Archive for Bunny Berigan

Bunny Berigan With The Fred Rich Orchestra-1936

Posted in Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , on November 26, 2014 by the78rpmrecordspins

Chick Bullock

Posted in Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Chick Bullock

From Wikipedia

Charles (Chick) Bullock (September 16, 1898 – September 15, 1981) was a popular American jazz and dance band vocalist, most active in the 1930s. He recorded some 500 tunes over the course of his career. Bullock was mostly associated with the ARC group of labels (MelotonePerfectBannerOrioleRomeo). Many of his records were issued under the name “Chick Bullock and his Levee Loungers”.

Bullock belonged to select group of mostly freelance vocalists who sang the vocal refrains on hundreds of New York sessions, which included Smith BallewScrappy LambertElmer FeldkampIrving KaufmanPaul SmallArthur Fields, and Dick Robertson. Some of these vocalists were also musicians, but their singing was more often featured. (All of the above had records also issued under their own name, and in case of Ballew, actually had a working orchestra for a couple of years.)

Bullock rarely performed live because his face was disfigured due to an eye disease. He was born in Montana to William and Emily Bullock, both of whom were immigrants from England. He began his career in vaudeville and sang in movie palaces. His career as a studio musician took off in the late 1920s, and in the 1930s he sang with musicians such asDuke EllingtonLuis RussellCab CallowayBunny BeriganBill ColemanJack TeagardenTommy DorseyJimmy DorseyJoe Venuti, and Eddie Lang. Bullock’s recordings proved so popular that he used pseudonyms for some recordings, including the name Sleepy Hall.

In the 1940s the World War II recording ban essentially ended Bullock’s career. He moved to California and took up real estate.

George Wettling

Posted in Recording Artists of the 1930's and 1940's with tags , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

George Wettling

From Wikipedia


Ernie CaceresBobby HackettFreddie Ohms, and George Wettling, Nick’s, NYC, 1940s.
Photography by William P. Gottlieb.

George Wettling (November 28, 1907 – June 6, 1968) was an American jazz drummer.

He was one of the young white Chicagoans who fell in love with jazz as a result of hearing King Oliver‘s band (with Louis Armstrong on second cornet) at the Lincoln Gardens in Chicago in the early 1920s. Oliver’s drummer, Baby Dodds, made a particular and lasting impression upon Wettling.

Wettling went on to work with the big bands of Artie ShawBunny BeriganRed NorvoPaul Whiteman, and even Harpo Marx: but he was at his best on (and will be best remembered for) his work in small ‘hot’ bands led by Eddie CondonMuggsy Spanier, and himself. In these small bands, Wettling was able to demonstrate the arts of dynamics and responding to a particular soloist that he had learned from Baby Dodds.

Wettling was a member of some of Condon’s classic line-ups, which included, among others, Wild Bill DavisonBilly ButterfieldEdmond HallPeanuts HuckoPee Wee RussellCutty CutshallGene SchroederRalph Sutton, and Walter Page, and in 1957 toured Britain with a Condon band including Davison, Cutshall, and Schroeder.

Towards the end of his life, Wettling (like his friend the clarinetist Pee Wee Russell), took up painting, and was much influenced by the American cubist Stuart Davis. He has been quoted as remarking that “jazz drumming and abstract painting seemed different from him only from the point of view of craftsmanship: in both fields he felt rhythm to be decisive”.

Lee Wiley

Posted in Recording Artists of the 1930's and 1940's with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Lee Wiley

From Wikipedia
Lee Wiley
Lee Wiley singer.jpg
Born October 9, 1908
Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, U.S.
Died December 11, 1975 (aged 67)
New York CityNew York, U.S.
Spouse(s) Jess Stacy (1943-1948)
Nat Tischenkel (1966-1975; her death)

Lee Wiley (October 9, 1908 – December 11, 1975) was an American jazz singer popular in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.

Wiley was born in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.  While still in her early teens, she left home to pursue a singing career with the Leo Reisman band. Her career was temporarily interrupted by a fall while horseback riding. Wiley suffered temporary blindness, but recovered, and at the age of 19 was back with Reisman again, with whom she recorded three songs: “Take It From Me,” “Time On My Hands,” and her own composition, “Got The South In My Soul.” She sang with Paul Whiteman and later, the Casa Loma Orchestra. A collaboration with composer Victor Young resulted in several songs for which Wiley wrote the lyrics, including “Got The South in My Soul” and “Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere,” the latter an R&B hit in the 1950s.

