Saturday, 30 November 2019

Lee Morse born 30 November 1897

Lena Corinne "Lee" Morse (née Taylor; November 30, 1897 – December 16, 1954) was an American jazz and blues singer-songwriter, composer, guitarist, and actress. Morse's greatest popularity was in the 1920s and early 1930s as a torch singer, although her career began around 1917 and continued until her death in 1954.

Born Lena Taylor in 1897, Morse grew up in a musical family in Kooskia, Idaho. After marrying and having a son, she left her family for the vaudeville circuit of the west coast around 1920, signing with producer Will King. A year later, she began working in musical revues with Kolb & Dill. In 1922, Morse joined the Pantages circuit, and played to rave reviews. Many wondered how the petite singer could produce such a deep sound, and one Variety writer supposed her low range came from trying to match her brothers' voices throughout her youth.

She began her recording career with a contract with the Pathe-Perfect label in 1924. During this era of acoustic recording, the power of her voice was essential to the success of her recordings. That her vocals come through with such clarity and strength on the acoustic Pathe-Perfect recordings of 1924-26 is further testament to her unique Talent. During these early years of her recording career, Lee was given the opportunity to record many of her own compositions. Some notable sides include Telling Eyes, Those Daisy Days, an Old-Fashioned Romance, Blue Waltz, The Shadows on the Wall, Deep Wide Ocean Blues, A Little Love and Daddy's Girl.


Lee Morse & Her Blue Grass Boys included trumpeter Manny Klein, Eddie Lang on guitar, and two brothers who played clarinet and trombone named Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. In 1927, along with other prominent artists of her era, she moved to the Columbia label. From 1927 to 1932, she was one of the label's most popular
female performers, second only to Ruth Etting. she recorded over 200 songs; her depression-era song "I've Got Five Dollars" is among her most widely known tunes.

 Lee continued to do vaudeville and other stage work during this time, landing a role in Zeigfield's "Simple Simon" that should have made her an even bigger star. Sadly, a bender left her ill and unable to perform 24 hours before the show's Broadway debut on February 18, 1930. Minus their star, the producers asked Ruth Etting to step up in the eleventh hour to fill Lee's shoes. The show's memorable "Ten Cents a Dance" became Etting's signature song even as Lee's once promising Broadway career abruptly ended. In 1930, Miss Morse was featured in three short films, "Song Service", "A Million Me's" and "The Music Racket", all of which featured her flawless voice and comedic acting skills.

In the mid-1920s, Lee met pianist Rob Downey. He became her accompanist on stage and companion in life. Although they lived as a couple, some have questioned over the years whether they were ever actually married. Married or not, they shared their personal and professional lives for a number of years before Downey left her for a dancer. This tragic end to their relationship left Lee devastated and ever more dependent upon alcohol, which by the 1930s had become a constant companion.

After her relationship with Bob Downey ended in the late 1930s, Lee weathered a rocky period that left those closest to her worried for her health. Life improved when she met Ray Farese, whom she married in 1946. Some have said that Ray was her soul mate; indeed, they enjoyed a happy, content life together for many years.

Ray helped Lee revitalize her career by getting her a Rochester-based radio show and securing local club dates. She attempted a comeback with the song "Don't Even Change a Picture on the Wall," written in the 1940s for the WWII soldiers and finally recorded in 1951. Although the song enjoyed local success, it failed to launch her to the heights she had once enjoyed.

Lee passed away suddenly due to alcohol-related complications on December 16, 1954,whilst visiting a neighbour in Rochester. She was only 57, with some of the happiest years of her life only having only just begun. She is interred at the Riverside Cemetery.

After her death, Ray Farese turned her photos and scrapbook over to Rochester-based journalist Howard Hosmer, who apparently produced a Morse career retrospective for a local station. Hosmer, one of Lee’s biggest fans, died before her mementos could be returned to Ray Farese.

(Edited mainly from AllMusic & IMDb)

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Muzzy Marcellino born 27 November 1912

Muzzy Marcellino (November 27, 1912 – June 11, 1997) was an American singer and musician, known primarily for his clear, melodious style of whistling. Marcellino's whistling was featured in many TV and movie soundtracks, such as The Mickey Mouse Club and Lassie. He was the uncle of Vince Guaraldi.

