Vernon Dalhart
Country/Western singer
b. (Near) Jefferson, TX, USA.
d. Sept. 15, 1948, Bridgeport, CT, USA.
né: Marion Try Slaughter.
C&W's 1st million-seller artist.
Vernon Dalhart came to country music from outside the tradition, becoming a national star in the years just before more indigenous kinds of country music found their place in the machinery of the music industry.

A 1924 recording by Dalhart became country music's first million-selling record; pairing a train song ("Wreck of the Old 97") with a sentimental ballad ("The Prisoner's Song"), the release set patterns for two key genres of early country music on record. Dalhart was born Marion Try Slaughter in Jefferson, TX; the stage name Vernon Dalhart, like Conway Twitty, was a combination of the names of two Texas towns. Dalhart's grandfather was a rancher, a former Confederate soldier who became a member of the Ku Klux Klan; he was killed in a knife fight while Dalhart was a boy.
Though Dalhart's classical-music background is often emphasized in accounts of his life, he did actually work for a time as a cowboy while in his teens. Dalhart sang at community gatherings, where he also played the harmonica and the jew's harp. He studied music at the Dallas Conservatory, married, and moved to New York in 1910. Dreaming of an operatic career, he worked in a music store and earned extra cash singing for funerals. He appeared in his first opera two years later and in 1913 appeared in Puccini's Madame Butterfly and Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore. Light opera and operetta remained his specialties.
Dalhart was a keen observer of the early power of the phonograph industry and jumped at the chance to record. His first releases, made around 1916, fell into various pop styles; one of them, "Can't You Heah Me Callin', Caroline," was a blackface minstrel song, a genre that never disappeared completely from his repertoire. Dalhart was an eclectic urban singer who recorded whatever might sell: comic songs (sometimes featuring the sprightly tenor banjo of John Cali), Hawaiian pieces, sentimental numbers, and much more. When he turned to country music it may have been simply a way of capitalizing on a song type that his competitors had neglected, but he immediately showed a flair for story songs. He tightened his operatic voice slightly, producing a distinctive, reedy vibrato that signaled his rural roots but appealed to mainstream record buyers. After "The Wreck of the Old 97" became a smash hit, Dalhart was a national star of sorts -- he was never a really recognizable figure, but he could sell records in the millions.
During the '20s and '30s, he used over 100 pseudonyms to record over 5,000 78 rpm singles for a variety of labels; among the names he adopted were Frank Evans, Vernon Dale, Tobe Little, Bob White, Hugh Lattimer, Sid Turner, and Al Craver. Dalhart scored successes with a series of topical songs based on current events such as the death of a Kentucky spelunker and the notorious Scopes trial, selling enough copies to firmly establish the Columbia label's 15,000-numbered country series as a force in the industry. He was often teamed with guitarist and songwriter Carson Robison, who composed some of his material and went on to a long career of his own. Dalhart continued on with recording through the late '30s, at which time his rather formal interpretation of down-home music fell out of favor as record buyers became more familiar with "authentic" country singers such as the Carter Family and turned to hip new genres such as Western swing.
Dalhart, despite persistent efforts to interest record labels in his work, was largely forgotten later in life. In the 1940s he eked out a living giving voice lessons and working as a night watchman in Bridgeport, CT, realizing no royalties from his earlier million-sellers. He died of heart failure in 1948. One of the achievements of the first stirrings of country music scholarship in the 1960s and 1970s was a new appreciation of his importance, and in 1981 Dalhart's contribution was finally given its due recognition when he was inducted into the Country Music. Hall of Fame.
~ James Manheim

