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Adieu, Ciao, Sayonara, Auf Wiedersehen – In any language, it is still “Goodbye”


The song Adios was written by Eddie Woods, set to music penned by Enric Madriguera and was first released by Tony Pastor & His Orchestra in 1941. In that same year, Glenn Miller and his Orchestra recorded a hit version of the song. As far as the Billboard charts are concerned, the song did not surface again until 1952 when Gisele MacKenzie recorded the song, backed by Buddy Cole and his Orchestra.

The song tells of the anguish of saying “Adios” – goodbye. The person leaving (it could be either a man or a woman) speaks of the fond memories of what used to be in their relationship. At he end of the song, there is a note of hope that the person who left and said “Adios” will return and there will be no more goodbyes.

Enric (sometimes Enrique) Madriguera wrote the music for the song. He was a violinist of Catalan origin who was playing concerts as a child before he studied at the Barcelona Conservatory. In the late 1920s, Madriguera played in Ben Selvin’s studio orchestra at Columbia Records in New York, and served briefly as that company’s director of Latin music recording. In 1932, he began his own orchestra at the Biltmore Hotel, which recorded for Columbia until 1934. His music at this period was mostly Anglo-American dance or foxtrot, frequently jazz-inflected, although he had a modest hit with his rumba rendition of Carioca (1934). By the 1940s, he was recording Latin American music almost exclusively. (His composition Adios became a national hit in 1941.) Madriguera appeared in a number of “musical shorts” including Enric Madriguera and his Orchestra in 1946 where he performed a number of songs including some that featured his vocalist-wife Patricia Gilmore.


Words by Eddie Woods
Music by Enric Madriguera

Adios, in leaving you, it grieves me to say adios,
I’ll be so lonely, for you only
I sigh and cry my adios,
Adios to you.

And in this heart, is mem’ry of what used to be
Dear, for you and me set apart
Moon watching and waiting above
Soon it will be blessing our love.

Adios for happy endings I’ll return, dear to you
With a love true, no more bid you adios.


Glenn Miller and His Orchestra (instrumental version, charted in 1941 and again in 1948)
Gisele MacKenzie (Buddy Cole Orchestra –Buddy Cole, organ solo)


Enric Madriguera and His Orchestra
Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra
Stan Kenton and His Orchestra (vocals by Jerri Winters)
Billy May and his Orchestra
Esquivel and his Orchestra
Don Costa and His Orchestra
Paul Weston and His Orchestra
Carmen Cavallaro
Julie London (Ernie Freeman and His Orchestra)
Rosemary Clooney and Perez Prado Orchestra
The Andrews Sisters (Skip Martin and His Orchestra)


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Painful Patriotism

Movie poster for Hollywood Canteen

Movie poster for Hollywood Canteen

Many of the songs in 1945 had to do with various aspects of World War Two. Among other things, those songs spoke of the pain of separation, of the desire to be home again, and of the anxious waiting to see a loved one return, exemplified in such songs as I Dream Of You (More Than You Dream I Do), I’ll Wait For You Dear, A Little On The Lonely Side, Saturday Night (Is The Loneliest Night In The Week), Sentimental Journey, He’s Home For A Little While, At Mail Call Today, Put Another Chair At The Table, Stars And Stripes On Iwo Jima, Homesick – That’s All, and Waitin’ For The Train To Come In.

But there was one song that was a little different in its approach than all the rest. It was not a song filled with the pain of loneliness or homesickness or anxiety. No, this song was about a different kind of pain. The song is entitled (I’m Getting) Corns For My Country and is about a young miss who volunteers at the Hollywood Canteen. Because she was so active as a “patriotic jitterbug,” she is not only losing weight, but also getting corns on her toes!

Here is how she explains her plight:
I’m gettin’ corns for my country
At the Hollywood Canteen
The hardest workin’ junior hostess
You’ve ever seen
I’m doin’ my bit down here for Uncle Sam
I’m a patriotic jitterbug
Yeah, yeah, that’s what I am

I’m getting’ corns for my country, you should see the pounds fly
I’m getting’ down the waistline and I don’t even try
I don’t need a DuBarry or a Westmore course
‘Cos my weight’s been taken over by the Army Air Force

We’re not petite as sweet Joan Leslie, but then we never mind
When those GI’s knock the South, we’re glad that we’re the healthy kind
The way those cowboys from the prairie expect us to sashay
I think I’d rather two-step with their horses any day

We’re gettin’ corns for our country, though the goin is tough
When we think we can’t go on, we find we can’t get enough
So if you hear of a soldier, sailor or marine
Tell him to look us up at the Hollywood Canteen

I used to be aesthetic, they say, oh yes I was, really I was
I served the drama, arts and the ballet
But the theatre guild came over and said, “Forget about Pavlova “
Learn to cut a rug, so now we’re jitterbugs

I’m getting’ corns for my country, so I’m really all in
In a week from now we’ll be here with our usual vim
So if you hail from the Bronx, Des Moines or Aberdeen
Come down and ask for us at the Hollywood Canteen

The song was composed by the writing team of Leah Worth, Jean Barry, and Dick Charles, and was introduced in the 1944 film Hollywood Canteen by the Andrews Sisters.

