn’t overlooked. Here is the first installment.

The early years, 1918-1943

Keith W. Kinney was born October 29, 1918. Because of the depression, he quit school in about 9th grade and worked at various jobs to help out at home which was in the little town of Davisburg, Michigan. Among other things, he was a substitute rural mail carrier and early on started repairing radios at home.

At some point probably  in the mid-1930’s, he worked  as a house boy for a Mrs. Cora Waterbury. She and her husband also owned two restaurants–the “big” Canteen and the “small” Canteen (located across from each other on Dixie Highway at the corner of Davisburg Road, Springfield Township, Michigan)  and she soon hired Keith as a cook and counter man.

In 1939, he married my mother, Eleanor Grenier, who also worked at the canteen (as did her two brothers, George and Andy,  who actually introduced my parents). Mom and Dad lived in a really little house behind the big Canteen and were still living there when my brother Darrell was born in 1941. All along, Keith continued repairing radios. I can remember from when I was a little girl that his radio workbench was upstairs, under the eaves at my Grandma Kinney’s house.

He started taking correspondence courses in radio engineering from Michigan State College and continued working at the Canteen. According to grandma, he would take his books with him and worked on his studies at the Canteen when he wasn’t busy, especially at night. Mom says sometimes he would tinker on radios there too.

During this time, he had a regular customer who stopped for coffee almost nightly on his way to and from his job at WJR in Detroit (that was a very long drive in those days).   He saw Keith both working hard on his studies and tinkering on radios and so  encouraged him to keep studying and talked to him about working in radio.  He promised Keith that once he completed his course of study, he would help him apply for a job at WJR. He kept his promise and after Keith completed the correspondence courses, he was hired by WJR in 1943.


At WJR sometime in the 1940s. Keith is in the back, fourth from the left with the bushy eyebrows.

Memories of the records, 1943-1957

I was born in 1943 while my parents lived in an apartment over the hardware store in Davisburg. Within a couple years we moved to a house on Andersonville Road also right in Davisburg. Many (most) of my early memories of my dad are directly tied to  music and the “Big Records” (that’s what we always called them). In my memory, any time dad was at home, the records were being played. I don’t remember anything being played that I didn’t like–just some I liked more than others.

I loved the Al Jolson songs–I can still remember the arrangements and most of the words to the many of the songs on the two big records of Jolson music. I can remember dad singing along and dramatizing all the songs–arms outstretched and on one knee singing the finale of  “Mammy”!  “Rock-a-bye your Baby with a Dixie Melody” was another one we really hammed up. There was a skip on the recording of April Showers and Dad would put his hands to his throat as though choking at that exact moment. I really liked the “hit parade” records and knew all the words to songs like “Together,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,”  “I’ll Walk Alone,” “Sentimental Journey,” “Always,”  and other wartime sentimental tunes.   The big band sounds weren’t my favorite, but I liked them all.

We also often listened to pieces that were more classical in sound– “Peter and the Wolf” was a favorite of mine as was “Grand Canyon Suite.” My brother loved Bizet’s “Carmen” and Dad’s very favorite was always “Rhapsody in Blue.” That was high on the favorites list for the rest of us as well.

There were also records containing comedy routines, some of which were off-color and placed on a high shelf so my brother and I couldn’t reach them. One recording that we could play was  called the “Durante and Moore Opera.” I loved this and for whatever reason memorized the whole routine.  I don’t know a lot about it, except that Jimmy Durante and Garry Moore had a radio show–from which this was taken. Dad had written “Durante and Moore Opera” on the record, but I don’t know if that was a regular segment on the show or if that title refers to this one routine. Bits and pieces have stayed with me all through the years.

Other fun records were ones that contained popular songs like “Marezey Doats” and “Chickery Chick,” and other records specifically with children stories–Uncle Remus, Jack and the Beanstalk (narrated by the “Great Gildersleeve”) among others. The Christmas records were very special.  Every Christmas morning when we were little, we would wake up mom and dad, and then have to wait until we heard “All around the Christmas Tree” playing on the record player. As a teenager in the late 1950’s I remember realizing that in addition to loving the popular music of my day I was totally tuned into and loved the music of generations before.

As a very little girl, I remember dancing with dad at first with my feet on top of his in our living room in Davisburg. As I got older, he taught me the “box step” and we would do that and whatever else he wanted to try. He loved Fred Astaire and often imitated his twirls and dips (especially after a few drinks). I remember dad rolling up the living room rug and sprinkling corn meal (??I think that’s what it was) on the hardwood floor so we could slide and glide better.

