1938

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Ten stories from 1938

Part One – The Famous Carnegie Hall Concert

1938 opens with perhaps the most famous Jazz concert of all time. Every five years it is my duty to report that “Jazz has gone mainstream” but this might really be it – never before has the genre been so accepted as a national music across spectra of race and class, and after a brief plateau, it’s all going to splinter and decline (commercially – certainly not artistically!) from this point on. The concert at Carnegie Hall January 16th was held by Benny Goodman – a clarinettist and band leader who looked, and dressed, like a befuddled office clerk in a Howard Hawks movie – and an all-star ensemble. Goodman had already been recording in a trio with drummer Gene Krupa, pianist Teddy Wilson, and a quartet also featuring Lionel Hampton, and took the opportunity to massively expand on this with every other big name of the day. It’s hard to convey the novelty of a racially-integrated jazz act playing in public at all, let alone in Carnegie Hall. Such a thing would have been completely unthinkable even five years earlier.

Much like Paul Whiteman’s 1924 concert which introduced Rhapsody in Blue, the show began with a history of jazz – this time with a marginally more accurate starting point of the “dixieland” era of the early 20s. Then through the two hours the pace began to build with a number of special guests, including the Duke Ellington and Count Basie orchestras, until finally the Goodman Quartet blitzed through their hits. The program had been wisely planned, with muted reception for the first half an hour winding up to demands for several encores at the end. Three recordings were made, two acetates and one set of aluminium discs – this may seem like a minor detail, but it has been important to the making of this mix because the lower-fidelity acetates were the source for the 1950 LP of the concert, and the CD version currently available is a direct rip from the higher-fidelity aluminium master, which archivist Phil Schaap put together in the late 1990s, and which I find to be almost unlistenable because he apparently refused to do any kind of restoration work, resulting in scraping and hissing noises being present through most of the two CDs. For this mix, then, I have combined the two versions, adding extra fidelity to sections of the old record and doing mostly eq-based noise reduction on the CD version. It still isn’t perfect, but right now it’s the best sound you’re going to get.

Part Two – Countless Blues

The late thirties, after the death of Robert Johnson, is one of the least-heralded eras for the blues – but it really shouldn’t be. Half a decade before jazz artists started playing jump blues, here we are with electric guitars, boogie-woogie rhythms and dance arrangements. Call it one of the many births of rock & roll if you like – there’s certainly a great deal here which wouldn’t feel out of place in the fifties, Georgia slide blues from Tampa Red and Georgia White, Chicago blues from Washboard Sam, Piedmont blues from Blind Boy Fuller and proto-R&B from Big Bill Broonzy and Jazz Gillum.

Part Three – Mein Rhythmus

A European tour, starting in the music halls of England, then Finnish accordion, Romanian violin and German dance bands, before settling down into a five-track exploration of French singers. Charles Trenet gives us one last taste of optimism before the events of 1939, Edith Piaf on the other hand, has a military song. Rina Ketty, an Italian, sings “J’attendrai” (“I will wait”), a translation of an Italian song, which later became emblematic of World War II, summing up the anxious longing of women awaiting the safe return of their sons and husbands from the war. Deanna Durbin was another immigrant to France, though luckily for her she was still in Hollywood at this point – and there’s Marie-Jacques Renée “Jacotte” Perrier, aged only 13, performing with the Hot Club De France – we will be hearing more from them in time. We finish our European tour with Johnny & Jones, Jewish jazz-pop artists from Amsterdam, both of whom would sadly become some of the final victims of the Holocaust.

Part Four – Algiers

This selection of Middle-Eastern and African music begins in Bulgaria, before moving on to Turkey (including Turkish-Armenian oud virtuoso Udi Hrant) and Algerian singer Cheikh Zouzou. The 1938 movie Algiers (a remake of 1937 French film Pépé le Moko) depicted a fantasied version of the native quarter of Algiers known as the Casbah – while it is certainly guilty of exoticism, and possibly a lot worse, the film is notable for bringing Hedy Lamarr to the attention of American audiences. The African section features Africans in Brasil, recorded by Mário de Andrade, and East African and Nigerian recordings about which I can find very little information – please let me know if you have anything on these artists.

