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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Au Revoir, , , Dance Bands, , , , , , Rodgers and Hart,   


    When I was writing about lyricist DOROTHY FIELDS and composer BERNICE PETKERE in my previous post (TWO TO GO), I had no thought of using it as a segue to this post ….but that was before I discovered that tomorrow is the birthday of a music man who sang at least a half dozen of Fields’ 1930s songs, including ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET (sung in the previous post by Diana Krall), not to mention the Petkere song CLOSE YOUR EYES (sung in the same post by that very man). They called him Al.

    The ‘another-world-ago’ Al is this world’s forgotten man, except by a relative handful of Golden Age music devotees around the world (primarily in America and Great Britain). His name was ALBERT ALICK BOWLLY (Jan 7, 1899-Apr. 17, 1941), heard here in a recording of a Dorothy Fields/Jerome Kern song from the film JOY OF LIVING:

    Did you notice from the above dates that Bowlly had his life taken from him at a relatively young age? This was the tragic result of a WW II German air raid (one of many) on London in the early 1940s. But while he lived, who was this troubadour they called Al?

    Away from the bandstand he was a vagabond. He was a jazz mad musical nomad who traveled from his childhood home, South Africa, to London and all stops between in search of musical perfection with whatever band would have him. He plied his trade as a guitarist, a banjo, concertina and ukulele player, a pianist and occasional singer of songs. He took America by storm. The story of his musical meanderings, highs and lows, could only have happened in the thirties. –Roy Hudd, British author, comedian, actor, and expert on the history of music hall entertainment

    Listening to Diana Krall in the previous post — as well as CLOSE YOUR EYES vocalist Al Bowlly — we are taken by their way with a song, their Joy of Living the songs they sang…. as further evidenced by this rendition of the Rodgers and Hart classic, BLUE MOON:

    Here is one of his few appearances on film:

    For those interested in learning more of the story of Bowlly’s nomadic life, there’s an excellent bio called THEY CALLED HIM AL, by Ray Pallett, with Forward by Roy Hudd. As for this go-around, we’ve come to the last dance — it’s time to call it a day. I bid you a reluctant Au Revoir.



    • Don Ostertag 1:11 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      He was so good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:44 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Some thought of him as the British Bing Crosby. I think he had a better feel for a song than Bing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:30 pm on January 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Early in his career (up to about the mid 1930s), Bing sang with a jazz feel and what you might call soul, but after that, he was a different and very ordinary singer, in my opinion. If you listen to his early 1930s recordings and then his 1940s (and later) recordings, you wouldn’t think it’s the same singer. Bowlly’s style didn’t change, and he was the better for it.

        Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 2:46 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      good looking and talented, beats Bing hands down, no competition!

      Blue moon bought back some good memories … like these little meanders with you thanks MrM 🙂


      • mistermuse 7:40 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        In my opinion, no one has ever sung BLUE MOON better than Al Bowlly. I never tire of listening to it.

        Liked by 3 people

        • calmkate 5:35 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink

          oh I’ve heard a very heart wrenching version by four drunks in Broken Hill … that was very surreal 🙂


        • mistermuse 7:01 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink

          Well, that answers the riddle of how many drunks does it take to make a quartet, but not how many quarts does it take to make the four drunk. In Broken Hill, they probably drink their liquor by the gallon.


    • scifihammy 7:25 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Lovely light voice. 🙂 I love how they could actually Sing in those days!! 😀


      • mistermuse 8:07 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Not only that, scifi, but for the most part, they had better songs to sing. In general, the music world of Fields, Kern, Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers and Hart, etc., has been largely replaced by a world of juvenile noise calling itself music — a culture without culture. A world that doesn’t know any better.

