Jerome Kern, Composer 
b. New York, NY, USA
d. Nov. 11, 1945, New York, NY, USA
né: Jerome David Kern.
Died Cerebral Hemmorrhage. One of the 20th Century's leading composers of popular stage musicals. "Show Boat", with libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II, helped to promote the "serious" musical play in U.S. theatre.

~by William Ruhlmann 
Jerome Kern (1885-1945) is arguably the father modern American musical theater. Born in New York of German heritage, he attended the New York College of Music and began to break into Broadway theater during the first decade of the century by having songs of his interpolated into shows. An Anglophile and friend of P.G. Wodehouse, Kern scored his first success with songs inserted into The Girl from Utah, a British import, in 1914, including the ballad "They Didn't Believe Me." Breaking away from the European model of waltz music, Kern proved adept at adapting contempoarary dance music into his songs as well as producing subtle, inventive ballads. He collaborated with Guy Bolton and, later, Wodehouse on a series of shows presented at the Princess Theater in the middle of the decade, notably Very Good Eddie, and continued to score successes into the '20s.
But Kern really entered the history books with Show Boat (1927), the first truly modern American musical, with an integrated story and such memorable songs as "Ol' Man River" and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man." Like many of his contemporaries, Kern divided his time between Broadway and Hollywood in the '30s, after sound came into the movies, and his movie hits included the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers film Swing Time, with such songs as "A Fine Romance" and "The Way You Look Tonight" (with lyrics by Dorothy Fields). Kern worked steadily -- he wrote or contributed to 37 shows during his career -- and was beginning work on Annie Get Your Gun when he died suddenly in 1945. He left behind one of the richest catalogs of show music in history.
Abe (Alvin) Aaron, Reeds
b. Toronto, ON, Canada
d. Jan. 31, 1970

A Canadian by birth, the woodwind player Alvin Aaron turned out to make one important contribution to jazz: his name would be the first one readers would come across in encyclopedias devoted to this genre, that is if the man wasn't so obscure that many of these volumes don't bother to list him. (He did make Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz, however.) He was born Abe Aaron into a musical family. His father headed up a theater band based out of Milwaukee in the '30s, and was hurting enough for section players to take his son under his wing and teach him clarinet and soprano sax. After working with his dad for some dozen years, Aaron began playing alto sax in the Jack Teagarden band in the early '40s.
In 1943, Aaron took off for Hollywood, where he got on the radio with the Horace Heidt band. From 1945 through 1947, he was in the band of the underfed Skinnay Ennis, then re-joined Heidt through the end of the decade. After this came the saxman's most successful gig on many levels, a decade long stint with Les Brown & His Band of Renown that involved tours to the Far East as well as throughout Europe. The Brown band recorded frequently for labels such as Coral and Capitol. Aaron also showed up playing bass clarinet on a Kapp jazz recording date led by Billy Usselton, one of Aaron's fellow woodwind players in the Brown band. A collection of Sidney Bechet tunes recorded as a tribute by Brown features some of Aaron's best clarinet and soprano sax solos on record.
~ Eugene Chadbourne
Joe Attlesey (as Joe Shelton)
b. Reilly Springs, TX, USA

Member: "The Shelton Brothers", a Honky-Tonk/Harmony Duo consisting of Joe Shelton (né: Joe Attlesey), and Robert "Bob" Shelton (né: Robert Attlesey, Vocals/Guitar/Fiddle, b. July 4, 1909, Reilly Springs, TX, USA, d. 1986).
Joe Shelton
The Shelton Brothers

Ross Bagdasarian
b. Fresno, CA, USA
d. Jan. 16, 1972 (11 days before his 53rd birthday)
aka: David Seville.
Perhaps his best known recording is "David Seville and The Chipmunks". Among his other songs are "The Trouble With Harry" (reached No. 44, in 1956), and two solo singles (recording as David Seville), "Armen's Theme" and "Gotta Get to Your House." In early 1958, his "Witch Doctor" hit NO. 1, and later that year, his Christmas gimmick single "The Chipmunk Song" spent four weeks at the top of the charts. Two months later, "Alvin's Harmonica" reached No. 3.

Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. - Wikipedia

Joe Callahan
Singer/Yodeler/Guitar/String Bass/Comedy
b. Madison County, NC, USA

d. Sept. 10, 1971

Member: "The Callahan Brothers", a duo consisting of Joe Callahan (né: Walter Tommie Callahan), and Bill Callahan (né: Homer C. Callahan, b. March 27, 1912, Madison County, NC, USA. Singer, Yodeler, Guitar, Bass Fiddle, Mandolin).
Artist Biography by Sandra Brennan
The Callahan Brothers were most popular during the 1930s and were known for their yodeling. They were born Walter and Homer Callahan (they later changed their names to Joe and Bill because they were shorter) in mountainous Madison County in western North Carolina. Their childhood was filled with the traditional music of the mountains and the recorded music of such singers as Ernest Stoneman, Riley Puckett and Jimmie Rodgers. After the Callahans began performing, they integrated yodeling into their act and it was this talent that called attention to them during a festival in 1933.
Joe and Bill made their recording debut the following year in New York for ARC; they became the label's most popular duo during this era. That year, they also began appearing on WWNC Asheville, North Carolina. During their recording career, the Callahans moved to several different radio stations, including WHAS Louisville, Kentucky and WWVA Wheeling, West Virginia. Some of the Callahans' most popular tunes include "Little Poplar Log House" and country standard "She's My Curly Headed Baby." In addition to performing their own songs, the two also covered the songs of other performers.
In 1940 the Callahans moved to Oklahoma to briefly work at a radio station in Tulsa. The following year they moved to KRLD Texas and spent the rest of the decade there and at KWFT Wichita Falls, Texas. The duo signed to Decca but didn't release many singles, instead recording transcriptions for the Dallas-based Sellers Company which were usually played on the radio. In 1945, the brothers went to Hollywood to make a movie, Springtime in Texas with Jimmy Wakely. Afterward they did a nationwide promotional tour with the cowboy crooner. Later Bill went on an Eastern tour with Ray Whitely and in 1947 recorded a solo for Cowboy Records in Philadelphia. Four years later, the Callahans became Lefty Frizzell's opening act and recorded eight singles for Columbia.
Later, Joe went back to Asheville and became a grocer while Bill stayed in Dallas to become a photographer; he occasionally returned to music as a bass player or a comic. The brothers briefly reunited in Dallas during the mid-'60s to do a few shows, but by this time Joe's health was failing and he soon returned to North Carolina. He died in 1971. Bill retired and remained in Dallas.

Will Marion Cook
b. Washington, DC, USA.
d. July 19, 1944 Biography
~by Eugene Chadbourne

The musical activities of composer, conductor and instrumentalist Will Marion Cook began even prior to the oncome of the 20th century. The son of the first Afro-American lawyer in Washington, D.C., Cook studied classical music at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and with both Josef Joachim and Anton Dvorak in Europe. He was sure that nobody would take him seriously in either the American or European academic world due to his race, so he began utilizing material from traditional black folklore and music for his own works. He wrote a great deal of material for stage presentations featuring star black comic Bert Williams, but the greatest of Cook's early accomplishments was the 1889 Clorindy, the Origin of the Cakewalk, the first musical comedy to be written, directed, and performed entirely by blacks.
Cook subsequently wrote a series of popular musicals in this style including both Dahomey and Abyssinia. He helmed the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, a large ensemble presenting both ragtime and concert music. Cook could also write in the short form, creating ditties closely associated with singing and mugging black faces, whether the color was natural or painted on. Works coming out of this Cook's song kitchen after 1910 include both "I'm Coming, Virginia" and "Mammy".
His orchestra's final tour was in 1919 and featured soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet. Cook then began freelancing with various New York publishers and was influential in the early work of Duke Ellington. His wife was Abbie Mitchell Cook, a soprano vocalist whose career began in his early shows. Their son Mercer Cook was the American ambassador to Nigeria and Senegal.