I remember learning the Charleston steps from dad and doing it to “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue” or  to the “Darktown Strutters Ball.”  We did the “Hucklebuck” to that recording. Of course, all these tunes were on the big records. I also remember doing the Samba and Tango with dad. In thinking back, I don’t know that he actually knew the real steps to these and other dances,  but we sure had a great time “winging it.”

I picked something that I think is really fun for my first post at the new site. This is a locally-produced show from WJR.  The basic premise is to have a group of women come in and try to answer a few questions quiz-show style, but mostly the point seems to be to make the ladies look silly. They do quite a good job of it.

There are some things in this recording that I find really interesting. Every woman who is chosen gives her complete name and address on the air. Actually, not her complete name; most of them identify themselves as Mrs. (husband’s complete name). Some gave their first names in the course of the conversation, but most don’t until asked for it. The only lady who gave her first name voluntarily wasn’t married; this was confirmed by the host. This group of women are from the PTA at Hubert School, which was in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit and  closed in 2005.  Another really interesting note in the recording is one woman mentioned that she and her family moved to Highland Park to get out of the city. She talks about how hard it is to see her old friends from Brightmoor since she’s moved way out in the country. Anyone from Detroit should find this amusing. If you’d like to know more about Hubert School you can visit www.hubertschool.org, but be aware that there is audio on every page with no button to turn it off. You might want to mute your speakers while perusing the site.

The prize given at the end of the show is awesome. I wish I had one. You’ll have to listen all the way through to find out what it is.

Here’s the direct link to the audio file at my bandcamp page.

I know I haven’t really been around long enough to reinvent myself, but I wasn’t happy with Tumblr from the start. I’ve been using WordPress for so many years that I just couldn’t get used to something different.

Please resubscribe to the RSS feed here. You can click the link in the address bar or the gray RSS icon to the right of the search box. The podcast feeds have not changed, so if you’re already subscribed you don’t need to do anything.

I couldn’t figure out a way to get your comments on the old site transferred over here, which I’m a little sad about. But I’ll go back through them and make sure that I’ve edited anything really important directly into the relevant post.

Now that the migration is done I can get back to the records. I transferred quite a few last weekend after I got the turntable fixed. I should be able to get some quick editing done tomorrow and have a new audio file up by the end of the day.

Confession time

January 9, 2010

I haven’t posted much in the last few weeks, and it wasn’t only because of the holidays. I’ve said that the music I post here would be the playlist on my Grandpa’s iPod; well, I also have what would have been the “iPod” itself: a 1946 Presto 64-A studio transcription turntable. It’s the only thing I have for playing the records.

About a month ago, it stopped working. I was devastated. We thought maybe the motor for the 33.3 drive had burned out and removed the whole motor/transmission assembly. I found a reasonably local guy who thought he could help me, so I took the whole thing up to him. He was able to tell with a quick look that the motor seemed to be fine, and informed me that it was probably the capacitor. That was a relief.

It took quite a lot of searching, but we finally found a capacitor that was close enough to the original specs (no one makes any exactly like what’s in there now). My sweet husband sat down to take out the old one and solder the new one in and discovered that the connection to the old capacitor was broken. A quick solder job and a test connection with the turntable proved that that had been the problem all along. Hooray!

But. When we took the motor assembly out, we found that the motor mounts had completely fallen apart. Everything in this turntable is set up to isolate vibration; there is no direct connection between the motor and the cabinet or the motor and the turntable. The mounts have a rubber isolator set in a metal case. 63 years of oil dripping on the rubber had made two of the four mounts completely disintegrate.

Again, a lot of research was needed to find replacements. There is no “close enough” on these; they have to be exactly the right dimension (especially height) or the whole turntable won’t go together. We finally found a tiny marking on one of the original mounts that gave the name of the manufacturer: Lord Mfg, Erie PA. It turns out that Lord Mfg. is still in business and now supplies the aerospace and other high-tech industries. A customer service representative was extremely helpful on the phone, and found a current part that matches the old one exactly!

The replacement mounts arrived yesterday. We’re installing them this afternoon, then I should be back in business. I’m planning to do a lot of recording in the next couple of days, so by the end of the week I should be able to get back in the swing of editing and posting.

On a side note, I know some people have been having problems with this site. I’m not sure what the issue is, but I’m working on a new site that will be hosted elsewhere. For now, make sure that any bookmarks here point to www.grandpasipod.com (not the tumblr address). That will both continue to bring you here while this site is active and will take you to the new site once I make the change. I’ll keep you posted as I get closer to making that change. My audio files will still be hosted at grandpasipod.bandcamp.com, and the podcast will also stay the same.

