Tagged: Mills Brothers Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dave Fleischer animation, , Dinah Washington, , , , Mills Brothers, , , , What A Difference A Day Makes,   


    A favorite of jazz musicians ever since it first appeared in 1925, DINAH has been recorded hundreds of times, and yet, practically nobody remembers who wrote it. As they sing on some of the old records,”The name of this song is Dinah,” and it was written by HARRY AKST.Warren Vaché, author, THE UNSUNG SONGWRITERS

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    If you Akst me: of all the girl’s name songs beginning with D, is there any one finer than DINAH? I’d sigh, “DAH! Not in the state of Carolina!” Composed by Harry Akst (lyrics by Sam Lewis and Joe Young), the song “is so relaxed and without pretense, it’s almost as if it simply happened rather than was written” — so writes Alec Wilder in his book AMERICAN POPULAR SONG. I agree, to the tune of two hearings, starting with this animated effort by

    If you think #1 was animated, #2 is even more so:

    Let’s wrap it up with a favorite by a real Dinah — the great Dinah Washington, singing a song which takes me back to my 1960 basic training days at Fort Knox, KY, where I first heard her original 1959 recording on a ‘blue’ evening at the PX. Can you place the MC*?

    *The MC (emcee) in this 1960 clip was future U.S. President Ronald Reagan. PX, for the benefit of life-long residents of the DMZ (demilitarized zone), stands for Post Exchange.

    • scifihammy 6:28 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Nice to see the different versions – and a young Ronald Reagan! 🙂
      My favourite is Bing. I just love his voice!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:20 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      That’s the young Bing on that clip. Several years later (late 1930s, as I recall), he had an operation (throat or vocal chords) which noticeably changed his voice. I like his young voice best.


    • Don Frankel 11:05 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Of all the singers whose recorded voice I’ve heard Dinah Washington sounds the most like a live voice. Like I’m in the audience or she’s just in the room next door.

      Muse, don’t forget Billie Holiday’s real name or the name on her birth certificate was Eleanora.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:59 pm on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the reminder, Don — I had forgotten what Billie’s given name was. I was thinking of ‘starring’ Ella Fitzgerald in my next post — now I’ll have to think about co-starring Billie. Woe is me, having to include probably the two greatest female pop/jazz vocalists of all time in one post!


    • Richard Cahill 11:48 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I once had four employees who went by Deanna, Dinah, Debbie and Denise. Hope the other three don’t feel slighted.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:44 pm on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Ricardo, the first name on your list brings to mind a gal who, pre-Wizard of Oz, was as popular as Judy Garland in their early teens in the 1930s. Here she is singing a Mexican favorite to remind you of your happy hours south of the border:


    • tref 11:58 pm on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Dinah has always been one of my favorite songs. (Eddie Cantor’s film, Roman Scandals had a great reference to the song, too.)

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:32 am on October 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the comment. It’s been so long since I saw Roman Scandals that I’d forgotten the reference you referred to.
      P.S. Your mention of Eddie Cantor reminds me that one of his signature songs was MAKIN’IN WHOOPIE — a term I seem to recall mentioning in a comment to one of your recent posts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • markscheel1 8:28 pm on October 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply


      Well, into an immersion of music of late. Great renditions. And last night I chauffeured my new friend Don Follmer to a recital of his musical creations to accompany war poetry written and recited by Arlin Buyert. The compositions were played by a cellist and a pianist. Don is the fellow I profiled in an earlier blog about the Wendy’s breakfast group “reloading.” From that group we lost Bob recently, the model for the character Clarence D.; he was 94. Don is 88.
      Thanks, BTW, for your input on my latest blog post. Appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:01 am on November 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Harry Woods, , , Mills Brothers, , piano roll, , , ,   



    In my last post (NOTES FROM THE ALLEY), I touched on TIN PAN ALLEY’s origins and location, but failed to mention where the name came from. For that, I quote from another book, FROM SAGINAW VALLEY TO TIN PAN ALLEY by R. Grant Smith:

    On a summer day in New York City, just before 1900, songwriter and journalist Monroe Rosenfeld walked down West 28th Street, on the way to his publisher, to demonstrate a new song he had written. As he passed the rows of music publishing houses, clustered together and piled on top of each other, he heard the sounds of hundreds of pianos, playing hundreds of pieces of music, pouring out of the open windows. The tumultuous noise reminded him of tin pans clanging together.
    Later that day, when Rosenfeld returned to his typewriter at the New York Herald, he wrote an article about what he had just experienced, referring to the area he had visited as “Tin Pan Alley.” This name would remain synonymous with the popular music publishing industry in America for the next sixty years.