Born Maurice Marcellino, he actually studied both violin and guitar while growing up in his hometown of San Francisco. He began his career as a child singer with Phil Harris’ orchestra. Around 1932, he joined the Lofner-Harris orchestra, which was the house band at San Francisco's classy St. Francis Hotel. That same year he introduced “Willow Weep for Me” with the Ted Fio Rito orchestra and joined that band in 1935.


He doubled up as guitarist and lead male vocalist. During his six years with the band, he featured in a number of motion pictures, including “The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi” and "Broadway Gondolier."

In 1938 he formed his own orchestra, which debuted at Topsy's Restaurant in San Francisco and featured a young Gloria DeHaven on vocals. The band was best known for Marcellino's own smooth baritone voice--his whistling was, if anything, just a novelty tossed in from time to time. He spent the next ten years playing West Coast venues.

In the late 1940's, he reduced the size of his band, touring Reno and Las Vegas. Marcellino finally folded the band in 1948, when he went to work on Dick Powell's radio show. 

1953 Muzzy with Hostess Helen Parrish on "It's a Good Idea"
Later Marcellino was hired by television personality Art Linkletter to lead a small on-air combo featured on Linkletter's talk cum variety show, "House Party." He stayed as musical director for 19 years, until Linkletter ended the show in 1969 following his daughter's suicide

Eventually, Marcellino's whistling talents became well enough known among studio musical directors that he had a steady series of studio jobs in addition to his work on "House Party." During the heyday of Disney's "Mickey Mouse Club" television series, Marcellino collaborated with songwriter Jimmy Dodd on original musical numbers written for the show. Disney also hired him to record the bird calls for the 
legendary Tiki Room at Disneyland.  Muzzy Marcellino released his debut album of whistling ballads, Birds of a Feather in 1958.

Marcellino's strong yet mellifluous whistling was employed to distinctive effect on hit recordings from the theme from The High and the Mighty to Hugo Montenegro's cover of Morricone's theme to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Esquivel used Marcellino on his Stereo Action album, Latin-esque and was struck by his very precise pitch. If you hear whistling featured on a Hollywood studio recording from the 1950s or 1960s, chances are, you're hearing Muzzy Marcellino.

The Reader's Digest set of six records called Gaslight Musc Hall (1969) featured Marcellino whistling in the tune Whistling Rufus. Performed by the Gaslight Novelty Orchestra and conducted by Heinie Beau. Whistling Rufus was composed by Kerry Mills and as stated on the record collection the jaunty Whistling Rufus came at a transitional point in his career.

He died June 11, 1997 at his home in Sherman Oaks, California, following a lengthy illness.

 (Edited from spaceagepop & Wikipedia)
Here’s “Dancing In The Moonlight” by Ted Fiorito Orchestra with Muzzy Marcellino on vocals.1934.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Earl Wild born 26 November 1915

Earl Wild (November 26, 1915 – January 23, 2010) was one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century known for his transcriptions of jazz and classical music. With the extraordinary catholicity of his repertoire, his role as a pianist-composer and his charismatic stage presence, Wild came closer than most to being the complete virtuoso. It is hard to name another pianist who has been as successful in the works of such a diverse range of composers, from Dieterich Buxtehude, Bach and Mozart through to Paul Hindemith, Walter Piston, Aaron Copland, Gian Carlo Menotti and Paul Creston.

Wild was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his father worked in the steel industry. His mother was a hat designer. With immense hands, absolute pitch and an uncanny facility as a sight-reader and improviser, from his earliest years he was certain that the piano was to be his life. His pianistic genealogy was distinguished. At 11, he was accepted as a pupil of Selmar Janson, himself a pupil of Scharwenka and d'Albert (who had studied with Liszt). Later he took lessons with the great Dutch pianist Egon Petri (a pupil of Ferruccio Busoni), Paul Doguereau (a pupil of Paderewski and Ravel) and Helene Barere, wife of the Russian virtuoso Simon Barere.

