Merle Johnston with who?

Merle Johnston with who?

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 16th, 2017, 4:46 pm #1

I am collecting information about Merle Johnston for an article I am writing. I found out in The Potsdam Herald-Recorder of October 13, 1922 that "During the past year he [Merle Johnston} has been playing with Randall's Royal Orchestra in Omaha, Nebraska."

Not much info about Randall's Royal Orchestra. A rather obscure regional band that never made it to the recording studio. A photo in the cover of the sheet music for "Wa Wa Waddle Walk."

https://www.picclickimg.com/d/w1600/pic ... WADDLE.jpg

Paul Ash recorded this song on May 9, 1924 in Los Angeles. Not a bad song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hJmL0w ... 5&index=11

Albert



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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 16th, 2017, 5:32 pm #2

Get a load of the quality of the musicians in the band! Kein in a Bixian mood.

February 11, 1929
Jack Miller, accompanied by the "New
England Yankees", a Ben Selvin
directed group. Mannie Klein,
trumpet; Tommy Dorsey, trombone;
Larry Abbott and Merle Johnston,
clarinet and alto saxophone;
Herman Wolfson or Joe Dubin, tenor
saxophone; Ben Selvin, violin;
Irving Brodsky, piano; Tony Colucci,
banjo and guitar; Jack Hansen or
Hank Stem, brass bass; Stan King,
drums.
When I'm Walkin' With my Sweetness
(DeRose-Tobias-Clare) 147953-3
Harmony 881-H, Velvet 'lbne 1881-V,
Diva 2881-G, Disc 2881-G
(All issues backed by "Lover Come Back
to Me", Rudy Vallee.)

Albert

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KjNdQyyNyY
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James E. Parten
James E. Parten

April 17th, 2017, 3:51 pm #3

Close listening to this selection reveals two violins--and also reveals doubts as to how many reedmen are on this selection.

One hears nothing on this side that suggests the presence of more than one saxophone. This would put the instrumentation as trumpet, trombone, alto sax, two violins, piano, guitar (possibly a tenor guitar), tuba and drums.

If it's an alto sax, then it is not likely to be Merle Johnston--his usual "axe" was tenor sax.

Two other Jack Miller records worth catching are "Singn' In The Rain" (with a tasty muted trumpet solo), and "The Moon Is Low" (with ferocious muted trumpet work suggesting the best of Tommy Dorsey on that instrument, as well as a bass sax solo by Adrian Rollini).

Jack Miller began recording for Harmony in 1928, soon after they began recording some of their popular vocal discs by the electrical process. Most of his early discs--some of which appeared as by "Fred Waters"--had piano or piano-violin accompaniment. His 1929-1930 sides had "The New England Yakees", a name which suggests that they were trying to compete with Rudy Vallee over at another label.
Most of the 1930-31 sides revert to piano backing, while a couple of Columbia releases in 1931-32 have discreet small orchestras drqawn from Ben Selvin's call-list.
His last appearance as a vocalist appears to be "Morning Noon and Night', a vocal refrain with Ben Selvin's orchestra, cut for "royal blue" Columbia in the summer of 1933.

A "Jack Miller" shows up as Kate Smith's bandleader. I wonder if it's the same chap.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 17th, 2017, 6:32 pm #4

A biography:
http://www.arsc-audio.org/journals/v26/v26n1p23-32.pdf

A discography.
http://www.arsc-audio.org/journals/v26/v26n1p33-45.pdf

The New England Yankees also accompanied Annette Hanshaw on Feb 20 and Mar 14, 1929 when she recorded among other numbers "Mean To Me," my favorite interpretation of this song. Who plays the saxophone solo after the vocal? I guess Jimmy Dorsey.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVhtJ46Uz44

I take your point about Johnston playing tenor sax. By the way, did you know that Merle Johnson played trombone in high school and switched to sax when he attended college (because there were too many trombonists in the school band).

Albert

Last edited by ahaim on April 17th, 2017, 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mark Gabrish Conlan
Mark Gabrish Conlan

April 18th, 2017, 10:18 pm #5

Get a load of the quality of the musicians in the band! Kein in a Bixian mood.

February 11, 1929
Jack Miller, accompanied by the "New
England Yankees", a Ben Selvin
directed group. Mannie Klein,
trumpet; Tommy Dorsey, trombone;
Larry Abbott and Merle Johnston,
clarinet and alto saxophone;
Herman Wolfson or Joe Dubin, tenor
saxophone; Ben Selvin, violin;
Irving Brodsky, piano; Tony Colucci,
banjo and guitar; Jack Hansen or
Hank Stem, brass bass; Stan King,
drums.
When I'm Walkin' With my Sweetness
(DeRose-Tobias-Clare) 147953-3
Harmony 881-H, Velvet 'lbne 1881-V,
Diva 2881-G, Disc 2881-G
(All issues backed by "Lover Come Back
to Me", Rudy Vallee.)

Albert

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KjNdQyyNyY
Nice record, and Jack Miller is a MUCH more musical singer than Rudy Vallée! I especially like the marvelous trumpet of Mannie Kiein, one of the most underrated jazz musicians of all time because he mostly did studio work instead of being in a major band. He's good enough his records have been mistaken for Bix and Bunny Berigan!
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 19th, 2017, 1:36 pm #6

.... Mike Mosiello. I tend to agree with him.