Buddy DeSylva, Lyricist 

b. New York, NY, USA
d. July 11, 1950, Los Angeles, CA
nee; George Gard DeSylva

~by Joslyn Layne 
Lyricist and composer Buddy DeSylva is best known for his years in the Henderson-DeSylva-Brown team, who were without equal as songwriters of the Roaring '20s. He was born in N.Y.C. on January 27, 1895, but raised in California, where he grew up and briefly attended USC. DeSylva, also known as B.G. Desylva and George Gard Desylva, became interested in show business, began songwriting and eventually was brought to N.Y. by Al Jolson. 

DeSylva's first successful songs were those used by Jolson on Broadway in the 1918 Sinbad production, which included "I'll Say She Does." DeSylva wrote for over ten musicals between 1919 and 1925, including La, La, Lucille (1919), several of George White's Scandals of the early '20s, and Captain Jinks (1925). His early hits from these shows include "April Showers," "Somebody Loves Me," and "California, Here I Come." In 1925, DeSylva joined up with the duo of composer Ray Henderson and lyricist Lew Brown and the trio successfully established themselves with their second Broadway score, George White's Scandals of 1926.

Henderson-DeSylva-Brown then scored the 1927 stage productions Good News, and Manhattan Mary, followed the next year by Hold Everything, more George White's Scandals in the late '20s, and Flying High in 1930. Off the stage, the songwriting trio had several hit songs, in addition to their movie credits for songs in early Al Jolson films (Sonny Boy and It All Depends On You) and the popular 1929 film Sunny Side Up, which they went to Hollywood to score. DeSylva left in 1931, to pursue a career as a movie producer, but also continued to write music for film and stage productions, such as Broadway's Take a Chance (1932).
The mid-'30s found DeSylva producing Shirley Temple films like The Littlest Rebel and Poor Little Rich Girl, followed by his work as producer for a few Broadway productions. DeSylva later held positions as head of Paramount Pictures, as a music publisher, and finally as a record executive for Capitol Records. He collaborated with many other songwriters through the years including Jolson, Gus Kahn, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Nacio Herb Brown. 

"Skitch" Henderson
b. Halstad, MN, USA
d. November 1, 2005, New Milford, Connecticut, USA.
Age: 87.
Lyle Russell Cedric “Skitch” Henderson (January 27, 1918 – November 1, 2005) was a pianist, conductor, and composer. His nickname ("Skitch") reportedly derived from his ability to quickly "re-sketch" a song in a different key.

Andrew "Smokey" Hogg, Blues vocals
b. Westconnie, TX, USA
d. May 1, 1960, McKinney, TX, USA.
aka: "Texas Smokey" Hogg.
Influenced by Big Bill Broonzy and Peetie Wheatstraw, "Smokey" worked with a slide guitarist "Black Ace" (né: BK Turner, b. 1905 Hughes Springs, TX, USA, d. Nov. 7, 1972) at local Greenville, Texas venues. Hogg first recorded for Decca in 1937, and not again until 1948, when he had a huge hits with 1948's "Long Tall Mama" and 1950's "Little School Girl". ('Black Ace' was one of the few Bluesmen to play their guitar in Hawaiian style -on the lap, using a slide).

~by Bill Dahl
Smokey Hogg was a rural bluesman navigating a postwar era infatuated by R&B, but he got along quite nicely nonetheless, scoring a pair of major R&B hits in 1948 and 1950 and cutting a thick catalog for a slew of labels (including Exclusive, Modern, Bullet, Macy's, Sittin' in With, Imperial, Mercury, Recorded in Hollywood, Specialty, Fidelity, Combo, Federal, and Showtime).

During the early '30s, Hogg, who was influenced by Big Bill Broonzy and Peetie Wheatstraw, worked with slide guitarist Black Ace at dances around Greenville, TX. Hogg first recorded for Decca in 1937, but it was an isolated occurrence -- he didn't make it back into a studio for a decade. Once he hit his stride, though, Hogg didn't look back. Both his chart hits -- 1948's "Long Tall Mama" and 1950's "Little School Girl" -- were issued on Modern, but his rough-hewn sound seldom changed a whole lot no matter what L.A. logo he was appearing on. Hogg's last few sides were cut in 1958 for Lee Rupe's Ebb label. Smokey's cousin John Hogg also played the blues, recording for Mercury in 1951. 
Andrew "Smokey" Hogg Family Trouble Blues

