Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jo Stafford: Pied Pipers

Three different clips I found that I combined into one:
1. Tommy Dorsey and the Pied Pipers join Frank on "Last Call For Love" from a 1942 video. 2. Tommy and the band kid around with a tune titled 'Trombone Man" until Buddy Rich gets serious with a drum solo. 3. This was Frank's first brief movie appearance in 1941 singing "I'll Never Smile Again"

About the Pied Pipers:
Originally consisting of eight members, The Pied Pipers had their greatest success after nearly half of the members left the group. The remaining Pipers (Billy Wilson, Chuck Lowry, Jo Stafford, and her then-husband John Huddleston) joined the Tommy Dorsey Band in 1939, backing Sinatra on many classic recordings. In 1942 The Pied Pipers broke away from Dorsey, and Huddleston joined the army, to be replaced by Hal Hopper, one of the original eight members. The group backed Johnny Mercer on several tracks during the early 40s, including "Candy" and "Blues in the Night." Their first single ("Deacon Jones"/"Pistol Packin' Mama") was released in 1943. Stafford had become quite busy with her solo career and left the group in 1944, to be replaced by June Hutton. Throughout the rest of the decade The Pied Pipers charted frequently, yet their popularity waned in the '50s.
"Dream" is a great (all accompanied) collection of 26 original mono recordings from 1939 to 1949, featuring vocals by Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Connie Hanes and Johnny Mercer. The history of this popular 3-man, 1 woman quartet is complex and interesting, (and well-covered in the liner notes), but it's clear the group took off when they were hired in Chicago by Tommy Dorsey to sing with his band in 1939. The next year he hired Sinatra, the wisdom of this quickly becoming clear in The Voice/Pipers hit "I'll Never Smile Again," which enjoyed 12 weeks at #1 on the US pop chart. The group went on to have 11 more hits on RCA Victor, many featuring Sinatra, including #2 success "Oh, Look at Me Now!" with Connie Haines sharing the solos, Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" and the chart-topping "Dolores," but 3 years later they broke with the hotheaded Dorsey as their #1 hit with Sinatra, "There Are Such Things" was filling the airwaves. The CD has 5 hits pre-Dorsey, including "Polly Wolly Doodle All The Day" and the title tune "Dream;" 7 with Dorsey, Sinatra and Haines, including "Let's Get Away From It All; 9 with Paul Weston and Orchestra including "The Trolley Song" with Jo Stafford and "Candy" with Johnny Mercer and Stafford; and 3 with Skip Martin and His Orchestra, including "Kiss Me Goodnight." Some of the best big-band swing music we've ever heard, fresh and hot from the 30s and 40s!

No comments: