Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#831 (1/31/15 - 2/13/15)


"Uptown Jive"
by The Variety Boys
on Decca 8564 A
released in 1941

Above: The Variety Boys clipping from The Billboard 1946-1947 Yearbook. Per Marv Goldberg, (L-R) Frank Rue, George Oldham, Ethelene Dinsmore, and Bill Sanford. Somewhere between 1943 and 1945, Harold Bascom had replaced Bill Sanford, so it is an out-of-date photo in this clipping.

Per Marv Goldberg: When Bill Sanford left the Variety Boys, he joined the Four Vagabonds as their arranger. He ended up replacing bass Ray Grant in time for their 1949 Miracle release ("Mighty Hard To Go Through Life Alone") and then replaced Howard Biggs as the arranger with the Ravens, with whom he'd stay until the end of 1956. (See further down on this page for more information about Sanford.... in the Ogden Standard-Examiner article.)

From The Billboard 1943 Music Yearbook:

The Variety Boys and Ethelene

A vocal and instrument quartet featuring George Oldham, Frank Rue, William Sanford and Ethelene Dinsmore. The unit has a background of Decca records and National Broadcasting Company broadcasts in addition to a number of prominent cafe engagements. This is one of the few vocal and instrumental quartets, incidentally, which is untouched by the draft. They are currently appearing at Al Simmon's Brown Derby, Washington. Managed by Frederick Brothers' Music Corporation.

From The Billboard 1944 Music Yearbook:

The Variety Boys and Ethelene

One of the few instrumental and vocal groups that has been untouched by the draft, this unit has a long string of successful engagements behind them, including such spots as A1 Simmon’s Brown Derby in Washington. They are now playing an extended engagement at the Plamor Club in Cheyenne, Wyo. Group has also made records for Decca and been featured over the NBC network. George Oldham heads the group and Ethelene Dinsmore is featured. Group is strong on unusual vocal arrangements and four members give out with strong instrumental work also. Frederick Bros.' Agency books.

From The Billboard 1945-1946 Music Yearbook:

The Variety Boys and Ethelene

Six years’ experience as a cocktail unit, playing the major bistros from Coast-to-Coast, have won the Variety Boys and Ethelene a prominent spot among the nation’s musical entertainers. Besides their lounge chores they’ve waxed for Decca label and have been featured over the NBC network. Unit’s line-up is: Ethelene Dinsmore, pianist; Frank Rue, electric guitar and arranger; Harold Bascom, bass; and George Oldham, clary and sax.

Their library is equipped to handle requests for everything from the classics to a jive ditty. They’ve appeared at the Sky Club, Chicago; Queen’s Terrace, New York; Brown Derby, Washington, D. C.; Lou’s, Philly; Oasis, Pittsburgh; State Show Bar, Detroit; Flame Club, Duluth; Beachcomber, Omaha; Plamore, Cheyenne; Black and Tan, Seattle; and currently at the Club Royal, San Diego. The above itinerary proves their acclaim as a nationally known group of top-notch entertainers. Managed by Frederick Bros.' Agency.

(Photo is courtesy of Marv Goldberg.)
Above: "The Variety Boys - Exclusive Management, Billboard Attractions." Per Marv Goldberg, (Back L-R) George Oldham, Frank Rue, Harold Bascom, (At Piano) Ethelene Dinsmore.

Above: Pittsburgh Post Gazette dated 12/10/43.

Top Right: Pittsburgh Press dated 12/15/43.

Bottom Right: Pittsburgh Press dated 12/23/43.

Above: Long Island Star Journel dated 10/28/48.
NOTE: Was this a five-member unit?

Above: From Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner dated 9/8/44.
(Courtesy of Marv Goldberg.)

EXTRA AUDIO SELECTIONS (Windows Media Player):


Listen to "I'm Gonna Dry Ev'ry Tear With A Kiss" - Variety Boys - Oscar 103-B - 1952.

Listen to "Wanted" - Variety Boys - Oscar 103-A - 1952.

Terry Adrian is the lead singer on "I'm Gonna Dry Ev'ry Tear..." and Jimmy Brown is the lead on "Wanted" with Terry Adrian doing the recitation. Oscar was a Philadelphia based label in which Bill Haley and Jimmy DeKnight (James E. Myers) may have had business interests. Publisher on both sides of this record is Myers Music.

"I'm Gonna Dry Ev'ry Tear..." had been released by Bill Haley And His Saddlemen on the Atlantic label (Hillbilly Series) in 1950. "Wanted" is co-composed by Al Alberts and was released by The Four Aces on the Merion label (located in Philly) in 1952.

Note below that Terry Adrian performed in Utica, NY in 1949. There is an ad for The Variety Boys performing in Utica in October 1949: "Strangers? Not to Utica.... Instrumental—Novelty—Comedy."

Per Götz: There is even one more disc by the Variety Boys, this one on Rainbow 235.... "Shame" b/w "Are You For Real" released in 1954. As Rainbow featured many artists from Philadelphia, this could be the Oscar group.

Above: From Utica (NY) Daily Press dated 4/5/49.

Above: From Montreal Gazette dated 10/19/49.

Above: Label image of Decca 8564 A recorded on March 17, 1941 and released in October 1941. The flip is "The Chant," an instrumental by the group. William Sanford is credited as composer on both sides. The Variety Boys had one other release, from the same recording session, on Decca 8549 issued in May 1941. That one is instrumental on both sides.

Decca's "8000" Sepia Series (actually starting with 8500) ran from 1940 to 1945. Decca also had a "7000" Rhythm & Blues Series that existed from 1934 to 1942.

Listen to this week's selection by The Variety Boys on Decca 8564 A from 1941:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

          Uptown Jive

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          Uptown Jive

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          Uptown Jive

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