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Nonsense and Melody - Pgm 16

May 16th, 2008 · Comments

More "Nonsense and Melody" from comedians Gill and Doemling and the rest of the cast in this Transco produced syndicated series from 1935-36.  The traveling troupe is in Madrid, so, of course, we pay a visit to the bullfights.  The male vocal group performs a great novelty tune, "Little Hillbilly Willy".

More shows in this series are on the way in coming weeks.

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Tags: music · comedy · Nonsense and Melody · Transco

Nonsense and Melody - Pgm 15

May 16th, 2008 · Comments

Another entry in the early 1930s musical comedy series, "Nonsense and Melody", originally produced by Transco and featuring comedians Gill and Doemling.  Songs include "Congratulate Me", a fun accordion tune and "Lady of Spain"; comedy features a sketch about Queen Isabella and Columbus.

If anyone has additional info on cast members of individual shows in the series, feel free to leave comments.

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Tags: music · comedy · Nonsense and Melody · Transco

The Ballad Hunter - Pgm 2 - Blues and Hollers

May 16th, 2008 · Comments

Another entry in the 1940s radio series, "The Ballad Hunter", produced by the Library of Congress and featuring John Lomax and field recordings of American folk music.

"Blues and Hollers" is program number 2 from the series, matrix number MS 063262. This episode of the series includes recordings from Livingston, Indiana; Raleigh, North Carolina; Oklahoma and other locations. Songs heard include "I'm Gwine to Texas", "Two White Horses", and a discussion of the blues by Woody Guthrie.

You can read more specifics about the episode, including names of songs and singers in the show, at the Library of Congress website.

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Tags: music · historical · Library of Congress

The Ballad Hunter - Pgm 1 - Cheynne, Wyoming

May 16th, 2008 · Comments

"The Ballad Hunter" was a series of ten radio programs syndicated by the Radio Research Project of the Library of Congress and was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1941.  The series features John Lomax presenting field recordings and discussing various forms of folk music from around the US.  It's a forerunner of the type of documentaries one might hear now on public radio stations.

In the first episode of the series, "Cheyenne, Wyoming", Lomax tells the story of talking with Teddy Roosevelt about writing a forward to his book on Western folk songs.  Heard in the program are field recordings of songs such as "Jesse James", "Sioux Indians" and "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie".  The matrix number of the side is MS 063263.

More information on each program in the series is at the Library of Congress website.  It's one series I'm hoping to complete on original transcription pressings.

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Tags: music · historical · Library of Congress

Your Playhouse of Favorites - Pgm 49 - Robin Hood

May 16th, 2008 · Comments

"Your Playhouse of Favorites" was one of many series produced especially for syndication by NBC; you might recall others such as "Five Minute Mysteries". The series were offered to stations regardless of network affiliation.

Most of these series are well produced and feature the talent heard on the network's programs and "Your Playhouse of Favorites" is no exception. The program adapted classic popular works of literature into half-hour dramas and, although they don't feature "star" names, are excellent examples of the genre. "Robin Hood" is program 49 in the series and dates from about 1949-50. The matrix numbers for the sides are ND6-MM-9170 and ND6-MM-9171-1.

You can hear a studio audience at the production - I wonder if these might school or church groups doing a tour of the NBC studios.

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Tags: drama · NBC Syndication

The Two Daffodils - Pgm 3077A

May 16th, 2008 · Comments

Duke Atterbury and Ken Gillum continue our look at the 1930-31 comedy series, "The Two Daffodils", syndicated by the Continental Broadcasting Corporation and transferred from an original Columbia transcription disc.

The boys start out with some hokey riddles, do a sketch about a taxicab ride, and get a visit from Professor Ignatz; songs include "Where Did Robinson Caruso Go With Friday on Saturday Night?" and "Sweet Sue".  They wrap up with a collection of Scotsman jokes.

