#915 (11/17/18)

NOTICE: Future Records of the Week will appear on a random schedule, rather than every two weeks.
New Record of the Week for LUCKY MILLINDER - PART ONE became available on 11/3/18.
New Record of the Week for THE FOUR NOTES became available on 10/6/18.
New Record of the Week for THE INK SPOTS - BILL KENNY LEAD became available on 9/22/18.
New Record of the Week for THE INK SPOTS - DEEK WATSON LEAD became available on 9/8/18.

SPOTLIGHT ON LUCKY MILLINDER - PART TWO

"Fightin' Doug MacArthur"/
"We're Gonna Have To Slap The Dirty Little Jap"
Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra
Vocal by Trevor Bacon And Ensemble
on Decca 4261 A/B
released in 1942

"Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well"
Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra
Vocal by Wynonie "Mr. Blues" Harris And Congregation
on Decca 18674 A
released in 1944

"Shorty's Got To Go"
Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra
Vocal by Lucky Millinder And Ensemble
on Decca 18867 A
released in 1946


ABOVE: (Left) Lucky Millinder, (Middle) Wynonie Harris, and (Right) Myra Johnson.


EXTRA AUDIO #1 (Windows Media Player):



AT LEFT: King Records clipping from November 1950.

ABOVE: Label images for King 4418. Both sides were recorded on October 18, 1950. The orchestra provides vocal backing on both songs.

The Cash Box Review (11/18/50):

LUCKY MILLINDER — KING 4418.... Oh Babe/Silent George
Lucky Millinder and Wynonie Harris combine to turn out a good version of a current rhythm number.
The orchestra provides a loud accompaniment as Wynonie gives the lyrics a going over.
Flip has Myra Johnson shouting a vocal to another terrific Millinder orchestration. This one is right for machines.

LISTEN:
1. "Oh Babe!" - Wynonie Harris With Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra - King 4418-AA - 1950.
2. "Silent George" - Myra Johnson With Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra - King 4418-A - 1950.
BOTH played in sequence


Above: Myra Johnson clippings.... (Left) Harrisburg Telegraph dated 3/10/34, (Middle) The Gazette (Montreal, Canada) dated 11/20/44, and (Right) The Gazette dated 3/22/50.

Myra Johnson was known as "The Blue Streak Of Harlem", "The Bronze Bombshell Of Swing", "The Atomic Bomb Of Swing", a "Brilliant Songstress", a "Musical Comedy Singing Star", an "Enchanting Young Singer With A Golden Voice", and the "only rival of Ethel Waters". Myra sang at Small's Paradise (in New York City) in December 1931, was with Bill Robinson in "Hot From Harlem" in June 1932, sang at the Apollo Theatre (in New York City) multiple appearances in 1934, and joined Fats Waller later in the 1930s, singing at Harlem's Cotton Club in 1937.

LANSING STATE JOURNAL (Michigan), March 8, 1933: ....Myra Johnson, a Minnie the Moocher type of gal....is a blues singer of peculiar and pleasing gifts....

EVENING NEWS (Wilkes-Barre, PA), March 8, 1934: BARON LEE AND HIS "CREOLE FOLLIES" AT THE STATE THEATER
Here's a stage show the "House of Hits" is proud to present to the theatergoers of Harrisburg and vicinity. Creole Follies is a heat wave of beauty, blues, and syncopation direct from the high and hot spots of Harlem.... Myra Johnson, the Blue Streak of Harlem, a dynamic personality girl feature of Cotton Club and Cab Calloway and just closed a forty-eight weeks tour with the Mills Brothers and Don Redmond unit....

HARRISBURG TELEGRAPH (PA), March 9, 1934: ....Myra Johnson, sometimes called the "blue streak of Harlem," has a flock of notes in her throat and a lot of shake in her chassis....

NEW YORK AGE, May 26, 1934: THE APOLLO THIS WEEK
....Myra Johnson looks well and sings well as far as torch and blues songs go. "It's not the voice, it's the personality of the singer," a rival critic once wrote, years ago. Now I believe he is right where this kind of singing is concerned.