At 14, Wild was playing the piano and celesta in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Otto Klemperer. Times were hard as he began his career during the Depression, but in 1937 he became a staff pianist with NBC and two years later, he became the first pianist to give a live solo recital on US television. (Remarkably, in March 1997, he also became the first pianist to give a live solo recital on the internet.)

In 1942 Wild was the first American-born musician to be invited by Arturo Toscanini to appear with him (in Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue), making him the youngest soloist ever engaged by the NBC Symphony. The broadcast performance brought national fame overnight and led to Wild being typecast as a Gershwin specialist. He later composed a Grand Fantasy on Porgy and Bess and Seven Virtuoso Etudes based on Gershwin songs.

                 Here's "Mephisto Polka" from above album.


After serving in the US navy band during the second world war (he played the flute), Wild took a job as staff pianist, conductor and composer with NBC's rival ABC network. He retained the post until 1968. Between 1952 and 1956, he worked with the comedian Sid Caesar on the hit TV show Caesar's Hour. During his affiliation with both networks, he continued to perform concert engagements all over the world.

In 1962, ABC commissioned him to compose an Easter oratorio, the first time a television network had subsidised a major musical work. Revelations, based on the visions of St John the Divine, was conducted by Wild with such success that it was restaged and rebroadcast two years later. Another choral work, The Turquoise Horse, based on a native north American poem, was premiered in 1976. His Variations on a Theme of Stephen Foster for Piano and Orchestra ("Doo-Dah" Variations) was given its world premiere in 1992. Wild was the soloist and claimed thereby to be the first virtuoso pianist-composer to perform his own piano concerto since Rachmaninov. In 2000 he premiered his Piano Sonata, its final toccata marked to be played "à la Ricky Martin".

Wild supported and guided young musicians for nearly 50 years, giving masterclasses all over the world, joining the faculties of a number of American institutions at various times, and teaching classes at the conservatories in Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul.

He made his first recording in 1939 for RCA (accompanying the oboist Robert Bloom in a set of Handel sonatas) and subsequently recorded for 20 labels, including his own, Ivory Classics. His discography includes more than 35 concertos, 26 chamber works and more than 700 solo works. In 1997, his disc of transcriptions, Earl Wild – The Romantic Master, brought him a Grammy award.

For nearly 40 years he shared his life with Michael Rolland Davis, also his manager and record producer, who survives him. A witty, waspish man with a fund of outrageous jokes and scurrilous anecdotes, Wild was enjoyable company and held strong opinions on his fellow pianists and musicians. "I always play music that I like," he said. "If you don't play music that you like, it sounds like it. It's easy to learn something and then play it. But if you don't love it, what have you got?"

His final public performance came in 2007 at Los Angeles' Disney Hall, when he was presented with the presidential medal of the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He was still giving classes a week before he died, in Palm Springs of congestive heart disease on January 23, 2010 at the age of 94.
Edited mainly from Jeremy Nicholas @ the Guardian

Monday, 25 November 2019

Rusty Bryant born 25 November 1929

Royal G. "Rusty" Bryant (November 25, 1929 – March 25, 1991) was an American jazz tenor and alto saxophonist. He rarely played outside of his Columbus, Ohio, home, travelling to New York only occasionally to record. That probably explains why he's not better known today.

Bryant was born in Huntington, West Virginia, and grew up in
Columbus, Ohio, becoming a fixture of the local jazz scene playing a robust, wailing tenor sax inspired by the likes of Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt.

 He worked with Tiny Grimes and Stomp Gordon before founding his own ensemble, the Carolyn Club Band, in 1951. He signed with Dot Records in 1954 and released several albums as a leader in the second half of the 1950s. In 1952, his live recording "All Nite Long" (a faster version of "Night Train") became a hit R&B single in the U.S.


