“Runnin’ Wild” at the Meadowbrook

Same personnel, except Arthur Ens (g) replaces Allen Reuss.

RCA Victor Studios, New York – April 18, 1939, 1:30-4:30 PM

035764-1      My Last Goodbye (RE vcl)     Bluebird 10229

035765-1      But it Didn’t Mean a Thing (MH vcl)          Bluebird 10269

035766-1      Pavanne (BF arr)      Bluebird 10286

035767-1      Runnin’ Wild (BF arr)          Bluebird 10269

035767-2      Runnin’ Wild (BF arr)          first issued on CD


Three recording sessions in two weeks, cutting a dozen discs. That was more than Glenn Miller had recorded in the entire year of 1938! Crowds continued to build at the Meadowbrook Ballroom and the band’s engagement was extended to seven weeks.  Constant live broadcasts also did their share to spread Glenn’s music to a newly rapt audience. Things were improving to the point that Glenn added a permanent guitarist to the band, Arthur Ens, who debuts here. Though Glenn never featured him, he does help to stitch the rhythm section together.

The record date was routined in a similar fashion to the last one. Two popular songs were followed by two instrumentals. MY LAST GOODBYE was written and recorded by singer Eddy Howard of Dick Jurgens’ orchestra, the first of numerous hits for Eddy that stretched into the 1950s. Glenn’s disc actually predated Howard’s by a month, but the composer’s emotional ballad version was the top seller. The Miller recording is less effective, chugging along at a “businessman’s bounce” tempo and with Ray Eberle delivering the lyrics in a rather blasé manner.


BUT IT DIDN’T MEAN A THING was an early effort by songwriter Mack David, who would eventually chalk up eight Academy Award Best Song nominations, including melodies from Walt Disney’s CINDERELLA and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. This youthful composition was nothing special and is given a rather colorless treatment by Glenn and by Marion, who sounds very tentative.

Much more memorable are the two instrumentals. PAVANNE was a light-classical piece by popular composer-conductor Morton Gould, who wrote many similar dainty Andre Kostelanetz-type trifles and later, heavier works like FALL RIVER LEGEND (based on the Lizzie Borden case) and Broadway musicals, including ARMS AND THE GIRL and BILLION DOLLAR BABY.

Gould’s recording of PAVANNE is full of strings and woodwinds, featuring a prominent oboe solo. Bill Finegan’s arrangement maintains its flavor, adding a light swing to the catchy melody. Glenn solos briefly, as does Tex. Moe Purtill dances lightly on the percussion, nice and loose.

RUNNIN’ WILD is a real killer-diller and was often used by Glenn as the wind-up tune to broadcasts and also the opening number at the band’s Carnegie Hall Concert later in the year. Finegan’s chart pulls out all the stops, with great interplay between the saxes and brass. There are brash solos by Tex, Mickey McMickle and Moe, plus a succession of catchy riffs toward the finish. It’s likely that Glenn also worked on the chart, as the riffs bear his trademark style.

Two days after completing this session, Glenn and the band closed at the Meadowbrook and went on the road – but this time they had a big, big date awaiting them – a May 17th opening at the Glen Island Casino!

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