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Mimi
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PostSubject: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:07 pm

No matter how I feel, Harry James' music can make it better...if I'm happy, I feel a little better when I hear Harry!
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:31 pm

I agree wholeheartedly. Also, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey -- all those fellows. So great -- I was raised on them (on records no less..I beginning to think I'm old!) Plus, the vocalists -- Sinatra, of course, Andrews Sisters, Jo Stafford, Dick Haymes, Bing Crosby...I could go on and on. I think the most recent fellows we ever listened to chez moi growing up were Bobby Darin, Chet Baker, Henry Mancini, Lester Lanin. My parents are both of the pre-rock era, so that's just what was expected -- No contemporary pop/rock music allowed. I didn't even hear any to speak of until I went away to boarding school, and even at that, I still stuck to what I was raised on. (And, as a treat, that new up-and-coming young 'un, Harry Connick Jr. who was just starting out -- and personally, I think better than he is now.)

Anyone like the slightly more obscure fellows like Bunny Berigan (HUGE during his day, but seemingly mostly forgotten these days) Or the British chaps, like Ray Noble? (with vocalist Al Bowlly?) How about Guy Lombardo? (other than his New Year's Auld Lang Syne?) Or earlier bands, like Paul Whiteman?
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:13 pm

Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Wynton Marsalis (Wynton is more contemporary but I love his work).

Cherokee

Anyone remember Lawrence Welk? Embarassed
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:33 pm

I just heard some Al Bowlly this morning!

I love satellite radio!
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:47 pm

Oh, and mustn't forget Ella Fitzgerald, both in her early days, and her period on the Verve label. (I love the "Songbook" series)

Lawrence Welk! Yep, weekly family viewing when I was a Wee One!

Also, of the more recent variety (well, recent isn't exactly the word) there's Herb Alpert and the Kingston Trio.

And I LOVE Johnny Mercer, both as a songwriter and vocalist! (The duet album he did with Bobby D is fabulous.)

And Dino, naturally.
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:21 pm

BygoneKnits wrote:
obscure fellows like Bunny Berigan (HUGE during his day, but seemingly mostly forgotten these days) Or earlier bands, like Paul Whiteman?

I LOVE Bunny Berigan! Oh, be still my heart. I would have been such a groupie, even with the booze. Now that I think of it...ESPECIALLY with the booze. It would make him an easier touch. Did you ever hear that story about how someone once asked him how he could play so well when he was drunk? "I rehearse drunk."

I have a bunch of Bunny CD's, all cleaned up and digital and such, and then one day on The Swingin' Years I heard the original 78 of "I Can't Get Started With You" and brother, what a difference! The 78 still had the ringing "echo" of the recording studio and you could hear the power of that horn bouncing off the walls and into the microphone. That sound was like you were in the studio with them, and it demanded that you stay quiet and listen to avoid ruining the take and pissing them all off.

All of the sudden I didn't think digital cleanup was all that great anymore.


And Whiteman! Oh, when I was heavily, HEAVILY into my 20s phase, I used to go to the Alexandria Hotel and hang out in the lobby listening to phantom music from Whiteman's band. When I had a friend with me, I'd be brave enough to go upstairs to ballroom, but anyone who's been to the Alexandria in the past 20 years knows that's not such a swell idea if you're alone. Heck, the lobby isn't such a great idea either, now that I think of it.

If it wasn't the Lobby, I'd go over to the corner of 3rd and Main to what's left of Al Levy's Cafe and imagine Mabel Normand and friends having oysters and champagne at 4 am while whoever's still awake from Whiteman's band serenades her. After all, the Alexandria Ballroom has to close SOMETIME.


Ah! Collected memories!
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:24 pm

Oh wait, I'm sorry, this thread is supposed to be about Harry James isn't it? I think his version of "One for the Road" (With Betty on vocals, of course) is the best version I've ever heard. It sounds despairing and drunk and hopeless, and not even Sinatra's version could get that hopeless. With Sinatra, you get the feeling that he'll make it home and sleep it off, and maybe the dame would vanish with the hangover the next day.
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:41 pm

Kitten -- no way! Have you ever gone to the Bunny Fest in his hometown of Fox Lake, WI? My mom and I have been a few times -- it's so much fun. Until last year, it was hosted by one of his daughters, Joyce -- such a lovely woman, but has pretty much a tragic life as Bunny. Unfortunately, she's been too ill recently to organize everything. I heard it went off surprisinly well last year, but, well, it seems like it just wouldn't be the same without Joyce in charge.