NEW YORK AGE, December 22, 1934: MYRA JOHNSON PLEASES APOLLO PATRONS
Not much sex appeal but with some personality and a clear and powerful voice, Myra Johnson sings her way into the hearts of the Apollo audiences this week, opening with "I've Got An Invitation To A Dance." The patrons called her back for more.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER, February 28, 1942: MYRA JOHNSON IS HARLEM'S OWN FAVORITE SINGING STAR
NEW YORK—Here where singers are made almost over-night they have stuck to Myra Johnson—who is not only a singing sensation (she appears with Fats Waller's Orchestra), but Myra is a commedienne as well. And it's not due to either accident or luck. Miss Johnson has spent a number of years in preparation to a vocal career. For although her appearance with Fats Waller's Orchestra does not give her top billing; while the "cheerful harmful little armful" was appearing in the Garrick Palm Room in Chicago, Myra held on "at home" here in New York at the Elks' Rendezvous. But, next week Fats and the boys play Harlem's Apollo—and, yes, Myra will be solidly "in there!" [NOTE: Fats Waller called himself “the harmful little armful”.]



Above: 1941 Apollo poster.... Fats Waller, Myra Johnson, Lucky Millinder, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, etc.


EXTRA AUDIO #2 (Windows Media Player):


AT LEFT: Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Lucky Millinder from the October 1941 Swing Magazine.

ABOVE: Label image for Decca 48057 B, recorded on September 5, 1941. It was originally released on Decca 18386 in 1942 and re-issued on Decca 48057 in 1947. The orchestra ensemble backs Sister Rosetta Tharpe vocally on this side.

LISTEN:
"Shout, Sister, Shout!" - Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra And Rosetta Tharpe - Decca 48057 B - 1947.




Above: Sister Rosetta Tharpe jams with (L-R) Hot Lips Page, Duke Ellington, and Cab Calloway in August 1939
at Burris Jenkins Studio in New York City.


Above: Fans surround Sister Rosetta Tharpe (signing a Decca record) and her singing partner, Marie Knight (behind
the antenna) in St. Louis, MO, in 1947.

THE BILLBOARD, January 24, 1942: Review of Lucky Millinder at Savoy Ballroom in New York City
Sifting thru our fondest memories, we are unable to recall a more sensational radio time than that consumed by Sister Rosetta Tharpe in singing Rock Me as she sang it on this band remote. Sister Tharpe, for the benefit of the uninitiated, is a former ministress [a female minister] of the gospel whose long suit is singing rhythm spirituals to the accompaniment of her own guitar. It was a stroke of genius to meld her talents with those of Lucky Millinder, and, rated by this program, the combination should pay fat dividends very soon.

....Every third number or so Sister Tharpe takes over with one of her vocals, giving an unbelievable lift to the proceedings. Even without Sister Tharpe the Millinder band would rate a rave for its work on this shot. With Tharpe, the organization stacks up as one of the most novel in the business....

THE BILLBOARD, August 14, 1942: Review of Lucky Millinder at Savoy Ballroom in New York City
....Since Sister Rosetta Tharpe is still present with her absolutely amazing jive spirituals, the Millinder entertainment quotient remains at stratospheric height. When it comes to musicianship and showmanship, therefore, Mr. Millinder is in very good shape indeed....




Above: Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing with Lucky Millinder's orchestra in 1943.

Above: Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra in 1945.

(Above photos provided by Hans-Joachim Krohberger)


Above: (Left) Tampa Bay Times dated 8/27/44, (Middle) Atlanta Constitution dated 9/3/44 and (Right) Arizona Republic (Phoenix) dated 11/4/44.
"Sweet Slumber" is the song written and recorded by Lucky Millinder which reportedly sold over two million records in 1944.



Above: (Left) The Bee (Cleveland) dated 12/9/46 and (Right) Jackson Sun (Tennessee) dated 2/16/47.



Above Left: Clipping from the Jackson Sun (Tennessee) dated 11/16/47.

Above Right: (L-R) Trevor Bacon, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Lucky Millinder. (Photo provided by Hans-Joachim Krohberger)


LUCKY MILLINDER MOVIE POSTERS....
(Provided by Hans-Joachim Krohberger)

1933

1933

1939


1939

1946

1948
Lucky Millinder also performed in the movie shorts "Readin', Ritin', And Rhythm (1939), "I Want A Big Fat Mama" (1941), "The Lonesome Road" (1941), and "Four Or Five Times" (1941).

ARTICLES AND BLURBS....

PITTSBURGH COURIER, May 19, 1942: LUCKY MILLINDER CAN LAUGH WHILE HOLLOW TREE LASTS
NEW YORK—No matter how dark things seem to be for General MacArthur, everything is bound to come out alright in the end. Lucky Millinder has attended to it. He has written a note to the general and mailed it in a hollow tree in Central Park. It has five limbs in the shape of a human hand. When Millinder wants something special he writes a note—to himself—and mails it in the lucky tree.

