Here are the very exciting results of our trip to an antique store in Vallejo and a community thrift store in Benicia — both less famous towns in California.
I know this isn’t a terribly rare piece of sheet music: it was a hit in 1920 and people still request it today. But I love the Art Deco cover, and I had never heard anyone sing the verse. That verse intrigues me because of its indirection. The singer doesn’t say, “I’ve got a girl named Margie, and she’s great,” etc. No, there’s a little story:
One: You can talk about your love affairs,
Here’s one I must tell to you;
All night long they sit on the stairs,
He holds her close and starts to coo:
Two: You can picture me most ev’ry night,
I can’t wait until they start;
Ev’ry thing he says just seems all right,
I want to learn that stuff by heart:
Thus the setup for the chorus is coming from an eager but less-sophisticated young man who wants to take Lessons in Love. Who would have guessed it?
I hadn’t known that Russ Columbo was RADIO’S REVELATION. Having bought the sheet music for YOU CALL IT MADNESS, BUT I CALL IT LOVE, I’ve learned something both new and essential.
I had never heard or heard of this 1929 song (lyrics by Charles Tobias and Sidney Clare, music by Peter DeRose). By no means is it an unknown classic, but here are the lyrics to the bridge: “He plays most everything the masters wrote / He plays them heavenly and doesn’t read a note.” Hot enough for me.
This one is a treasure for obvious reasons and more. I knew this lovely song from Bing’s 1931 recording, but had no idea that it has been associated with Miss Connie Boswell. And it has a personal meaning for me. My father was born in 1915, and the songs of his childhood became the songs of mine, even though I didn’t exactly know the titles or the complete versions. He is dead almost thirty years, and I can still hear him singing, “Leaves come tumbling down / ‘Round my head / Some of them are brown / Some are red,” although I don’t think he ever got as far as the bridge. I think he also sang it to his granddaughters, several of whom might remember the tune.
Since I mentioned Harry Lillis Crosby, I shall bring forward one of the real gems of my paddling through cardboard boxes of shredding sheet music (invariably on my hands and knees). I have only the cover of this song, but I think it’s a worthwhile find:
Handsome young fellow, isn’t he? (Even with that hairpiece.) I think he has a real future, than Bing. With or without the other Two Rhythm Boys. (Incidentally, if you haven’t heard John Gill’s Bing tribute — with his Sentimental Serenaders — recorded for Stomp Off — you’re denying yourself pleasure.)
And since nothing beats an unusual 78 rpm record in mint condition, let me share this one with you. It looks anything but interesting, but I have hopes:
Now, John Conte was not a pseudonym for Red McKenzie or Boyce Brown, and the other side looks just as far away from hot jazz as the first. But the TEEN TIMER label stopped me from going on to the next record. Perhaps twenty-five years ago, the musician and scholar Loren Schoenberg (who now heads the Jazz Museum in Harlem) had a weekly radio program on Columbia University’s WKCR-FM, and one of his august guests was the tenor saxophonist Jerry Jerome. Jerry brought along a number of rarities, and one of them sprang from a radio program (circa 1944) for which he led the house band. The TEEN TIMERS orchestra was an astonishing collection of the best New York City studio players / hot soloists. I remember Chris Griffin and Will Bradley, Hymie Schertzer, Johnny Guarneri, Eddie Safranski, and Dave Tough were in the band — identifiable not only by their sound, but because that day the program might have run short, so the players were allowed to stretch out on a ONE O’CLOCK JUMP where they were identified by name. (I learned online that it was a Saturday morning show on NBC; the singing star was Eileen Barton — later to have a big hit with IF I KNEW YOU WERE COMING, I’D A BAKED A CAKE) and the announcer was Art Ford — late 1944, early 1945. So TEEN TIMERS — perhaps a hopeful effort by Apollo Records (for whom Jerry did some producing of sessions) to attract the bobby-soxers — has the possibility of a hot obbligato or a lovely ballad interlude on this disc. Or perhaps a Dave Tough cymbal accent. We live in hope.
Are there any JAZZ LIVES readers who recall this radio program?
Finally, you might be able to intuit how pleased I am with my finds. They didn’t cost much; they don’t weigh a great deal; they are filled with sentiment. But perhaps I should let Stuff Smith indicate the state of my emotions?
P.S. A note on what some folks call “provenance”: most of the music above (and some I didn’t photograph — a Frank Crumit comedy song called I MARRIED THE BOOTLEGGER’S DAUGHTER) came from the collection of one musical young woman. I could trace some parts of her life: in one phase, she was Stella Carberry (in block capitals); in another, she signed in lovely cursive Stella Maria Pisani. The copy of MARGIE belonged to Stella’s sister or even sister-in law (I am assuming) Tessie M. Pisani. Objects have their own lives and they reflect the people who once owned and loved them.