Glen Island Special

Kay Starr (vcl) replaces Marion Hutton

RCA Victor Studios, New York – July 26, 1939, 12:00-4:00 PM

038138-1      Starlit Hour (RE vcl, GM arr) Bluebird 10553

038139-1      Blue Orchids (RE vcl)             Bluebird 10372

038140-1      Glen Island Special (ED arr)             Bluebird 10388

038141-1      Love With a Capital “You” (KS vcl)   Bluebird 10383

038142-1      Baby Me (KS vcl, ED arr)        Bluebird 10372

038143-?      My Isle of Golden Dreams (BF arr)   first issued on LP

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By this time, the Glenn Miller band was operating like a glistening, well-oiled machine, so when it slipped a cog it was a big deal. On July 22nd, Marion Hutton collapsed in mid-performance on the bandstand of Glen Island Casino. Hospitalized and diagnosed with exhaustion, she spent a week recovering.  With a record date coming up, Glenn raced to find a substitute. He found her in tiny, 16-year-old Kay Starr, who had recently arrived in NY from Memphis and was already singing with Joe Venuti’s big band and guesting on the Bob Crosby Camel Caravan radio show.  Young Kay brought her own form of ebullience to the Miller band and was lucky enough to get two good songs to sing on her one record date.

KayStarr

Eddie Durham contributed the hot chart of BABY ME, slotting Kay in for a self-assured vocal on her first appearance before a recording mike.  Clyde Hurley delivers one of his by now-patented fiery trumpet solos and the band swings to a neat coda. Kay was already familiar with the song, having sung it on a July 24th Glen Island broadcast.  LOVE WITH A CAPITAL “YOU” is taken at a less hectic tempo, affording Kay a chance to emote a bit. This catchy Leo Robin-Ralph Rainger song was introduced by a blonde Martha Raye in the Paramount Joe E. Brown star vehicle, $1,000 a  Touchdown.

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On the ballad side, Ray Eberle also gets two fine songs – STARLIT HOUR, written by our old friend Mitchell Parish with Peter DeRose, comes encased in a simple, uncluttered Glenn Miller arrangement. Earlier in the year, Ray had sung the team’s DEEP PURPLE on the air from the Meadowbrook.  This is one of the first Miller ballad discs that really takes its time and gives Ray breathing space to deliver the lyric in a relaxed manner.

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Hoagy Carmichael’s BLUE ORCHIDS is performed slightly slower than the previous number. The lyric, apparently also by Hoagy, sits rather awkwardly on the rangy melody and though Eberle sounds OK, this attempt to create another STAR DUST comes off slightly wanting.

Eddie Durham scores with the swing original, GLEN ISLAND SPECIAL, a minor-key riff romp in his best Basie style.  There was a long history of swing instrumentals paying tribute to famous band venues, from Duke Ellington’s COTTON CLUB STOMP, to Count Basie’s ROSELAND SHUFFLE, Fats Waller’s PANTIN’ AT THE PANTHER ROOM and Glenn’s own PENNSYLVANIA 6-5000. As usual, Hurley and Beneke get the main solos, with Al Klink confined to an eight-bar release.  The topical title may have limited the SPECIAL’s life in the band’s book, as it was not played after January 1940, when Glenn had gone on to new places.

The final number on the session, MY ISLE OF GOLDEN DREAMS, was abandoned after an unsuccessful take, likely because the session had already run four hours. It was re-recorded successfully on August 18th. The rejected version surfaced decades later on LP and is similar to the issued 78, but the band hits a few clinkers and has trouble negotiating the tricky chart’s tempo changes.

No matter – the band and Marion Hutton would return to Victor in six days with a new instrumental that Glenn had high hopes for.

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