The Andrews Sisters

The Andrews Sisters

There are three references in the song would have been understood when the song was released in 1945, but might need some clarification for us today.

Reference 1: “I don’t need a DuBarry or a Westmore course. . .”
The reference here is to the famous DuBarry Success Courses instituted in 1940 that set the standards for beauty and well-being for women during that era. Women by the thousands either attended the courses at the Richard Hudnut Salon on Fifth Avenue or took the correspondence Success Course at home. From the Success Course, women learned how to become beautiful, successful women no matter what their financial or social status.

The other reference in this line is to Westmore, a name that has been associated with the make-up department in the Hollywood film industry since 1917. Percival (“Perc”) Harry Westmore was a prominent member of the Westmore family of Hollywood make-up artists. He rose to the position of Head of the Warner Brothers make-up department, and with his brothers (Bud, and Wally) founded the studio, The House of Westmore on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. He worked with well-known Hollywood actresses of the period, including Lauren Bacall, Bette Davis and Kay Francis. “Perc” was involved in The House of Westmore beauty product range, and one promotion run by the company gave away copies of Perc Westmore’s Make-up Guide. One such advertisement described Westmore’s achievements as “responsible for the coiffure and make-up of such great stars as Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Merle Oberon, Olivia de Havilland, Brenda Marshall… and at one time or another has worked with practically every great star of Hollywood.”

Bud Westmore is credited on over 450 movies and television shows, including To Kill a Mockingbird, Man of a Thousand Faces, The Andromeda Strain and Creature from the Black Lagoon. For his involvement in Creature from the Black Lagoon , he assisted the designer of the Gill-man, Disney animator Millicent Patrick, though her role was deliberately downplayed and for half a century, Westmore would receive sole credit for the creature’s conception. He was sometimes credited as George Hamilton Westmore. The largest building on the Universal Studios Backlot is named in his honor.

Walter “Wally” James Westmore’s career began with the highly successful Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) in which the transition of Fredric March from Jekyll to Hyde was considered groundbreaking in the field of film make-up. He eventually went on to work on more than 300 films, mostly for Paramount

Perc, Wally and Bud Westmore

Perc, Wally and Bud Westmore

Reference 2: “We’re not petite as sweet Joan Leslie, but then we never mind. . .”
Joan Leslie was born Joan Agnes Theresa Sadie Brodel in Detroit, Michigan. She began performing as a singer at the age of nine as part of a vaudeville act with her two sisters; Betty and Mae Brodel. She later began her Hollywood acting career while still a child, performing under her real name in several movies, beginning with her debut in the MGM movie Camille (1936) with Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor.

The young actress soon signed a contract with Warner Bros. In 1941, Leslie got her first major role in the thriller High Sierra with Humphrey Bogart, playing a crippled girl under her new billing as “Joan Leslie.” She also starred in Sergeant York and The Wagons Roll at Night in that same year. Later in 1942 she appeared as James Cagney’s wife in Yankee Doodle Dandy, and at the age of 18 in 1943, she starred in The Sky’s the Limit with Fred Astaire. In 1946, exhibitors voted her the most promising “star of tomorrow.”

During World War Two, she was a regular volunteer at the Hollywood Canteen, where she danced with servicemen and granted hundreds of autographs. In 1944, she starred with Robert Hutton in the Warner Bros. film Hollywood Canteen. Like most of the Hollywood stars in the film, she played herself, but the fictionalized plot had her falling in love with a soldier (played by Hutton frequenting the canteen.)

Andrea King, Joan Leslie, Robert Hutton, Lynne Baggett and Angela Greene in a scene from Hollywood Canteen

Andrea King, Joan Leslie, Robert Hutton, Lynne Baggett and Angela Greene in a scene from Hollywood Canteen

Reference 3: “I’m gettin’ corns for my country/At the Hollywood Canteen. . .”
The Hollywood Canteen, a former livery stable and nightclub, the Old Barn, was located at 1451 Cahuenga Boulevard, off Sunset Boulevard. From 3 October 1942 to 22 November 1945, the Hollywood Canteen served as a club offering food, dancing and entertainment for servicemen and women, usually on their way overseas. Even though the majority of visitors were United States servicemen, the Canteen was open to servicemen of allied countries as well as women in all branches of service. A serviceman’s ticket for admission was his uniform and everything at the Canteen was free of charge.