Luis Russell and his Orchestra Left to Right: Red Allen, Greeley Walton, Paul Barbarin, Charlie Holmes, Luis Russell, Albert Nicholas, Will Johnson, Pops Foster, J.C. Higginbotham, Otis Johnson.
Charlie Holmes
Alto Saxophone
b. Boston, MA, USA.
d. Sept. 12, 1985
Biography ~by Scott Yanow
Charlie Holmes was one of the finest alto-saxophonists of the late 1920's/early 30's period, particularly when he was well featured with Luis Russell's Orchestra. An early associate of both Harry Carney and Johnny Hodges (both of whom were boyhood friends), Holmes was a technically skilled instrumentalist early on, playing oboe with the Boston Civic Symphony Orchestra in 1926. He moved to New York in 1927, had brief stints with Chick Webb, Henri Saparo, Joe Steele and George Howe and then in 1928 first joined Luis Russell. He had second stints with Saparo and Steele before returning to Russell in 1929.
During the next three years, Holmes was one of four major soloists (along with Henry "Red" Allen, J.C. Higginbotham and Albert Nicholas) who starred with Luis Russell's impressive orchestra. He next played with Mills Blue Rhythm Band in 1932 and then rejoined Russell shortly before the band became Louis Armstrong's backup group. Leaving Armstrong in 1940, Holmes worked with Bobby Burnet briefly in 1941, was with Cootie Williams' Orchestra (1942-45), worked with the John Kirby Sextet (1947) and Billy Kyle, recorded with Al Sears in 1951 and then left music for nearly 20 years, working at a day jo In his later years, Holmes re-emerged sounding fine in an unchanged style during appearances with Clyde Bernhardt's Harlem Blues & Jazz band (1972-75) and recording with the Swedish band Kustbandet (1975). Charlie Holmes, who was influenced by Johnny Hodges but had his own sound, never led his own record date.
Charlie Holmes - Wikipedia

Elmore James, Guitar
b. Richland, MS, USA.
d. May 23, 1963, Chicago, IL, USA.
né: Elmore Brooks.
Biography ~by Cub Kodak
No two ways about it, the most influential slide guitarist of the postwar period was Elmore James, hands down. Although his early demise from heart failure kept him from enjoying the fruits of the '60s blues revival as his contemporaries Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf did, James left a wide influential trail behind him.

And that influence continues to the present time -- in approach, attitude and tone -- in just about every guitar player who puts a slide on his finger and wails the blues. As a guitarist, he wrote the book, his slide style influencing the likes of Hound Dog Taylor, Joe Carter, his cousin Homesick James and J.B. Hutto, while his seldom-heard single-string work had an equally profound effect on B.B. King and Chuck Berry. His signature lick -- an electric updating of Robert Johnson's "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" and one that Elmore recorded in infinite variations from day one to his last session -- is so much a part of the essential blues fabric of guitar licks that no one attempting to play slide guitar can do it without being compared to Elmore James. Others may have had more technique -- Robert Nighthawk and Earl Hooker immediately come to mind -- but Elmore had the sound and all the feeling.

A radio repairman by trade, Elmore reworked his guitar amplifiers in his spare time, getting them to produce raw, distorted sounds that wouldn't resurface until the advent of heavy rock amplification in the late '60s. This amp-on-11-approach was hot-wired to one of the strongest emotional approaches to the blues ever recorded. There is never a time when you're listening to one of his records that you feel -- no matter how familiar the structure -- that he's phoning it in just to grab a quick session check. Elmore James always gave it everything he had, everything he could emotionally invest in a number. This commitment of spirit is something that shows up time and again when listening to multiple takes from his session masters. 
The sheer repetitiveness of the recording process would dim almost anyone's creative fires, but Elmore always seemed to give it 100 percent every time the red light went on. Few blues singers had a voice that could compete with James'; it was loud, forceful, prone to "catch" or break up in the high registers, almost sounding on the verge of hysteria at certain moments. Evidently the times back in the mid-'30s when Elmore had first-hand absorption of Robert Johnson as a playing companion had a deep influence on him, not only in his choice of material, but also in his presentation of it.

