Mickey McMickle, Johnny Best, Ray Anthony, Billy May (tp); Glenn Miller, Paul Tanner, Jimmy Priddy, Frank D’Annolfo (tb); Hal McIntyre, Wilbur Schwartz, Ernie Caceres, Tex Beneke, Al Klink (reeds); Chummy MacGregor (p); Jack Lathrop (g,vcl); Trigger Alpert (b); Maurice Purtill (d); Ray Eberle, Marion Hutton (vcl); Bill Finegan; Jerry Gray (arr).
RCA Victor Studios, New York – November 8, 1940, 1:30-4:30 PM
057610-1 Fresh As a Daisy (MH, TB, JL vcl, JG arr) Bluebird 10959
057611-1 Isn’t That Just Like Love ? (JL vcl, BF arr) Bluebird 10936
057612-1 Along the Santa Fe Trail (RE vcl) Bluebird 10970
057613-1 Do You Know Why ? (RE vcl, BF arr) Bluebird 10936
Romance was running rampant in the Glenn Miller family during the fall of 1940. Marion Hutton and Ray Eberle got married (not to each other). Also tying the knot was Glenn’s personal manager, Don Haynes, to Polly Davis, Glenn’s secretary/office manager.
FRESH AS A DAISY is a rarity for Miller – an honest-to-goodness current Broadway show tune, from Cole Porter’s Panama Hattie. Starring Ethel Merman, the rowdy show ran over a year, but produced no lasting hits. Coincidentally, DAISY was sung in the show by Betty Hutton, Marion’s sister! The Miller record is warbled by the trio of Marion, Tex and Jack Lathrop. A Porter “list” song, along the lines of LET’S FALL IN LOVE and YOU’RE THE TOP, it has none of the wit of the earlier numbers.
There isn’t much that Glenn can do with the wordy opus, except let the singers sing and then wrap it up. One obvious lyric change – for the line, “mild as a cigarette,” Glenn’s Chesterfield broadcast versions substituted, “mild as a Chesterfield.” Gotta keep the sponsor happy!
Radio stars Jack Benny and Fred Allen had an on-air “feud” going on in the late 30s and early 40s that spilled over from their starring programs to other shows and finally, to the movies. Love Thy Neighbor was the cinematic version of the quarrel, starring Benny, Rochester, Allen and lovely Mary Martin, thrown in for songs and romantic complications.
In addition to the new songs by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen, Mary Martin also performed MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY, which had put her on the Broadway map a few years earlier.
Jack Lathrop croons ISN’T THAT JUST LIKE LOVE, which was sung in the film by the Merry Macs vocal group. It’s pleasant, but not nearly long enough. Tex barely gets started on his solo after the vocal and is cut short by the sudden coda. As with a number of the rhythm tunes Glenn recorded during this period, there was plenty of room for an additional chorus or more.
DO YOU KNOW WHY takes its time, at a comfortable ballad tempo. It’s a superior song, aside from the questionable “until the cows come home” lyric line. Once again, Ray Eberle gets a better showcase in Bill Finegan’s plush arrangement than Frank Sinatra’s on the rather formulaic Tommy Dorsey disc. Sinatra is in great form, however. For those Miller detractors that complain about Glenn’s fast ballad tempos, let it be noted that the Dorsey recording is taken more rapildy, as are many of the other 1940 Frank/Tommy records.
Back to the prairie again for ALONG THE SANTA FE TRAIL, a tie-in with the epic motion picture, Santa Fe Trail. This was a fanciful retelling of the pre-Civil War hunt for abolitionist John Brown. Brown was portrayed by Raymond Massey and historical figures Jeb Stuart, George Custer and Kit Carson were enacted by Errol Flynn, Ronald Reagan and Olivia DeHavilland. The story was mostly historical hogwash, but the film was exciting and very successful.
The title song was woven through the musical score and became quite popular. Composer Will Grosz was by now dead for nearly a year, but apparently was still turning out hits! Veteran lyricist Al Dubin wrote the words and this right combination resulted in a first class recording of a lovely song. There’s nothing formulaic about this (uncredited) Miller ballad chart, which frames Ray Eberle at his very best.
While events within the Miller band were running smoothly and successfully, the outside world was steadily encroaching on America’s isolationist bubble. War news from Europe was getting increasingly worse and the nation’s first peacetime draft was enacted at the end of October 1940, Closer to home, another war was brewing between the radio networks and ASCAP that would have more immediate effects on Glenn and the orchestra.