September on the Road

Legh Knowles, Clyde Hurley, Mickey McMickle, John Best (tp); Glenn Miller, Paul Tanner, Al Mastren, Toby Tyler (tb); Hal McIntyre, Wilbur Schwartz, Jimmy Abato, Tex Beneke,  Al Klink (reeds); Chummy MacGregor (p); Dick Fisher (g); Rollie Bundock (b); Maurice Purtill (d); Ray Eberle, Marion Hutton (vcl).

RCA Victor Studios, New York – September 11, 1939, 8:30-11:00 PM

042662-1      Melancholy Lullaby (RE vcl)            Bluebird 10423

042663-1      (Why Couldn’t It Last) Last Night ? (RE vcl)          Bluebird 10423


RCA Victor Studios, New York – September 25, 1939, 11:30 PM-3:30 AM

042729-1      Out of Space (RE vcl)             Bluebird 10438

042730-1      So Many Times (RE vcl)       Bluebird 10438

Once sprung from the Glen Island Casino gig, the Glenn Miller band went traveling on a series of record-breaking engagements from Maine to Washington, DC, before beginning a three-week stand at New York’s famed Paramount Theater on September 20.  At this time, Glenn also added a trumpet and trombone, bringing the brass up to eight strong. The money was starting to pour in!

Being on the road did not afford much time to rehearse new music. After the flurry of recording sessions while the band was ensconced at the Glen Island Casino, just two brief dates were completed in September.  The second date ran until 3:30 AM, lasted four hours and only produced two finished masters. The band must have been exhausted!

The dashing Mr. Eberle

The dashing Mr. Eberle

Ray Eberle croons on all four tunes, which make for pleasant, if not spectacular, listening.  Best is MELANCHOLY LULLABY, the theme song of Benny Carter’s new big band.  It’s a lovely Carter melody, with a worthy lyric by Edward Heyman, who had written BODY AND SOUL, I COVER THE WATERFRONT, OUT OF NOWHERE and other memorable songs.

gm benny carter 30s

Since Carter was contributing arrangements to Glenn’s book at this time, it’s possible that this chart is his.

gm melancholy lullaby

LAST NIGHT was composed by brothers Charles and Nick Kenny. Nick was a syndicated entertainment columnist for The New York Daily Mirror and a poet and songwriter on the side. Bandleaders and singers often performed his songs in hopes of getting a column mention. Many of his songs were mediocre, but he did turn out a few hits, including LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND and DROP ME OFF IN HARLEM.  Glenn apparently didn’t succumb to the temptation to favor Kenny, as he only recorded two of his songs, LAST NIGHT and ORANGE BLOSSOM LANE (plus CATHEDRAL IN THE PINES on the radio in 1938).

gm bill-mccune-nick-kenny-charles-kenny-austen-croom-

Actually, LAST NIGHT is a good song, ardently sung by Ray at the top of his register.  The arrangement takes its time, with a fine last chorus featuring the reeds and an unexpected stop-time coda.

Glenn had already taken us to the moon several times, with MOONLIGHT SERENADE, OH, YOU CRAZY MOON and BLUE MOONLIGHT. Now he went even further, going OUT OF SPACE.


Composer-arrangers Gene Gifford and Joe Bishop, of the Casa Loma and Isham Jones bands respectively, had collaborated on the melody in 1934 and both bands recorded it as an instrumental.  Winky Tharp, who lyricized other songs by both arrangers, also did so here. The words are serviceable, but OUT OF SPACE works better as a mood piece without lyrics.

SO MANY TIMES was co-composed by a bandleader, and a famous one at that – Jimmy Dorsey.  Though many other bandleaders tagged their names onto songs they recorded to grab a share of publishing royalties, Jimmy didn’t seem to be that type and he likely did have a hand in creating the few songs he is credited with, mainly IT’S THE DREAMER IN ME and I’M GLAD THERE IS YOU.  The other name on this song is one Don DeVito, a total unknown.

It’s a mournful little song, handled nicely by Mr. Eberle.  Brother Bob Eberly delivered the vocal on the Jimmy Dorsey Decca rendition, just one of many songs that were sung by both siblings with their respective orchestras.

After spending the spring and summer of 1939 totally in the New York-New Jersey area, Glenn was now getting out to the people to show them what they had been hearing on the radio. And they were certainly liking what they saw!



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