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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Russ Morgan born 29 April 1904

Russ Morgan (April 29, 1904 – August 7, 1969) was a big band orchestra leader and musical arranger in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s.

Best remembered for his ''wah-wah'' trombone style, Russ Morgan was born in Scanton, Pennsylvania, in 1904 and began studying music at an early age. Both his father, a coal-mine foreman, and his mother were former professional musicians. Morgan himself began to work in the mines at an early age to pay for piano lessons. At age 14 he earned extra money playing piano at a Scranton movie theatre and bought a trombone. He spent a year with the Scranton Sirens, working alongside Jimmy Dorsey, before heading off to New York in 1922, where he arranged for Victor Herbert and John Philip Sousa. He toured Europe with Paul Specht's orchestra in 1923 and a year later was invited to Detroit to arrange for Jean Goldkette.

Morgan soon left Goldkette to serve as musical director at WXYZ radio. He also arranged and played for the Detroit
Symphony. After a serious automobile accident in 1929 put him out of the music business and the stock market crash finished Detroit as a major music centre he went back to New York, where he found steady work writing arrangements and playing in studio orchestras.

Another automobile accident sidelined Morgan in 1933. Unable to play his trombone during a long period of recuperation he went to work for Freddie Martin in 1934 as a pianist and later became musical director at Brunswick Records. He formed his own orchestra in 1936 with the help of friend Rudy Vallee and spent the next two years at the Biltmore Hotel. He later served as a staff conductor at NBC radio and was musical director for the Lifebouy and Philip Morris radio series.

Morgan both sang and played trombone in his new orchestra, which used the famous moniker ''Music in the Morgan Manner.'' His music was soft, loose, easy-going, and well-blended, and had an infectious lilt. His style leaned toward the commercial, and he had a knack for knowing what the public liked.

After suffering financially in the early 1940s Morgan experienced his greatest popularity after the war. In 1949, four songs he recorded made it big on the charts. They were "So Tired", "Cruising Down the River", "Sunflower" and "Forever and Ever." On the latter he used a vocal quartet that was just starting out and would later become famous as the Ames Brothers. The Decca Records recording of Dogface Soldier, released to coincide with the film version of To Hell and Back, based on the best-selling novel by Audie Murphy, sold over 300,000 copies.

During the 1950s, his orchestra continued to be a popular one for dancing and listening music. He continued to set house records with his appearances in California and New York as well as his many tours across the entire nation. During this decade, it was mostly the long-established veteran "sweet bands" that were supplying the music for dancers, and Russ Morgan was one of them. The veterans included Jan Garber, Sammy Kaye, Wayne King, Guy Lombardo, Freddy Martin and Lawrence Welk.

In 1958, Morgan's nineteen-piece band had been reduced to eleven men, with his sons Jack Morgan on trombone and David Morgan on guitar. In 1965, he was then booked for an eight-week engagement at the Top O' The Strip at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. However, it ended up lasting until 1977, a total of twelve years.

In 1969, Morgan died at the age of sixty-five in Las Vegas. Morgan’s son, Jack, took over the leadership and has led the band ever since. Morgan has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to recording. (Info from & Wikipedia)

From a recently discovered print of the original film, which includes two songs not shown in the 1980s video version of this film ("Meet the Band Leaders"). Also original credits and close. Band leader, trombone, piano: Russ Morgan. Singers: Lewis Julian and Linda Lee. Band members include 22-year-old Billy Fisher on clarinet and alto sax, featured in "Wabash Blues." Julian was a former NBC page when Morgan discovered him. Fisher also arranged for Morgan and later arranged for Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason as well as the Tony Awards.


boppinbob said...

For “The Best of Russ Morgan” go here:

1 Does Your Heart Beat For Me? 2:56
2 Dance With A Dollu (With A Hole In Her Stockin') 2:40
3 Crusing Down The River 2:33
4 So Tired 3:17
5 There Goes That Song Again 3:01
6 Dogface Soldier 2:06
7 You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You 3:18
8 I'm Looking Over A Four Leak Clover 2:36
9 Forever And Ever 2:46
10 Somebody Else Is Taking My Place 3:12
11 You, You, You Are The One 2:24
12 The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine 3:42
13 Bye Bye Blackbird 2:17
14 Do You Ever Think Of Me? 2:16
15 Linger Awhile 2:48
16 The Object Of My Affection 3:15
17 The Tennessee Wig-Walk 2:13
18 Hoop-Dee-Doo 2:48
19 Mockin' Bird Hill 2:58
20 Josephine 2:48
21 Put Your Little Foot Right Out 2:43
22 The Pour People Of Paris 2:24
23 Wabash Blues 3:04
24 So Long 3:24

boppinbob said...

Just updated post on Lonnie Donegan,

zephyr said...

Many thanks for Russ Bob

boppinbob said...

Hi Kat, Just re-upped mp3 to a better quality.

boppinbob said...

It seems that the original uploader (redmp3)has got the track order out of sequence. So have now rectified.

01 Does Your Heart Beat For Me? 2:56
02 Dance With A Dollu (With A Hole In Her Stockin') 2:40
03 Crusing Down The River 2:33
04 So Tired 3:17
05 There Goes That Song Again 3:01
06 Dogface Soldier 2:06
07 Bye Bye Blackbird 2:17
08 Do You Ever Think Of Me? 2:16
09 Linger Awhile 2:48
10 The Object Of My Affection 3:15
11 The Tennessee Wig-Walk 2:13
12 Hoop-Dee-Doo 2:48
13 Mockin' Bird Hill 2:58
14 Josephine 2:48
15 Put Your Little Foot Right Out 2:43
16 The Pour People Of Paris 2:24
17 Wabash Blues 3:04
18 So Long 3:24
19 You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You 3:18
20 I'm Looking Over A Four Leak Clover 2:36
21 Forever And Ever 2:46
22 Somebody Else Is Taking My Place 3:12
23 You, You, You Are The One 2:24
24 The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine 3:42