As for 75s of Harry or anyone, for that matter, I couldn't agree more. CDs are handy, but there's just something about records -- especially the sound of 78s, which is just so wonderfully atmospheric, not to mention more authentic-sounding. And if you're in the mood to sit in a dark room and dream of days gone by, it's the only way to go, that's for sure.
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:58 pm

I am the world's worst at ThreadJacking, so don't even worry about it...I like when things start out as something,but then follow a natural conversational flow...it's more fun and more like sitting around and talking. or drinking.

Also, love Bunny Berigan!

There's an antique store I frequent, where I get my 78s for $2. I've got a ton and Dick Haymes is a big favorite!
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:15 pm

Oooooh, Dick! I was a big fan until I heard he gave Rita her black eye. Then...not so much. But while I was big into him I saw a great PBS show that had him singing a year or two before his death. I haven't seen it since the 80s, and I can't remember who he was singing with, but they were singing "It had to be you" and he still sounded great.

I think Patty Andrews was the host of that show. Wow, Patty - talk about someone who always makes you happy.

And no, I haven't gone to the Bunnyfest yet. Tell me about it! Tell me about Joyce, too. Does she look Bunny-esque or more like her mom? (On an obliquely related note: It's funny - everytime I hear Lee Wiley's name, I still think "Snake-eyes!". How mean is that?)

I wish I had the money to go to all those wonderful festivals! But no. The last one I went to (not counting the Cinecon, which is just over the hill in Hollywood every year) was the Buddy Holly weekend in Clearlake, Iowa back in 2000. On the bright side, my friends and I got to hang out with Bopper Jr.

The Bunnyfest is on my list but what I REALLY want to do is that WWII weekend they do out in - where is it again? -Pittsburg? With Halcyon down I can't recall.


Ahem. Um... I also think Harry James is instantly recognizeable in his music. I can't always pick out one guy from another on a record I'm not familiar with, but if you hear that silky opening work, it's James nine times out of ten.
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:13 pm

Ha! I know! So many people rave about Lee Wiley, but I can't stand her...and, boy, what an unpleasant gal!

The Bunnyfest is in Wisconsin -- in Fox Lake (where he grew up), neighboring Beaver Dam (hometown of Fred MacMurry!), and to kick the whole thing off, a small cocktail party at Joyce's condo in Milwaukee for special guests (folks who pitch in to help fund the events, etc), but I doubt they do that anymore, since her health has deteriorated. The festival ends with a little memorial service at Bunny's gravesite.

Poor Joyce. I don't know all the details, but from what I understand, after Bunny died, his wife, who also had a drinking problem, and was also on the flighty side (I think that, like Bunny, she probably suffered from depression as well), couldn't care for her or her sister (also, there wasn't much money left then, despite Bunny's huge popularity.) So they were shuffled off to some relative, then in and out of foster care, and generally neglected terribly, not provided with proper educations, and so on. Then Joyce married a bunch of stinkers, who really were only marrying her for who she is, and they all left her high and dry. Sad She suffers from diabetes, so hasn't been in good health for many years, but now it's really beginning to catch up with her, and it seems like she's beginning to get really worn out from her whole life in general. (And who can blame her?) I'm not sure who she looks like more, since both her parents died so young -- it's hard to tell. You can definitely see a touch of Bunny, though. She really is SO sweet. I don't know what became of the other girl -- I'm not sure if they had a falling out, or just went their separate ways, or what, but they're not close.

Have you seen Bob Dupuis' bio of Bunny? (http://www.amazon.com/Bunny-Berigan-Elusive-Legend-Jazz/dp/0807130680/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199825071&sr=1-1) Sorry -- having difficulties linking avec text, and having it show up in the right place. hmm. Anyway, he and his wife Jean go every year,and they're SO great! In fact, everyone I met there was super. (well, except for some creep from someplace in South America who picked a fight with me about "To Have and Have Not" being a Hemingway story -- he insisted not. I almost punched him in the nose. Especially after he said that a girl, and especially one my age, couldn't possibly know anything about anything.)

Here's the site for last year's festival:
http://www.bunnyberiganjazzjubilee.com/event.htm

Somewhere there's another site with photos from past years, and you can catch a glimpse of my mom and I.

Hmmm...a WWII event in Pittsburgh? Unless it's a new thing, I don't think so -- I went to college there, and lived there for several years thereafter, and I never heard of one. I can't think of anything like that anywhere in the vicinity, even. However, there is a Dean Martin Festival for his birthday in Steubenville, OH, which is just outside Pittsburgh.

