Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Transcription Mystery Disc #216

This is a 10-Inch Silvertone transcription disc. It spins at 78 rpm, has an outer edge start and has a metal core. It's very heavy gauge which makes sense with the date inscribed on each side 11-19-40. Both sides are labeled. One as "ELIZA GERSHWIN" the other as "I LOOK AT YOU."  It might look at first like dubs of commercial releases but it's not.  These are 74 year old radio broadcast recordings. Awesome.


The Gershwin side had nothing more interesting than a Christmas shopping spot. But the other side is a winner. At 1:22 an announcer cuts in to say that "You've been listening to the music of Clyde Lucas and the California Dons playing in the garden terrance of the Benjamin Franklin hotel in Philadelphia. This program came to you through the facilities of WCAU Philadelphia. Harry Mcalvain speaking, this is the Columbia broadcasting system." Then at 1:52 there is another radio recording. This one from WGAR-AM with another CBS program with the Paul Pendarvis Orchestra at the Browns' room at the Hotel Cleveland.

There is a lot of history here. In the 1930s Clyde Lucas and the California Dons were playing at Chicago area hotels like the Morrison Hotel and the Terrace Garden. They were as schmaltzy as they came. IN the 1940s they evolved into more of a swing band. They were playing the Biltmore in Providence, RI but broke up sometime before 1950. Paul Pendarvis actually cut 12 sides for Columbia records in the 1930s. None of them include this song "I Look At You." It may well be the only extant recording of the tune.  After quitting the whole bandleader thing, in 1946 Pendarvis became the music director at KLAC-AM. The great circle of radio has claimed another.