The driving forces behind the creation of the Hollywood Canteen were actors, Bette Davis and John Garfield, along with Jules Stein, President of Music Corporation of America, who headed up the finance committee. Bette Davis devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to the project and served as its president. The various guilds and unions of the entertainment industry donated the labor and money for the building renovations. The Canteen was operated and staffed completely by volunteers from the entertainment industry. By the time the Canteen opened its doors, over 3,000 stars, players, directors, producers, grips, dancers, musicians, singers, writers, technicians, wardrobe attendants, hair stylists, agents, stand-ins, publicists, secretaries, and allied craftsmen of radio and screen had registered as volunteers.

Jack Carson, Jane Wyman, John Garfield, and Bette Davis in a scene from Hollywood Canteen

Jack Carson, Jane Wyman, John Garfield, and Bette Davis in a scene from Hollywood Canteen

Stars volunteered to wait on tables, cook in the kitchen and clean up. One of the highlights for a serviceman was to dance with one of the many female celebrities volunteering at the Canteen. The other highlight was the entertainment provided by some of Hollywood’s most popular stars, ranging from radio stars to big bands to novelty acts. At the time the Canteen closed its doors in 1945, it had been host to almost three million military servicemen and women. Today, the site of the original Hollywood Canteen is occupied by a parking garage for an office building on Sunset Boulevard. The East Coast counterpart of the Hollywood Canteen was the Stage Door Canteen.

Bette Davis serves a serviceman at the Hollywood Canteen

Bette Davis serves a serviceman at the Hollywood Canteen

By 1944, the Canteen had become so popular that Warner Brothers made a movie entitled Hollywood Canteen. Starring Joan Leslie and Robert Hutton, the film had scores of stars playing themselves. It was directed by Delmer Daves, who also wrote the screenplay. In the film, two soldiers on leave spend three nights at the Hollywood Canteen before returning to active duty in the South Pacific. Slim Green (Robert Hutton) is the one millionth G.I. to enjoy the Canteen, and consequently wins a date with Joan Leslie. The other G.I., Sergeant Nolan (Dane Clark) has the chance to dance with Joan Crawford. Canteen founders Bette Davis and John Garfield give talks on the history of the Canteen. The soldiers enjoy a variety of musical numbers performed by a host of Hollywood stars, and comedians. Many of those doing cameos in the film had previously volunteered to work at the Hollywood Canteen or provide entertainment. They include: The Andrews Sisters, Jack Benny, Joe E. Brown, Eddie Cantor, Kitty Carlisle, Jack Carson, Joan Crawford, Faye Emerson, Sydney Greenstreet, Alan Hale, Sr., Paul Henreid, Joan Leslie, Peter Lorre, Ida Lupino, Dorothy Malone, Dennis Morgan, Janis Paige, Eleanor Parker, Roy Rogers (with Trigger), S.Z. Sakall, Zachary Scott, Alexis Smith, Barbara Stanwyck, Jane Wyman, Jimmy Dorsey and The Golden Gate Quartet.

Only one recording of Corns For My Country reached the Billboard charts. That recording was made by the Andrews Sisters, which debuted on 13 January 1945 and peaked at #21. Singer/comedian Cass Daley also recorded the song, but it did not make the charts.

To listen to a version of the song, click on the song title. To download a song, click on the song title, and then right click on Save target as
The Andrews Sisters, Vic Schoen and his Orchestra (I’m Getting) Corns For My Country
Cass Daley, Al Slack and his Orchestra (I’m Getting) Corns for My Country

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Are You Ready For Some Boogie-Woogie?

boogie woogie2

Now, when I tell you to hold yourself, don’t you move a peg.
And when I tell you to get it, I want you to Boogie Woogie!

Those are some of the lyrics of Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie, recorded in 1928. The song consists entirely of instructions to dancers and is characterized by a regular bass figure in the left hand. Boogie-woogie is an African American style of piano-based blues that became popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s, but originated much earlier, and was extended from piano, to three pianos at once, guitar, big band, and country and western music, and even gospel. While the blues traditionally depicts a variety of emotions, boogie-woogie is mainly associated with dancing.

In 1938, Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra recorded a piece entitled Boogie Woogie (sometimes also called T.D.’s Boogie Woogie). This recording was made popular by a smart Deane Kincaide arrangement for Tommy Dorsey’s band of the 1929 composition written by Clarence “Pine Top” Smith, a Chicago pianist who is also credited with coining the term, “Boogie Woogie.” It was a #3 hit for Dorsey in 1938, and is considered his most famous instrumental. And then in 1944, Dorsey’s recording came back on the Billboard charts, peaking at #5, and then again in 1945, this time reaching the #4 position on the Billboard charts.