Here are pictures of what we went through over the last month.

Grungy and dead. Time to pull it out.

Okay, it’s out; now what?

All cleaned up

Out with the old, in with the new.

All back together, clean and with new mounts!

View from above.

Here’s another episode of “To Your Good Health from the House of Squibb.”  As always, we have the Squibb Orchestra and Chorus of Stars directed by Lyn Murray. Today’s special guest soloist is Audrey Marsh. The program is all music by Vincent Youmans including “Flying Down to Rio,” “More than you Know,” “Orchids in the Moonlight” and “Through the Years.” There is also a nice ad for Squibb Tooth Powder that makes reference to a visit to a warship, and a great public service announcement about not paying more than the government’s posted maximum price for items that were price-restricted during the war.

Direct link to the download page at Bandcamp.

More about the Landt Trio

January 2, 2010

The wonders of the internet! After I posted today’s recording I was able to get in touch with Skip Landt, whose father was part of the Landt Trio. I asked him to share any memories or stories about his father and the group. Here’s what he had to say after hearing this recording for the first time ever.

Most of the talking and joking on this broadcast is my dad, Dan Landt.  Hearing the program for the first time since it went off the air (in 1948!) was a thrill.  But I was amazed at how informal and unrehearsed the “filler”between songs sounded.  What you are hearing was my dad’s “radio voice,” not the way he spoke at home. As other  broadcasts become available, I’ll be curious to hear if they all had  that “put on” quality or if he was sometimes more relaxed.

The trio got started when my dad returned to Scranton, Pa, after serving in WW1 and later doing various jobs; most immediately, selling inflatable “bubble boats” in Florida. In 1927 he was 31; his youngest brother, Jack, was 16, with Karl (the golden voice) in between. Jack and Karl were on the local radio station singing brother duets, sponsored by a battery company (the full story is at landttrio.netfirms.com). Over their mother’s objections, they went to New York City to get into vaudeville, not realizing that it was dying, but instead became pioneers of early radio. They had a number of programs, first (I think) on NBC, then CBS. These included “The 8:15” (in those days an “early morning” program), and “Take it Easy Time,” along with many others including “A Violet for You” and backup singing on the Bob Hawk Show. But their longest running was Sing Along with the Landt Trio, the first “sing along” program on the air—long before Mitch Miller.  It was also, in an extended format, one of the first shows to have game segments.  In “Dig for silver” they’d have a fishbowl of coins — if an audience member got the right answer, she’d get to dig in and keep whatever she came up with. They had other ”name that tune” games with bigger prizes.  What I recall best, visiting such shows with a studio audience, was the way they would get applause. Not only was there a big “APPLAUSE” sign held up for all to see, but a staff member also would hold up a large stuffed animal — which went to the person applauding loudest!

Life has a strange circularity through the generations. As a teenager it never struck me that my enjoyment of folk music “hootnannies” with audience singing was directly related to the audience participation on Sing Along with the Landt Trio.  And I couldn’t have imagined that now, all these years later, after retiring from my career as a college administrator I would teach at a music school (the Old Town School of  Folk Music in Chicago), organizing “jams” which feature group sing-alongs. Or — though there’s nothing more logical — I couldn’t have imagined that I would develop a class in singing/playing ”the old songs,” those from first half of the 20th century and before: just the kind of songs featured on Sing Along with the Landt Trio.  I invite all readers of this blog who live in or visit Chicago to email me or just to stop by the Old Town School, 4544 N. Lincoln,  If you come by at 10 am on Thursdays, you’ll be my guests in Room B-1. We’ll sing “the old songs” like “You are My Sunshine” and, yes, “When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin Along” with a great backup band. Thanks, Lisa, for bringing back such wonderful memories!  skiplandt@sbcglobal.net

And that’s why I’m doing this blog: so people can reconnect (or connect for the first time) with the music and memories contained in these recordings. Thanks, Skip.

Happy New Year!

I’m back with a fun program to start the new year: Sing Along with Karl, Jack and Dan, who were also known as The Landt Trio. This website gives the history of the group along with a catalog of known recordings. There aren’t many.

This program is dated March 27, 1944 for broadcast on WJR on March 28 at 1:00am. Songs include “I Want to be Happy,” “So Little Time,” “Someone Else is Taking my place,” “When the Red Red Robin goes Bob-bob-bobbin’ along” and “Ikki Tikki Tambo” (or something close to that, it’s a little hard to catch exactly what they’re saying). The whole program is a lot of fun; my kids enjoyed listening as I recorded and edited it.

Here’s the direct link to the download page at my bandcamp site.