Backing the twin torrents of Elmore's guitar and voice was one of the greatest -- and earliest -- Chicago blues bands. Named after James' big hit, the Broomdusters featured Little Johnny Jones on piano, J.T. Brown on tenor sax and Elmore's cousin, Homesick James on rhythm guitar. 
This talented nucleus was often augmented by a second saxophone on occasion while the drumming stool changed frequently. But this was the band that could go toe to toe in a battle of the blues against the bands of Muddy Waters or Howlin' Wolf and always hold their own, if not walk with the show. 

Utilizing a stomping beat, Elmore's slashing guitar, Jones' two-fisted piano delivery, Homesick's rudimentary boogie bass rhythm and Brown's braying nanny-goat sax leads, the Broomdusters were as loud and powerful and popular as any blues band the Windy City had to offer.
But as urban as their sound was, it all had roots in Elmore's hometown of Canton, MS. He was born there on January 27, 1918, the illegitimate son of Leola Brooks and later given the surname of his stepfather, Joe Willie James. He adapted to music at an early age, learning to play bottleneck on a homemade instrument fashioned out of a broom handle and a lard can. By the age of 14, he was already a weekend musician, working the various country suppers and juke joints in the area under the names "Cleanhead" or Joe' Willie James." Although he confined himself to a home base area around Belzoni, he would join up and work with traveling players coming through like Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson. By the late '30s he had formed his first band and was working the Southern state area with Sonny Boy until the second world war broke out, spending three years stationed with the Navy in Guam. 

When he was discharged, he picked off where he left off, moving for a while to Memphis, working in clubs with Eddie Taylor and his cousin Homesick James. Elmore was also one of the first "guest stars" on the popular King Biscuit Time radio show on KFFA in Helena, AL, also doing stints on the Talaho Syrup show on Yazoo City's WAZF and the Hadacol show on KWEM in West Memphis. Nervous and unsure of his abilities as a recording artist, Elmore was surreptitiously recorded by Lillian McMurray of Trumpet Records at the tail end of a Sonny Boy session doing his now-signature tune, "Dust My Broom." Legend has it that James didn't even stay around long enough to hear the playback, much less record a second side. McMurray stuck a local singer (BoBo "Slim" Thomas) on the flip side and the record became the surprise R&B hit of 1951, making the Top Ten and conversely making a recording star out of Elmore. 
With a few months left on his Trumpet contract, Elmore was recorded by the Bihari Brothers for their Modern label subsidiaries, Flair and Meteor, but the results were left in the can until James' contract ran out. In the meantime, Elmore had moved to Chicago and cut a quick session for Chess, which resulted in one single being issued and just as quickly yanked off the market as the Bihari Brothers swooped in to protect their investment. This period of activity found Elmore assembling the nucleus of his great band the Broomdusters and several fine recordings were issued over the next few years on a plethora of the Bihari Brothers'owned labels with several of them charting and most all of them becoming certified blues classics.
By this time James had established a beach-head in the clubs of Chicago as one of the most popular live acts and regularly broadcasting over WPOA under the aegis of disc jockey Big Bill Hill. In 1957, with his contract with the Bihari Brothers at an end, he recorded several successful sides for Mel London's Chief label, all of them later being issued on the larger Vee-Jay label. His health -- always in a fragile state due to a recurring heart condition -- would send him back home to Jackson, MS, where he temporarily set aside his playing for work as a disc jockey or radio repair man. He came back to Chicago to record a session for Chess, then just as quickly broke contract to sign with Bobby Robinson's Fire label, producing the classic "The Sky Is Crying" and numerous others. Running afoul with the Chicago musician's union, he returned back to Mississippi, doing sessions in New York and New Orleans waiting for Big Bill Hill to sort things out. 
In May of 1963, Elmore returned to Chicago, ready to resume his on-again off-again playing career -- his records were still being regularly issued and reissued on a variety of labels -- when he suffered his final heart attack. His wake was attended by over 400 blues luminaries before his body was shipped back to Mississippi. He was elected to the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1980 and was later elected to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a seminal influence. Elmore James may not have lived to reap the rewards of the blues revival, but his music and influence continues to resonate.

