SPOTLIGHT ON THE DELTA RHYTHM BOYS - PART ONE OF THREE
(FEATURING MILDRED BAILEY)
"When That Man Is Dead And Gone"/
"Georgia On My Mind"/
"Ev'rything Depends On You"
Above: Mildred Bailey was a singer, famous for her radio shows, on-stage performances, and popular records. Her career began in the 1920's and continued until at least 1947. Mildred was with Paul Whiteman's orchestra early in her career. In 1937, she scored a hit record with "Rockin' Chair" on the Vocalion label. She had first recorded the song in 1932 for Bluebird and then later for Decca, with backing by The Delta Rhythm Boys, in 1941.
Mildred and her husband, xylophone player and band leader Red Norvo, were known as "Mr. and Mrs. Swing". Both Bailey and Norvo were with Whiteman's orchestra when they met and married in 1933. With Norvo, she had two number one Hit Parade songs.... "Please Be Kind" (see further down on this page) and "Says My Heart" both in 1938.
With Benny Goodman's orchestra, Mildred sang the vocal on "Darn That Dream", that record reaching number one on the pop chart in 1940.
LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
NEW YORK AGE, May 9, 1942: MILDRED BAILEY HEADS NEW BILL AT APOLLO THEATRE
Red Norvo is considered one of the profession's outstanding xylophonists. Norvo was formerly featured soloist with Paul Whiteman's band until he decided on a band of his own. Norvo plays what is described as "relaxed rhythm"subdued but infectuous. His band features two soloistsKay Allen and Fran Snyder....
CENTRAL NEW JERSEY HOME NEWS, June 21, 1944: MILDRED BAILEY HEADS NEW VARIETY SHOW
LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
Above: Mildred Bailey. As evidenced in her photos, Mildred liked furs and sequins.
Above: Delta Rhythm Boys (Top L-R) Clifford Holland, Lee Gaines, (Bottom L-R) Traverse Crawford, Rene DeKnight (piano), and Carl Jones.
Above: Delta Rhythm Boys (Top) Rene DeKnight (piano), (Bottom L-R) Carl Jones, Traverse Crawford, Clifford Holland, and Lee Gaines.
Above: Delta Rhythm Boys. (Photo provided by Hans-Joachim Krohberger.)
Above: Two views of Mildred Bailey performing.
Above: MINNEAPOLIS STAR, April 18, 1947: THE OLD ROCKIN' CHAIR'S GOT HER
Singer Mildred Bailey, "The Rockin' Chair Lady," felt like it when she landed in Minneapolis Thursday night. She had just finished a long engagement at Baltimore and a long train ride from there. She was tired. A rocking chair was the first thing she sought. She begins an engagement tonight at Curly's Theater Cafe. From here she will return to New York with three immediate pleasures in view: (1) To renew acquaintence with Bing Crosby; (2) to get back to her farm; and (3) to talk terms on a new radio show.
"Radio is my first love," she declared. It was radio which first brought her to prominence, and radio permits her to stay at home, which to her is a 220-acre farm at Pawling, N.Y., where she has hogs, cattle and chickens. She has, she said, a parrot which can sing right along with her and keep in key. It can also cuss. And she has a dachshund which will sing along with her, too, although it doesn't keep in key.
The "Rockin' Chair" appellation clung to her after she had introduced Hoagy Carmichael's tune, "Ol' Rockin' Chair's Got Me." It is still one of her all-time favorite numbers. She has favorites among her friends, too. The late Bunny Berigan was one. Others are Teddy Wilson, Woody Herman, the Dorseys, and Crosby.
Above: Mildred Bailey. Red Norvo is at far right. The others are presumably members of their orchestra.
Above Left: DAILY NEWS, June 12, 1945. Mildred Bailey and The Delta Rhythm Boys on the same bill.
Above Right: Poster announcing an upcoming 1938 appearance by Mildred Bailey and Red Norvo in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Above Left: ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, October 12, 1944.
Above Right: Autographed photo of Mildred Bailey.
Above: Mildred Bailey circa 1941. Looks like Red Norvo, second from left, and Teddy Wilson, at the piano. If anyone knows the others, please contact me.
