"If I Were Sure Of You"/"Undecided"
by The Dandridge Sisters
on Parlophone F 1541 [England]
released in 1939
Above: The Dandridge Sisters, (L-R) Etta Jones, Dorothy Dandridge and Vivian Dandridge, are huddled around the microphone with Jimmie Lunceford. They sing on three sides with Jimmie's orchestra, released on two Columbia records in 1940: "I Ain't Gonna Study War No More," "Red Wagon," and "You Ain't Nowhere."
FROM PITTSBURGH COURIER NEWSPAPER DATED 3/4/39:
DANDRIDGE SISTERS SET FOR TEN WEEKS' TOUR OF EUROPE
NEW YORK CITY, March 2, 1939—The Dandridge Sisters, Etta, Vivian and Dorothy, have been set for a 10-weeks' theatre and night club tour of the capital cities of Europe by their personal manager, Joe Glaser, who discovered them on the coast while visiting with Louie Armstrong during the recent shooting of "Going Places," the Warner Brothers flicker in which Armstrong played a prominent role.
Working in a small California nitery, the sisters impressed Glaser with their singing and dancing talent, so much so that he secured for them a featured part in the film with Armstrong and Maxine Sullivan. As part of the picture, the three made a national impression with their style of voices and photogenic faces. After that success they were imported to New York to take an important featured part in the present Cotton Club revue with Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers.
In this city they captured success with beauty, talent and personality, but made their biggest Broadway impression when they shared the stage at the Strand Theatre several weeks ago with Bill Robinson and Louie Armstrong. During that engagement their all-around ability was given a greater lattitude.
Sailing date for the three Dandridges has not been set at this writing, but is awaiting the closing of the present Cotton Club revue. Scheduled to give way to a newer entertainment early this month, the old show will release the girls in time, it is believed, to get off to Europe before April.
Their first opening on the other side is set for several weeks at the Palladium Theatre in London to be followed with several weeks in other theatres and night clubs in England and France. Scheduled for a ten weeks tour, their assurance of success now being enjoyed by the Peters Sisters over there, will probably keep them away from America longer, provided of course Europe doesn't go to war. This is the trio's first trip abroad.
NOTE: The Dandridge Sisters, on this week's Parlophone selections, sound quite similar to the Peters Sisters, who recorded for the Philips Label (England) and the Decca Label (France).
ALL SET FOR TOUR OF EUROPEAN CITIES
Above: PITTSBURGH COURIER, March 4, 1939: The three charming Dandridge Sisters, who have been set for a ten-week tour of European cities after completing their current successful turn at the Cotton Club on Broadway. Coming from the Coast after appearing with Louie Armstrong in "Going Places," the girls, Etta, Vivian and Dorothy, have done things to Broadway.
BEAUTIFUL VIVIAN DANDRIDGE FINDS NEW THEME SONG
Above: PITTSBURGH COURIER, October 12, 1940: "Marriage To The Last Man" is the new theme song for the Jimmie Lunceford band, currently appearing on Broadway. It all came about with the elopement last week of Gerald Wilson and young and beautiful Vivian Dandridge, of the famous singing trio, the Dandridge Sisters, shown above. The present Mrs. Wilson is considered one of the most talented youngsters in the profession.
(NOTE: Gerald Wilson was a trumpet player in Jimmie Lunceford's band and a member of the singing Jimmie Lunceford Quartet.)
The singing trio is noted for its charm and has played at the Cotton Club on Broadway, the Strand Theatre, and had an important part in "Going Places," which starred Dick Powell, along with Louis Armstrong and Maxine Sullivan.
Above Left: PITTSBURGH COURIER, August 15, 1942:
THE COUNT SCORES AGAIN—Count Basie and company who broke all existing box office records for opening day and the week at the Orpheum theater in Los Angeles recently, poses backstage with the beautious Dorothy Dandridge, movie actress, who was one of the hits of the show, and Hazel Scott, New York pianist and toast of the Cafe Society....
Above Right: PITTSBURGH COURIER, April 27, 1940: Now touring with Jimmie Lunceford's band, the oh, so lovely Dandridge Sisters—Vivian, Dorothy and Etta—have just completed a very successful run at the Golden Gate theater in San Francisco, California. These talented young lassies have appeared in the following movies: "Easy To Take," "Snow Gets In Your Eyes," "Going Places," "It Can't Last Forever," "International Revelries," and "Irene." Having toured Europe and entertained in Hawaii, worked with Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers in New York's famed Cotton Club, these girls are really going places.
EXTRA AUDIO (Windows Media Player) AND VIDEO (MP4):
The above movie stills are from the 1938 short film "Snow Gets In Your Eyes." (L-R) Etta Jones, Dorothy Dandridge and Vivian Dandridge. The Dandridge Sisters, along with The Cats And The Fiddle, sing "Harlem Yodel." This song was composed by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest, written specifically for this film.
The above movie stills are from the 1938 feature film "Going Places." (L-R) Etta Jones, Vivian Dandridge and Dorothy Dandridge. The Dandridge Sisters, along with Louis Armstrong, Maxine Sullivan, Dick Powell, Anita Louise, and others, sing "Mutiny In The Nursery." Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer composed the music and lyrics, respectively, for this song.
Per the IMDB website, The Dandridge Sisters' first appearance in a movie is "The Big Broadcast of 1936" (1935), followed by "Easy To Take" (1936). The Dandridge Sisters also appeared in feature films singing "Lazy Rhythm" in "It Can't Last Forever" (1937) and "Alice Blue Gown" in "Irene" (1940). They may also have performed in the 1940 movie "International Revelries."
Listen to "Harlem Yodel" - The Dandridge Sisters And Cats And The Fiddle - Snow Gets In Your Eyes - 1938.
Listen to "Mutiny In The Nursery" - Louis Armstrong, Maxine Sullivan, Dandridge Sisters, Etc - Going Places - 1938.
Watch the VIDEO of this wonderful production number, "Mutiny In The Nursery," from "Going Places" in MP4 format. See if you can spot members of the Cats And The Fiddle in the orchestra.
(NOTE: Best viewing is a mid-size picture, not full-screen.)
Above: Label image of Parlophone F 1541 recorded in July 1939 and released later in the same year. The Dandridge Sisters had one other record on Parlophone (F 1518), also released in 1939, "FDR Jones" and "The Lady's In Love With You." They also performed on two Columbia releases (1940), which can be found in the archived previous Records of the Week at this website.
"If I Were Sure Of You" was part of the score written by Rube Bloom and Ted Koehler for the stage show "Cotton Club Parade (World's Fair Edition)," which opened in New York City on March 24, 1939. The flip "Undecided," published in 1938, was composed by Sid Robin and Charlie Shavers, who was a trumpet player, arranger and sometimes vocalist with the John Kirby Orchestra at the time.
Other artists of early vocal group interest to have releases on Parlophone include The Three Keys and Charlie Fuqua's Ink Spots. Unlike The Dandridge Sisters, these sides were not recorded for Parlophone, but rather reissues from American labels.
Listen to this week's selections featuring The Dandridge Sisters on Parlophone F 1541 from 1939:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
[To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]
A. Stream RealAudio (DO NOT USE...LISTEN USING DOWNLOAD REALAUDIO)...
1. If I Were Sure Of You
BOTH played in sequence
This site is non-commercial. All information displayed is provided to further the general public's knowledge of RnB vocal group harmony.