Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Transcription Mystery Disc #85

This disc was all too enticing. Right on the front label it was a scrawl of blue handwriting that read "Radio." the B-side read "The Same Old Story."  For me that's like jiggling bait. But under that promising label was bupkis. No station ID, no call letters, no program name, no host name...nothing. Another interesting note:  Phonozoic does not list this particular Wilcox Gay variant. It's similar to the one listed for 1944, but it has only four holes, and no outer red ring.  It's possible extra holes were punched in it. It's clearly recorded from radio, and I'll get to how I know that in a second.  the audio is very rough.  But once I  start ripping and filtering I have to follow through and post.  I spliced together the two sides.. but the results are a unpleasant listen. I recommend against.

My only clue to the date was the song title "The Same Old Story" Which was famously performed by Billie Holiday, and less famously performed by Big Maybelle. This is clearly neither of those versions. It's also not the Maxine Sullivan or any of the others in the handful of popular versions.  After an excruciating amount of listening I have identified it as the Martha Tilton version recorded in 1941 with the Don Allen Orchestra for the Standard Transcription Company. It was first written in 1940 so this radio transcription is fairly contemporary to the first publishing of the sheet music. It's only commercial release is on a recent compilation CD of her radio transcriptions. Her full discography is here.

It occurred in a short window in her career after she left the Camel Hour where she sang for the Benny Goodman Orchestra and before she signed to Capitol records. She recorded 24 sides between 1941 and 1944 for the Standard Transcription Company.  Later in her career, starting in 1949, Tilton starred in Alka-Seltzer Time, a 15-minute radio series carried on CBS.