Just why, exactly, the 1938 Dorsey version resurfaced in 1944-1945 is difficult to determine. One possible explanation is that following a sensational 1938 Carnegie Hall concert by such boogie woogie pianists as Albert Ammons, Meade “Lux” Lewis, and Pete Johnson, there was a renaissance of authentic boogie-woogie piano playing that helped to create a true boogie-woogie fever in the United States. This enthusiasm led to the acknowledgement of boogie-woogie as a musical form in its own right. It also provided acceptance, success and popularity to many of the pianists who until then had only been playing in the ghetto. The boogie-woogie wave took the swing orchestras to an even greater degree. Everywhere, the swing afficionados danced their breathtaking boogie figures. Every swing band of the period had several boogie-woogie songs in its repertoire. The boogie-woogie wave came to an end during the late 1940s due to increasing commercialism. However, boogie rhythm was back to the limelight in the mid to late 1950s, for boogie-woogie was one of the “parents” present at the cradle of the musical revolution called rock‘n’roll.

Here then is the 1938 Tommy Dorsey recording that was re-issued in 1944 and again in 1945.
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra, featuring Howard Smith, piano Boogie Woogie

Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey


Let me now give a brief history of “boogie-woogie.” In this brief excursion into the land of the boogie-woogie, I have tried to provide the original recordings regardless of the quality of the sound reproduction, rather than cover versions of the songs I have described. That being said, please keep in mind that most of these recordings precede the modern era of high fidelity or stereo sound.

The origin of the term boogie-woogie is unknown, but there are some interesting linguistic precursors. Among them are four African terms, including the Hausa word Boog and the Mandingo word Booga, both of which mean “to beat,” as in beating a drum. There is also the West African word Bogi, which means “to dance,” and the Bantu term Mbuki Mvuki, which means, Mbuki – to take off in flight” and Mvuki – “to dance wildly, as if to shake off ones clothes.” The meanings of all these words are consistent with the percussiveness, the dancing, and the uninhibited behaviors historically associated with boogie-woogie music. Their African origin is also consistent with the evidence that the music originated among newly emancipated African Americans.

Boogie-woogie, or “barrelhouse” is a blues-based piano style in which the right hand plays an accompaniment figure that resembles a strummed rhythm, such as is typically played on the guitar or banjo in rural blues dances. This could be expressed as a walking octave, an open-fifth pounded out with a blue third thrown in, or even a simple figure such as falling triad; the approach varies with the pianist. The style probably evolved in the American Midwest alongside that of ragtime, to which it is closely related. The earliest description of the style occurs in print circa 1880.

As far as audio recordings are concerned, the first appearance of “Boogie” in the title of a recording appears to be a “blue cylinder” recording made by Edison of the American Quartet performing That Syncopated Boogie Boo in 1913. (heard here by the Premier Quartet, since I have been unable to locate a copy by the American Quartet)
Premier Quartet That Syncopated Boogie-Boo

“Boogie” next occured in the title of Wilbur Sweatman’s April 1917 recording of Boogie Rag. (Unfortunately, I do not have a copy as yet of this song.)
However none of these sheet music or audio recording examples contain the musical elements that would identify them as boogie-woogie.

The 1919 recording of Weary Blues by the Louisiana Five is the earliest sound recording that contain a boogie-woogie bass figure. (heard here)
Louisiana Five Weary Blues

Blind Lemon Jefferson used the term Booga Rooga to refer to a guitar bass figure that he used in Match Box Blues. (heard here)
Blind Lemon Jefferson Match Box Blues

Jefferson may have heard the term from Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, who played frequently with Jefferson. Lead Belly said he first heard boogie-woogie piano in the Caddo Lake Area of northeast Texas in 1899. Lead Belly was among the first guitar-players to adapt the rolling bass of boogie-woogie piano.

The first time the modern-day spelling of “boogie-woogie” was used in a title of a published audio recording of music appears to be Clarence “Pine Top” Smith’s December 1928 recording entitled, Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie, a song whose lyrics contain dance instructions to “boogie-woogie.” Smith’s record was the first boogie-woogie recording to be a commercial hit, and helped establish “boogie-woogie” as the name of the style. (heard here)
Clarence “Pine Top” Smith Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie

Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie was closely followed by another example of pure boogie-woogie, Honky Tonk Train Blues by Meade “Lux” Lewis, recorded by Paramount Records; (1927), first released in March 1930. The performance emulated a railroad trip. (heard here)
Meade “Lux” Lewis Honky Tonk Train Blues