Part Five – Vitalogy

A tour around the Caribbean and elsewhere, we start with Carmen Miranda, perhaps the biggest star ever to come from Brasil’s Samba scene – she would move to the USA and begin her screen career the following year. Off then to Cuba, with “Guantanamera,” perhaps the best-known song from the island, with lyrics by the Cuban poet José Martí and music by Joseíto Fernández, and another adaptation of Son music by Xavier Cugat for the American public. We have a trio of recordings from Trinidad, where Portuguese music promotor Sa Gomes is doing his best to support, record and promote the genre – one track from Carnival’s Vagabonds is a tribute to the man himself – and a little Hawaiian music, now finally fading away from the popularity and influence it has had for the last two decades.

Part Six – Stepping Into Swing Society

The first of two overviews of Swing in 1938, this one begins with some gospel music and preaching (of course this is not swing, but bear with me) in order to introduce “Reverend Sachmo” who kicks off some of the hotter jazz selections from the year. Famous names here include Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Chick Webb and Tommy Dorsey – the only slightly more obscure name is that of Pee Wee Russell. The chapter concludes with a few novelty swing records, from two different groups of Hot Shots and the Raymond Scott Quintette.

Part Seven – War of The Worlds

Certainly the most famous episode of The Mercury Theatre on the Air, Orson Welles’ adaptation of H.G. Wells’ (no relation) science fiction novel caused a scandal on broadcast when it allegedly caused panicked listeners to flee to the hills. The people actually fleeing or even complaining in vast numbers appear to have been an invention of some sort, certainly the main change when the dust settled was that Orson Welles was now well-known nationwide and able to pick up his first directing work, and I’m sure everyone knows what that is. From my POV the most interesting thing about War of the Worlds is the way it combines fantastic elements with an imitation of a standard radio programme with breaks for a live broadcast of light music. Here we have most of the first half of the drama, with the music swapped for more interesting lighter dance music from 1938, plenty of it from the UK, and at least some of it re-used later by Leyland Kirkby for his The Caretaker project.

Part Eight – Did You Ever Milk A Cow?

Folk and country music has had as hard a time as country blues over the course of the great depression, but it is also finding ways to adapt to the new world. Some, like the Hackberry Rambers are working with a niche market, Some, like the Dezurik Sisters, are making as an extreme an impression as possible to grab as much attention as they can (despite being a fairly traditional yodelling record, “Arizona Yodeler” is one of the most out there things in the entire mix.) For the most part, however, this is a run-through of the early days of “western swing” – essentially just swing made by white musicians in the former wild west, with the horns sometimes (but not always) switched for fiddles, and, as of this year, electric guitars.

Part Nine – When The Sun Sets Down South

Drawing towards our conclusion, this chapter covers some of the more relaxed and vocal swing records of the year, including some of the biggest hits. Ella Fitzgerald adapted A-Tisket, A-Tasket from a nursery rhyme, and Count Basie joined in the fun with his “Stop Beatin’ ’round The Mulberry Bush” – selections from Billie Holiday are also notably relaxed and reassuring in tone, especially when compared to her recordings from 1939. It isn’t all smooth classics here, though. Django Reinhardt provides one of his most curious recordings, Sugii Kōichi has more Spanish-tinged Japanese lounge jazz, and Bob Haggart & Ray Bauduc play Big Noise From Winnetka, one of those records you’ve known all your life, but never knew the name.