During the early 1930s, Wiley recorded very little, and many sides were rejected:

  • Take it From Me (with Leo Reisman’s Orchestra, June 30, 1931, issued)
  • Time On My Hands (with Leo Reisman’s Orchestra, October 19, 1931, rejected & October 26, 1931, issued)
  • Got The South In My Soul (with Leo Reisman’s Orchestra, June 15, 1932, issued)
  • Just So You’ll Remember (with unknown orchestra, January 21, 1933, rejected)
  • A Tree Was A Tree (with unknown orchestra, February, 1933, rejected)
  • You’re An Old Smoothie (duet with Billy Hughes) (with Victor Young’s Orchestra, January 21, 1933, issued)
  • You’ve Got Me Crying Again &
  • I Gotta Right to Sing The Blues (with Dorsey Brothers, March 7, 1933, both rejected)
  • Let’s Call It A Day (with Dorsey Brothers, April 15, 1933 and May 3, 1933, both rejected)
  • Repeal The Blues &
  • Easy Come, Easy Go (with Johnny Green’s Orchestra, March 17, 1934, issued)
  • Careless Love &
  • Motherless Child (with Justin Ring’s? Orchestra, August 13, 1934, issued)
  • Hands Across The Table &
  • I’ll Follow My Secret Heart (with Victor Young’s? Orchestra, November 26, 1934, issued)
  • Mad About The Boy (with Victor Young’s Orchestra, August 25, 1935, rejected)
  • What Is Love? &
  • I’ve Got You Under My Skin (with Victor Young’s Orchestra, February 10, 1937, issued)

In 1939, Wiley recorded eight Gershwin songs on 78s with a small group for Liberty Music Shops. The set sold well and was followed by 78s dedicated to the music of Cole Porter(1940) and Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart (1940 and 1954), Harold Arlen (1943), and 10″ LPs dedicated to the music of Vincent Youmans and Irving Berlin (1951). The players on these recordings included Bunny BeriganBud FreemanMax KaminskyFats WallerBilly ButterfieldBobby HackettEddie CondonStan FreemanCy Walter, and the bandleader Jess Stacy, to whom Wiley was married for a number of years. These influential albums launched the concept of a “songbook” (often featuring lesser-known songs), which was later widely imitated by other singers.

Wiley’s career made a resurgence in 1950 with the much admired ten-inch album Night in Manhattan. In 1954, she opened the very first Newport Jazz Festival accompanied byBobby Hackett. Later in the decade she recorded two of her finest albums, West of the Moon (1956) and A Touch of the Blues (1957). In the 1960s, Wiley retired, although she acted in a 1963 television film, Something About Lee Wiley, which told her life story. The film stimulated interest in the singer. Her last public appearance was a concert in Carnegie Hall in 1972 as part of the New York Jazz Festival, where she was enthusiastically received.

Fred Rich

Posted in Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Fred Rich

From Wikipedia

Frederic Efrem “Fred” Rich (January 31, 1898 – September 8, 1956) was a Polish-born American bandleader and composer who was active from the 1920s to the 1950s. Among the famous musicians in his band included the Dorsey BrothersJoe VenutiBunny Berigan and Benny Goodman. In the early 1930s, Elmer Feldkamp was one of his vocalists.

Fred Rich was born in WarsawPoland. Rich was a pianist and he formed his own band in the 1920s. His theme songs were “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” and “So Beats My Heart For You.” Between 1925-1928, he toured Europe. Rich enjoyed a long stay at the famous Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. After this, he began leading studio band that featured many famous musicians. He recorded for OkehColumbiaParamountCamden and Vocalion and several others, often recording under the names Fred Richards, the Astorites, the Hotel Astor Band (Rich and his band served as their house band for a time in the 1920s) and many others. In the late 1930s, he would become a musical director for various radio stations and in 1942, he moved onto a staff position with United Artists Studios in Hollywood, where he was to remain for most of his career.