    Think of THE GOLDEN AGE OF POPULAR MUSIC (which includes the storied Roaring Twenties) as TIN PAN ALLEY writ large, a coast-to-coast cacophony of sounds impossible to paint a complete picture of in these few sketches — but my hope is to convey at least a feel for the era….principally with clips of songs written and performed by composers and artists like those featured in the previous post. Picking up where we left off in 1921, I’ll resist the urge to test your forbearance with a 1922 triumph of treacle titled GRANNY, YOU’RE MY MAMMY’S MAMMY (I kid you not), and go instead with 1922 and 1923 hits about guys named Harry and Barney:

    Skipping past such 1924/25 doozies as DOODLE DOO DOO and DOO WACKA DOO, we come to 1926, a banner year for songs that became all-time standards, including one that a very young Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers blew out of the water — “The name of this song is DINAH”:

    Now we’re on a roll — here’s another 1926 standard, played by it’s Hart-less composer:

    But what’s a Richard Rodgers composition minus Lorenz Hart lyrics? It’s like romance expressed without a word, as proposed in another of their 1926 songs (1:40 into this clip):

    Hart died (tragically young) in the month of November, but many great Golden Age songwriters were born in this month, including Harry Woods, who began writing hits (like “I’m Looking Over A Four-Leaf Clover”) in the early 1920s….however, I’m going to jump ahead here with one of his lesser known songs from the 1930s — repeat, the 1930s:


    • arekhill1 7:41 pm on November 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’m a punk rock fan myself, Sr. Muse. But history needs to be tended by historians like yourself.


    • mistermuse 10:51 pm on November 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Perhaps six music clips in one post was too much of a good thing, even for those who are open to the oldies, Ricardo….so how about some history-making political news: Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, has just elected a new mayor — a two-year old pit bull named Brynn — to succeed Lucy Lou, the border collie whose bid for President went up in smoke months ago. It’s been a bad year for females running for the White House.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen 5:19 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You mean we were watching Alfalfa in the 60’s and he was already over 30 years old?? 😉 That was certainly a blast from the past. ..

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:03 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Carmen, I remember watching the Keystone Kops on TV in the 60’s when they were already 50 years old, so if Alfalfa was a blast from the past, the madcap Kops were an indignity from antiquity! 🙂


    • Don Frankel 9:24 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great stuff Muse. Roger’s first song or one of his first. And of course Alfalfa. I remember that scene from when I was a kid.


    • mistermuse 11:48 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Don. I own a biography of Rodgers (titled SOMEWHERE FOR ME) which shows that his first published songs go back as far as 1919, however BLUE ROOM was certainly one of his first HIT songs (after MANHATTAN, written in 1925).


    • Cynthia Jobin 8:54 pm on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t beat Bing, in my book….

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:01 pm on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I much prefer the voice of the young Bing to the 1940s-and-later Bing. His early recordings are classics, and I own most, if not all, of them.


    • D. Wallace Peach 10:46 pm on November 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Lots of music! Most from before my time but I remember them! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:12 pm on November 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Diana. In a certain sense, if you remember them, they’re not before your time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 4:42 pm on July 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Don't Blame Me, , I'm In The Mood For Love, , , Mills Brothers, ,   


    Yes, music lovers, it’s time for another birthday salute to a great songwriter from the Stardust Age of popular music. Actually, two such greats were born this day (in 1900 & 1894), but I already dusted off the star of the youngest of them (Mitchell Parish) a year ago.
    The other is Jimmy McHugh — if you’ve never heard of him, Don’t Blame Me ….and don’t blame his collaborator, Dorothy Fields, who wrote lyrics to the 1933 hit song of that title, as well as I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, I’m In The Mood For Love, and many others.

    Rather than detail McHugh’s songwriting career in this post, I’m going to cut right to the Happy Times (another (McHugh/Fields composition) and invite you to join me in enjoying the music, beginning with  vocal (Mills Bros.) and instrumental (tenor sax legend Coleman Hawkins) versions of Don’t Blame Me:

    The last clip is the all-time standard I Can’t Believe You’re In Love With Me (written by McHugh in 1927 before his collaboration with Dorothy Fields), vocal by Billie Holiday. It doesn’t get any better than this:

    • BroadBlogs 4:51 pm on July 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It’s great being introduced to all these oldies. I’ve heard of them, but never heard them (that I know of).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 1:56 pm on July 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Great stuff Muse. Another guy I don’t think I ever heard of. I know his music but I didn’t know it was his.


    • Joseph Nebus 6:53 pm on July 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, that’s wonderful. Thanks.


    • mistermuse 9:12 pm on July 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, guys (and gal)….and btw, I’ve switched to a different Billie Holiday clip of the same recording because the first one gave the wrong recording date (1933). It was actually recorded Jan 1938.


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