Part Ten – Munich

Much of the time spent on this mix was dedicated to trying to judge the tone of this final section. I can’t promise that it has been done perfectly, but practice was needed, considering everything I will need to include on the next seven mixes. One of the worst crimes of the nostalgia business is to transform the worst traumas our civilization has suffered into light entertainment, and for this reason I didn’t feel it appropriate to mix coverage of Hitler’s rise with any sort of jazz. Instead, the events of late 1938 – the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Munich peace conference, the triumphant hubris of Neville Chamberlain and, it turns out, the British and international media – seem to fit better with the more sombre classical music recorded this year.

For all the creative energy released in 1938, it is ultimately a year remembered for its complacency, not just that of the British government, but from a western world which feels it is through the worst, while a “quarrel in a far away country, between people of whom we know nothing” is not something worth worrying about. Next year we will see that focus being sharply pulled.

Tracklist

Part One – The Famous Carnegie Hall Concert

0:00:00 Carl Stalling – Warner Brothers Intro
0:00:20 The Benny Goodman Orchestra – China Boy
(Clip from Pygmalion)
0:04:10 The Benny Goodman Orchestra – Dizzy Spells
0:08:33 The Benny Goodman Orchestra – Sing Sing Sing (With A Swing)
(Clip from You Can’t Take It With You)

Part Two – Countless Blues

(Clip from Review Of The Year)
0:13:02 Georgia White – The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ But…!!!
(Clip from Peg-Leg Pedro)
0:15:44 Big Bill Broonzy – Trucking Little Woman
(Clip from How To Undress In Front Of Your Husband)
0:17:10 Kansas City Six – Countless Blues
(Clip from The Shadow 38-02-13 The House Of Horror)
0:20:07 Bob Crosby – Honky Tonk Train Blues
(Clip from Andy Hardy)
0:22:01 Blind Boy Fuller – Step It Up And Go
(Clip from A Slight Case of Murder)
0:23:16 Tampa Red – Rock It In Rhythm
(Clip from Bringing Up Baby)
0:25:23 Jazz Gillum & His Jazz Boys – Reefer Head Woman
(Clip from How To Undress In Front Of Your Husband)
0:27:17 Washboard Sam – Don’t Leave Me Here
(Clip from La Bete Humaine)
(Clip from Four Daughters)
0:29:51 Blind Boy Fuller – Get Your Yas Yas Out
(Clip from Always Goodbye)
0:32:13 Hudson ‘Tampa Red’ Whittaker – Forgive Me Please

Part Three – Mein Rhythmus

(Clip from A Christmas Carol Trailer)
0:35:02 Tommy Trinder – I Don’t Do Things Like That
(Clip from Adele England – Chestnut Tree)
0:37:00 George Formby – In My Little Snapshot Album
(Clip from The King’s Speech)
0:38:56 Viola Turpeinen – Kahden Venheessä
(Clip from Kerensky interview)
0:40:14 Georges Boulanger – Tokay
(Clip from BBC Interview with Sigmund Freud)
0:42:14 Heinz Munsonius – Mein Rhythmus
0:43:30 Heinz Rühmann – Ich Brech Die Herzen Der Stolzesten Fraun
0:44:21 Charles Trenet – Boum!
0:46:13 Jacotte Perrier + Hot Club De France – Les Salades De L’ Oncle Francois
(Clip from La Femme du Boulanger)
0:48:25 Rina Ketty – J’ Attendrai
(Clip from Port of Shadows)
0:50:28 Edith Piaf – Le Fanion De La Legion
0:52:05 Deanna Durbin – Les Filles De Cadix
(Clip from Lou Bandy – Conference Vergeten)
0:53:18 Johnny & Jones – Lied Van Den Slangenbezweerder (Snake Charmer)