Above: AFRO-AMERICAN, July 5, 1941: SPECIALISTS IN RHYTHM
The Delta Rhythm Boys, above, heard Saturdays and Sundays on a nation-wide hookup, are incomparable interpreters of the spirit of folk songs and expert harmonizers in the modern swing and jazz melodies. They hail from Tupelo, Miss., and started their haunting harmonies while studying at Dillard University in New Orleans. Standing (left to right) are: Otho [Lee] Gaines, Clinton Holland, Traverse Crawford, and Harry Lewis. Rene DeKnight, accompanist, is at the piano.
MILDRED BAILEY PHOTOS....
EARLY MILDRED BAILEY....
Above Left: CHICAGO TRIBUNE, April 16, 1933: VAUDEVILLE SINGER
The Palace Theater's program of vaudeville acts for the current week is led by Mildred Bailey, well known singer of the mournful popular numbers called "blues." She got her start with Paul Whiteman's orchestra.
Above Right: PITTSBURGH PRESS, April 24, 1932: MILDRED BAILEY
Mildred and some Pittsburgh youth will sing on the NBC networks next Friday night, on Paul Whiteman's Chieftain broadcast.
Above Left: JOURNAL-TIMES (Racine, Wisconsin), June 24, 1932:
Mildred Bailey has a leading part in Paul Whiteman's radio act these days. Although musically inclined all her life, she didn't get her real start until she staged a party in honor of Whiteman and his band. The latter was so impressed by her individual way of putting over a song, that he asked her to join his organization.
Above Middle: STAR TRIBUNE (Minneapolis), April 20, 1930: MILDRED BAILEY TO BE FEATURED OVER WCCO
Crooning Mildred Bailey, the only woman vocalist who holds a contract for regular appearances with Paul Whiteman and his orchestra, will be featured in the radio concert which Mr. Whiteman will present over the Columbia Broadcasting System, including WCCO, Tuesday at 8 p.m. This program will mark the return of the organization to New York after a visit to Hollywood where Mr. Whiteman made a talking picture. Miss Bailey will sing "Blue Lover," [and three other selections]. With the male trio, she will offer a medley of hits from "Safety In Numbers"....
Above Right: CENTRAL NEW JERSEY HOME NEWS, November 22, 1929: MILDRED BAILEY ON CBS NETWORK
Mildred Bailey, a contralto crooner, is soloist with Paul Whiteman's band, now broadcasting each Tuesday night on the CBS network from Hollywood, where Whiteman is making a movie.
(NOTE: Paul Whiteman and his orchestra made a full length movie, "King Of Jazz", which was released in 1930. Mildred Bailey is not in the cast. However, The Rhythm Boys, a trio consisting of Bing Crosby, Harry Barris, and Al Rinker, who was Mildred's brother, do sing in this movie.)
Above Left: GAZETTE AND DAILY (York, Pennsylvania), October 1, 1938. Above Right: DETROIT FREE PRESS, February 8, 1932.
Above Left: EL PASO HERALD, November 23, 1929: ON AIR TUESDAYS
Mildred Bailey, a contralto crooner, is soloist with Paul Whiteman's band, now broadcasting each Tuesday night on the CBS network from Hollywood, 7 p.m. El Paso time.
Above Right: JACKSON SUN, August 21, 1938: RED NORVOMASTER OF THE XYLOPHONE
....Kenneth "Red" Norvo signifies what is almost unanimously conceded to be the ultimate in swing music. It is considered that especially by those who are affected with their ears instead of their feet and hands. Norvo was born in Beardstown, Ill. He attended the local school and finally talked his parents into buying him the one and only xylophone on display at a local music shop. He practiced in earnest, eventually devoting his entire spare time to practicing his instrument. While playing vaudeville in Chicago, he came in contact with musiciansJoe Sullivan, Dave Tough, Frank Teschmaker and others. He played with Gene Goldkette's orchestra and later with Victor Young. Joining Paul Whiteman in 1932, Norvo found a compatible ally in vocalist Mildred Bailey and the two became close friends.
Above: STAR TRIBUNE (Minneapolis), February 17, 1935: HERE'S MILDRED BAILEY
Sister of Al Rinker, one-time singing partner of "Bing" Crosby. Mildred was born 30 years ago in Spokane, Wash. She is five feet, two inches tall, weighs 192, has black hair and hazel eyes, and is married to Kenneth Norvo. Burt McMurtrie got her a trial with Paul Whiteman after two attempts. Whiteman signed her. Salary arguments separated them after her stardom. Now she's with Willard Robison on a CBS program.