When this new form of piano music moved from Texas, it moved out towards Louisiana and it was brought by people like George W. Thomas, an early pianist who was already living in New Orleans by about 1910 and writing New Orleans Hop Scop Blues. George W. Thomas composed the theme of the New Orleans Hop Scop Blues – in spite of its title – basing it on the blues he had heard played by the pianists of East Texas, which really had some of the characteristics of the music that we came to know as Boogie. (heard here)
Jimmie Noone and his Orchestra New Orleans Hop Scop Blues

George Thomas and his brother Hersal Thomas migrated from Texas to Chicago, and brought boogie-woogie with them. They were an immense influence on other pianists, including Jimmy Yancey, Meade “Lux” Lewis, Albert Ammons and many others. Many elements that we now know as elements of boogie-woogie are present in Hersal and George Thomas’ The Fives. (heard here)
Count Basie and his Rhythm The Fives

The Thomas brothers’ musical composition, deserves much credit for the development of modern boogie-woogie. During the 1920s, many pianists featured this number as a “get off” tune and in the variations played what is now considered boogie-woogie. Indeed, all modern boogie-woogie bass figures can be found in The Fives, including swinging, walking broken-octave bass, shuffled (swinging) chord bass (of the sort later used extensively by Ammons, Lewis, and Clarence “Pine Top” Smith), and the pervasive “oom-pah” ragtime stride bass. The thing that made The Fives so special was the greater amount and variety of boogie-woogie bass figures that were present in the music as compared to boogie-woogie bass figures that had been present in previously published sheet music, such as the already mentioned 1915 Weary Blues by Artie Matthews. In February 1923, Joseph Samuels’ Tampa Blue Jazz Band recorded The Fives for Okeh Records, considered the first example of jazz band boogie-woogie.

The cover of the The Five’s (usually referred to as The Fives without an apostrophe), copyright registered in 1921 by Hersal and George, and published in 1922

The cover of the The Five’s (usually referred to as The Fives without an apostrophe), copyright registered in 1921 by Hersal and George Thomas, and published in 1922

A song entitled Tin Roof Blues was published in 1923 by the Clarence Williams Publishing Company. Compositional credit is given to Richard M. Jones. The Jones composition uses a boogie bass in the introduction with some variation throughout. (heard here)
New Orleans Rhythm Kings Tin Roof Blues

Jimmy Blythe’s recording of Chicago Stomps from April 1924 is sometimes called the first complete boogie-woogie piano solo record. (heard here)
Jimmy Blythe Chicago Stomps

Boogie-woogie gained significant public attention in 1938 and 1939, thanks to the From Spirituals to Swing concerts in Carnegie Hall promoted by record producer John Hammond. The concerts featured Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson performing Turners tribute to Johnson, Roll ‘Em Pete, now considered to be an early rock and roll song. (heard here)
Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson Roll ‘Em Pete

In addition to Roll ‘Em Pete, Meade “Lux” Lewis performed the above mentioned Honky Tonk Train Blues and Albert Ammons played Swanee River Boogie. (heard here)
Albert Ammons and his Rhythm Kings Swanee River Boogie

These three pianists, with Turner, took up residence in the Café Society night club in New York City where they were popular with the sophisticated set. They often played in combinations of two and even three pianos, creating a richly textured piano performance.

After the Carnegie Hall concerts, it was only a matter of time for swing bands to incorporate the boogie-woogie beat into some of their music. Tommy Dorsey’s band had a hit with an updated version of Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie in 1938, which was the swing era’s second best seller.(heard above)

From 1939, the Will Bradley Orchestra had a string of boogie hits such as the original versions of Beat Me Daddy (Eight To The Bar) (The term “eight to the bar,” means much of the song is written in common time (4/4) time using eighth notes, called quavers), and Down The Road A-Piece, both 1940, and Scrub Me Mamma With A Boogie Beat, in 1941. (all three songs are heard here)
Will Bradley and his Orchestra, featuring Ray McKinley and Freddie Slack Beat Me Daddy (Eight To The Bar) Part 1
Will Bradley and his Orchestra, vocals by Ray McKinley Beat Me Daddy (Eight To The Bar) Part 2
Will Bradley Trio, vocals by Ray McKinley and Will Bradley Down The Road A-Piece
Will Bradley and his Orchestra, vocals by Ray McKinley Scrub Me Mama, With A Boogie Beat

The Andrews Sisters sang some boogies, and after the floodgates were open, it was expected that every big band should have one or two boogie numbers in their repertoire, as the dancers were learning to jitterbug and do the Lindy Hop, which required the boogie-woogie beat. (heard here is an Andrews Sisters boogie woogie)
Andrews Sisters, Vic Schoen and his Orchestra Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Of Company C

