#914 (11/3/18)

NOTICE: Future Records of the Week will appear on a random schedule, rather than every two weeks.
New Record of the Week for THE FOUR NOTES became available on 10/6/18.
New Record of the Week for THE INK SPOTS - BILL KENNY LEAD became available on 9/22/18.
New Record of the Week for THE INK SPOTS - DEEK WATSON LEAD became available on 9/8/18.
New Record of the Week for DOLORES BROWN ON STERLING LABEL became available on 8/11/18.

SPOTLIGHT ON LUCKY MILLINDER - PART ONE

"Camp Meeting Jamboree"/"When Irish Eyes Are Smiling"
Lucky Millinder And Mills Blue Rhythm Band
on Variety VA 624
released in 1937

"Hey Huss!"/"Ride, Red, Ride"
Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra
on Decca 4146 A/B
released in 1942


Above: Photo of Lucius "Lucky" Millinder labeled "Lucky Millinder And His Rhythm Orchestra Personal Management Gale Agency, Inc. 48 West 45th Street New York City".

Millinder was an orchestra leader, dancer, singer, composer, showman, and a finder of talented vocalists. His orchestras went by various names, including Eleven Natural Jazzolians, His Chicago Band, Chicago Cotton Club Orchestra, Mills Blue Rhythm Band, His Rhythm Orchestra, His Famous Orchestra, His Decca Recording Orchestra, His Sweet Slumber Band, and just His Band or His Orchestra.

Millinder's featured vocalists over the years included Trevor Bacon, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Annisteen Allen, Paul Breckenridge, Bus Brown, Judy Carol, Melvin Moore, Wynonie Harris, Big John Greer, John Carroll, Bull Moose Jackson, and Sarah McLawler. Also, in a rare misjudgement of talent, Ruth Brown, prior to her Atlantic days, for one appearance before he rudely fired her.

And possibly Laurel Watson (picture at right) for a short time in early 1941....
(Indianapolis Recorder dated February 22, 1941: CHIRPS WITH LUCKY—Miss Watson is the lovely song delineator with Lucky Millinder's orchestra.)



Above: Mills Blue Rhythm Band. Lucky Millinder is at bottom far left.



Above: A similar, but different, photo of the Mills Blue Rhythm Band. Lucky Millinder (bottom far left), Red Allen (far right trumpeter), J.C. Higginbotham (far left trombonist), and Buster Baily (clarinetist, bottom center).



[Above photo provided by Paul Ressler.]

Above: Mills Blue Rhythm Band Guitar/Piano/Bass Fiddle "Combo" Section. (L-R) Lawrence Lucie (guitar), Edgar Hayes (piano), and Elmer James (bass fiddle).



Above: Mills Blue Rhythm Band Trombone/Trumpet Section. (L-R) George Washington (trombone), J.C. Higginbotham (trombone), Henry "Red" Allen (trumpet), Wardell "Preacher" Jones (trumpet), and Shelton "Scad" Hemphill (trumpet).



Above: (L-R) A bedraggled Lucky Millinder with Joe Garland and Red Allen at the Cotton Club in 1935. Note that Garland is shown as composer of "The Stuff Is Here" on the label image further below on this page. He also did arrangements for the Mills Blue Rhythm Band.



Above: Lucky Millinder (front center) and the sax section of his orchestra, from the 1939 all-black musical film "Paradise In Harlem". They perform "I Gotta Put You Down". In the background are featured trombonist George Stevenson (third from left), drummer Shadow Wilson, and trumpeter Freddy Webster (third from right).



Above: (Left) Daily News (New York City) dated 10/3/31 and (Right) New York Age dated 10/24/31.



Above: (Left) Reading Times (Pennsylvania) dated 9/22/32, (Middle) Cincinnati Enquirer dated 12/24/33 and (Right) Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa) dated 3/11/34.



Above: (Left) Daily Times (Ohio) dated 3/10/34 and (Right) New York Age dated 5/19/34.

DAILY TIMES, March 10, 1934: Lucky Millinder, conductor of Mills Blue Rhythm Band, now on the Orpheum stage in Cotton Club Revue.



Above: (Left and Middle) Pittsburgh Courier dated 9/28/35 and (Right) Reading Times (Pennsylvania) dated 2/24/37.

DAILY TIMES, September 28, 1935: HERE SUNDAY MIDNIGHT
Lucky Millinder, the smiling maestro, and his great band from New York will play a midnight dance engagement at the Savoy Sunday, October 29th. The return engagement of the famous "Lucky" will be hailed by his hundreds of local admirers. The dance will begin promptly at one minute after midnight.







Above: (Left) Pittsburgh Courier dated 5/27/39 and (Right Top & Bottom) Daily News (New York) dated 11/3/36 & 2/24/37.

