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Recorded in 1952, “Nostalgia” and “Caminito” by Emil Coleman are characteristic tangos of 1940s & 50s NYC hotel nightlife, and feature his impressive, well-gigged Orchestra. These certainly have a cinematic quality to them as the brass, strings, winds and piano drive and interplay some serious, moody romance. Pizzicato passages sneak into the drama, along with some tasteful accordion flourishes, reminding us of the essence of tangos – they are the sensual partner-dance that began to evolve in 1880s Buenos Aires from the combination of Spanish tangos and Argentine milongas.

Emil Coleman was born in Odessa, Russia in 1892 and by the 1920s was a star orchestra leader performing in the high-society hotels of New York City, most notably the Trocadero and the Waldorf-Astoria. He also recorded quite a bit for Vocalion, Brunswick, Columbia and RCA Victor labels, and had many hits on the national pop charts.

Couldn’t decide which side of this excellent tango 78 to post, so I went with both.

 

“Nostalgia”

“Caminito”

 

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Sastale Se Dve Devojke“, or “Two Girls Meet”, is a traditional Serbian-Croatian “kolo“, a circle folk dance tune. Performed by the Sloboda Orchestra, a popular 5-piece Yugoslavian tamburitza band in the 40s and 50s, it features the Director Joseph Grcevich on lead brač, a long neck lute also called a tambour or tamburitza. There are many, many styles, sizes and varieties of these instruments, both single-stringed and double-stringed. The other instruments are the 2nd brač, bass, cello, and bugaria (a Bulgarian-style tambour.) I also hear three or four voices…

The Balkan tamburitza style has evolved in Central and Eastern Europe for almost 200 years, and sometimes has a somewhat “Italian” sound, but not surprisingly: the Croatian Dalmatian coast is directly east of Italy, across the Adriatic Sea.

From 1950 on the Oakland 78rpm label, Kolo Festival.

 

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Trombonist Albert Wynne and his Creole Jazz Band recorded this wonderful jazz stomp in 1928 and I would say it’s a New Orleans classic, but it was recorded in Chicago! Wynne and the band were based in Chicago for their whole career, although they toured all of America and Europe. But no matter, this is indeed a very NOLA sound, for all time probably, and especially back then.

Features the little-known New Orleans hero, Punch Miller, on trumpet and scat singing solo. Although little-known in the wider world of jazz, he is a cult favorite of jazz 78s collectors. R. Crumb the comic artist and famous 78rpm record collector adored Miller’s many sides and even paid tribute to him by painting his portrait for one of his 36 Early Jazz Greats, a set of trading cards.

 

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Getting his start playing clarinet in Glenn Miller’s big band in 1921, Boyd Senter eventually moved to Chicago in 1923 and managed to make several recordings with Jelly Roll Morton’s Steamboat Four. Soon thereafter he struck out alone as the “Jazzologist Supreme” (sometimes with his band, the Senterpedes) and recorded a string of sides for various labels in the 20s and 30s, all in the hot jazz/New Orleans idiom that was the rage during those decades. Sometimes the playfulness of his approach, especially the “laughing” or “whining” phrasing that became a signature of his clarinet style, was criticized by some as gimmicky, but he sold a lot of sides and was very popular in the public nevertheless.

What makes this 1927 trio take of “Down Hearted Blues” (a Lovie Austin/Alberta Hunter tune) so great is the guitar playing of the iconic Eddie Lang, an innovator who really raised the bar on guitar approach and its place in popular music, and also paved the way for giants like Django, Lonnie Johnson and Wes Montgomery. This performance is just so beautifully toned and nuanced, and to my ears sounds like he was playing from about 15-20 years into the future. Lang’s genius was very unfortunately cut short at 30 years old, a bad surgery in New York in 1933 seeming the culprit. His impact on Jazz cannot be underestimated.

Boyd Senter left music in the late 30s after his popularity waned, became a sporting goods salesman, settled down, and lived into old age, retiring to Oscoda, Michigan, and finally giving up the ghost in 1982 at 84 years old.