Like many prolific leaders of bands and studio groups, most of Rich’s records are typical ordinary dance fare of the era. However, during the period between November 1929 and March 1931, there was a scattering of outstanding hot jazz versions of popular tunes, with notable solos by Bunny BeriganTommy DorseyJimmy DorseyJoe VenutiEddie Lang, and others. These celebrated recordings include:

  • A Peach Of A Pair (October 29, 1930)
  • I Got Rhythm (October 29, 1930)
  • Cheerful Little Earful (November 19, 1930)
  • I’m Tickled Pink With A Blue-Eyed Baby (November 19, 1930)

As “Freddie Rich,” he recorded dozens of popular-title piano rolls in the 1920s for the Aeolian Company, both for its reproducing Duo-Art system and its 88 note Mel-O-Dee label.

In 1945, Rich was badly injured when he suffered a fall. As a result, he suffered from partial paralysis. But despite this, Rich continued to lead studio bands into the 1950s. Fred Rich died on September 8, 1956 in California aged 58 after a long illness.

A pianist, Fred Rich has a number of song credits to his name, including “Blue Tahitian Moonlight,” “Time Will Tell” and “On The Riviera.” He also wrote scores for many movies.

Bunny Berigan

Posted in Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Bunny Berigan

From Wikipedia
Bunny Berigan
Birth name Roland Bernard Berigan
Born November 2, 1908
Hilbert, Wisconsin, United States
Died June 2, 1942 (aged 33)
New York City, United States
Genres Jazz
Occupations Trumpetersinger
Instruments Trumpet
Years active 1930-1942

Roland Bernard “Bunny” Berigan (November 2, 1908 – June 2, 1942) was an American jazz trumpeter who rose to fame during theswing era, but whose career and influence were shortened by a losing battle with alcoholism that ended with his early death at age 33 from cirrhosis. Although he composed some jazz instrumentals like “Chicken and Waffles” and “Blues”, Berigan was best known for his virtuoso jazz trumpeting. His 1937 classic recording “I Can’t Get Started” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1975.

Early life and career

Berigan was born in Hilbert, Wisconsin,  the son of William Patrick  Berigan and Mary Catherine (Mayme) Schlitzberg, and raised inFox Lake, Wisconsin. A musical child prodigy, having learned the violin and trumpet at an early age, Berigan played in local orchestrasby his mid-teens before joining the successful Hal Kemp orchestra in 1930. Berigan’s first recorded trumpet solos came with the Kemp orchestra, and he was with the unit when they toured England and a few other European countries later in 1930.

Shortly after the Kemp unit returned to the U.S. in late 1930, Berigan, like fellow trumpeter Manny Klein, the Dorsey Brothers and Artie Shaw, became a sought-after studio musician in New York. Fred RichFreddy Martin and Ben Selvin were just some conductors who sought his services for record dates. He joined the staff of CBS radio network musicians in early 1931. Berigan recorded his first vocal, “At Your Command,” with Rich that year. From late 1932 through late 1933, Berigan was a member of Paul Whiteman’sorchestra, before playing with Abe Lyman’s band briefly in 1934.

He returned to freelancing in the New York recording studios and working on staff at CBS radio in 1934. He recorded as a sideman on hundreds of commercial records, most notably with the Dorsey Brothers and on Glenn Miller’s earliest recording date as a leader in 1935, playing on “Solo Hop“. At the same time, however, Berigan made an association that began his ascent to fame in his own right: he joined Benny Goodman’s jazz oriented dance band. Legendary jazz talent scout and producer John Hammond, who also became Goodman’s brother-in-law in due course, later wrote that he helped persuade Gene Krupa to re-join Goodman, with whom he’d had an earlier falling-out, by mentioning that Berigan, whom Krupa admired, was already committed to the new ensemble. With Berigan and Krupa both on-board, the Goodman band made the legendary, often disheartening tour that ended with their unexpectedly headline-making stand at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles, the stand often credited with the “formal” launch of the swing era.  Berigan recorded a number of classic solos while with Goodman, including on “King Porter Stomp,” “Sometimes I’m Happy,” and “Blue Skies.”