Monia Liter

Monia Liter
Piano/Piano Accordion/Arranger/Composer
b. Odessa, Russia, d. Oct. 5, 1988
Biography ~by David Ades (2003)
Monia Liter was born in Odessa on the Black Sea on 27 January 1906, where he studied piano and composition at the Imperial School of Music. He left Russia during the 1917 revolution for Harbin, in North China, where he managed to continue with his musical education. This provided him with the suitable qualifications that enabled him to join an Italian opera company in Shanghai, as assistant conductor and choirmaster, subsequently touring with them throughout China and Japan. When this engagement terminated, he formed his own dance band in Hankow.
Some while later he was in India with an American dance band, which involved touring throughout the sub-continent and Burma, eventually visiting Malaya. He decided to settle in nearby Singapore, and for seven years he was employed with his own orchestra at the famous Raffles Hotel, where he engaged the young Al Bowlly as a vocalist. While in that city he became a naturalised British subject. Monia Liter and Al Bowlly travelled to Britain in 1929, and different reports of this period of Liter’s career contain conflicting information. However it appears that Monia returned to China where he was appointed head of music at a commercial radio station in Shanghai; in 1933 he decided to make his permanent home in London.
His first appearance back in England was with his friend Al Bowlly in variety at the Holborn Empire (by now Bowlly had found fame, mainly as Ray Noble’s singer, although he had provided the vocals on 78s by numerous British dance bands), and thereafter Liter played the piano with virtually every famous dance band in Britain. He was a frequent visitor to the recording studios, firstly with Lew Stone (from 1933 to 1936), Nat Gonella (1934 - 1937), Jack Hylton (1936 and 1937), Harry Roy – where he replaced Stanley Black (1939 and 1940), then on various occasions with Victor Silvester (1940 - 1944). Sometimes these bands would be recording Monia Liter’s own arrangements for them. 
In 1941 he joined the BBC as a pianist, conductor and arranger, initially with the Twentieth Century Serenaders. After 10 years at the BBC, he left them to concentrate on composing and concert work, which involved touring with famous names such as Sophie Tucker, Larry Adler and Richard Tauber. George Melachrino chose Monia Liter as the solo pianist on his HMV recording of Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, and with the Mantovani Orchestra on Decca he recorded Clive Richardson’s ‘London Fantasia’ (reissued on Vocalion CDEA6019), Hubert Bath’s ‘Cornish Rhapsody’, Mischa Spoliansky’s ‘A Voice in the Night’ (Vocalion CDEA6044) and Albert Arlen’s ‘Alamein Concerto’.
He was also in demand for films, recording and television, as well as working in the Light Music department at Boosey & Hawkes, writing numerous works for their Recorded Music Library. In 1956 the BBC commissioned him to compose a serious work for their Light Music Festival, for which he wrote his ‘Scherzo Transcendant’. Other original works include ‘Andalusian Girl’, ‘Black Chiffon’, ‘The Valley of the Kings’, ‘Prelude Espagnole’, ‘Spanish Suite’, ‘Two Southern Impressions’ and ‘The Puppets’. In his later career Monia Liter preferred to concentrate more on writing, rather than performing. He died in London on 5 October 1988 aged 82.

Johnny Marvin & Frankie Marvin
Frankie Marvin
(Western) singer-songwriter/guitar/Steel Guitar/actor
b. Butler, Indian Territory (now: Oklahoma), USA. d. January 1985.
Frankie Marvin is best remembered today for his long association with Gene Autry. Born near Butler in what became Oklahoma, Frankie's older brother had been in show business almost as long as the younger sibling could remember. By the time Frankie reached adulthood, Johnny was a radio and recording star and the younger Marvin learned all of his songs. 