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Tags: music · comedy · variety · Two Daffodils · Continental Broadcasting Corp

The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946

May 14th, 2008 · Comments

Note: This recording contains material that may be offensive to some listeners.

For those of you who collect such ephemera, here's an unusual bit of radio memorabilia that should be an upgrade from copies that have been floating around on lps and the web.

In this post, "The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946", the granddaddy of all "party records" and a recording surrounded by much rumor and misinformation. Apparently, this was originally produced as an in-house joke by CBC sports announcer Sidney S. Brown assisted by CBC producer Jules Lipton. Some sources indicate the recording was done in Toronto in late 1940 at "Red" Foster's Studios on Alcorn Avenue. There have also been rumors for many years that it found its way to some in the US military who released it as a V-disc, although a V-disc or AFRS copy has never surfaced to my knowledge.

What we do know is that someone at Columbia Records in 1947 dubbed the program to a set of 78 rpm masters and pressed the recording on two 12" 78's, matrix numbers xxx1-4. The resulting set, with cover art by influential in-house graphic artist Alex Steinweiss (crediting himself as "Joe Blow" on the cover) and bright yellow Trillblow Records labels, was given to Columbia Records distributors as a premium. CBS president Ted Wallerstein nixed the release, but some copies did circulate.

I've never seen anyone on the web claiming to have an original Columbia pressing of "The Great Crepitation Contest", even though copies of the 78s were dubbed many times and released on various party lps over the years. But, here's proof that Columbia actually pressed and released the records - the discs are Columbia's laminated pressings of the period and the cover art is most definitely by Steinweiss. It's also an opportunity to hear the recording in a first-generation copy from the original Columbia 78 release.

You can read more about Steinweiss and see examples of his work at the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame and this site about Remington Records.

I obtained my copy of the "Great Crepitation Contest" in the mid 1990s, not really knowing what it was, from a man at a Winston-Salem flea market who owned a record store in the area for many years. I never had an opportunity to ask him where he got it.

Anyone seen another copy of this set? Any ideas on who the guys are in the photo in the inside front cover?

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Tags: comedy · memorabilia · sports

Sports Answer Man - Pgm 17

May 14th, 2008 · Comments

Here's another oddity that I don't have much information on.  It's "The Sports Answer Man" a syndicated program from Sherman Productions and pressed in red vinyl on the Disco label (no relation to the later musical trend of the 1970s, I presume).  Based on the content, the show appears to date from circa 1945-46.

The show is hosted by France Laux, who was the announcer for the Browns and Cardinals over KMOX and who called World Series and All Star Games on CBS in the 1930s.  In this edition, the Sports Answer Man takes questions on the oldest golf tournament in the country, the most outstanding mile runner in the world and the origination of basketball.

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Tags: sports

Music You Like - Fred Robbins Record Shop - WD7-MM-4197

May 14th, 2008 · Comments

Continuing from our previous post, here's another example of the program featuring that hep dj Fred Robbins spinning platters for the US Marine Corp.

This show, matrix WD7-MM-4197, includes songs by Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme and others.  The series dates from circa 1948.

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Tags: music · public service · US Marines

Music You Like - Fred Robbins Record Shop - WD7-MM-4196

May 14th, 2008 · Comments

I have several discs of the show "Music You Like", a public service program for the US Marines.  It's an early disc jockey program where various hosts would spin popular records of the day; they're curious as examples of the type of format that would, in a few years, dominate radio and push drama and comedy on the air to the sidelines.

"Fred Robbins Record Shop", is one of the more fun programs in the series.  You can hear some vintage "jive" talk from the dj that was "hep" in the late 40s.  Other examples of the series, with dj's like Woody Herman or Al Jarvis, are a little more traditional with the patter between the platters.

In this episode, matrix WD7-MM-4196, Robbins give a spin to "Boogie Blues" by Anita O'Day, "Can't Help Loving That Man" by Margaret Whiting and more.

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Tags: music · public service · US Marines