Denver Darling
(Country) singer-songwriter
b. Whopock, IL, USA
Former New York City radio cowboy Denver Darling is best remembered for his patriotic World War II songs. Darling -- his real name -- was born in Whopock, Illinois, and raised in Jewett. When he was twelve, a neighbor introduced him to the guitar. Seven years later, he began working at a radio station in Terre Haute, Indiana. Over the next six years, Darling sang at several Midwestern radio stations, and at the end of 1937 came to New York City, where he would spend most of his career. When not appearing on the radio two or three times daily, he would perform at the well-known country nightclub the Village Barn, from which performances were occasionally broadcast nationally.
In November 1941, Darling made his recording debut; in the midst of his second session, World War II erupted. His subsequent patriotic songs, such as "Cowards Over Pearl Harbor," "The Devil and Mr. Hitler," and "When Mussolini Laid His Pistol Down," were designed to inspire troops and provide comfort for their families back home. Over the next five years, he released 36 singles, not all of them were patriotic; Darling also recorded under the name of Tex Grande and his Range Riders. His final sessions were in 1947 when he cut 12 singles for MGM, after which he began having throat problems and grew uncomfortable with big city life. He and his family moved back to Jewett, where Darling lived as a farmer for the next 30 years. Although his war songs were very popular at the time, they have largely faded into obscurity.
~ Sandra Brennan
Dorothy Donegan
b. April 6 1922
d. May 19 1998
Dorothy Donegan was a classically trained jazz pianist primarily known for performing in the stride piano and boogie-woogie style. She also played bop, swing jazz, and classical music.

Donegan was born and grew up in Chicago, Illinois and began studying piano at the age of eight. She took her first lessons from Alfred N. Simms, a West Indian pianist who also taught Cleo Brown. She graduated from Chicago's DuSable High School, where she studied with Walter Dyett, a gifted teacher who also worked with, among others, Dinah Washington, Johnny Griffin, Gene Ammons, and Von Freeman. She also studied at the Chicago Musical College and, later, the University of Southern California. In 1942 she made her recording debut. She appeared in Sensations of 1945 with Cab Calloway, Gene Rodgers and W. C. Fields and was known for her work in Chicago nightclubs. She was a protégée of Art Tatum, who once called her "the only woman who can make me practice." (She said about Tatum that "He was supposed to be blind...I know he could see women.") In 1943, Donegan became the first Black to perform at Chicago's Orchestra Hall.
In May 1983, Donegan, along with Billy Taylor, Milt Hinton, Art Blakey, Maxine Sullivan, Jackie Byard, and Eddie Locke, performed at a memorial service for Earl Hines, held at St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church in New York City. Her first six albums would prove to be obscure when compared to her successes in performance. It was not until the 1980s that her work gained notice in the recorded jazz world. In particular, a recorded appearance at the 1987 Montreux Jazz Festival and her live albums from 1991 were met with acclaim. Even so, she remained best known for her live performances. She drew crowds with her eclectic mixture of styles and her flamboyant personality. Ben Ratliff argued in the New York Times that:
her flamboyance helped her find work in a field that was largely hostile to women. To a certain extent, it was also her downfall; her concerts were often criticized for having an excess of personality.
Donegan was outspoken about her view that sexism, along with her insistence on being paid the same rates as male musicians, had limited her career. In 1992, Donegan received an "American Jazz Master" fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1994, an honorary doctorate from Roosevelt University.
Donegan died of cancer in 1998 in Los Angeles, California.
Dorothy Donegan - Wikipedia

Big Walter Horton
(aka Shakey Walter Horton, Mumbles, Tangle Eye) 
Instrument(s): Harmonica, Voice
Born Apr. 6, 1917, Horn Lake, MS
Died Dec. 8, 1981, Chicago, IL
Style synopsis: He'll forever be overshadowed by his (little in name only) namesake, Little Walter, but Walter Horton was one of the greatest Chicago blues harp players, and the tragedy of his life was that he didn't show that talent often enough. He allegedly started recording with the Memphis Jug Band in 1927, but made his mark when he came to Memphis and recorded a couple of records for Sam Phillips. One of them was called "Easy." A slow, simple instrumental version of "I Almost Lost My Mind," featuring only harmonica and hesitant guitar, it's one of the classic harmonica records of all time. Horton simply plays the melody through five times, each time building in intensity, until by the end of the record your speakers sound like they're going to tear themselves off the wall. It's a vivid demonstration how much you can say without playing anything all that complicated.

