When I was young I quickly realised that I preferred the subtle sophistication of Artie Shaw and the sheer excitement of Woody Herman to the saccharine schmaltz of Glenn Miller. Had I compiled a top 10 Miller may have just scraped in behind Claude Thornhill, Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Sauter-Finegan, Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Lunceford.
However, as I’ve grown progressively longer in the tooth I’ve become more sympathetic to the Miller schmaltz, so much so that when the late Alan Dell produced 17 albums celebrating Miller’s career chronologically I snapped them up and found that I actually enjoyed about 85 per cent and was able to tolerate the other 15 per cent.
Now Acrobat have done something similar via a set of five CDs plus a 32-page booklet covering the decade between 1935-1944 and claiming to feature no less than 21 number-one songs even as it acknowledges that the majority were recorded 1938-1942.
The five CDs’ 124 tracks include just about all of the recordings on the Columbia, Brunswick, Bluebird, Victor and RCA Victor labels. The number of weeks each spent on the charts and the highest position reached is given.
The set allows the listener to chart Miller’s progress – track one on CD1, for example (Miller’s own composition, Solo Hop, recorded in 1935), is light years away from anything recognisable as the Glenn Miller Orchestra – as he felt his way towards the “sound”, which he achieved in 1938/9.
Given Miller’s popular profile, this release is likely to appeal to all ages. I for one am happy to include it on my shelves and will replay it again and again.
CD1: Solo Hop; Ev’ry Day’s A Holiday; My Reverie; Moonlight Serenade; Sunrise Serenade; Wishing Will Make It So; My Last Goodbye;The Lady’s In Love With You; Running Wild; Stairway To The Stars; Little Brown Jug; Back To Back; Cinderella (Stay In My Arms); Moon Love; Ain’t Cha Comin’ Out Tonight; The Little Man Who Wasn’t There; The Man With The Mandolin; Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead; Somewhere Over The Rainbow; Blue Orchids; My Isle Of Golden Dreams; My Prayer; In The Mood; (Why Couldn’t It Last) Last Night; Melancholy Lullaby (72.38)
CD2: Speaking Of Heaven; Bluebirds In the Moonlight (Silly Idea); Faithful Forever; Indian Summer; Careless; Vagabond Dreams; This Changing World; It’s A Blue World; In An Old Dutch Garden (By An Old Dutch Mill); Starlit Hour; Oooh What You Said; The Gaucho Serenade; When You Wish Upon A Star; The Sky Fell Down; The Woodpecker Song; Danny Boy (Londonderry Air); Tuxedo Junction; Imagination; Say Sí Sí (Para Vigo Me Voy); Say It; Sierra Sue; Stardust; I’ll Never Smile Again; Hear My Song, Violetta; Shake Down The Stars; Boog It (68.27)
CD3: Alice Blue Gown; Devil May Care; I’m Stepping Out With A Memory Tonight; Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread); Slow Freight; The Nearness Of You; Pennsylvania Six Five Thousand; A Million Dreams Ago; Blueberry Hill; When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano; Crosstown; Our Love Affair; The Call Of The Canyon; I Wouldn’t Take A Million; Beat Me Daddy (Eight To The Bar); Falling Leaves; A Handful Of Stars; Yesterthoughts; Five O’Clock Whistle; I’d Know You Anywhere; You’ve Got Me This Way; A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square; Along The Santa Fe Trail; Yes, My Darling Daughter; Anvil Chorus (Part One) (77.08)
CD4: Frenesi; Song Of The Volga Boatman; I Dreamt I Dwelt In Harlem; When That Man Is Dead And Gone; Ida (Sweet As Apple Cider); Perfidia (Tonight); Boulder Bluff; The Booglie Wooglie Piggy; I Guess I’ll Have To Dream The Rest; You And I; Adios; Chattanooga Choo Choo; I Know Why (And So Do You); The Cowboy Serenade (While I’m Rolling My Last Cigarette); It Happened In Sun Valley; Delilah; Elmer’s Tune; I’m Thrilled; This Time The Dream’s On Me; Orange Blossom Lane; Jingle Bells; Humpty Dumpty Heart; Ev’rything I Love; This Is No Laughing Matter (76.46)
CD5: A String Of Pearls; (There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs Of Dover; We’re The Couple In The Castle; Moonlight Cocktail; Always In My Heart; Skylark; The Story Of A Starry Night; Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me); Sweet Eloise; Knit One, Purl Two; I’ve Got A Gal In Kalamazoo; Serenade In Blue; American Patrol; Yesterday’s Gardenias; At Last; Dearly Beloved; Juke Box Saturday Night; Moonlight Becomes You; Moonlight Mood; That Old Black Magic; Rhapsody In Blue; Blue Rain; It Must Be Jelly (Cause Jam Don’t Shake That Way; Here We Go Again (74.43)
Personnel includes; Bunny Berigan, Charlie Spivak, Johnny Best, Bobby Hackett, Billy May (t); Glenn Miller, Jack Jenny, Jimmy Priddy (tb); Johnny Mince, Irving Fazola, Wilbur Schwartz (cl, as); Ernie Caceres (as, bar); Al Klink, Tex Beneke (ts); Claude Thornhill, Chummy MacGregor (p); Trigger Alpert (b); Maurice Purtill (d); Ray Eberle, Marion Hutton, Tex Beneke, The Modernaires (v).
Acrobat ACFCD 7515