Among the many pianists who have been exponents of this genre, there are only a few who have had a lasting influence on the music scene. Perhaps the most well known boogie-woogie pianist is Albert Ammons. His Boogie Woogie Stomp released in 1936 was a pivotal recording, not just for boogie-woogie but for music. (heard here)
Albert Ammons and his Rhythm Kings Boogie Woogie Stomp

In 1939, country artists began playing boogie-woogie when Johnny Barfield recorded Boogie Woogie. (heard here)
Johnny Barfield Boogie Woogie

Cow Cow Boogie was written for, but not used in, the 1942 movie Ride em Cowboy. This song by Benny Carter, Gene DePaul, and Don Raye successfully combined boogie-woogie and Western, or cowboy music. The lyrics leave no doubt that it was a Western boogie-woogie. It sold over a million records in its original release by Ella Mae Morse and Freddie Slack. (heard here)
Freddie Slack and his Orchestra, vocals by Ella Mae Morse Cow Cow Boogie

The trickle of what was initially called hillbilly boogie, or Okie boogie (later to be renamed country boogie), became a flood beginning around late 1945. One notable country boogie from this period was the Delmore Brothers Freight Train Boogie, considered to be part of the combined evolution of country music and blues towards rockabilly. (heard here)
Delmore Brothers Freight Train Boogie

In 1948, Arthur Smith achieved Billboard Top 10 US country chart success with his MGM Records recordings of Guitar Boogie and Banjo Boogie, with the former crossing over to the pop chart, introducing many people to the potential of the electric guitar. (both songs are heard here)
Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith Guitar Boogie
Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith Banjo Boogie

The hillbilly boogie period lasted into the 1950s. The last recordings of this era, the exciting, driving boogie-woogie records, The Shot Gun Boogie and Blackberry Boogie, were made by Tennessee Ernie Ford with Cliffie Stone and his Orchestra, with the great guitar duo Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West. (both songs are heard here)
Tennessee Ernie Ford, Cliffie Stone and his Orchestra The Shot Gun Boogie
Tennessee Ernie Ford, Cliffie Stone and his Orchestra Blackberry Boogie

I’ll end this brief history with two boogie songs that Bill Haley and the Saddlemen recorded in 1951. Haley, one of the early stars and legends of Rock and Roll, recorded several sides for Holiday Records, two of those songs being Sundown Boogie and Green Tree Boogie. (both songs are heard here)
Bill Haley and the SaddlemenSundown Boogie
Bill Haley and the Saddlemen Big Green Tree Boogie
boogie woogie5

So now that you have this brief history, sit back, relax and enjoy the sound of boogie-woogie!

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No Navajos On this Trail

navaho trail4
As I was researching the song, Along The Navajo Trail, I began to wonder just where the Navajo Trail was located. There were other trails that I could find. I knew about the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, even the old Chisholm Trail, but where was the Navajo Trail?

I knew, for instance, that the Oregon Trail was a two thousand-mile historic east-west wagon route and emigrant trail that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of the future state of Kansas and nearly all of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. The western half of the trail spanned most of the future states of Idaho and Oregon.

I also knew that the old Chisholm Trail is believed to have started at Donna, Texas or at San Antonio, Texas. From 1867 to 1871, the trail ended in Abilene, Kansas. Later, Newton, Kansas, and Wichita, Kansas, each served as the end of the trail. From 1883 to 1887, the end of the trail was Caldwell, Kansas. Ellsworth, Kansas, was also considered a major influence of the trail. A song was written about the old Chisholm Trail that dates back to the 1870s when it was among the most popular songs sung by cowboys during that era. Based on an English lyrical song that dates back to 1640, The Old Chisholm Trail was modified into a cowboy song.

Yet another trail I knew about was the Santa Fe Trail, a nineteenth-century transportation route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. This trail served as a vital commercial and military highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. A song by Al Dubin, Edwina Coolidge, and Will Grosz tells of the Santa Fe Trail.

A song written by Ballard MacDonald and Harry Carroll in 1913 speaks of The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine. The song is not really a about a trail at all, but about the singer’s love for his girl, June, who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The opening lyrics set the scene:
In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia,
On the trail of the lonesome pine—
In the pale moonshine our hearts entwine,
Where she carved her name and I carved mine;
Oh, June, like the mountains I’m blue—
Like the pine I am lonesome for you,
In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia,
On the trail of the lonesome pine.

And in keeping with the “trails” theme that I seem to have started, there are the “Trails” about which Roy Rogers and Dale Evans sing. Their song, Happy Trails, written by Dale Evans Rogers, was the theme song for the 1940s and 1950s radio program and the 1950s television show starring Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Rogers, always sung over the end credits of the program.