There are many such notes in the tree, and the incredable Harlem band leader has had nearly all his wishes fulfilled—recording contracts, coast-to-coast broadcast, steady booking of one-nighters, and a pocket full of spending money. So why should the lucky tree fail to produce a MacArthur victory? It would only be a turn-about because the general has been lucky for Lucky. In his hero-worship he has turned out a song called "Fighting Doug MacArthur" which is catching on fast and bringing Lucky and his band in for attention. He has closed a run at the Savoy, Harlem's temple of the dance, in favor of a fat four-month road tour on which the band will use a camoflaged bus.

....Lucky's present band is his tenth. He has fired nine piecemeal or wholesale, and by his own admission couldn't play an instrument before band six.... His first name is Lucius, and he looks like a carbon copy of Edward G. Robinson. He was born in Anniston, Ala. 31 years ago, attended high school and two years at normal school in Chicago. At 17 he was in the bucks—$2,500 a week on Broadway with his first orchestra....

OWENSBORO INQUIRER, KY., April 17, 1949: MILLINDER'S ORCHESTRA, HERE FOR SHOW, PLAYS SWEET AND HOT
Lucky Millinder and his orchestra, one of the nation's top colored dance bands and noted for its sweet as well as its hot tunes, will provide music for colored dancers to sway to, and for both white and colored spectators to listen to at the Sportscenter Wednesday night. Millinder, who has gained renown as a band leader and as an entertainer, will direct his orchestra members through four hours of music such as he has presented throughout the United States and in India, China, Australia, Europe, and South America as well....

A product of the twenties period in Chicago, Millinder early wanted to be a band leader. Traveling with his parents, who were theatrical performers, he took advantage of opportunities to slip an orchestra's baton and attempt to lead the musicians. After a brief interlude of managing and producing night club shows in Chicago, he formed his own band and for the last 20 years has been one of the nation's leading swing maestros....

PITTSBURGH COURIER, June 17, 1950: KING SIGNS LUCKY MILLINDER
CINCINNATI—King Records this week announced the signing of orchestra leader Lucky Millinder to a long term pact. Millinder is a former Decca and Victor recording artist. He is the composer of many of the big hits of the past and present which includes "Shorty's Got To Go," "D' Natural Blues," "Let It Roll" and "Sweet Slumber."

In conjunction with his booking and promotion manager, King is planning an extensive promotion campaign on this new artist. Millinder has already recorded his first session with King and the company is rushing the first platter to the market. His first release will be "Let It Roll Again" backed by "My Little Baby." [Vocal on both sides of this record by saxophonist Big John Greer, who had recorded with Millinder at RCA Victor.]


EXTRA AUDIO #3 (Windows Media Player):

ABOVE: Label image for Decca 18569 A. The side was recorded on October 19, 1943 and released in 1943. There is no vocal harmony backing her.

FAR LEFT: Judy Carol (1941).

IMMEDIATE LEFT: Judy Carol (1946).

LOS ANGELES (9/4/43)—Ever awake for new innovations of showmanship and unusual talent, Lucky Millinder announced last week the long term signing of Judy Carol, attractive Hollywood songstress. She will accompany the maestro's band East as one of his featured vocalists. Thoroughly enthused over his latest discovery's possibilities, Millinder has already dubbed her "Miss Blues". He predicts a glowing future for her, one which is calculated to land her atop the heap within the next six months....

LISTEN:
"Dont Cry Baby" - Lucky Millinder Orchestra (Vocal By Judy Carol) - Decca 18569 A - 1943.


EXTRA AUDIO #4 (Windows Media Player):


ABOVE: (Left) Label image for King 4398-AA. The record was released in 1950., (Center) Henry Glover, and (Right) Henry Glover And Syd Nathan [owner and president of King Records].

Both sides of this record feature vocal backing by the orchestra. The flip "Clap Your Hands" has lead vocal by Big John Greer.

The Cash Box Review (9/30/50):

LUCKY MILLINDER ORCH. — KING 4398.... Clap Your Hands/Who Said Shorty Wasn't Coming Back
The widely popular Lucky Millinder gang has come up with a hot pair in this fresh bit of wax. Top deck is a mellow piece with all the gang joining in. Flip side is a follow up to the standard "Shorty's Got To Go," and makes for wonderful listening pleasure. Disk is hot—ops should grab it. (NOTE: "ops" refers to juke box operators.)

LISTEN:
1. "Who Said Shorty Wasn't Coming Back" - Lucky Millinder Orchestra (Vocal By Henry Glover) - King 4398-AA - 1950.
2. "Clap Your Hands" - Lucky Millinder Orchestra (Vocal By Big John Greer) - King 4398-A - 1950.
BOTH played in sequence.