Bryant's contract with Dot ended in 1957, and he returned to Columbus to do mostly local engagements, playing often with pianist-organist Hank Marr. Nancy Wilson also sang in his group. It wasn't until his appearance on the 1968 Groove Holmes album That Healin' Feelin' that he resurfaced beyond regional acclaim.
Soon after he began leading dates for Prestige Records, beginning with 1969's Rusty Bryant Returns, an anomaly where he played a Lou Donaldson-inspired, sometimes-electrified alto. His next few albums -- including Night Train Now!, Soul Liberation, Fire Eater, and Wildfire -- successfully updated his sound for the times, and became cult classics among acid jazz aficionados for their strong, funky grooves.

He recorded extensively for the label from 1969 through the middle
of the 1970s, being a sideman with Ivan "Boogaloo Joe" Jones, Johnny "Hammond" Smith, Charles Kynard, and Sonny Phillips; his 1970 release Soul Liberation was his most commercially successful, reaching No. 35 on the U.S. Black Albums chart and No. 15 on the Top Jazz Albums chart. Bryant continued to record into the early 1980s, then returned to mostly local dates in Columbus.

Toward the end of his life, Rusty founded a program bringing instruments into local prisons, teaching music to the inmates as well, and accomplishing his pivotal role in founding the Music in the Air series through the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Division. Rusty was an active participant in the “Listen For The Jazz” project and its associated Jams and performances, and he continued to record and play with local and national artists until his death on March 25, 1991 due to complications of diabetes.

Rusty loved to tell stories and told of sneaking into the front seats
at the Palace Theatre and watching the orchestra; he said you could smell the polish and see the flash of the horns, he knew what he wanted to do. Appropriately, when Rusty passed a memorial Jam was held and artists from all over the world came. Included in those in attendance was Grover Washington, who as a youth had spent some time living in Columbus and who said he used to sneak into the alleys behind clubs where Rusty would play on the Near East Side and listen. He claimed Rusty to be one of his largest influences.

Rusty Bryant was the father of Eric Royal Bryant and pop singer Stevie Woods, the latter having a moderately successful recording career in the early 1980s with the top 40 hit songs "Steal the Night" and "Just Can't Win 'Em All." Rusty was the grandfather of Tiana Woods, an L.A. based singer/songwriter and front woman for the band "Living Eulogy."

Though they resemble and share the same surname, Rusty Bryant and jazz pianist Ray Bryant are not related.

(Edited from Wikipedia , AllMusic &

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Tommy Allsup born 24 November 1931

Thomas Douglas Allsup (November 24, 1931 – January 11, 2017) was a premier Western-swing guitarist, as well as a music producer,

Tommy Allsup was born on his Cherokee mother's allotment near Owasso Oklahoma. He was the twelfth of thirteen children in a musical family. When he was young, the family moved to Claremore, and in 1947, as a sophomore in high school, Allsup and some of his friends organized a Western-style band and called
themselves the Oklahoma Swing Billies.  

After high school he went to work with fiddle player Art Davis in Miami, Oklahoma; from there to the Cowboy Inn in Wichita, Kansas with singer, fiddle player Jimmy Hall. In 1952 and 1953, he moved back to Tulsa, Oklahoma to join the "Johnnie Lee Wills Band." From 1953 to 1958, he had his own band, "The Southernaires" in Lawton, Oklahoma with home base being the Southern Club.

Bob Wills, Tommy Allsup & Johnnie Lee Wills
In 1958, Tommy's career would take a different direction. On a trip to Clovis, New Mexico to record at Norman Petty's famous studio, he met the late Buddy Holly. In April, he started playing lead guitar with Holly and the Crickets on "It's So Easy!" and "Lonesome Tears" as well as playing with Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys.

He continued playing with Buddy until the fatal plane crash that took Buddy's life, along with the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. It was Allsup who flipped a coin with Ritchie Valens for a seat on the ill-fated plane.  Investigators initially thought that Allsup had died in the crash due to the fact that he had given Holly his wallet so that Holly could use Allsup's ID to claim a mailed letter on his behalf.

After Holly's death, in 1959 Allsup moved to Los Angeles where he played with local bands, and did session work, including a songwriting credit for The Ventures, "Guitar Twist". He returned to Odessa, Texas, where he worked with Ronnie Smith, Roy Orbison, and producer Willie Nelson. He was also producer on the futuristic, prophetic trans-Atlantic & Australasian hit, "In the Year 2525" by one-hit-wonders Zager & Evans.