Horton went on to a brief stint in Muddy Waters' band, and played the classic (and quite simple) harp part on "Forty Days and Forty Nights." He didn't last long with Muddy, though, and knocked around doing various session and club gigs. He recorded his first solo album in the mid-sixties, and then in the late sixties and early seventies cut a series of albums that show just how good a harp player he was. He played very much in the Little Walter vein, with one of the deepest, heaviest tones of any harp player, and could say volumes with a single note. He could tear through a 12-bar boogie like a chainsaw through a popsicle stick, and then do a slow, masterful "Trouble in Mind" and make the harp cry. He was killed in 1981.

Representative Recordings: "Easy" is available on the Sun Records Harmonica Classics collection, Rounder SS-29, which also includes some of his other early Memphis sides. The Soul Of Blues Harmonica, Chess 9268, is his first solo album, including Buddy Guy and Willie Dixon. A good representative seventies album is Can't Keep Lovin You, Blind Pig 1484. And finally, one of the classic harmonica blues albums of all time is Big Walter Horton With Carey Bell, Alligator 4702, which pairs two great harp players, working together seamlessly.
~Contributor: Ken Ficara

Paula Kelly, vocalist
b. Grove City, PA, USA
d. April 2, 1992. Paula Kelly (April 6, 1919 - April 2, 1992) was an American big band singer.
Born in Grove City, Pennsylvania, in her early career, she sang with orchestras led by Dick Stabile, Artie Shaw, and Al Donahue. In early 1941 she joined Glenn Miller's orchestra, replacing Dorothy Claire and Marion Hutton.
Kelly originally performed solo, but also soon became the female lead of The Modernaires, originally a male trio, then a quartet, resulting in the group becoming a quintet of four male singers and herself.
In 1942, Glenn Miller went into World War II military service and his band broke up. The Modernaires continued with Kelly as lead singer until 1978, when she retired in favor of her daughter, who performed as Paula Kelly Jr. She had two other daughters, Martha (died 3/22/2006) and Juliann.


James Eugene "Rosy" McHargue
Dixieland Clarinetist, b. Danville, IL, USA.
d. June 7, 1999, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Age: 97.
Although he is somewhat obscure, Rosy McHargue was the second oldest active jazz musician in history, behind Eubie Blake (who made it to 100). Always associated with Dixieland and 1920s jazz, McHargue in his later years developed into a singer with an encyclopediac knowledge of lyrics (including verses and alternate choruses) from many forgotten songs from the 1920s and before. At the age of 15 in 1917, he worked at his first professional engagement (with the Novelty Syncopators) and made his recording debut in 1922 playing "Wow Wow Blues" with Roy Schoenbeck's Orchestra. Other early recordings included dates with the Seattle Harmony Kings (1925), Frankie Trumbauer (1931), Ted Weems (1934), and Jimmy McPartland (1936). McHargue worked with the Wolverines in late 1925 after Bix Beiderbecke had departed, spent a year with the Seattle Harmony Kings, and played with Ted Weems from 1934-1942.
After moving to Los Angeles, he worked briefly with Eddie Miller and Benny Goodman before having longer stints with Kay Kyser (1943-1946) and Red Nichols (1947-1951). McHargue, who took the purposely cornball clarinet solo on Pee Wee Hunt's unlikely hit version of "Twelfth Street Rag," played and recorded with Pete Dailey, and was active in Los Angeles' Dixieland scene, still appearing at jazz festivals in 1997. He died in his home in Santa Monica on June 8, 1999. At the time of his death he was considered one of the oldest active jazz musicians in the world. He recorded as a leader for Jump (1947 and 1952), Fairmont, Audiophile, Protone (1957), and Stomp Off (1992).
~ Scott Yanow
Rosy McHargue - Wikipedia

Leo Robin
Leo Robin (April 6, 1900 – December 29, 1984) was an American composer, lyricist and songwriter. He is probably best known for collaborating with Ralph Rainger on the 1938 Oscar-winning song "Thanks for the Memory", sung by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross in the film The Big Broadcast of 1938.

