Saturday, January 30, 2010

Don Voorhees and his Orchestra - Painting The Clouds With Sunshine

DON VOORHEES Orchestra: Fred "Fuzzy" Farrar tp, (Red Nichols tp), Bill Trone tb-mell, Charlie Butterfield tb, Joe Tarto tu, unknown male vo.

"PAINTING THE CLOUDS WITH SUNSHINE" - FoxTrot Dubin Burke

Matrix number: 1015 C
Recorded in New York City ca. December 1929. This seems to be a test recording. (Source: online Durium Discography - Hans Koert)

This is another test record that should be mentioned, although it seems to be gone now and lost forever. I've never seen a copy or even a proper scan of the label. It was a cardboard record, although this isn't confirmed too and it had a Broadway label. It must have been recorded probably during the same recording session ( December 1929) as Back In Your Own Backyard. The matrix number is 1015, which suggests that it must have been one of the last test records, before the first commercial Hit of the weeks were released in February 1930, now 80 years ago.

Click on the article to enlarge. ( in negative for better lay out)

This small record, ca. 7-inch ( = ca 18 cm), was mentioned in Howard Waters' article The Hit-of-the-week Record - a history and discography ( Record Research Jan/Feb. 1960)) Don Voorhees and his Orchestra
Don Voorhees, born around the turn of the century and passed away in Cape May Court House NJ January 1989, was one of those numerous dance band leaders of the 1920s, better known as the Roaring Twenties. In his band musicians like Red Nichols, Miff Mole, Arthur Schutt and Dick McDonough found a place. During the 1930s his band was to be found in the ( radio ) studios more often to play popular and semi classical music. Don Voorhees is to be heard on several Hit of the week recordings of 1930. During the late 1940s and 1950s Don Voorhees orchestra had a popular radio program titled Bell Telephone Hour.
The tune Painting The Clouds With Sunshine, written by Al Dubin and Joe Burke, was a hit in the summer of 1929 and was presented in the film Gold Diggers of Broadway. It was first recorded by Roy Fox and his Montmartre Orchestra in Los Angeles May 1929 and by all the great dance bands of that times, like the California Ramblers and Jean Goldkette's band and sung by Smith Ballew, a popular crooner in those day.
Love to give you an impression of this tune as the background music of a video with an old 1930s car, a Morris Cowley Sports Special -Hope you like it.



If someone can obtain me a proper copy to insert in the online discography ( or the tune itself of course) plaese contact me:

Hans Koert
author of the Hit of the week Discography
keepswinging@live.nl

In December 1929 the DURIUM PRODUCTS CORPORATION prepared the start of a new unbreakable record, made of cardboard. The well known weekly issues, called the Hit of the Week, were released in a weekly schedule, which started in February 1930. The Hit of the week blog and the Keepswinging blog will follow the development of these 80 years old records in an unique series of blogs. If you love to be informed about these contributions, and you love to make a chance to receive an original Hit of the Week record, ask for the newsletter

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Alma Mater: The record

In 1931-1932 one of the activities by the Durium Products Incorporated, part of the Irwin-Wasey Advertising Agency, a publicity agency managed by Chicago stockholders, was making advertisement and custom records. Hundreds of those ephemeral little records have left from that period ( summer 1931-1932) and are listed in the online Durium Advertisement and Custom Records discography ( part of the online Durium Discography). From the first period (1930-1931), when the firm was called the Durium Product Corporation only a dozen of those custom records have been survived. Isn't it great that one of the first records released by Durium was such an ephemeral custom record, which survived 80 years and that part of the correspondence according the preparations between Durium and the client, the St. Lawrence University in Canton (NY) has survided. The first contribution was named: Alma Mater: The preparations; the second part: Alma Mater: The record.
Part of the letter from the secretary of Mr. Owen D. Young ( 18th of December,1929)
The Durium record, that should me recorded for the St. Lawrence University, was intended to be a free gift at the thirty-eighth annual banquet at the St. Lawrence University, in which Owen D. Young, president of the University, would present the new plans for 1930. On the record the school vocal group, the University Glee Club Quartet should sing the school song and Owen D. Young should introduce his plans. Durium suggested to do the recordings during the Christmas recess.
Invitation for the big St. Lawrence University Dinner at the 8th of February, 1930. ( sent out 6th of January, 1930)