Tommy with Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin & earl Sinks
In 1968 Allsup became A & R Director of all Country and Western products for Liberty Records and began producing the great Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. His association with Wills lasted through Wills' "For The Last Time" LP, recorded on December 2-3, 1973, in Dallas, Texas, where Bob Wills recorded his first records in 1935. Allsup used some of the original Texas Playboys on the last recording (McAulliff, Shamblin, Dacus, Strickland). Bob Wills directed the sessions from his wheel chair.

              Here's "That'll be The Day! from above album.


While at Liberty, Tommy would produce Tex Williams, Willie Nelson, Joe Carson, Warren Smith, Billy Mize, and Cliff Crofford. While there, he worked with great artists such as Walter Brennan, Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette, Julie London, and Vickie Carr, who sang harmony with Bob Wills on the LP "Bob Wills Sings and Plays."

After leaving California, Allsup moved to Nashville to head up Metromedia Records in 1968. In 1972, he met Ray Benson and Asleep At The Wheel and produced their first LP for United Artist Records. Later he produced 4 LPs for Capitol Records with the group. In 1979, he started a club named Tommy's Heads Up Saloon in Fort Worth. The club was named for Allsup's coin toss with Valens 20 years beforehand.

Tommy Allsup had been a big supporter of Western Swing music over the years. He had produced 5 LPs with the great Hank Thompson and his Brazos Valley Boys, 2 LPs with the Original Texas Playboys, and 2 LPs with the great Western Swing vocalist Leon Rausch. Tommy produced Swing LPs with Jody Nix, Curley Chalker, Mack Sanders, Johnny Bush, Willie Nelson, Tex Williams, and Billy Mize.

In 2004 Tommy Allsup lived in Texas where he operated a recording studio. Tommy, who had few regrets, once said: "I never really wanted to be a big star; I figured I'd leave that to someone else."

The last surviving member of Buddy Holly's "touring" Crickets for the 1959 Winter Dance Party, Tommy died on January 11, 2017, at 85 years old in a hospital in Springfield, Missouri after complications from hernia surgery.

(Edited from Wikipedia and

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Tyree Glenn born 23 November 1912

Tyree Glenn, born Evans Tyree Glenn (November 23, 1912, Corsicana, Texas – May 18, 1974, Englewood, New Jersey), was an American trombone player.

Tyree started his musical career with drums as taught by an uncle with the Sells‐Floto Circus band. He moved on to trombone and picked up the vibraphone while with Lionel Hampton at the Paradise in Los Angeles before moving in the early 1930s to Washington, D.C., where he performed with several prominent bands of the Swing Era. 

He played with Bob Young (1930), then he joined Tommy Myles's band (1934–36). After he left Myles, he moved to the West Coast, playing with groups headed by Charlie Echols (1936). Further, he played with Eddie Barefield (1936), Eddie Mallory's band (1937) and Benny Carter (1937) and played with Cab Calloway from 1939 to 1946.

He toured around Europe with Don Redman's big band (1946). From 1947 to 1951 he played with Duke Ellington as a wah-wah trombonist in the Tricky Sam Nanton tradition and Ellington's only vibraphonist, being well-featured on the Liberian Suite. After, he played also with Howard Biggs's Orchestra.


During the 1950s, Glenn did studio work, led his quartet at the Embers, did some television, radio and acting work, and freelanced in swing and Dixieland settings. In 1953 he joined Jack Sterling's New York daily radio show, with which he remained until 1963. 

Tyree Glenn with Pat Boone

During 1965–68, he toured the world with Louis Armstrong's All-Stars and played until Armstrong died in 1971. Later, Glenn led his own group during his last few years.

Tyree Glenn with Louis Armstrong

He was also a studio musician and actor. He wrote "Sultry Serenade", which was recorded by Duke Ellington and Erroll Garner. With a lyric added by Allan Roberts, this song became known as "How Could You Do a Thing Like That to Me?" and was recorded by Frank Sinatra.