As for HJ...when I was a TINY kid -- and I mean toddler -- my mom would play all her big band records, and quiz me on what the lead instrument was, then who the bandleader was (i.e. HJ vs. BG), and (if applicable), the vocalist(s). Over and over, until I got it correct! Wouldn't you think that after all that I would have developed SOME sort of musical ability? But alas, no. Well, I used to be able to play the piano a bit, and sight-read, but nothing worth writing home about. bah.
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:47 pm

The WWII weekend is in Reading, Pa. I'm thinking that's closer to Philly, but I know from nothing about Pa anyway...hopefully, Jay will chime in here and clear it up.

Here's the info--and we should start a thread in Events for it:

http://www.maam.org/maamwwii.html
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:17 pm

yep, Reading is slightly west of Philly...You don't think of PA as being big, becuase the eastern part of the state is so populated, but, dear lord, driving across the state takes for-EV-er, and there's SO much emptiness. (The Burg's in the far west, very close to the Ohio and W. Virginia borders.) You know it's bad when driving from there to New England, you get all excited about Scranton, because it means that civilization is within reach.
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PostSubject: Bille Holiday   Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:27 pm

Ali wrote:
Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Wynton Marsalis (Wynton is more contemporary but I love his work).

Great to see Billie Holiday mentioned here as an upper! I feel exactly the same way but unfortunately she usually gets played when folks are down in the dumps.

Edith Piaf, wow, I was just listening to her yesterday.
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PostSubject: Seventy-Eight Revolutions Per Minute   Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:32 pm

BygoneKnits wrote:

As for 75s of Harry or anyone, for that matter, I couldn't agree more. CDs are handy, but there's just something about records -- especially the sound of 78s, which is just so wonderfully atmospheric, not to mention more authentic-sounding. And if you're in the mood to sit in a dark room and dream of days gone by, it's the only way to go, that's for sure.

I'm a 78rpm collector myself and agree that playing them takes me back. When listening to them, I like to imagine someone, perhaps a family in a living room, doing the same 80 years ago. Cartoonist Robert Crumb (and 78 fanatic himself) once declared 78rpms as the "thinking person's music" because you have to decide every three minutes about what to play next!
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PostSubject: Al Bowlly on tap   Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:01 am

Mimi wrote:
I just heard some Al Bowlly this morning!

This neat restaurant in Belgium (http://www.vieuxdepot.be) plays 78rpms while you dine, and from what I've read, Al Bowlly is the most played artist there!
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:08 am

Has anyone been listing to the documentary series on BBC radio 2 about AB?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/musicclub/doc_albowlly.shtml
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:19 am

MoonMoth wrote:
Ali wrote:
Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Wynton Marsalis (Wynton is more contemporary but I love his work).

Great to see Billie Holiday mentioned here as an upper! I feel exactly the same way but unfortunately she usually gets played when folks are down in the dumps.

Edith Piaf, wow, I was just listening to her yesterday.

While its true her music often mirrored her life, I don't ever find her depressing. "Money, you got lots of friends, hangin' round the door...." I'm busting to see La Vie En Rose, the movie released last year about Mlle Piaf's life. Now there's tragedy for you!
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:25 am

I would kill for a restaurant around here that played the good stuff...wow.
Maybe I should run over to Belgium for supper??
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:47 am

I wish the site (and especially the menu) was en francais, not das deustch. Or rather Dutch, which I can't read/speak at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:04 pm

Mimi wrote:
The WWII weekend is in Reading, Pa. I'm thinking that's closer to Philly, but I know from nothing about Pa anyway...

Reading is less than an hour away from us (we live close to Allentown), and if any of you would like to attend, you're more than welcome to stay with us. Just bear in mind that we will have a six-week old baby and a three-year old by then. But we do have a fabulous deco guest bedroom!

Anyway, back OT, there are some Harry James recordings made on early stereo equipment for the 1944 movie "Bathing Beauty". Dig them up if you can find them- they're phenomenal. One song is "Trumpet Blues and Cantabile"- it will floor you!
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:38 pm

Here's a little trivia: some people thought he was nuttier about baseball than his horn.

In fact, if you weren't a canary you had to play baseball, or you weren't welcome on his bandstand!
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PostSubject: Re: Harry James   Sat Feb 23, 2008 8:47 am

Mimi wrote:
No matter how I feel, Harry James' music can make it better...if I'm happy, I feel a little better when I hear Harry!

Headin' for Hallelujah is a killer. I'd challenge anyone with taste to not move some part of their body in time to that track.
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