Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Radio Tribute to Glenn Miller: How Perry Como Met Benny Goodman

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Radio Tribute to Glenn Miller: How Perry Como Met Benny Goodman

Article excerpt

Many who have written about the Red Norvo and His Selected Sextet session for Comet Records seem to assume seven otherwise unconnected musicians walked into a New York studio and cut four wondrous sides as if by magic. Norvo, Wilson, and Stewart were then currently playing in the Benny Goodman Sextet, which was appearing with the full orchestra at the 400 Restaurant in New York City. All three were well known to one another and had been playing in the Sextet since late January. They would record again in June and July as part of a Sextet that included Specs Powell on drums. And at the time, Powell was a CBS staff musician assigned to the Mildred Bailey radio show. So it happened that Norvo, Wilson, and Powell broadcast with her in 1944 and early 1945. The last program in the series was aired February 9, and transcribed for AFRS! The complete one-hour show was issued on Popular Music Replacement #16 (A-SSM-3-27 RE-1/A-SSM-3-27-2 RE-1).

Included are selections by each of the featured artists, with excellent support from the Paul Barron Orchestra. Mildred is marvelous, displaying her usual impeccable pitch and enunciation, and showing how she can soar melodiously up the C clef.

Perry Como's Goodbye, Sue [February 9, 1945]

Also part of the V-Disc session were Mildred Bailey, Perry Como, and the 'Brazilian Bombshell' Carmen Miranda. The order of performance as broadcast over WEAF was:

After You've Gone - Benny Goodman and his V-Disc All Star Band

There'll Be a Jubilee - Mildred Bailey with Benny Goodman All Star Band

Goodbye, Sue - vocal by Perry Como with Benny Goodman All Star Band

Hallelujah! - Benny Goodman and His V-Disc Quartette

These Foolish Things - vocal by Mildred Bailey with Benny Goodman All Star Band

Tico, Tico - vocal by Carmen Miranda with Benny Goodman All Star Band

Darktown Strutters Ball - Goodman All Star Band

Closing theme

Program announcer, the composer and music critic Deems Taylor, introduces each number. Filling out the half-hour were pep talks about the war effort and the need for the American public to continue buying U.S. War Bonds to make sure our fighting men and women had the weapons, supplies, and support they need to win the war. Taylor asks how Goodman assembled his All Stars. He explains that everyone he contacted was eager to help. He then identifies each player: Charlie Shavers, Yank Lawson, Roy Eldridge, Mickey McMickle, trumpets; Vernon Brown, Ward Silloway, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, Reggie Merrill, alto saxophones; Art Rollini, Wolfe Tayne, tenor saxophones; Ernie Caceres, baritone saxophone; Teddy Wilson, piano; Tommy Kaye, guitar; Gene Traxler, bass; and Specs Powell, drums. Eldridge takes blistering solos on After You've Gone and Darktown Strutters Ball, showing what a thrilling player he could be.

Como had been the boy singer with the Ted Weems Orchestra from 1936 to 1942 when Weems disbanded and joined the Merchant Marines. Como's last popular recording with Weems was Deep in the Heart of Texas, released in early 1942 on Decca 4138, although their version was eclipsed in popularity by other versions: Alvino Rey, Bing Crosby, and Horace Heidt. Como then secured his own CBS radio show and recorded Goodbye, Sue Sunday, June 20, 1943 in two takes at RCA Victor's Studio 2 in New York City, backed by a mixed chorus of 10 singers, this still being the time of the Musicians' Union recording ban. With words and music by Jimmy Rule, Lou Ricca, and Jules Loman, the tune was released on RCA Victor 20-1538, paired with There'll Soon Be a Rainbow. Goodbye, Sue was later reissued on RCA Victor 20-1919, backed by the 1933 Nacio Herb Brown-Arthur Freed tune Temptation, which was featured in the 1945 M-G-M film Going Hollywood. With orchestra conducted by Ted Steele, Temptation was cut at RCA Victor Studio 2 Tuesday, March 27, 1945.

Como's first major hit came in August 1945, with the swoony Till the End of Time, released on RCA Victor 20-1709. …

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