Glenn lived in Englewood, New Jersey, where he died of cancer. He was survived by two sons, Tyree Jr., and Roger, both musicians.  (Edited from Wikipedia)

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Jean Shepard born 21 November 1933

Ollie Imogene "Jean" Shepard (November 21, 1933 – September 25, 2016) was an American honky tonk singer-songwriter who pioneered for women in country music. Shepard released a total of 73 singles to the Hot Country Songs chart, one of which reached the No. 1 spot. She recorded a total of 24 studio albums between 1956 and 1981, and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955.

Few country singers -- let alone female country singers -- of the 20th century produced a large body of work as enduring as Jean Shepard's. Her voice was pure country -- accent on both words. She had her first Top Ten hit in 1953, and her last almost exactly 20 years later. In between, she cut one great record after another, mostly on Capitol Records.

Born in Oklahoma, one of ten children in a sharecropper's family, Shepard grew up in Visalia, California, about 100 miles north of Bakersfield. As a teenager, she began her musical career by playing bass in the Melody Ranch Girls, an all-female band formed in 1948. 
Hank Thompson discovered Shepard a few years after the group formed. Impressed by her talents, he helped her set up a record deal at Capitol Records, where she worked with Thompson's producer, Ken Nelson.

Shepard's first chart appearance was in 1953 as a duet partner with Ferlin Husky on "A Dear John Letter" and its sequel, "Forgive Me John." Shepard and Husky toured the country following their hit singles. In 1955, she had her first solo Top Ten single, "A Satisfied Mind," which was backed by the number 13 hit "Take Possession." 


Later in the year, she had another Top Ten hit with "Beautiful Lies"/"I Thought of You." Her streak of hit singles led to an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry in 1956. That same year, she joined Red Foley's Ozark Jubilee and recorded Songs of a Love Affair, arguably the first concept album in country music 
history. Its 12 songs depict a marriage torn apart by a love affair.
For nearly ten years after the release of "Beautiful Lies," Shepard wasn't able to get a song into the Top Ten. In fact, she had only two Top 40 hits during that period -- "I Want to Go Where No One Knows Me" (number 18, 1958) and "Have Heart, Will Love" (number 30, 1959). She continued to record and tour -- she was even named the Top Female Singer of 1959 by Cash Box -- but nothing was breaking through to the record-buying public. This was primarily because she was a hardcore honky tonk singer in a time that country-pop was ruling the charts.

In 1963, her husband Hawkshaw Hawkins died in the same plane crash that killed Patsy Cline. The following year, she returned to the Top Ten with "Second Fiddle (To an Old Guitar)." The song began a string of hits for Shepard. Although many of them failed to chart in the Top 20, she racked up 15 Top 40 hits between 1965 and 1970, including the Top Ten hits "I'll Take the Dog" (a duet with Ray Pillow, 1966), "If Teardrops Were Silver" (1966), and "Then He Touched Me" (1970).

In 1975 and 1976, Shepard recorded two albums, I'm a Believer and Mercy/Ain't Love Good, and then left the label in 1976. In response, United Artists released a Greatest Hits compilation. Between 1977 and 1978, she recorded for the smaller GRT label, which produced minor hit singles on the Billboard country chart. She had her last charting record in 1978 under the label with "The Real Thing” which peaked at number 85.

After leaving GRT at the end of the 1970s, Shepard did not record again until 1981, when she released a final studio album under the label Laserlight titled, Dear John, which included remakes of her hits, including "A Dear John Letter" and "Slippin' Away", and also included a new song, "Too Many Rivers".

After her hit-making days were done, Shepard recorded much less frequently, but she continued to perform at the Grand Ole Opry and also toured, particularly in the U.K., where she had a strong fan base. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011, and published her autobiography, Down Through the Years, in 2014.

On November 21, 2015, Shepard became the first woman to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 60 consecutive years—a feat that only one other person has achieved. She retired from the stage that night.

On September 25, 2016, Shepard died of Parkinson's and heart disease at the age of 82 in Gallatin, Tennassee.

(Edited from AllMusic bio by Dan Cooper & Wikipedia)