Tommy Dorsey

1937-1938

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Tommy Dorsey presided over no less than 22 recording sessions during the year 1937. His records were popular among both jazz heads and pop music fans who expected to hear singers in front of the band. This eighth installment in the Dorsey chronology offers predominately vocal tracks garnished with three pleasant instrumentals, "Just a Simple Melody," "Little White Lies," and "Oh, Promise Me." The leader wisely bolstered his trombone's famous tonality with such capable players as Pee Wee Erwin, Bud Freeman, and Johnny Mince. Gifted percussionist Dave Tough, a troubled individual who was eventually slain by his addiction to alcohol, lasted a remarkably long time with Dorsey, finally bailing after the session of December 6th. Syrupy-voiced Jack Leonard made off with eight ballads in addition to Kern/Hammerstein's "Who?," which was given the same group vocal treatment as Dorsey's hit record, "Marie." Edythe Wright, capable of singing prettily, was at her best with humorous upbeat numbers like Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen's anti-romantic "Down with Love." The nadir of her career was reached with the incredibly racist Rodgers & Hart tune "There's a Boy in Harlem." This nasty little air paints an archaic Jim Crow portrait of a musically gifted but sloppily dressed Afro-American composer who never leaves the 'hood but whose influence pervades the music industry. With Lorenz Hart's lyrics containing a thinly veiled reference to "this person in the woodpile," the song belongs in Tin Pan Alley's sociological chamber of horrors. Its appearance in the Dorsey discography casts a sickly light upon his periodically flawed ethical sensibilities.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:24 SpotifyAmazon
2 3:23 SpotifyAmazon
3 2:21 SpotifyAmazon
4 3:05 SpotifyAmazon
5 3:06 SpotifyAmazon
6 2:47 SpotifyAmazon
7 3:09 SpotifyAmazon
8 3:10 SpotifyAmazon
9 2:45 SpotifyAmazon
10 2:57 SpotifyAmazon
11 2:44
12 2:41 SpotifyAmazon
13 2:37 SpotifyAmazon
14 3:16 SpotifyAmazon
15 2:29 SpotifyAmazon
16 2:39 SpotifyAmazon
17 2:33 SpotifyAmazon
18 2:44 SpotifyAmazon
19 2:50 SpotifyAmazon
20 2:40 SpotifyAmazon
21 2:33 SpotifyAmazon
22 2:40 SpotifyAmazon
23 3:05 SpotifyAmazon
blue highlight denotes track pick