March 1st of this year marked the 110th birthday of bandleader and Swing Era icon Glenn Miller. My interest in his music started 50 years ago when my Dad bought me this album:
Little did my father know what this seemingly innocuous purchase would lead to. This RCA Camden album reissue gave a young collector a lopsided view of the Miller band. One ballad and two hot instrumentals, and seven (!) vocals by Ray Eberle, one shared with the Modernaires. Guess that’s why I have always liked Ray Eberle’s singing, due to his looming presence on this LP.
Thank goodness for RCA Camden! This $1.98 budget label offered a generous sampling of RCA’s big band holdings to the low-income enthusiast – Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey and Fats Waller all had one or more discs in the catalog. And there was more by Miller:
Great cover! This was my second Miller Camden purchase (though it actually had been issued first, in 1963). All vocals this time, again heavy on the Eberle (6 tracks), but at least a look-in by other Miller singers Marion Hutton, Tex Beneke, Skip Nelson and the Modernaires. Also included were some nonsensical burblings in the liner notes describing Glenn’s original Bluebird 78s as “jewels” and “pearls of great price.” At the time I accepted this pronouncement as gospel. Later I would find out that most of Glenn’s 78s could be acquired for less than a buck, but what did I know in 1964?
By the time the third Glenn Miller Camden LP was issued in 1967 (another great cover design and with five more Eberles!), I was well on my way to full-fledged record passion.
As I got deeper into the music of the Big Band Era, my mother would say (often), “I lived through this era once, do I have to again?”