Robin was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and studied at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and at Carnegie Tech's drama school. He later worked as a reporter and as a publicist.

Robin's first hits came in 1926 with the Broadway production By the Way, with hits in several other musicals immediately following, such as Bubbling Over (1926), Hit the Deck, Judy (1927), and Hello Yourself (1928). In 1932, Robin went out to Hollywood to work for Paramount Pictures. His principal collaborator was composer Ralph Rainger, together they became one of the leading film songwriting duos of the 1930s and early 1940s, writing over 50 hits. Robin and Rainger worked together until Rainger's untimely death in a plane crash on October 23, 1942. Robin continued to collaborate with many other composers over the years, including Vincent Youmans, Sam Coslow, Richard A. Whiting, and Nacio Herb Brown. Leo Robin collaborated with Rainger on the 1938 Oscar-winning song "Thanks for the Memory," sung by Bob Hope in the film The Big Broadcast of 1938, which was to become Hope's signature tune.

Robin collaborated on the score for the 1955 musical film My Sister Eileen with Jule Styne, then officially retired from the movie industry. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1972. Robin wrote many popular songs, mostly for film and television, including "Louise," "Beyond the Blue Horizon" (both songs co-written by Richard A. Whiting), "Prisoner of Love" and "Blue Hawaii".

Robin died of heart failure in Woodland Hills, California at the age of 84 and was interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Leo Robin
Songwriters Hall of Fame

Issac Ed "Snookum" Russell
pianist/leader, Columbia, SC, USA.
Snookum Russell (born Columbia, South Carolina, April 6, 1913; died August 1981) was a pianist and leader of a territory band that played tobacco warehouses and dance halls in the South and Midwest in the 1930s, '40s and '50s.
Members of his bands included J. J. Johnson, who joined shortly after, and played with Fats Navarro, Ray Brown, Tommy Turrentine and Herbie Phillips.

Virginia Verrill, vocals
b. Santa Monica, CA, USA. 
d. Jan. 18, 1999, Raleigh, NC, USA. 
Age 82.
Henry Whitter
(rural folk) musician
b. Grayson County, VA, USA.
Henry Whitter (April 6, 1892 - November 17, 1941) was an early old-time recording artist in the United States. He first performed as a solo singer, guitarist and harmonica player, and later in partnership with the fiddler G. B. Grayson.
Whitter was born near Fries, Grayson County, Virginia. learned to play the guitar from an early age, and later on, the fiddle, banjo, harmonica and piano. His love of music made him dream of a career as an artist and he spent much time listening to cylinder recordings of Uncle Josh. He found work in a cotton mill called "Fries Washington Mill", but through the years 1923-1926 he frequently took time off to record. He claimed that his first session was in March 1923 in New York City for Okeh Records, which would have made him the first truly country singer to record, a few months before Fiddlin' John Carson. However, this claim is not supported by the Okeh files. What is certain is that Whitter did record for Okeh from December 1923 to 1926.
In his first session, he recorded nine songs, including "Wreck On the Southern Old 97" coupled with "Lonesome Road Blues". The recording was released in January 1924 and was quite successful. The light opera singer and country musician Vernon Dalhart heard "Wreck On the Southern Old 97" and decided to record it. (That particular recording coupled with "The Prisoner's Song", went on to become the first million-selling record in country music in 1924.) Other songs in Whitter's repertoire would become standards, such as The New River Train and Put My Little Shoes Away. He was the first to record the harmonica tunes Lost John and Fox Chase. He also recorded cover versions of hits by other performer's such as Uncle Dave Macon's Keep My Skillet Good And Greasy and Kelly Harrell's I Wish I Was Single Again. Although a limited musician, he supplied what record-buyers wanted and sold very well. However, by 1926 there were more skilled musicians in the market, which may explain why Okeh ceased to record Whitter.
In 1927 he recorded for Victor Records at the famous Bristol Sessions, and a later field recording in Memphis, Tennessee. Also in 1927, Whitter met the blind fiddler G. B. Grayson (1887-1930) at a fiddlers' convention in Mountain City, Tennessee. Together they formed the successful duo Grayson & Whitter, recording for Gennett Records and Victor. Their output included songs that later became bluegrass standards such as Banks of the Ohio, Nine Pound Hammer, Handsome Molly and Little Maggie. Grayson died in an automobile accident outside Damascus, Virginia in 1930. Whitter did not record again. Whitter died of diabetes in Morganton, North Carolina, in 1941.

