Collectors of sheet music know that famous artists allowed their portraits to be part of the cover design of songs the artists never got to record.  (I believe some artists paid for the privilege of having their portrait in the little box — as good publicity.)  In fact, one may have a dozen copies of a song sheet with a dozen different artists portrayed on the covers.

The artists may have performed the song without recording it, or may simply have negotiated something to have their portrait on the cover.  It doesn’t stop people like myself from dreaming, though.  What if there were, for instance, a recording of Louis singing and playing LIGHTS OUT, a 1936 song I saw once with his picture.  Or Bobby Hackett playing LITTLE SKIPPER?

Or these two, by these three Sisters:

OLD SPINNING WHEEL BoswellsThis could have been another record much like HAND ME DOWN MY WALKING CANE, a “folk song” (Billy Hill made a good deal of money in the rural-song line, as in THE LAST ROUNDUP).

Or this, a much better song:

I DON'T KNOW WHY BoswellsI can almost hear the collaboration now — possible but evanescent.

I also understand, in some vague way, why there aren’t a hundred more Boswell Sisters recordings (the whole story awaits it in Kyla Titus’ book and the upcoming Sisters’ documentary) . . .  but I can refuse to acknowledge their absence, can’t I?

May your happiness increase!

3 responses to “NOT TO THE SENSUAL EAR

  1. Sordoni III, Andrew

    Hello Michael, Laurel and Hardy used this tune, The Old Spinning Wheel, with great success in their short film Them Thar Hills. I believe it is one of their memorable “outside” tunes, along with the celebrated Smile When The Raindrops Fall and At The Ball That’s All, since most of the L&H music was composed by LeRoy Shield or Marvin Hatley. Regards, Andrew Sordoni

    Sent from my iPad


    Yes, used heavily in THEM THAR HILLS; I have the music cue sheet.

  3. I have the sheet music for “Swingy Little Thingy” that features The Bozzies on the cover–another they never recorded. (At least, I’ve never found it.) The Titus book’s on my Christmas list.

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