        Liked by 4 people

    • masercot 7:51 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      It’s a shame. He had a nice voice…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:12 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        A shame indeed. Makes one wonder whether, if he hadn’t been killed by one of Hitler’s bombs, his popularity would have continued after the war years (like Bing Crosby’s did) into the 1950s.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Wistful Nostalgic 1:05 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink

          Oh he sure would have! Think of the era of the singers in the 1940s. Al’s voice was perfect for all the standards that came after the 1930s.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Rivergirl 9:06 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I love those scratchy old recordings… never heard of Al though. Thanks for the introduction.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:34 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Maybe you can prevail upon husband to find and bring home to you some scratchy old records and an antique phonograph to play them on when he goes on his “treasure hunts,” Rg. It strikes me that he “owes you one” after all the old contraptions and doohickeys he buys for himself!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Rivergirl 1:09 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink

          As much as I appreciate the thought?
          No more old stuff!


        • mistermuse 3:11 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink


          I hope you will make an exception for me, Rg, because even though I’m old stuff, what would you do without my puns to blighten — I mean BRIGHTEN — your day?


    • Ashley 12:23 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Goodness! Al Bowlly! How could anyone forget that wonderful voice. I wasn’t born until 1950 so it must have been in the b&w movies they showed on Sunday afternoons on the television that I heard him sing! The tunes and the voices have never left me! Thanks Mr. M. Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:42 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Ashley. I’m beginning to believe that more people remember Al Bowlly than I thought. Maybe it’s like the song says: AU REVOIR, BUT NOT GOODBYE.

        Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 7:54 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I never heard of Al Bowlly so it was very enjoyable to read your post and listen to the music. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 5:27 pm on January 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      He was new to me, but I loved the film singing of “The Very Thought of You.” I imagine my grandfather, lover of all songs on records, probably listened to him.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Eliza 12:01 pm on January 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Happy new year! I hope this year brings good things your way…
      Love, light and glitter


    • mistermuse 10:49 pm on January 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Eliza, if you’ll Google “al bowlly looking on the bright side youtube”, there are several clips of the recording to choose from. That should take care of it, but if not, let me know. Thanks.


    • barkinginthedark 12:39 am on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      so wonderful MM…a joy. thanks. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 3:52 pm on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I’d never hear of Al Bowlly before, but thanks to you I’m an instant fan! Loved the footage of him – he has a surprising amount of charisma on film.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 10:51 pm on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I appreciate your comment, SS, which leads me to believe that more Al Bowlly would be good for you — so here he is with the Ray Noble Orchestra, singing IT’S BAD FOR ME:

        Liked by 2 people

        • Silver Screenings 11:38 pm on January 19, 2020 Permalink

          Thank you for this. I’ve spent the past 40+ minutes listening to Al Bowlley, especially his rendition of “Heart & Soul”, which I listened to 3-4 times in a row. A wonderful way to end the weekend. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • Wistful Nostalgic 1:07 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink

          I love this song!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Wistful Nostalgic 1:14 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink

          There can never be too much Al! 😉 He’s a great way to start the day, and to end the day.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Wistful Nostalgic 1:06 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Oh he sure did! His magnetic charisma and charming personality just shines on the Pathe clip.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Wistful Nostalgic 1:13 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I love your post on Al. He is my favourite singer of all time. He was THE voice of the 20th century. I’m 52 , so he was from my Grandad’s era, but it feels my “true” era. Al was unique; nobody sounds like him; he’s got a voice of liquid gold. I especially love “Oh Mister Moon”, “Red Sails In The Sunset”, “Maybe It’s Because”, “My Woman”, and “You’re My Thrill”. But there are many more I love too. I listen to his music every day!

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 9:23 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you. I have dozens of his albums, including those of bands (such as Ray Noble and Lew Stone) on which Al is the vocalist. Have you ever heard of Joey Nash? Some say he was the American Al Bowlly. Here he is in 1934 as a vocalist with Richard Himber’s Orchestra:

      P.S. Do you have a WordPress blog? As far as I can find, you’re only on Instagram, but I’m only on WordPress.