PITTSBURGH COURIER, May 27, 1939: DYNAMIC LUCKY MILLINDER SWINGS ON DOWN
Lucky Millinder, who is again in the swing of things with one of the most sensational orchestras in the world of syncopation, caught in three typical poses. Having reorganized his entire aggregation, Millinder is preparing to take the outfit on a nationwide tour. He is under the personal direction of the Century Orchestra Corporation, RKO Building, New York.



Above: (Left) Daily News (New York) dated 3/10/39, (Middle) Indianapolis Recorder dated 4/11/42, and (Right) Trevor Bacon, Indianapolis Recorder dated 4/21/45. Bacon was killed in an automobile accident on April 14, 1945 while on tour through the South with the Tab Smith Orchestra.



Above Left: Inscription: Trevor Bacon with Tab Smith Orchestra, Personal Management Ralph Cooper. (Compare the pictures. It appears that the photo was taken while still with the Lucky Millinder Orchestra.)

Above Right: NEW YORK AGE, February 19, 1944:
Suave Trevor Bacon, whose romantic voice is the highlight of the famous Luck Millinder Orchestra now touring the deep South. Trevor's "Sweet Slumber" is an outstanding Decca recording.



Above: In front of Hollywood Canteen's stage entrance. Lucky Millinder is at far left.



NEW YORK AGE, April 4, 1942: SOLDIERS GREET LUCKY MILLINDER
Soldiers from Camp Aberdeen, Md., wishing Lucky Millinder [third from left] a successful trip as Lucky leaves on a tour of one-nighters in the country's first civilian camouflaged bus.


ARTICLES AND BLURBS....

DAILY TIMES (Ohio), September 5, 1931: LUCKY MILLINDER AND JAZZ-OLIANS TOP CAPITOL BILL
He's only 21 years old, but "Lucky" Lucius Millinder and his orchestra are getting pretty close to national fame in the theater. That fact may be discovered by Davenport theatergoers when the Jazz-olians arrive at the RKO Capitol theater Sunday for a three day engagement. Until about a year ago Duke Ellington was the only colored jazzist people were talking about. Today, when Duke is mentioned, Lucius Millinder is mentioned too....

READING TIMES (Pennsylvania), September 26, 1932: 'LUCKY' MILLINDER SCORING BIG HIT AT PARK THEATRE
Keeping pace with steller attractions which have preceeded him, "Lucky" Millinder and his Chicago Cotton Club orchestra, and the stage show, "Dixie On Parade," were given a rousing welcome at its opening Saturday and Sunday night, at the Park Theatre. It will be shown all week, with continuous shows every day...."Lucky" Millinder is no mean performer. As an orchestra leader, he has his own unique way of conducting it, but he is also a talented dancer, displaying his skill and ability in that line for the amusement of his patrons. He also goes over nicely with his song offerings....
(Also from Reading Times dated September 24, 1932: ....Lucky Millinder and his Chicago Cotton Club orchestra, surrounded by a gigantic stage show, starting today, will leave nothing but the S.R.O. sign hanging up at the performance....New songs, speedy dances, hot tunes, and a comedy that promises to bowl one over in the aisles are said to be some of the ingredients that make up this production. Other ingredients....include a galaxy of fast stepping girls, beautifully costumed amidst gorgeous scenery....There are 50 persons in this company, including 13 members of the orchestra, who are of broadcasting fame....)

PITTSBURGH COURIER, June 24, 1933:
LUCKY MILLINDER OF CHICAGO, whose orchestra has been playing a four-months' engagement at Harlem Opera House, will sail for Monte Carlo, June 29th. The foreign engagement will last about six months. With Lucky will be included a cast of clever artists composed of Freddy, snakehips dancer from Small's Paradise, and Clara Townsend, the clever dancing mate of Lucky. The assignment comes to the young band leader after much dickering as to price and personnel. Lucky Millinder recently made a picture now running throughout the country. It is classed among the screen's best sellers for song and speed dancing. (NOTE: Lucky was born in Alabama, but raised in Chicago. IMDb.com does not have an entry for the referenced Millinder film.)

PITTSBURGH COURIER, October 28, 1933: LUCKY MILLINDER TO DIRECT MILLS BLUE RHYTHM BAND
NEW YORK—Lucky Millinder, the race's youngest director, who recently returned to New York following a successful summer at the Monte Carlo Casino and Rex Theater, Paris, will head the Mills Blue Rhythm Band, which opens this week in Baltimore for a tour of the country, with the former Cotton Club "Stormy Weather Revue." (NOTE: He was 23 years old at the time.)

(Picture at left is from the 1942 Boston Globe blurb below.)