But having said all that, I am still at a loss to locate the Navajo Trail. So, right or wrong, I have come to the conclusion that this “trail” is comparable to the “trail of the lonesome pine” of 1913, or the “happy trails” of the 1940s. That is to say, the Navajo Trail only exists in the imagination of the songwriter. I was hoping that there was something more, but the only “Navajo Trail” that I could find was a trail in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, named the Navajo Loop Trail. This trail requires hikers to descend eight hundred feet down the side of the Bryce rim, and then at the end of the hike to climb right back up that slope. Even with its name, I do not believe that this trail has anything to do with the Navajos.

I even had hopes that the Navajo Trail in the song referred to the “Long Walk of the Navajo,” also called the “Long Walk to Bosque Redondo.” This walk, like the “Trail of Tears” of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, refers to the 1864 deportation and attempted ethnic cleansing of the Navajo people by the United States government. In this dark and tragic page in American history, Navajos were forced to walk up to thirteen miles a day at gunpoint from their reservation in what is now Arizona to eastern New Mexico. Some fifty-three different forced marches occurred between August 1864 and the end of 1866. No, the song is not about that experience.

So, if Along the Navajo Trail is not about any trail or about the Navajos in any way, what is the song about? Rather than having to do with the Navajos, this country/pop song, written by Dick Charles (pseudonym for Richard Charles Krieg), Larry Markes, and Edgar De Lange in 1945 has to do with praising the beauties of the American West. Terms such as sunlight beginning to pale, slumbering shadows, night and crickets callin’, coyotes makin’ a wail paint a picturesque portrait of experiences one can have out under a beautiful western sky. Here are the entire lyrics.
Every day, along about evening
When the sunlight’s beginning to pale
I ride through the slumbering shadows
Along the Navajo Trail
When it’s night and crickets are callin’
And coyotes are makin’ a wail
I dream by a smoldering fire
Along the Navajo Trail
I love to lie and listen to the music
When the wind is strummin’ a sagebrush guitar
When over yonder hill the moon is climbin’
It always finds me wishin’ on a star
Well whatta ya know, it’s mornin’ already
There’s the dawnin’, so silver and pale
It’s time to climb into my saddle
And ride the Navajo Trail

Along The Navajo Trail was featured in at least two films, Don’t Fence Me In (1945) and Along the Navajo Trail (1945). Both films starred Roy Rogers; Dale Evans; Trigger, Roy Rogers’ beautiful Palomino horse, often billed as “the smartest horse in the movies;” and grizzly sidekick, George “Gabby” Hayes. It should come as no surprise that there are no Navajos, or Native Americans of any tribe for that matter, to be found in either of these unremarkable Roy Rogers films. While there were no Navajos on this trail, there were Gypsies! The only people of color in Along the Navajo Trail are Spanish-speaking Gypsies, who are given the same Hollywood stereotyped portrayal as were Mexicans and other Latinos in the “oaters” of the 1940s. Besides depicting them as wearing quaint clothing and travelling in garish wagons, Gypsies of this period were portrayed as people who were always suspected of either stealing or cheating. While it is a sub-plot to the film, the Gypsies provide Hayes’ character with some comic relief in which he attempts to cheat the Gypsies, and is in turn cheated himself. At the end of Along the Navajo Trail, Rogers, Evans, and the rest of the cast gather to sing the title song, and then supposedly they all live happily ever after. Remember, this was 1945 and that’s the way things were in 1945.

There were several recordings of the song, three of which charted on the Billboard charts, namely; the versions by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, Gene Krupa, and Dinah Shore.

Included below are the charted versions, plus some other versions that were popular as well. Since I mentioned some other “trail songs” in this post, I have included versions of the songs that I mentioned.

To listen to a song, click on the song title. To download a song, right click on the song title, then right click on Save target as

Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters
, Vic Schoen and his Orchestra (#2) Along The Navajo Trail
Gene Krupa and his Orchestra, vocals by Bobby Stewart (#7) Along The Navajo Trail
Dinah Shore, Al Sack and his Orchestra (#7) Along The Navajo Trail

Roy Rogers
Along The Navajo Trail
The Sons of the Pioneers Along the Navajo Trail
Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage Along The Navajo Trail

The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine Rex Allen, Victor Young and His Singing Strings The Trail of the Lonesome Pine
Along The Santa Fe TrailGlenn Miller, vocals by Ray Eberle Along the Santa Fe Trail
The Old Chisholm Trail Andy Parker and the Plainsmen The Old Chisholm Trail
Happy TrailsDale Evans and Roy Rogers Happy Trails

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How sweet it is!

