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On Now : Ken Bruce
Playing: What Is Life by George Harrison
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17/03/2013

Duration:
57 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 17 March 2013

St Patrick's Day and the celebration of Ireland in Song permeates most of this week's show but Russell opens with a Number One hit of exactly sixty years ago from an artist still performing today - Tony Bennett.

He recorded 'Rags To Riches' in the CBS Studios on 30th Street, New York, on March 17th 1953. After which, we're off among the shamrocks and shillelaghs: We hear 'A Great Day For The Irish' sung by Judy Garland in a recent release of her December 1960 concert in Amsterdam. We hear Bunny Berigan's instrumental version of 'The Wearin' Of The Green' arranged by Joe Lippman and featuring some virtuoso playing by Bunny and his trombonist Nat Lobovsky. And we hear 'McNamara's Band', the famous Bing Crosby recording from December 1945 with The Three Jesters.

Moving away from Ireland, Russell introduces a curio from the team who wrote many of Crosby's hits; It's something of a rarity that we found in the BBC Gramophone Library, not out yet on CD or even LP: Sung by Dinah Shore, it's called 'Pakistan' - the writing team being Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen. Russell follows this with one of their big ones: 'But Beautiful', which Rosemary Clooney sings and, returning to the Irish theme, sends a recommendation to the Irish-American Hall of Fame to remember to honour the too-under-celebrated songwriter Walter Donaldson. We hear his 'You're Driving Me Crazy' sung by Marilyn Moore. Ms Moore's son, guitarist Joe Cohn, is next as part of the Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet and singers Kilgore & Erickson with 'I've Never Been In Love Before' before the final theme of the show - the life of singer Hannah Williams, which Russell documents and illustrates from the '20s to the '40s, closing with one last Irish Tin Pan Alley song from Dick Haymes - 'Twas Only An Irishman's Dream.

Music Played

13 items
  • Image for Tony Bennett

    Tony Bennett Rags To Riches

    “While We’re Young – The Great Hit Sounds Of Tony Bennett”

    Jasmine, JASCD 679

  • Image for Judy Garland

    Judy Garland It's A Great Day For The Irish

    “Judy Garland: The Amsterdam Concert 10.12.1960”

    First Hand Records, FHR 18

  • Image for Bunny Berigan and His Orchestra

    Bunny Berigan and His Orchestra The Wearin' Of The Green

    “Bunny Berigan – The Pied Piper 1934-1940”

    RCA/BMG/Bluebird, 07863 66615 2

  • Image for Bing Crosby

    Bing Crosby McNamara's Band

    “The Chronological Bing Crosby Vol. 41 – 1945-46”

    Jonzo, JZCD 41

  • Image for Dinah Shore

    Dinah Shore Pakistan

    “Haven’t Found It On A Cd Re-Issue… Yet”

    HMV [78 Rpm], B 10730

  • Image for Rosemary Clooney

    Rosemary Clooney But Beautiful

    “Rosemary Clooney – From Bing To Billie”

    Concord, CCD2 2231 2

  • Image for Marilyn Moore

    Marilyn Moore You're Driving Me Crazy

    Betty Roche, Marilyn Moore – Sophisticated Ladies

    Affinity, CD AFF 763

  • Image for Joe Cohn Quartet with Kilgore & Erickson

    Joe Cohn Quartet with Kilgore & Erickson I've Never Been In Love Before

    The Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet Plus Play ‘Guys & Dolls’

    Arbors Jazz, ARCD 19354

  • Image for The Williams Sisters

    The Williams Sisters Sam, The Old Accordion Man

    “1927” Famous LP Compilation Series From The 1970’s

    Rca International (Lp), Nl 89465

  • Image for Jackie Cain & Roy Kral

    Jackie Cain & Roy Kral Cheerful Little Earful

    “Jackie Cain & Roy Kral: Concerts By The Sea”

    Koch Jazz, KOC CD 8546

  • Image for Phil Harris and His Orchestra

    Phil Harris and His Orchestra Buds Won't Bud

    “The Thing – About Phil Harris”

    ASV Living Era, CD AJA 5191

  • Image for Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra

    Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra That's Life I Guess

    “Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra: It’s D’lovely - 1947 - 50”

    HEP, HEP CD 75

  • Image for Dick Haymes

    Dick Haymes 'Twas Only An Irishman's Dream

    “Dick Haymes – Till The End Of Time: Recordings 1940-1950”

    Living Era, CD AJS 287/2

  • This Week

    Our mention of the curious song-title “Twenty Swedes Ran Through The Weeds (Chasing One Norwegian)” by Billy Moll and Alfred Bryan caused a flurry of emails as to what it meant – and thanks for some highly imaginative and amusing suggestions! We’ve found it now– in a 1930 version by Harry Reser’s Six Jumping Jacks and it turns out to be a ‘20s college football song:

    “The gang from Minnesota were down at Notre Dame – The Irish team was on the scene all ready for the game – then on the field stepped Rockne – The crowd all heard him call ‘Bring on your Swedish football team, the substitutes and all! It’s the Irish, the Irish – ra-ra-ra-ra-ra!’ Twenty Swedes ran through the weeds, chasing one Norwegian – Oh, how that Irishman could run! Twenty Danes ran down the lanes and tackled that collegian – But Notre Dame had just begun…” etc.

    There ensues a description of a game including the names of some of the players. By the way, Rockne was the famous Notre Dame coach who regularly saw them (‘The Fighting Irish’) to victory. Ironically, 1930 was to be his last season: He died in a plane crash in March 1931.

    The things you learn from Popular Song – maybe we’ll find room for “Twenty Swedes” in a future show.

    Postscript about Hannah Williams and her sister Dorothea – it seems that, despite their popularity as Chicago night-club entertainers in the ‘20s, their recordings were very few: A couple with Charley Straight’s orchestra, a mere one with Ben Pollack and just two with Wayne Allen.

  • Featured In This Week's Show: Bing Crosby

    Featured In This Week's Show: Bing Crosby

  • Recommendations

    Any new release by an artist as iconic as Judy Garland was is bound to be good news for many of our listeners: And “The Amsterdam Concert, 10th December 1960 is new to CD, never out before, so exciting stuff. And it’s good quality Judy, too with an excellent ensemble behind her – Jos Cleber’s Cosmopolitan Orchestra, conducted by Norrie Paramor. This is a 2 CD which reproduces the whole of the concert from the Tuschinski Theatre, complete with introductions and chat and in Dutch and English. And lots of Judy, singing and telling stories. There are also brief interviews with Norrie Paramor and Sid Luft. On three tracks in the second half Judy is accompanied just by David Lee’s piano. Suffice it to say Judy was on great form that day and this set will be much treasured by fans of “Miss Show Business”. It’s on First Hand records: FHR 18.

    The Harry Allen-Joe Cohn CD of music from ‘Guys And Dolls’ with vocals by Rebecca Kilgore and Eddie Erickson came out in 2007 and is highly recommendable with fifteen tracks (they use not only the Broadway material but also the songs Frank Loesser wrote for the movie (‘Pet Me Poppa’, ‘A Woman In Love’, ‘Adelaide’). Six tracks are instrumental – ‘Take Back Your Mink’ and ‘Fugue For Tinhorns’ working especially well. The nine vocals are a joy, too. Becky’s was surely the voice that Loesser had in mind when he wrote “If I Were A Bell” and “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat” suits Eddie to a tee. Seventy plus minutes of fun, it’s on Arbors ARCD 19354.

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