This Velvet Tone 7070 is a reissue copy of the original Okeh pressing, matrix no. W81001.

 

 

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Jacqueline Francois was one of the greatest singers and interpreters of French song. There are so many classic recordings, and some of the repertoire is considered cabaret. She exemplified a certain kind of charming, classy diva and was popular from her very first singles, and a global star a few years later. Born Jacqueline Guillemautot in 1922, she had a very long life in singing, recording countless, mostly French-penned, songs. Her voice, a rich alto with a ton of character and a certain smokiness throughout her range, is one of my favorite voices of all time. The feel of her voice on the microphone is something so soothing, but commanding.

“Mélancolie” (Melancholy) is a haunting, lesser known number which was written by the famous songwriting duo Al. Romans & Pierre Dudan. Recorded in 1951 for French Polydor, it features Jo Boyer and His Orchestra (who also worked with greats like Dizzy Gillespie and Django Reinhardt) and Francois’ mesmerizing voice singing the lonesome lyric:                              (English translation is below)

Mélancolie un jour s’achève,
Mélancolie on n’y peut rien.
Chaque jour dans la fumée et dans l’alcool, on noie ses
rêves,
Seul, jusqu’au matin…
Et chaque nuit, ça recommence
Pour torturer le coeur trop lourd,
Le cafard dans la fumée et dans l’alcool, mène la danse
Jusqu’au jour.
Demain y aura d’ l’amour et d’ la lumière,
Peut-être bien, ça m’est égal…
Barman jusqu’au matin, remplis mon verre,
Je veux rêver que j’ai moins mal.
Mélancolie… tu nous enchaînes,
Plus fortement qu’un grand amour,
Un beau soir dans la fumée et dans l’alcool, on noie ses
peines

Melancholy one day ends,
Melancholy can’t be helped.
Every day in smoke and alcohol, we drown our
dreams,
Alone, until the morning…
And every night, it starts again
To torture the heavy heart,
The pointless depression in the smoke and in the alcohol, leads the dance
Until the day is over.
Tomorrow there will be love and light,
Maybe I don’t care…
Bartender till morning, fill my drink,
I want to dream that I have less pain.
Melancholy… you chain us,
Stronger than a great love,
One fine evening in the smoke and in the alcohol, we drown its pains

 

 

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Born Alexandra Nicholas Badran in 1924, in Mersin, Turkey, to Lebanese parents, she changed her name to Nour el Houda (“Light of Guidance”) just as she was becoming a famous actress and singing star. During her long career, which began at ten years old, El Houda recorded a huge chunk of classical, religious and popular Arabic songs and is considered one of the greatest Lebanese singers. For her tone, intonation, power and control, she was hailed as “the Girl with the Golden Voice” and was a cultural sensation for almost 30 years.

“Ala Oum el Manadili” is mostly a big, insistent groove and melody which eventually open up into a slow, bare, and moody bridge section that allows you to really hear her incredible vocal talent, before taking it back to the top for a fierce finale. Besides the lead voice and backing singers, the instruments I hear are the mijwiz (a reed clarinet), tablah, the buzuq (strings, long-fretted neck and a tone like a viola), and handclaps. The arrangement and the sounds are pretty typical for middle 1950s, popular Arabic recordings.

This is a song on two sides, so I edited them together in Logic Pro.

 

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Pablo Rodriguez Lozada, better known as “Tito” Rodriguez (“tito” meaning “uncle” and sometimes “giant” in Puerto Rican Spanish) was a massively popular bandleader, singer and arranger in the 1950s when the mambo and cha-cha craze was at its height in the U.S. During this era he was just about as renowned and requested as the great Tito Puente, another legendary timbalero, who was also Rodriguez’s rival in the salsa and Latin scenes of the 50s and 60s.

This is the other side of Tito Rodriguez, “Desert Dance” (on TICO #10-035A) from the last post, and it is a groovy, medium-burning mambo called “Donde Estabas Tu?”, “where were you?” in Spanish.

 

 

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