In the last contribution we read: Vilas points that the members of the quartet have agreed to return during their holidays to school ( Three members live in New York or vicinity and one is from Syracuse) so it would be great if Mr. Owen D. Young could find "a few minutes of his time" during the Christmas recess to record his speech; Professor Cram said: "I can arrange for the boys to be here".
The first (?) Durium custom record ( released ca. Feb. 1930)
We have our whole campaign mapped out around this record and I am sure it is going to be very effective. (Homer A. Vilas). Inside the envelope was a second letter, Vilas had received on the same date, written by Mr. Achinson. In the letter Achinson suggest that Mr. Owen D. Young is "much busier than we are at the present time", so "we will be very glad to accommodate ourselves to his time and will be ready to make the recording at any time upon one or two days' notice". The fact that Mr. Young was very busy "at the present time' had to do with the fact that he hoped to become the nominated candidate for the Democratics to become President of the United States in 1932. Time has learned that Franklin D. Roosevelt became the 32nd President of the United States. Mr. Achinson suggested to make the record during an evening session, in which the vocal group should be present at seven p.m. "to do what rehearsing" before Mr. Young could do his speech at eight p.m., so "there will be a minimum of delay". The plans and time schedule seems solid, but impracticable this way, his secretary reacts a few days later, as Mr. Young left or his holidays and ... unfortunately, his plans do not bring him back to the office until sometime after the first of the year. She apologies the absent of her boss by stating: As you probably know, Mr. Young has been under terrific pressure those past few weeks, with calls to Washington and elsewhere, and it is necessary for him now to be away for several weeks.
A repeated invitation ( sent out the first of February, 1930)

The recording must have been scheduled now somewhere January 1930, although the speech on the record suggests that it was recorded in the afternoon of the 8th of February 1930. If so, the little record could never have been pressed within a few hours, so the visitors of the "thirty-eighth annual banquet at the St. Lawrence University Club" must have received it a few weeks later. The presentation of the plans ( and prob. the release of the cardboard record) was at the St. Lawrence University Club Dinner at the Hotel Commodore that same Saturday, in the evening, at the Club Dinner labeled as "An important announcement to made". At this meeting the plans for the construction of a new dormitory for alumni's at the University campus were presented and the little record introduced. On the record first the song ALMA MATER followed by the speech of Mr. Owen D. Young.
This building, named Sykes Residence, which featured dormitories, was build in 1931 at the University campus.
We were lucky to find this correspondence which gives us an idea how this project was realized. The matrices of this record read 2-Y-S which suggest that is was the second release by Durium - the Y could mean Young and the S could stand for Speech or song. The label on the record has red lines and lettering, which indicated the colors of the university, as Achinson refers to a letter of the 4th (December 1930?) "enclosing the colors of the St. Lawrence University". This correspondence seems to learn that Durium had some portable recording facilities, which made it possible to record outside the studios.


SONG "ALMA MATER" - 2-Y-S by the UNIVERSITY GLEE CLUB QUARTET and TALK by OWEN D. YOUNG, for the ALUMNI FUND 1930:

(S)( (Sung by Quartet)

"Alma Mater, O St. Lawrence
We are singing now of thee
May thy fair name dwell forever
In our fondest memory
And when college days are over
From this hill we're wending down
We will love thee yet, we'll ne'er forget
The scarlet and the brown
Hail Alma Mater, to thee our heads bow down
We will sing thy praise through endless days
To the scarlet and the brown"

(speech)