  • mistermuse 12:00 am on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dance Bands, EMBRACEABLE YOU, George Gershwin, , , , , , , , Paul Whiteman, Rhapsody In Blue, Roaring 20s, theme songs, ,   


    As we have noted, out of the cacophony and babble of pre-WWI Tin Pan Alley came the Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Age (not to mention Prohibition, 1920-33). If any one song could be said to capture the pulse (and become the anthem) of this dynamic cultural shift, it has to be George Gershwin’s RHAPSODY IN BLUE, written in 1924 and heard (in part) here at the outset of Woody Allen’s paean of a movie to a place called MANHATTAN:

    RHAPSODY IN BLUE was commissioned by band leader Paul Whiteman and introduced to the world by his orchestra (with Gershwin himself at the piano) at NYC’s Aeolian Hall on Feb. 12, 1924. It subsequently served as Whiteman’s theme song — theme songs being a virtual prerequisite for big bands and dance bands of the 1930s. One ‘whiff’ of a familiar opening theme song immediately identified a band to radio listeners, and set the stage for a band’s performances at ballrooms, dance halls and other venues wherever they played.

    There were literally hundreds of bands big and small, sweet and swing, hot and not, in the decade leading up to WW II. Of these, I’ll list 40 whose theme songs were (in my opinion) well chosen or well known, followed by your match-the-band-with-the-theme-song quiz (just kidding; that would be like s’posin’* I could match today’s artists with their hit songs — forgeddabouddit!). So just rest easy and enjoy the clips of a few selections from the list.

    Gus Arnheim — SWEET AND LOVELY
    Count Basie — ONE O’CLOCK JUMP
    Bunny Berrigan — I CAN’T GET STARTED
    Billy Butterfield — WHAT’S NEW?
    Cab Calloway — MINNIE THE MOOCHER
    Sonny Dunham — MEMORIES OF YOU

    Duke Ellington — TAKE THE ‘A’ TRAIN
    Skinnay Ennis — GOT A DATE WITH AN ANGEL
    Ted Fio Rito — RIO RITA
    Benny Goodman — LET’S DANCE
    Glen Gray — SMOKE RINGS
    Johnny Green — HELLO, MY LOVER, GOODBYE
    Bobby Hackett — EMBRACEABLE YOU

    Lionel Hampton — FLYIN’ HOME
    Coleman Hawkins — BODY AND SOUL
    Ina Ray Hutton — GOTTA HAVE YOUR LOVE
    Jack Hylton — SHE SHALL HAVE MUSIC
    Harry James — CIRIBIRIBIN
    Little Jack Little — LITTLE BY LITTLE
    Guy Lombardo — AULD LANG SYNE
    Wingy Manone — ISLE OF CAPRI
    Johnny Messner — CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS
    Eddie Miller — LAZY MOOD (sung here by Johnny Mercer with Eddie Miller’s band)

    Lucky Millender — RIDE, RED, RIDE
    Vaughn Monroe — RACING WITH THE MOON
    Buddy Rogers — MY BUDDY
    Fred Waring — SLEEP

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    • S’POSIN’ was a 1929 hit song; it is, of course, a ‘traction (contraction) of SUPPOSING


    • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 12:59 pm on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A bittersweet stroll through the streets of MY town, no offense to Woody – no matter where I find myself subsequently.

      I fondly recall memories from so many of the places in the first video:
      the Empire Diner, Lincoln Center, the garment district, riding the tram to Roosevelt Island one particularly romantic date night, Radio City (especially their Christmas spectacular, complete with live camels and donkeys), Washington Square Park, the Fulton Fish Market (that turned into practically a lower Manhattan theme park for yuppies from the financial district), a million storefronts that made shopping almost a small town pleasure, the wonder of fireworks over the metropolis every 4th of July and New Year’s Eve — and views of the skyline that brought tears to my eyes.

      The Lester Lanin Orchestra was alive and kicking during my 20 years there, bringing back the golden days of an earlier time when folks danced to Big Bands non-stop and cheek to cheek – tho’ mostly to upper class events, debutante balls and fund-raising spectaculars like Night of a Thousand Stars.

      OH how I miss it! Thanks for bringing this post to my attention. I added a link here in my response to your comment, so that others might easily jump over to read. If you write other posts related to my content, I will approve your link – so leave us one, okay?
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
      – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 5:23 pm on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for taking time to share your Manhattan memories. I’ve never been a big fan of society orchestras, but I believe Lester Lanin was considered the most successful of yesteryear’s society bandleaders. His brother, Howard Lanin, also led a band which played top society dates. Another popular society orchestra was that of Emil Coleman, who played at the Waldorf-Astoria for years.

