• Wanna Hear Some Early Muzak?

    Joe Haymes Album

    Joe Haymes Album

    Over the last several months, I’ve taken you on a Muzak journey thru our music archives, starting back in 1934…but hadn’t shared one piece of music with you until my last post. I hope you all enjoyed learning about Frank Luther’s Golden Slippers!

    Let’s start with a session done at Muzak’s AMP Studio in Manhattan on December 20, 1934. It’s called “There’s Gonna Be a Wedding in the Band”, recorded by Joe Haymes and his Orchestra. The Haymes Orchestra was one of the country’s hottest dance bands in the 30’s, with a particular knack for jazz novelties, with players like Johnny Mice, Pee Wee Erwin, Toots Mondello and both Dorsey brothers. Haymes also toured as an arranger for Les Brown and Tommy Dorsey. Not bad credentials.

    This session, including “There’s Gonna Be A Wedding in the Band”, was held for a little over 3 hours and produced 14 tracks on a Thursday afternoon in 1934. As a hobby producer, I just finished spending over 16 studio hours on one song. Joe Haymes and His Orchestra did 14 songs in 3 hours??? Incredible!

    What caught me about this recording was the whimsical, fun nature of the lyrics, the wonderful arrangement and the level of musicianship. This band cooked! I would have loved to have seen these guys live. This track was recorded in one take, so this is as live as we’ll get. Enjoy!!

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan

  • The First Hillbilly Heart-Throb

    Frank Luther

    Frank Luther

    When Ben Selvin, Muzak’s executive producer in the ‘30s and ‘40s, called on bands and musicians to record for Muzak, he seemed impartial to their musical styles or genres.  He booked big bands, jazz, gospel, opera and everything in between.  On November 23, 1934, Ben invited his friend Frank Luther into his Muzak studio to record a few tunes.  Frank Luther had a trio with his wife, Zora Layman, and baritone Leonard Stokes. They were the first featured act on the NBC radio series, “Hillbilly Heart-Throbs” at the time of this recording.  Frank is recognized along with the Carter family and Carson Robison as pioneers of country western music.

    Frank’s trio was often found in Muzak studios because of his warm and engaging approach to music.  “Oh Dem Golden Slippers” is a great example of Frank’s rural American style.  This Frank Luther tune is one of 20,000 Muzak recordings from the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s that has never been released to the public and hasn’t been heard in over 60 years.    We are in the painstaking process of digitizing this immense library.   Over the next few weeks we plan to spoon feed you some of these historic nuggets.  Have fun listening to and sharing these pop culture treasures with your friends.  I sure am.

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