(Speech by Owen D. Young) This is Owen Young talking to the Alumni of St. Lawrence. This morning we held our midwinter meeting of the board of trustees, and tonight we shall hold the thirty-eighth annual banquet at the St. Lawrence University Club in the city of New York. Before I speak of the thrilling action taken by the trustees, let me say a word about our everyday affairs. The total assets of the university, for the first time, exceeds the sum of four million dollars. Our expenses for the fiscal year exceed two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and our estimated income will be approximately two hundred and forty thousand dollars, of which eighteen thousand came from your generous gifts last year. You see, we shall end the year with a slight (but whan I call a healthy) deficit. It is one which at the end of the year can be easily met. We shall need, however, the continued aid of the alumni of the college in order to increase the splendid work which St. Lawrence is doing. That you will respond with your gifts, I have no doubt. And now for the great announcement! The board of trustees today authorized the construction of a dormitory large enough to house two hundred men at St. Lawrence, at a cost of six hundred thousand dollars. This amount has been provided for, but the names of the donors will not be announced now. The building will be three hundred and seventy feet long and two hundred and twenty five feet wide, with an interior court almost large enough to take in Richardson Hall! Please now, and I ask it from my heart, let us celebrate this forward move of St. Lawrence by the largest Alumni fund we have ever had. Good bye and good luck

Download 3
Letter from the secretary of mr. Owen D. Young to mr. Homes A. vilas, dated 18th of December, 1929.

This contribution will be published at the Keep Swinging blog in Dutch.

In December 1929 the DURIUM PRODUCTS CORPORATION prepared the start of a new unbreakable record, made of cardboard. The well known weekly issues, called the Hit of the Week, were released in a weekly schedule, which started in February 1930. The Hit of the week blog and the Keepswinging blog will follow the development of these 80 years old records in an unique series of blogs. If you love to be informed about these contributions, and you love to make a chance to receive an original Hit of the Week record, ask for the newsletter

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alma Mater - the preparations

One of activities by the Durium Products Incorporated, part of the Irwin-Wasey Advertising Agency, a publicity agency managed by Chicago stockholders, was making advertisement and custom records. Hundreds of those ephemeral little records have left from that period ( summer 1931-1932). From the first period, when the firm was called the Durium Product Corporation only a dozen of those custom records have been survived. Isn't it a coincident that one of these first records, if not the first (!), released by Durium, was such a custom record of which a copy survived 80 years and that I found the correspondence between Durium and the client: the St. Lawrence University of Canton (NY). Today the first part: the preparations.

Owen D. Young, president of the St. Lawrence University on a 1925 Time cover.

Thanks to Kurt Nauck, one of those first Durium records has been survived, titled SONG “ALMA MATER” By the UNIVERSITY GLEE CLUB QUARTET with TALK BY OWEN D. YOUNG. Part of the correspondence has been saved in the archive of the Owen D. Young Library of the St. Lawrence University in Canton (NY). The oldest letters dates the 13th of December, 1929 and was written to Mr. Owen D. Young by Mr. Homer A. Vilas, vice President of the F. L. Carlisle & Co., Inc. based 16 Broad street New York City.
Head of the Durium letter

This firm is mentioned in an article in the Cornell Alumni News of April 1926 about fund raising for beds in the club's bedrooms in which Floyd L. Carlisle tells about public utility financing: Floyd L. Carlisle '02, member of the firm of F. L. Carlisle & Co., Inc., spoke of public utility financing with special emphasis on the water power situation in New York State. He characterized the present time as an age of consolidations and mergers in the public utility field.( Cornell Alumni News Vol. XXVIII No. 27 April 8, 1926 p. 320) ( '02 may indicate the class group). In the letter Mr. Homer A. Vilas refers to a conversation he had with Mr. Owen D. Young, a trustee of St. Lawrence University from 1912 to 1934, and in 1929 serving as president of the board ( since 1924). During these talks, which were "in Canton at the time of the last Board meeting" Mr. Young must have talked about his plans to raise money to build a new dormitory for 200 students at the campus, to be presented at the next Alumni meeting on the 8th of February, 1930 at the Hotel Commodore. It seems that Mr. Vilas must have suggested during this talks, to make a record to promote this Alumni Fund Campaign and he must have contacted mr. Athur M. Atchison, vice-president of the young Durium Products Corporation, in charge of manufacturing.
In the letter Mr. Vilas tells that all preparations have been made. The recordings will be scheduled during the Christmas holidays and he suggested to ask the members of the Glee Club vocal quartet to come back to school to sing, directed by Professor Cram, the Alma Mater song. And after that it would be nice if Mr. Owen D. Young could speak some minutes about the plans and the fund.