Above: Lucky Millinder and Henry Glover from 1955.

Above: Big John Greer (photo courtesy of Paul Ressler).


EXTRA AUDIO #5 (Windows Media Player):
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]


ABOVE LEFT AND MIDDLE: Label image for King 4453-A released in 1951 and Annisteen Allen clipping from the Jackson Sun [Tennessee] dated 2/20/47.

ABOVE RIGHT: OWENSBORO INQUIRER, KY., February 11, 1949:
Annisteen Allen, billed as the "Let It Roll" girl, is to have a leading role in "Lucky Millinder's Mighty Modern Minstrels," which will appear at the Sportscenter Wednesday night....Among other featured entertainers will be Paul Breckenridge, whose voice won approval of Sportcenter's audience several months ago, and the River Jordan quartette.

The orchestra vocally backs up Annisteen Allen on this side. The flip, "I'm Waiting Just For You", is a duet by Annisteen and John Carroll.

The Cash Box Review (5/12/51):

LUCKY MILLINDER — KING 4453.... I'm Waiting Just For You/Bongo Boogie
Lucky Millinder comes through with a couple of interesting sides. The upper half features a duet by Annisteen and John Carol [sic] on a very slow number while on the bottom end Annisteen goes it alone singing out the lyrics to a dance. Ops oughta tune in.

LISTEN:
1. "Bongo Boogie" - Lucky Millinder Orchestra (Vocal By Annisteen Allen) - King 4453-A - 1951.
2. "I'm Waiting Just For You" - Lucky Millinder Orchestra (Vocal By John Carroll And Annisteen Allen) - King 4453-AA - 1951.
BOTH played in sequence.




Composer of Fightin' Doug MacArthur Buck Ram (with clarinet) And Band
(NOTE: The man in back is a mirror image of the guitar player)
Above Left: Label image of Decca 4261 A, both sides recorded on February 18, 1942 and released soon after in 1942. If these songs seem extreme, consider that they were recorded shortly after the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Lucky Millinder had at least nineteen records released on the Decca label from 1941 to 1947. Buck Ram, the composer of the shown side, was more widely known as The Platters' manager in the 1950s, writing such songs as "Only You (And You Alone)" and "The Great Pretender" for them.


Above: Label image of Decca 18674 A recorded on May 25, 1944 and released in 1945. The flip is an instrumental "Shipyard Social Function" composed by Lucky Millinder and Tab Smith and recorded in 1943, when Smith was a saxophone player in Millinder's orchestra.

Wynonie Harris later went on to record for Philo, Apollo, Hamp-Tone, Bullet, Aladdin, and King, hitting there with the classic "Good Rockin' Tonight" in 1948. On King, Wynonie would again record with Lucky Millinder's orchestra resulting in two 1950 releases.




Lucky Millinder 1948 (Photo provided by Hans-Joachim Krohberger)
Above Left: Label image of Decca 18867 A recorded on February 26, 1946 and released later that year. Lucky Millinder has the lead vocal honor on this side and is backed by members of his orchestra. The flip is "Some Day" with Leon Ketchum doing the vocal by himself. Ketchum was another in the endless procession of Millinder's talented featured vocalists.

NOTE: Most discographical information provided at this website is from Ferdie Gonzalez' Disco-File.
The SIXTH (AND FINAL) EDITION is now available for the give-away price of $12 total (USA), $19 (Canada), $24 (Europe) or $25 (any other country), including postage.
Mail your payment to Fernando L. Gonzalez, P.O. Box 858, Goldenrod, FL 32733-0858.


Listen to this week's selections featuring Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra on Decca from 1942-1946 using Windows Media Player:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

          1. Fightin' Doug MacArthur
          2. We're Gonna Have To Slap ....
          3. Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well
          4. Shorty's Got To Go
 
          ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence
 
          ALL TWELVE SONGS ON THIS PAGE
          played in sequence


          [To download audio files, right-click on link
          and then click "Save link (target) as..."]

          

          At Immediate Right:
          New York Age 12/10/49
          Lucky Millinder And Modern Minstrels
          At The Apollo
          
          At Far Right:
          Boston Globe 3/8/46
          Lucky Millinder At The RKO Boston





Click HERE for SPOTLIGHT ON LUCKY MILLINDER - PART ONE.
Click HERE for MORE LUCKY MILLINDER.
(Above links will open in a separate window)


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Last Updated: November 17, 2018

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