In 1929, Frankie went to New York and soon had his own record contract doing numbers like Oh For The Wild And Wooly West, The Gangster's Warning and Oklahoma, Land of the Sunny West, on labels such as Cameo and Melotone. He also did some of the first covers of Jimmie Rodgers' songs and originals in the same vein, some under the pseudonym, "Frankie Wallace." His style tended to be more Country than that of his brother or the so-called citybilly artists like Vernon Dalhart, Carson J. Robison and Frank Luther, but less so than the hard-core Country practitioners. He also worked up a comedy act with Ben "Whitey" Ford (later known as the Duke of Paducah), calling themselves, Ralph and Elmer.
Frank's steel guitar also provided instrumental support to other recordings stars. In 1934, when Gene Autry went to Hollywood, both Marvins soon joined him. Johnny wrote songs for his and other singing cowboy films, while Frankie backed Gene and had small parts in virtually all his films and radio programs. As cowboy song historian, Jim Bob Tinsley states, Marvin's steel guitar-style was a distinctive part of the Gene Autry sound. Frank also wrote several songs for Gene, most notably Cowboyís Heaven. As the years went by, Frankie's contributions to the Autry organization receded into the background as the star made accommodations to modernization, although Marvin remained with him until 1955. 
After retiring, Frankie moved to Frazier Park, California. He either remained there or moved to Florida shortly before his death. A few of his recordings have appeared on anthologies, most notably, Oh For The Wild And Wooly West and Barber's Blues. His steel guitar, however, can be heard on many of the re-issues of early Autry material. ~Ivan M. Tribe

"Mississippi Matilda", vocals
b. Hattiesburg, MS, USA
Wife of Delta Bluesman Eugene Powell, a.k.a "Sonny Boy Nelson". (guitar/vocals, b. Dec. 23, 1908, Utica, Mississippi, USA, d. Nov. 4, 1998, Greenville, Mississippi, USA). In 1936, Eugene, his wife "Mississippi Matilda", and Willie "Brother" Harris traveled with the Chatmon Brothers to New Orleans, LA, where they recorded for the Bluebird label.

"Hard Working Woman":

I'm a hard working woman, and I work hard all the time
But if you hear my baby, he just isn't satisfied
I have to go to my work baby, between the night and day
I didn't think my baby would treat me this way
I'm a hard working woman, but I'm becoming a rolling stone
And the way my baby treats me, Lord I ain't gonna be here long
Scented Jasmine Tea Blues: Mississippi Matilda Revisited

Oran Thaddeus "Hot Lips" Page. Trumpet
b. Dallas, TX, USA
d. Nov. 5, 1954
Played with Count Basie and many, many others.

~by Scott Yanow

One of the great swing trumpeters in addition to being a talented blues vocalist, Hot Lips Page's premature passing left a large hole in the jazz world; virtually all musicians (no matter their style) loved him. Page gained early experience in the 1920s performing in Texas, playing in Ma Rainey's backup band. He was with Walter Page's Blue Devils during 1928-1931, and then joined Bennie Moten's band in Kansas City in time to take part in a brilliant 1932 recording session. Page freelanced in Kansas City and in 1936 was one of the stars in Count Basie's orchestra but, shortly before Basie was discovered, Joe Glaser signed Hot Lips as a solo artist.
Although Page's big band did alright in the late '30s (recording for Victor), if he had come east with Basie he would have become much more famous. Page was one of the top sidemen with Artie Shaw's orchestra during 1941-1942 and then mainly freelanced throughout the remainder of his career, recording with many all-star groups and always being a welcome fixture at jam sessions.
Milt Raskin, Piano
b. Boston, MA, USA.
d. Oct. 16, 1977
~by Scott Yanow 

A skillful swing pianist who chose to spend much of his career in the studios, Milt Raskin was a strong asset to several swing era big bands. He started on saxophone, switched to piano when he was 11 and studied at the New England Conservatory in the early 1930's. After having some local radio jobs, Raskin moved to New York, played a bit with Wingy Manone in 1937 and then joined Gene Krupa's new big band (1938-39). He had stints with Teddy Powell, Alvino Rey, Krupa again and most prominently with Tommy Dorsey (1942-44). After finishing up with TD, Raskin moved to Los Angeles and became a busy studio musician and musical director. Although he sometimes recorded in jazz settings in the 1940's and 50's (including with Artie Shaw, Billie Holiday, Wingy Manone and Georgie Auld), Milt Raskin was largely lost to the lucrative but anonymous world of the studios; he never led a jazz recording session of his own.