Owen D. Young (1930s)
Vilas points that the members of the quartet have agreed to return during their holidays to school ( Three members live in New York or vicinity and one is from Syracuse) so it would be great if Mr. Owen D. Young could find "a few minutes of his time" during the Christmas recess to record his speech; Professor Cram said: "I can arrange for the boys to be here".

Next part: Alma Mater - the recordings


Letter to mr. Homer A. Vilas, vice President of the F.L. Carlisle & Co., Inc. New York by Arthur Atchison - Durium Products Corporation - New York ( 13th of December, 1929)

Letter to mr. Owen D. Young, president of the St. Lawrence University, New York by Homer A. Vilas, vice-president of F.L. Carlisle & Co., Inc. New York ( 13th of December 1929)
Thanks to the archive of the Owen D. Young Library of the St. Lawrence University in Canton (NY).

Hans Koert
keepswinging@live.nl

This contribution will be published at the Keep Swinging blog in Dutch.

In December 1929 the DURIUM PRODUCTS CORPORATION prepared the start of a new unbreakable record, made of cardboard. The well known weekly issues, called the Hit of the Week, were released in a weekly schedule, which started in February 1930. The Hit of the week blog and the Keepswinging blog will follow the development of these 80 years old records in an unique series of blogs. If you love to be informed about these contributions ask for the newsletter

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Durium80: 1930 - 2010

Most record collectors know the brown flexible paper records made from the synthetic Durium material. This resin was invented by Mr. Hal T. Beans, professor of Chemistry at Columbia University (1921 - 1947). He sought for years in his laboratory for a resin that was flexible, but otherwise had an extreme tensile strength. This Durium resin was tasteless, odorless, highly resistant to heat and hardened quickly. It was used as a fire-and-water proof substitute for varnish which could be sprayed on the non-metallic parts of airplanes and, because of its properties, was also used as the “durable” film on the cardboard base of the Durium records. Those disks were used to record a varied range of music-styles, advertisements, custom records and courses. The most well known, the Hit-of-the-week records, were issued in a weekly times schedules - that's where its name comes from; records for export or advertisement- or custom records were labeled Durium.

This year we celebrate the fact that the Durium records were first released 80 years ago. The weekly Hit of the week series was released in Febuary 1930 for the very first time and the Hit of the week blog will follow the weekly issues starting the 6th of February, when the first Hit of the week ( HOW 1019), a promo record, was released for free. These weekly issues - in 1930 each Thursday a new Hit of thew week was released - will be reviewed each weekend at the Hit of the week blog.

Before the first records were released commercially several test records must have been made: two of them have survived. The first one, Back In Your Own Back Yard by the Hit of the Week Orchestra, has been reviewed a few weeks ago and soon I'll post some comments to a Broadway test record.
To celebrate this fact I love to give some original Hit of the week records for free to the regular visitors of this blog, who love to have one in their collections. If you love to have such an originally 1930s US Hit of the week record, please contact me and ask to be on the list. If the number of people exceed the number of records, I'll draw lots to select.

Hans Koert


This contribution is also posted at the Flexible records blog.

In December 1929 the DURIUM PRODUCTS CORPORATION prepared the start of a new unbreakable record, made of cardboard. The well known weekly issues, called the Hit of the Week, were released in a weekly schedule, which started in February 1930. The Hit of the week blog and the Keepswinging blog will follow the development of these 80 years old records in an unique series of blogs. If you love to be informed about these contributions ask for the newsletter