PITTSBURGH COURIER, June 9, 1934: LUCKY MILLINDER AND MILLS BLUE RHYTHM BAND SLATED FOR NEW YORK COTTON CLUB
NEW YORK CITY—....Lucky Millinder and the Mills Blue Rhythm Band will move into the Cotton Club on or about June 23. At this writing, (they) are filling theatre engagements in Philadelphia, moving on to the Howard in Washington the following week, returning directly after to the Cotton Club. This will mark the second engagement of the Mills Blue Rhythm Band at the Cotton Club, the club having the honor of first making New York Blue Rhythm conscious. It was over the air from this spot that they played the type of music that was such a distinctive departure from that played by other colored jazz bands, which was instrumental in making them sure contestants for a place in the sun. Although this will be Lucky Millinder's first appearance as a part of the Cotton Club's famed revues, much is expected from him due to his ability as a band leader....

INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER, March 18, 1939: LUCKY MILLINDER FILES BANKRUPTCY SUIT IN N.Y.
Lucky Millinder, well-known orchestra leader whose band was featured at Loew's State Theatre last week, filed a voluntary petition of bankruptcy in federal court recently, listing $150 in exempt assets and $9,300 in liabilities.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER, April 11, 1941:
....Lucky Millinder, the internationally famous “Dynamaestro” who is to appear at the Sunset Saturday nite, April 11, featuring Trevor Bacon and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, is a musician by avocation. Millinder's real life work is travelling. He’s somewhat of a hobo at heart, but unlike most hoboes, is a professional man. It’s not unusual for a fellow world-traveller to see the dynamaestro cavorting in front of his band in some obscure ballroom in Europe and to again see him weeks later headlining in some theatre in the United States. Millinder and his orchestra have played in India, China, Australia, Europe, and South America. Wherever there are dancers, the chances are they have thrilled to Lucky’s inimitable brand of American swing. Millinder is glad he never waited till old age to travel. "The time to travel is when you are young and able to lend a keener sense of perception and evaluation to the myriad joys of travel," he says. Lucky and his orchestra come to you direct from a successful engagement at the world famous Savoy Ballroom in New York's Harlem, from where they have been heard thrice weekly over the NBC coast-to-coast network....

BOSTON GLOBE, November 5, 1942:
LUCKY MILLINDER and his band, the harmonizing Four Ink Spots, and dancer Peg Leg Bates head the new stage show opening tomorrow at the RKO Boston Theatre.


EXTRA AUDIO (Windows Media Player):


Lucky Millinder

ABOVE: (Left) Label image for Bluebird B-5688-A. The side was recorded on February 20, 1934; and (Right) an early signed photo of Lucky Millinder.

LISTEN: "The Stuff Is Here" - Mills Blue Rhythm Band - Bluebird B-5688-A - 1934.
(NOTE: This is an instrumental. The flip, "The Growl", is also an instrumental.)



Above: Label image of Variety VA 624, both sides recorded on July 1, 1937 and released later in 1937. Lucky Millinder/Mills Blue Rhythm Band had four records on the Variety label, all released in 1937.


Above Left: Label image of Decca 4146 A recorded on November 6, 1941 and released in January 1942. Included in the orchestra for this side were Panama Francis (drums), George Stevenson (trombone), and Bill Doggett (piano).

The flip "Ride, Red, Ride" was recorded on June 27, 1941. Virtually the same arrangement of "Ride, Red, Ride" was done by Lucky Millinder with the Mills Blue Rhythm Band on Columbia 3087-D in 1935. The song was composed by Millinder and Irving Mills, the man behind the Mills Blue Rhythm Band.

Above Right: From New York Age dated 5/20/44... Tab Smith (center) and his orchestra featuring Trevor Bacon (far right). Both had been members of Lucky Millinder's orchestra.

NOTE: Most discographical information provided at this website is from Ferdie Gonzalez' Disco-File.
The SIXTH (AND FINAL) EDITION is now available for the give-away price of $12 total (USA), $19 (Canada), $24 (Europe) or $25 (any other country), including postage.
Mail your payment to Fernando L. Gonzalez, P.O. Box 858, Goldenrod, FL 32733-0858.


Listen to this week's selections featuring Lucky Millinder And Mills Blue Rhythm Band on Variety from 1937 and Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra on Decca from 1942 using Windows Media Player:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

          1. Camp Meeting Jamboree
          2. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (Instrumental)
          3. Hey Huss!
          4. Ride, Red, Ride
 
          ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence


          [To download audio files, right-click on link
          and then click "Save link (target) as..."]


          At Immediate Right:
          Morning Call (Allentown, PA) 12/29/40:
          "COMING THIS WEEK
          Lucky Millinder, who brings his orchestra
          and complete Cotton Club Review
          to the Lyric on Friday and Saturday."




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Last Updated: November 3, 2018

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