Sunday, September 23, 2012

I suppose there should be a method for blogging about a subject. My son who does a daily blog on the saints chooses them by the day of celebration or feast.  I have no system.   SO, as I was thinking I had not written anything for a couple of weeks, I begain thinking.   Dangerous!   It occurred to me that most compositions are associated with specific artists.  I like the tune "Dreamy Melody", a very nice waltz that brings back some nice memories.   When my we were first married,  in Florida, we used to go to an American Legion dance on Saturday nights.  It was outdoors on a terrazzo pavilion, BYOB, set-ups on site.  It was live music and near an after hours club called Rita's Lobo Lounge where we would get a nice late supper.    Nice memories, but I have interjected too much personal history. 

I listened to "Dreamy Melody" by several bands and decided Sammy Kaye and Guy Lombardo came close to what I remember from those warm southern nights. 

"Dreamy Melody" was the theme song for Marion McKay's band.  McKay was a banjo player who "fronted" a band of nine pieces plus a couple of male vocalists.   He began in Indiana in the early '20s and was one of the first bands to record with the "new" electrical recording system in Gennett's RIchmond (Indiana) studio.  New equipment, inexperienced technicians and a band hardly known anywhere except in the mid-west failed to bring forth acceptable recordings and most were scrapped.   The band did a few engagements in New York for a nightclub, according to Paul Weirick, one of McKay's trumpet players, but the band folded in the mid-thirties, and Mr. McKay give up the profession.
None of my sources had anything to add about his life.   Besides Weirick on trumpet, who seems to be the only one available to find when the "Big Band Almanac" was written, the band members faded into obscurity.   I was unable to find any information on any of them.   This being so brief, I'll toss in a "free-bee":

Meyer Davis was born in Maryland in 1893 (d. in NY in 1976).
He was not the usual "band leader".   He formed a band in 1915, one of the first dance bands organized.  It got busy, so he formed another - and another - and another.   He became the "leader of a string of bands" known as Meyer Davis Units, and played the Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston society scene for many years.    HIs only real rival was Lester Lanin.    

As busy as Davis became with his booking bands, he continued to record and as late as 1961 made an album called "Meyer Davis Plays the Twist".    And in 1973 recorded "Meyer Davis Plays ColePorter". 

Here's a modest quote from himself:   "What we provide is an atmosphere...of orchestrated pulse which works on people in a  subliminal way.   Under its influence I've seen shy debs and severe dowagers kick off their shoes and raise some wholesome hell."

Good for you, Meyer Davis.

Keep the music playing and remember to share the joy.


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