It would be great if we could have a sumptuous dessert and not have to worry about the calories. We would then be able to satisfy our “sweet tooth” yearnings as well as solve the obesity problem that plagues this nation today.

Alex Kramer, Mack David and Joan Whitney solved that problem back in 1944 with their song, Candy. Songs about sweets were not new, of course.

One of the earlier “sweets” song was introduced by Shirley Temple in 1934. The song was entitled On the Good Ship Lollipop. The song became child-star Shirley Temple’s signature song, and while it may be a bit dated, how could anyone resist a song that talks about
. . .Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay.
Lemonade stands everywhere.
Crackerjack bands fill the air.
And there you are
Happy landing on a chocolate bar.

Now that is a ship I am willing to take anytime! Pipe me aboard, Captain!

Another “sweets” song, A Marshmallow World is usually sung around Christmas-time, even though it has nothing to do with that particular holiday, either in the religious or in the secular sense. The song does refer to winter, however. Since Christmas comes in the winter (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), I guess that is the connection. The song speaks of winter as a time for “marshmallow clouds,” and further talks about “a whipped cream day,” sugary dates, and “a yum- yummy world made for sweethearts.” I am starting to droll just contemplating these delectable words.

Still another song in this same genre is Lollipop, a favorite song among many who perform barbershop music and it became a world-wide hit by the Chordettes, a popular female singing quartet, who usually sang a cappella. This “sweet” tune comes from a time when songs about candy and other sugary food items were a lot more innocent than their modern counterparts. The lollipop is a candy classic, and this ode to the sweet treat temptation complete with a fun “POP!” near the end never seems to get old.

Other songs that come to my mind and fall into this category include Big Rock Candy Mountain by Tex Ritter, Sugar by Peggy Lee, Cotton Candy by Al Hirt, Sugartime by the McGuire Sisters, Honeycomb by Jimmy Rogers, Tutti Fruitti by Little Richard, Candy Kisses by George Morgan, Candy and Cake by Mindy Carson, and, of course, my all-time favorite, I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream by Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians.

You would think that listening to songs about such sweet things might give you diabetes, but in most cases these songs are not actually about food at all.

The Alex Kramer, Mack David and Joan Whitney song, Candy is no exception to that statement. Just read the lyrics and you will see what I mean.
Candy, I call my sugar Candy
Because I’m sweet on Candy
And Candy’s sweet on me

She understands me
My understanding Candy
And Candy’s always handy
When I need sympathy

I wish that there were four of her
So I could love much more of her
She has taken my complete heart
Got a sweet tooth for my sweetheart

Candy, it’s gonna be just dandy
The day I take my Candy
And make her mine, all mine
As you can see from these lyrics, even in the innocent days of the 1940s, it was not a morsel of candy that the singer longed for and sang about, but rather the one he or she loved.

This “sweet” song was recorded by a large number of artists. No less than five different versions charted on the Billboard charts. Among the most popular version of the song was the recording by Johnny Mercer and Jo Stafford. Their recording first reached the Billboard Best Seller charts on 24 February 1945 and lasted nineteen weeks on the charts, peaking at #1.

A recording by Dinah Shore was released by RCA Victor Records and reached the Billboard Best Seller charts on 10 March 1945 at #5, and stayed on the charts for eleven weeks.

Johnny Long and his Orchestra, with Dick Robertson doing the vocals also charted on the Billboard charts. Long’s recording debuted on the Billboard charts on 5 May 1945 and peaked at #8, lasting eight weeks.

Still another charted version was made by The Four King Sisters (a family vocal group from Salt Lake City, consisting of Alyce, Yvonne, Donna, and Louise Driggs. “King” was their father’s middle name, which they used professionally). The quartet’s version reached the Billboard charts on 31 March 1945, peaking at #15, and staying on the charts for two weeks.

Jerry Wald and his Orchestra, with Kay Allen handling the vocals was the fifth charted version of the song. This version came on to the Billboard charts on 19 May 1945, and stayed on the charts for one week, peaking at #18.

In England, Joe Loss and his Orchestra recorded the song with Harry Kaye on vocals. The recording was made on 15 June 1945 and was released by EMI on the HMV Records label. This version did not chart in the United States and there were no recording charts in England at the time.

To listen to the songs, click on the song title; to down load a song, right click on the song title, then click on Save target as.

Johnny Mercer and Jo Stafford, Paul Weston and his Orchestra Candy
Dinah Shore, Al Sack and his Orchestra Candy
Johnny Long and his Orchestra, vocals by Dick Robertson Candy
The Four King Sisters, Buddy Cole and his Orchestra Candy
Jerry Wald and his Orchestra, vocals by Kay Allen Candy
Joe Loss and his Orchestra, vocals by Harry Kaye Candy

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