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Rosa Henderson, vocals
died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 71.

Jimmy Kennedy, songwriter
died in Cheltenham, UK.
Age: 84.
Jimmy Kennedy

Leroy Kirkland
died in New York (Manhattan), NY, USA.
Age: 82.
Leroy Kirkland

Molly Picon [née: Pyekoon]
(b. June 1, 1889, New York, NY, USA)
died in Lancaster, PA, USA. All during the 1920s and '30s, she was a star in New York City's 'Yiddish Theater', and was widely known as "the Sweetheart of Second Avenue". She also composed a few songs, including one tango.
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


The Happy Six
  • My Sahara Rose (Introducing 1.When My Baby Smiles 2. What A Day That Will Be)
  • Sudan

All Star Trio - Oh! By Jingo! (Introducing, "Say It With Flowers")


King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band (King Oliver / Louis Armstrong) Dipper Mouth Blues

Sara Martin - Joe Turner Blues


Coon Sanders Nighthawks Orchestra


The Little Ramblers - I Wonder What's Come Of Joe


The Dixie Stompers - Feelin' Good


Ben Pollack and his Californians - Singapore Sorrows


The California Ramblers - Lover, Come Back To Me

Clarence Williams' Jazz Kings

Harry Reser and his Orchestra


Bennie Krueger and his Orchestra - Gosh Darn! Vocal refrain by Dick Robertson
  • Crazy People - Vocal refrain by Dick Robertson
  • I'm So Alone With The Crowd - Vocal refrain by Dick Robertson
  • Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue - Vocal refrain by Dick Robertson


Isham Jones and his Orchestra - Blue Prelude


Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra


~(Lew Brown / Al Von Tilzer)

In the land of San Domingo
Lived a girl called Oh By Jingo
From the fields and from the marshes
Came the young and oh by goshes
They all spoke with a different lingo
But they all loved Oh By Jingo
and every night, they sang in the pale moonlight
Oh by gee by gosh by gum by jove
Oh By Jingo won't you hear our love
We will build for you a hut
You will be our favourite nut
We will have a lot of little Oh By Gollies
And we'll put them in the follies
By Jingo said "By gosh by gee
By jiminy please don't bother me"
So they all went away singing
Oh by gee by gosh by gum by jove By Jingo
By gee, you're the only girl for me.
(Musical Interlude)
Oh by gee by gosh by gum by jove
Oh By Jingo won't you hear our love
We will build for you a hut
You will be our favourite nut
We will have a lot of little Oh By Gollies
And we'll put them in the follies
By Jingo said "By gosh by gee
By jiminy please don't bother me"
So they all went away singing
Oh by gee by gosh by gum by jove By Jingo
By gee, you're the only girl for me.

brought to you by... 
Special Thanks To:
The Red Hot Jazz Archives,
The Big Band Database
, Scott Yanow,
and all those who have provided content,
images and sound files for this site.

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