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57 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 25 November 2012

Today Russell celebrates the centenary of one of the most elegant pianists in the jazz keyboard pantheon - Teddy Wilson. He underlines his fame with two examples of his work: one with his own orchestra and the other as a featured member of the Benny Goodman entourage.

Returning to the subject of an earlier show, Russell clears up the confusion between "the two Irenes". One is Teddy Wilson's ex-wife, Irene Kitchings, who wrote songs for Billie Holiday (including I'm Pulling Through, we hear Diana Krall's version); the other Irene, Irene Higginbotham, also provided Billie with songs and others. Her This Will Make You Laugh is sung by Natalie Cole.

Today's date is also remembered via some famous or notorious recordings. We hear Frank Sinatra at The Villa Venice with a surly take on Goody Goody; Bing Crosby, sounds much sweeter, with Paul Whiteman's orchestra 85 years ago; and Mary, written by Walter Donaldson (who was also behind the far more famous song, My Blue Heaven) is sung for us by Harry Connick Jr.

Among much more melodic magnificence are new releases by Tommy Sands and George Chakiris, The Chordettes with When Day Is Done, and a bit of naughtiness from Jimmie Noone and his Apex Club Orchestra in 1928 - Let's Sow A Wild Oat!

Music Played

13 items
  • Image for Frank Sinatra

    Frank Sinatra Goody Goody

    “Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr: Summit”

    DCC, ARZ 1022

  • Image for Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra

    Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra Mary

    “Bix Restored: Volume 2 [Of A 5 Volume - 13 CD Set]”

    Sunbeam, BX CD6

  • Image for Harry Connick, Jr.

    Harry Connick, Jr. My Blue Heaven

    “Harry Connick Jr – ‘Only You’ ”

    Columbia, 5150462

  • Image for Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra W. Billie Holiday

    Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra W. Billie Holiday What A Little Moonlight Can Do

    “Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra – Too Hot For Words”

    HEP, HEPCD 1012

  • Image for Natalie Cole

    Natalie Cole This Will Make You Laugh

    “Natalie Cole – Take A Look”

    Elektra, 7559614962

  • Image for Diana Krall

    Diana Krall I'm Pulling Through

    “Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room”

    Verve, 9862063

  • Image for Benny Goodman Trio With Lionel Hampton

    Benny Goodman Trio With Lionel Hampton Exactly Like You

    “BG Trio & Quartet: Complete Rca Small Group Sides”

    RCA VICTOR/BMG, 0906 68764 2

  • Image for Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra

    Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra Let's Sow A Wild Oat

    “The Naughty 1920s – Red Hot & Risqué Songs”

    Grammercy Records, CD 409

  • Image for John Wilson Orchestra W. Joyce Didonato

    John Wilson Orchestra W. Joyce Didonato June Is Bustin' Out All Over

    “Rodgers & Hammerstein At The Movies”

    EMI, 50999 3 19301 2 3

  • Image for Tommy Sands

    Tommy Sands What A Difference A Day Made

    “Tommy Sands – Dream With Me” [New Release]

    Sepia, Sepia 1195

  • Image for The Chordettes

    The Chordettes When Day Is Done

    “The Chordettes: Harmony Time Vols 1 & 2”

    Collectables, COL-CD-7403

  • Image for George Chakiris

    George Chakiris Stairway To Paradise

    “George Chakiris Sings [New Release]”

    Sepia, Sepia 1209

  • Image for Rosemary Clooney

    Rosemary Clooney I'm Checkin' Out, Goombye

    “Rosemary Clooney” Box Set Of 106 Sides 1949-1958

    JSP, JSP 961

  • This Week's Show:

    We dwelt briefly on the achievements of songwriter Walter Donaldson (15th February 1893 – 15th July 1947) in this week’s show – he wrote “(What Are You Waiting for) Mary” and, more famously, “My Blue Heaven”. Most of Donaldson’s compositions are rooted in the 1920s – songs like “That Certain Party”, “I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight” and “Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby” but “My Blue Heaven” has a timeless quality, re-interpretable for successive generations – think of Jimmie Lunceford in the ‘30s, Frank Sinatra in the ‘40s and ‘60s, Fats Domino in the ‘50s and on and on to Harry Connick Jr. Legend has it that Donaldson composed it while waiting at The Friar’s Club for a billiards game to begin. On hearing it played over, his friend, vaudevillian George Whiting implored Walter to allow him to write the words – and he went on to incorporate it in his act (though it took Gene Austin’s recording to make it a hit). Another Walter Donaldson song has a parallel with De Sylva, Brown and Henderson’s “Sonny Boy”. Disliking Ruth Etting’s mobster husband-manager, Martin ‘Moe The Gimp’ Snyder, he refused to write Etting a decent song, offering instead one he thought awful: It became her theme – “Love Me Or Leave Me” – and it’s been in the repertoire of artists for eight decades and more!
    We mentioned Walter Donaldson’s website and many entertaining hours can be spent there, exploring his oeuvre, containing as it does different versions of lots of his songs – go to http://walterdonaldson.net

  • Featured In This Week's Show: Harry Connick Jr

    Featured In This Week's Show: Harry Connick Jr

  • Recommendations:

    This week we’re featuring two new albums from the Sepia stable: First, made up of a pair of LPs recorded in 1958/59 and 60 by Tommy Sands. For both, he had the benefit of Nelson Riddle’s orchestral expertise and on each of them he selected a nice programme of melodies – one, on the theme of dreams (“Dream With Me”, its title number, being co-written by Sands) includes “It’s So Peaceful In The Country”, “A Dreamer’s Holiday” and Henry Mancini’s “Dreamsville”. The other, titled “When I’m Thinking Of You” is the earlier of the two and has the addition of The Jordanaires on four tracks - “Always”, “What Diff’rence A Day Made”, “Say It Isn’t So” and “I Get The Blues When It Rains” – and all the titles are old classics. The number is Sepia 1195 and incidentally these two rare LPs are said to be Sands’ own favourites.

    The other album spotlights George Chakiris and proves him an excellent balladeer away from the Broadway and West Wend stages. Inevitably, there are versions of ‘Tonight’ and ‘Maria’ from “West Side Story” but he also tackles many great Gershwin songs as well as Rodgers & Hammerstein, Charles Strouse and others. The first dozen tracks come from George’s successful 1962 album recorded in the US and there’s one item (‘My Colouring Book’) under Dick Hyman’s direction. All the rest were cut in London with either Johnny Gregory’s Orchestra or units directed by Norman Stenfalt and Alan Clare during 1959 and ’60. The number here is Sepia 1209. Both are warmly recommended by us.


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