Above: VANCOUVER SUN, September 22, 1937: NEW LOS ANGELES SWING KING
Here's Red Norvo, leaning over his favored instrument now resting solidly on the bandstand of the immense Los Angeles Palomar. With Mrs. Norvo (Mildred Bailey), Red has been making a good thing of a bad break (he had to follow Benny Goodman into the place). You can hear him and the Missus for 30 minutes beginning at 11 through CBS tonight.
EXTRA AUDIO #1 (Windows Media Player):
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
ABOVE LEFT: Mildred Bailey from "Darkness On The Delta" sheet music, picture is circa 1932.
ABOVE MIDDLE: Label image for Vocalion 3378 recorded on November 9, 1936, and released in early 1937.
ABOVE RIGHT: Label image for Brunswick 8088 recorded on February 10, 1938, and released later that year.
ABOVE LEFT: Label image for Crown CR-103B recorded on August 28, 1942, but not released until September 1945.
ABOVE RIGHT: Crown Records clipping from The Billboard dated February 9, 1946.
The Billboard Review (3/30/46):MILDRED BAILEY WITH RED NORVO AND HIS MUSIC CROWN ALBUM No. 2....
The rocking chair lady has lost none of her song-selling capabilities and gives the label an exciting album of eight sides overflowing with infectious rhythmic lyricing. Moreover, her choice of chants makes for a fine collection, taking the old ones and the new ones with a generous sprinkling of show classics. All designed for Mildred Bailey's individual style of dittying, she makes the most of....It's Never Too Late To Pray [etc.].... As exciting as her singing is the riff-motif background provided by Red Norvo with a round-up highlighted by Hank D'Amico, whose clary is very much pronounced in the plattering, and a super-solid rhythm section sparked by two guitar strummers in Chuck Wayne and Art Ryerson.
Any of these sides will spin brightly in the music boxes.
LISTEN: (These are solo vocals.)
1. "'Long About Midnight" - Mildred Bailey And Her Orchestra - Vocalion 3378 - 1937.
2. "Please Be Kind" - Mildred Bailey (Red Norvo Orchestra) - Brunswick 8088 - 1938.
3. "It's Never Too Late To Pray" - Mildred Bailey (Red Norvo And His Music) - Crown CR-103B - 1945.
ALL THREE played in sequence.
Above Left: Label image of Decca 3661 A recorded on February 24, 1941 and released in April 1941. The flip is "Jenny". The Delta Rhythm Boys, without Mildred, released the song "Jenny Kissed Me" on RCA Vistor in 1947.
Above Right: Label image of Decca 3691 B recorded on March 14, 1941 and released in April 1941.
Above Left: Label image of Decca 3755 A recorded on March 14, 1941 and released in May 1941.
Above Right: Label image of Decca 3888 A recorded on June 13, 1941 and released in July 1941. The flip does not have vocal group backing.
Prior to her work with The Delta Rhythm Boys, Mildred had one record backed by The Charioteers, recorded on September 21, 1939 and released in November 1939....
LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
"Don't Dally With The Devil (Too Long)" - Mildred Bailey And The Charioteers - Vocalion 5209 - 1939.
EXTRA AUDIO #2 (Windows Media Player):
Mildred had one other side with The Delta Rhythm Boys, "It's So Peaceful In The Country" recorded on June 24, 1941 and released on Decca 3953 in August 1941. She had a total of five records (eight sides) with the Deltas, all of them recorded and released in 1941 on the blue Decca label.
"It's So Peaceful In The Country" - Mildred Bailey With The Delta Rhythm Boys - Decca 3953 A - 1941.
NOTE: Most discographical information provided at this website is from Ferdie Gonzalez' Disco-File.
Listen to this week's selections featuring Mildred Bailey With The Delta Rhythm Boys on Decca from 1941 using Windows Media Player:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. When That Man Is Dead And Gone
3. Georgia On My Mind
4. I'm Afraid Of Myself
5. Rockin' Chair
6. Sometimes I'm Happy
7. Ev'rything Depends On You
ALL EIGHT DECCA SIDES played in sequence
[To download audio files, right-click on song title link and then select "Save link (target) as..."]
Click HERE for SPOTLIGHT ON THE DELTA RHYTHM BOYS - PART TWO (FEATURING ELLA FITZGERALD).
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