Berigan left Goodman to return again to freelancing as a recording and radio musician in Manhattan. During this time (late 1935 and throughout 1936), he began to record regularly under his own name, and continued to back singers such as Bing Crosby, Mildred Bailey, and Billie Holiday. He spend some time with Tommy Dorsey‘s orchestra in late 1936 and early 1937, working as a jazz soloist on Dorsey’s radio program and on several records. His solo on the Dorsey hit recording “Marie” became considered one of his signature performances. In 1937, Berigan assembled a band to record and tour under his name, picking the then-little known Ira Gershwin/Vernon Duke composition, “I Can’t Get Started” as his theme song. Berigan’s bravura trumpet work and curiously attractive vocal made his recorded performance of it for Victor the biggest hit of his career. Berigan modeled his trumpet style in part on Louis Armstrong’s style, and often acknowledged Armstrong as his own idol, but he was no Armstrong clone. He had a trumpet sound that was unique, and very individual jazz ideas. Armstrong, for his part, recognized Berigan’s talents, and praised them both before and after Berigan’s death.


Berigan got the itch to lead his own band full-time and did so from early 1937 until June 1942, with one six-month hiatus in 1940, when he became a sideman in Tommy Dorsey’s band. Some of the records he made with his own bands were equal in quality to the sides he cut with Goodman and Dorsey. But a series of misfortunes as well as Berigan’s alcoholism worked against his financial success as a bandleader. Bunny also began a torrid affair with singer Lee Wiley in 1936, which lasted into 1940. The various stresses of bandleading drove Berigan to drink even more heavily. Nevertheless, musicians considered him an excellent bandleader. Among the notable players who worked in the Berigan band were: drummersBuddy RichDave ToughGeorge Wettling, Johnny Blowers, and Jack Sperling; alto saxophonists/clarinetistsGus Bivona, Joe Dixon, and Andy Fitzgerald; vocalistsDanny RichardsRuth Bradley and Kathleen Lane; pianistJoe Bushkin, trombonist/arrangerRay Conniff, trombonist Sonny Lee; bassists Hank Wayland, and Morty Stulmaker, trumpeters Carl“Bama” WarwickSteve Lipkins, and Les Elgart; tenor saxophonists Georgie Auld,and Don Lodice; and pianist/arrangerJoe Lippman.

Berigan was regularly featured on CBS Radio‘s Saturday Night Swing Club broadcasts from 1936 into 1937. This network radio show helped further popularize jazz as the swing era reached its apogee. For the balance of the 1930s, he sometimes appeared on this program as a guest.

Final years and Death

Berigan’s business troubles drove him to declare bankruptcy in 1939, and shortly after to join Tommy Dorsey as a featured jazz soloist. By September 1940, Berigan briefly led a new small group, but soon reorganized a touring big band. Berigan led moderately successful big bands from the fall of 1940 into early 1942, and was on the comeback trail when his health declined alarmingly. In April 1942, Berigan was hospitalized with pneumonia in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But his doctors discovered worse news: that cirrhosis had severely damaged his liver. He was advised to stop drinking and stop playing the trumpet for an undetermined length of time. Berigan couldn’t do either. He returned to his band on tour, and played for a few weeks before he returned to New York City and suffered a massive hemorrhage on May 31, 1942. He died two days later in Polyclinic Hospital at age 33. He was survived by his wife, Donna, and his two young daughters, Patricia, 10, and Joyce, 6.

He was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery south of Fox Lake.


His 1937 recording of “I Can’t Get Started” was used in the film Save the Tiger (1973), the Roman Polanski film Chinatown (1974), and a Martin Scorsese short film,The Big Shave(1967). Woody Allen has used Berigan’s music occasionally in his films. In 2010, his Victor recording of “Heigh-Ho” was used on a Gap clothing TV commercial. Berigan’s name was used frequently in the comic strip “Crankshaft.” Fox Lake, Wisconsin has kept his memory and influence alive with an annual Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee since the early 1970s. Most of Berigan’s recordings are currently available, and two full-length biographies of him have been published.

Compositions by Bunny Berigan

Bunny Berigan’s compositions (really informally created jam tunes) include “Chicken and Waffles”, released as Decca 18117 in 1935 as by Bunny’s Blue Boys, and “Blues”, released in 1935 as Decca 18116, also with the Blue Boys.


In 1975, Bunny Berigan’s 1937 recording “I Can’t Get Started” on Victor as VICTOR 25728-A was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

He was inducted in the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame in 2008. [6]

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