      Thanks also for the link to my post and the invitation to post future links if related to your content. I will try to keep that offer in my “Memories of You.” 🙂


    • linnetmoss 7:10 am on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I had forgotten about that ravishing beginning to the Woody Allen film “Manhattan.” I’ve got a compilation CD set of music from his films- some of the best music you’ll ever hear! Including a few of these “sweet” bands.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:16 am on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I think of sweet bands apart from the society orchestras I mentioned in my previous comment, although I suppose it could be considered a distinction without a difference, as they say. Actually I have a fair number of 78 rpm records of sweet bands in my collection, including Guy Lombardo and Jan Garber. Some of the old sweet bands started out on the hot side but evolved into sweet bands in order to survive.

      As for the music from Woody Allen films, I couldn’t agree more!


    • arekhill1 12:54 pm on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I heard a story about Minnie the Moocher once. To the best of my recollection, she was a low-down hootchie-coocher.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:01 pm on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      ….and she had to take a Cab to get anywhere. And where did she go? She went thataway, Calloway! But enough of my pun-nonsense — here’s Minnie:

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 7:56 am on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The first one I thought of was Bob Hope and thanks for the memories but everyone used to have a theme song. And, who doesn’t want one?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:48 am on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I definitely would’ve included Bob Hope and his theme song in the list if he had a band….but your question got me to thinking what I would choose for a theme song, and I think this one pretty much says it for me:


    • literaryeyes 4:57 pm on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Manhattan memories come back to me often. When I lived near Broadway and Times Square, I’d walk through and think of the Roaring 20s and Damon Runyon, Mae West, Lindy’s, and feel that vibe. I’d sense the notes of that time were still there, echoing down Shubert and Tin Pan Alley.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:00 pm on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for that evocative comment. Your “Manhattan memories” suggest to me another Gershwin tune for YOUR theme song: “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” 🙂


    • moorezart 8:21 am on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:17 pm on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you. I attempted to reblog your latest post from your ART OF QUOTATION blog, but my computer/internet skills are woefully inadequate, and after doing the best I could, it didn’t appear the way I intended. Since I’m not up to the task of getting it right, I will delete the reblog of your post with my apologies.

        Liked by 1 person

        • moorezart 12:30 am on November 30, 2016 Permalink

          No problem and I understand. Sorry for the technical difficulties. I’ve actually had similar issues at times. when reblogged from ArtofQuotation it SHOULD have worked. But I think the reblog feature on my personal artist blog Moorezart.Wordpress is turned off. In any event I’m glad you liked the post. Also I just wanted to let you know I greatly enjoy reading your blog! – Douglas

          Liked by 1 person

    • moorezart 8:26 am on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Cherries on Top of a Hot Fudge Sundae – That’s What Your Post Titles Are. As Usual a Real Treat

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:12 pm on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for that delicious compliment. This calls for a song which complements your comment:


    • quirkywritingcorner 8:45 pm on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
      I’ve always loved Rhapsody in Blue!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:03 pm on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you!
      Rhapsody in Blue?
      Me too.


    • geo. raymond 11:20 pm on August 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      “When it’s sleepy-time down south” has been on my playlist these past couple weeks. “I can’t get started” is one of my all time favorites. Brilliant Berrigan solo.

      Liked by 1 person

    • geo. raymond 11:25 pm on August 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Rhapsody In Blue is like nothing else in the world. Gershwin left us way too soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:18 am on August 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely right on both counts (and I don’t mean Basie)!

        Gershwin and Bunny Berrigan both left us way too soon — as did another B.B., Bix Beiderbecke, who (next to Louis Armstrong) was the greatest cornet player of the 1920s. Like Berrigan, Bix was an alcoholic and left a legacy of classic jazz recordings before he died in 1931 at the age of 28.

        Liked by 1 person

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