Part Four – Algiers

0:54:51 Vulkana Stoyanova – Dimo Na Rada
0:56:55 Udi Hrant – Kurdili Hicazkar Taksim
(Clip from “The Speech Of Ancient Egypt, 18th Dynasty”)
0:58:00 Cheikh Zouzou – Gheniet Ben Soussan, Pt. 7
(Clip from Algiers)
1:00:37 Kemani Haydar Tatliyay – Arap Oyun Havasi
1:02:09 Mário De Andrade – Instrumentos Do ‘Caboclinho Índios Africanos’
1:02:23 J.P. Nyangira – Hongo Owiti
1:04:28 Godwin Scotland – Adelebo Ilu Eko
(Clip from Algiers)

Part Five – Vitalogy

1:05:37 Carmen Miranda – Boneca De Pixe
(Clip from The Citadel)
1:07:05 Cuarteto Caney – Guajira Guantanamera
1:09:53 Xavier Cugat – La Paloma
(Clip from The Adventures of Robin Hood)
1:13:35 The Caresser – Clear The Way When The Bamboo Play
1:15:23 The Lion – Vitalogy
1:15:45 Carnival’s Vagabonds – We Want Sa Gomes
(Clip from Jezebel)
1:16:34 Mannie Klein’s Swing-A-Hula’s – Hoolihi Oe Ke Ike Mai

Part Six – Stepping Into Swing Society

(Clip from Angels With Dirty Faces)
1:20:17 Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet – John The Revelator
1:21:22 Rev. Benny Campbell – You Must Be Born Again
1:22:43 Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra – When The Saints Go Marching In
(Clip from American Air Record – Interview With Pilot)
1:24:20 Pee Wee Russell – I’ve Found A New Baby
(Clip from Alexander’s Ragtime Band)
1:25:45 Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra – Downhome Jump
(Clip from The Sisters)
1:28:20 Duke Ellington – Stepping Into Swing Society
(Clip from Bringing Up Baby)
1:31:17 Tommy Dorsey – Boogie Woogie
(Clip from Bringing Up Baby)
1:33:21 Count Basie – Jumpin’ At The Woodside
(Clip from Mr Moto’s Gamble)
1:36:28 Chick Webb & His Orchestra – Harlem Congo
1:39:38 Joe Daniels Hot Shots – Limehouse Blues
(Clip from Too Hot To Handle – Trailer)
1:42:44 Hoosier Hot Shots – The Girl Friend Of The Whirling Dervish
(Clip from Bringing Up Baby)
1:45:04 Raymond Scott Quintette – The Happy Farmer

Part Seven – War of The Worlds

(Clip from War of the Worlds)
1:48:03 Russ Morgan – What Do You Know About Love
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
1:49:53 Leslie Hutchinson – It’s De Lovely
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
1:51:18 Geraldo – You’re As Pretty As A Picture
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
1:56:06 Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – Pray For The Lights To Go Out
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
1:59:24 Harry Roy – Highland Swing (Vocal – Ray Ellington)
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
2:06:08 Unknown Mahafaly – Flute Solo (Ampanihy, Madagascar)
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
2:08:11 Prof. Anukul Ch. Das – Piano Instrumental- Ramprasad Sen
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
2:12:26 Bruno Walter & Wiener Philharmoniker – Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 9
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
2:20:42 Artie Shaw And His Orchestra – Nightmare
(Clips from Orson Welles Press Conference)

Part Eight – Did You Ever Milk A Cow?

(Clip from The Adventures of Robin Hood)
2:24:24 Hackberry Ramblers – Fais Pas Ca
(Clip from Adele England – Chestnut Tree)
2:26:06 Coon Creek Girls – Old Uncle Dudy (Keep Fiddling On)
(Clip from Merrily We Live)
2:28:30 The Monroe Brothers – Have A Feast Here Tonight
(Clip from Boys Town)
2:29:30 Dezurik Sisters – Arizona Yodeler
2:31:52 Cliff Bruner – When You’re Smiling
2:33:31 Light Crust Doughboys – Pussy Pussy Pussy
(Clip from Test Pilot)
2:37:05 Roy Acuff & His Crazy Tennesseans – Wabash Cannonball
(Clip from Holiday)
2:38:40 Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – Liza, Pull Down The Shades
(Clip from Mind The Doors)
2:41:12 Judy Garland – Cry Baby Cry