"Hello Albert! I included this track in a CDR set I created called "The Studio Crooners: Volume 1", and I was at odds with several of the musicians quoted in Rust. Here is how I prefaced this track on my notes: "When I’m Walkin’ With My Sweetness (Down Among the Sugar Cane) (DeRose, Tobias and Clare). JACK MILLER, Accomp. By New England Yankees. Diva 2881-G (147953-3). NY, Feb. 11, 1929. Present and soloing: Mike Mosiello-t (NOT M. Klein!); Chuck Campbell-tb. Nice." BTW Tommy Dorsey was definitely not on this session, and neither was Mannie Klein. I don't hear Johnston BTW."

Albert

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Mark Gabrish Conlan
Mark Gabrish Conlan

April 19th, 2017, 1:53 pm #7

Mike Mosiello? That wouldn't surprise me. I first heard him on the 1960's Historical Records LP "Rare and Hot!," which featured several sides by Mosiello and his frequent partner, reedman Andy Sannella, for the Grey Gull label. In the liner notes for "Rare and Hot!," Carl Kenzidora, Jr. called Mosiello and Sannella "the great foolers" because so many of their records had been misattributed to other, more illustrious musicians. One Mosiello session for Grey Gull was even reissued with the trumpet credited to King Oliver!
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Nick Dellow
Nick Dellow

April 19th, 2017, 4:44 pm #8


Except that the trumpet on Grey Gull's "In Harlem's Araby" almost certainly ISN'T Mike Mosiello! We have discussed this before (more than once), but didn't reach any definitive conclusions one way or the other (I still think it's Louis Metcalf).

This is a good starting point on the subject for those interested:-

http://www.network54.com/Forum/27140/me ... e.++Or+Joe.


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James E. Parten
James E. Parten

April 20th, 2017, 2:06 am #9

Every major studio bandleader--Ben Selvin (Columbia), Nat Shilkret, Leonard Joy (both Victor), Louis Katzman (Brunswick), Bob Haring (Cameo, Brunswick, later ARC). "Carl Fenton" (Brunswick, also Gennett and QRS), and Paul Bolognese (Grey Gull, later recording for Gennett s "Paul's Novelty Orchestra")--had a "first call" list of musicians that he would call for recording dates.

Mike Mosiello is known to have been on the list for dates by Nat Shilkret and Leonard Joy at Victor, and for Paul Bolognese at Grey Gull. He is not usually associated with Ben Selvin's dates for Columbia. Neither is he associated with dates for such free-lance leaders as Sam Lanin or Fred Rich.

Things get even more freewheeling when one deals with saxophonists--especially alto saxophonists who double on clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone sax, and anything else that isn't nailed down.
Thus Benny Goodman was often called for dates at Columbia with Ben Selvin--while Jimmy Dorsey, his one-time room-mate, was often called by Victor Young for dates at ARC-Brunswick, sitting alongside the likes of Bennie Krueger.
Sometimes, when Selvin couldn't get Goodman, he'd go with Larry Abbott (who cold double comb), or Andy Sannella, or Arnold Brilhart (who could double oboe and flute as well).

The late Harry AVery recalled to me in a letter back in the 'Seventies that he auditioned a date that Selvin led at the Columbi studios, with the sides to be issued on the Harmony labels and on OKeh, under various and sundry pseudonyms Avery wsa surprised that the musicians there ran through each arrangement once, then cut it for recording. (This was the date where vocalist Paul Small mangles a lyric on "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams'--yet it got issued anyway.)

This could be Mannie Klein. . .or Bob Effros. . . or any other trumpeter upon whom Ben Selvin would call with frequecy.

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Nick Dellow
Nick Dellow

April 20th, 2017, 7:25 pm #10

.... Mike Mosiello. I tend to agree with him.

"Hello Albert! I included this track in a CDR set I created called "The Studio Crooners: Volume 1", and I was at odds with several of the musicians quoted in Rust. Here is how I prefaced this track on my notes: "When I’m Walkin’ With My Sweetness (Down Among the Sugar Cane) (DeRose, Tobias and Clare). JACK MILLER, Accomp. By New England Yankees. Diva 2881-G (147953-3). NY, Feb. 11, 1929. Present and soloing: Mike Mosiello-t (NOT M. Klein!); Chuck Campbell-tb. Nice." BTW Tommy Dorsey was definitely not on this session, and neither was Mannie Klein. I don't hear Johnston BTW."

Albert
Jack Miller's "When I'm Walkin' With My Sweetness" has the matrix number 147953.

Recorded on the same day and in the same studio, matrix numbers 147951 and 147952 are by Charles Fulcher and his Orchestra ("I Faw Down An' Go "Boom!" and "Atlanta Gal"). Take a listen to the muted trumpet solo in "I Faw Down An' Go "Boom!" and then the muted trumpet in "When I'm Walkin' With My Sweetness", one after the other:-


http://picosong.com/iQ5B/


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