Harry Ruby, composer/piano
b. New York, NY, USA
d. Feb. 23, 1974, Woodland Hills, CA, USA.
~by Joslyn Layne

Composer Harry Ruby enjoyed a long career songwriting for Broadway and Hollywood musicals, almost always in collaboration with lyricist Bert Kalmar. Born in N.Y.C. in 1895, he got his start working as a staff pianist for various music publishers, then toured vaudeville accompanying groups such as the Bootblack Trio and the Messenger Boys Trio. Ruby and Kalmar had worked together before, but in 1920 they formed a songwriting duo that would last until Kalmar's death in the late '40s. The team produced a large number of stage and movie hits, such as "I Wanna Be Loved by You," "Who's Sorry Now?" "Three Little Words," "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," and many more. After ten years of coming up with hits for such Broadway productions as Ladies First (1918), Helen of Troy, New York (1923), The Ramblers (1926), and Good Boy (1928), the duo moved out to Hollywood and wrote hits for over ten motion pictures, including the Amos N Andy film Check and Double Check (1930) and the Marx Brothers' features Animal Crackers (1930) and Duck Soup (1933).
Ruby wrote much less after Kalmar's death in 1947, but did have a few more hits, as with the Hit Parade chart-topper "Maybe It's Because" (1949) and 1951's "A Kiss to Build a Dream On." In 1950, Red Skelton and Fred Astaire portrayed Ruby and Kalmar in a movie about their lives and music called Three Little Words. A few of the other songwriters Ruby worked with over the course of his career were Edgar Leslie, Rube Bloom, and Fred E. Ahlert.

Benay Venuta
b. San Francisco, CA, USA
d. Sept. 1, 1995, New York, NY, USA
It's a shame that Benay is not better recalled today, - she was a fine singer, as well as a Broadway and Hollywood actress. Among the films in which she appeared are 'Easter Parade' (1948 -she was a Bar Patron, uncredited), 'Call Me Mister' (1951 playing part of Billie Barton), 'Annie Get Your Gun' (1950 in role of Dolly Tate), 'Bullets Over Broadway' (1994, just a year before her demise), and about a half dozen other films. A very talented little lady, - she was also a sculptor.
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include: 

"Blind Simmie" Dooley, guitar
died in Spartanburg, SC, USA.

Mahalia Jackson
died in Evergreen Park, IL, USA.
Stanley Adams, songwriter
died in Manhasset, NY, USA.
Age: 86.
Stanley Adams

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Paul Biese Trio
  • “Beela Boola”, (Rosey)


Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra
“Lola Lo”, (Arthur Lange / Ernest Klapholz)

Dolly Kay
  • “Blue”, (Lou Handman)


The Georgians


University Six - “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate”  (A.J. Piron)


Harry Reser and his Orchestra - “Cock-a-Doodle, I'm Off My Noodle (My Baby's Back)” (Tom Stacks vocal)


Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra - “Make Believe” (From "Show Boat") (Oscar Hammerstein / Jerome Kern)

The California Ramblers - “I Ain't Got Nobody”, (matrix 18198)


Louisiana Rhythm Kings
  • “Lazy Daddy” (Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca / Henry Ragas) 
  • “Cooking Breakfast For The One I Love” (Billy Rose / Henry Tobias )


Ben Selvin and his Orchestra - “Potatoes Are Cheaper, Tomatoes Are Cheaper"

Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra
  • “All Of Me”, (S. Simons / Gerald Marks)
  • “Home”, (Van Steeden / Clarkson)


I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate

I went to a dance with my sister Kate;
Everybody there thought she danced so great;
I realized a thing or two,
When I got wise to something new:
When I looked at Kate, she was in a trance,
And then I knew it was in her dance;
All the boys are going wild
Over sister Katie's style.
Oh, I wish I could I shimmy like my sister Kate;
She shimmies like a jelly on a plate.
My mama wanted to know last night,
What makes the boys think Kate's so nice.
Now all the boys in the neighborhood,
They know that she can shimmy and it's understood;
I know that I'm late, but I'll be up-to-date
When I shimmy like my sister Kate.
I mean, when I shimmy like my sister Kate.
Now I can shimmy like my sister Kate,
I know that I'm real late,
I think I'll do a real shimmy dance,
Dancing like my sister Kate,
Sweet papa, just like my sister Kate.

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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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