Part Nine – When The Sun Sets Down South

2:43:42 Count Basie – Stop Beatin’ ’round The Mulberry Bush
(Clip from AT&T – Operator)
2:45:38 Ella Fitzgerald feat. Chick Webb And His Orchestra – A-Tisket, A-Tasket
2:48:10 Sidney Bechet & Noble Sissle’s Swingsters – Blackstick
(Clip from Kerensky interview)
2:50:56 Duke Ellington – Pyramid (Part 2)
(Clip from Four Daughters)
2:54:09 Andy Kirk & Mary Lou Williams – Twinklin’
(Clip from You Can’t Take It With You)
2:56:40 Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra – Any Time At All
(Clip from CBS WBBM World Series Game 2 NY Yankees vs Chicago Cubs)
2:58:13 Django Reinhardt – Improvisation No. 2
(Clip from CBS WBBM World Series Game 2 NY Yankees vs Chicago Cubs)
(Clip from The Lady Vanishes)
3:00:18 Bob Haggart & Ray Bauduc – Big Noise From Winnetka
3:02:59 Sugii Kōichi – Kusatsu-bushi
(Clip from NBC ATMOTA – Is an Economic Plan for World Peace Available?)
3:05:21 Fats Waller – Waterboy
3:05:34 Django Reinhardt – Appel Indirect (Appel Direct)
(Clip from A Slight Case of Murder)
3:08:30 Noble Sissle’s Swingsters – When The Sun Sets Down South
3:11:33 Teddy Wilson And His Orchestra – When You’re Smiling
3:14:21 Hot Lips Page – Rock It For Me
3:17:10 Billie Holiday – You Go To My Head
(Clip from A Slight Case of Murder)

Part Ten – Munich

3:20:02 The Lord Executor – Poppy Day
(Clip from Inside Nazi Germany March of Time newsreel)
3:21:26 Pablo Casals – No. 1 In G – I- Prelude (Moderato)
(Clip from Inside Nazi Germany March of Time newsreel)
3:22:44 Pablo Casals – Dvorak Cello Concerto In B 03 Allegro Moderato
(Clip from Inside Nazi Germany March of Time newsreel)
(Clip from Inside Nazi Germany March of Time newsreel)
(Clip from 1938-02-03 NBC ATMOTA – What Does Democracy Mean?)
3:24:53 Bruno Walter & Wiener Philharmoniker – Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 9
(Clip from Hitler In Vienna – British Pathé)
(Clip from German Propaganda Film)
(Clip from Winston Churchill – ‘We Must Arm’ Speech)
3:27:38 Herbert Von Karajan – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Ouvertüre Zu ‘die Zauberflöte’ (Excerpt 1)
(Clip from Review Of The Year)
(Clip from Peace Four Power Conference)
(Clip from Neville Chamberlain – Speech On His Return From The Munich Conference)
(Clip from Peace Four Power Conference)
3:30:17 NBC Symphony Orchestra – Adagio For Strings Op.11
(Clip from Adolf Hitler – on the occasion of the german occupation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia)
(Clip from 1938-12-01 NBC ATMOTA – Is an Economic Plan for World Peace Available?)
(Clip from 1938-12-08 NBC ATMOTA – How Should the Democracies Deal With the Dictatorships?)
3:35:03 Herbert Von Karajan – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Ouvertüre Zu ‘die Zauberflöte’ (Excerpt 2)
(Clip from Review Of The Year)
3:36:00 Flanagan & Allen – Umbrella Man
(Clip from You Can’t Take It With You)
3:38:36 Ella Logan – Adios Muchachos
3:40:12 Carl Stalling – Warner Brothers Outro
(Clip from Angels with Dirty Faces)

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