This is actually what Lost Songs was about: sharing little gems, from unknown bands on small labels. The idea of this blog came while listening to all these sides that were cheaply produced for a low demanding audience, but that sounded quite worthwhile to me.
The house bands…not actual bands at all, but musicians put together on a day to day basis, to record what they were asked to. Bands hidden behind various pseudonyms. Anonymous at the time, they are still anonymous today: many ledgers have been lost, Brian Rust’s American Dance Bands has many gaps in the personnel listings. If some future stars played in these bands, most musicians were forgotten. It is unlikely that they played at the Savoy or came from New Orleans, despite the names provided by the advertising office of the labels.
The labels are dime-store labels, mailorder labels, subsidiary labels sold for a mere 15 cents or less. The quality of the shellac is poor, the surface gritty. They got old and worn quickly and had hard time travelling through the 20th century.
Most of those sides sound unchallenging, soft, even weak today. Hopefully, there are real gems lost in the vast amount of releases ! Hot sides, even with solos, or a nice jazz flavour, played with conviction and skills, but mostly underlooked by Dance Bands collectors. You surely won’t find any reissued anywhere.
I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do !

EDIT: Comments at the bottom of this page gives leads to fill some holes and resolve some mysteries ! Though, I have not updated the text and left it as it was. Please refer to the comments for corrections. Also, the audio of “Yellow Dog Blues” has been corrected, it is now “Yellow Dog Blues” ! My apologies for the mistake.

Radiex was one of the many products of Grey Gull from Boston. Like most Globe’s and Nadsco’s, its catalog numbers and couplings were the same as Grey Gull’s. Launched in 1922, it lastest until 1929. The label design changed many times during its lifetime, here is what seems to be the first design, even being released sometimes in 1925.
Bands names were mostly pseudonyms, and differed from one label to another.
Like many Grey Gull records, the shellac is of poor quality and the surface rough.

Recorded date unknown
Cotton Blossom Orchestra “Desdemona Blues” (Mx 3246B)
Recorded 03/1925
Original Dixie Rag Pickers “Beale St Blues” (MX 3580A)

Van Dyke was another Grey Gull label, the most short lived of all: just a year ! It was launched in spring of 1929 and stopped when Grey Gull ceased operations in summer of 1930. It was named after Sir Anthony van Dyke (1599-1641), the Dutch master painter.
The catalog numbers were related to Grey Gull’s, like Radiex or Nadsco, but Van Dyke had also its own, unrelated series, like this 7800s line.
I haven’t been able to track down any precise info about recording dates for this one, but they must have been recorded in 1929 anyway.

Savoy Dance Orchestra “Lovable And Sweet” (Mx 3686A)
Collegiate Jazzers “Geraldine” (Mx 3310B)

Madison was produced by Grey Gull but was not entirely related: many of its releases do not appear on Grey Gull. Madison had its own series like this 1600s that has no equivalent on Grey Gull. And the label kept going after Grey Gull bankurpty in summer of 1930; not for long but there are Madisons with new recordings in 1931. Though, the “Madison Record Co.” had no corporate existence.
The records were produced for sale in Woolworth dime stores. They appeared on red, brown or black shellac.

Recorded sometimes in 1926
Joe Harrison & his Orchestra “Lady Love” (Mx 3720B)

Bell was no susidiary of some bigger label, though it leased masters from other companies. It started in 1922 with a more simpler label design and Arto providing the masters until its bankrupty in 1923. Then Bell’s label design changed for this definitive one, and the company drawn its masters first from Emerson, then from Plaza, and finally from Gennett for a short time, before the end in 1927.
Bell supressed the original matrix numbers, hence the inhability to find any info on the bands, wich, of course, appeared under pseudonym.

Rec 09/1924
Orpheum Melody Masters “Copenhagen” (Mx ?)

Clover was a short lived label, from 1924 until 1926. It was manufacted by the Nutmeg Record Corp, as stated on the label, but it was one of the Emerson-Consolidated Group product.

Rec. 01/1925
Marlborough Melody Syncopators “Yellow Dog Blues” (Mx 3620A)

Grey Gull masters were also used, like on this Clover 1620 (possibly a Fred Hall Orchestra recording here though).

Rec. 09/1925
California Melody Syncopators “I’m Just Dance Crazy” (Mx 3708)

4 thoughts on “Dance ! Tonight ! with bands you know nothing about.

  1. Some comments regarding your records shared here:
    -Your recording of “Desdemona Blues” is “Oh! Desdemona” (Emerson matrix 42674 with take 1 or 2), which was recorded by alto saxophonist Nathan Glantz’s orchestra on June of 1924 in New York, and it went originally issued on Emerson 10772 (as the Pennsylvania Syncopators), Globe/Grey Gull/Nadsco 7019 (as the Cotton Blossom Orchestra with the title as “Desdemona Blues”), Grey Gull 1221 (as Olympic Dance Orchestra), Radiex 1221 (as Castillian Serenaders), Oriole 225 (as Castillian Serenaders), german Homocord B-1832 (as the Pennsylvania Syncopators) & australian Austral A-117 (with anonymous credit as “Foxtrot”). The Emerson issue was released on September of 1924. The personnel for that recording includes among others Julius Berkin’s trumpet, Eph(riam) Hannaford’s trombone, Larry Briers’s piano, John Cali’s romping rollicking banjo & George Hamilton Green or Joe Green on drums.
    – [this point has been corrected by the author – the record has actually reversed labels, and at the time I recorded it, I was unfamiliar with the Handy’s composition] Your copy of Clover 1581 has “Yellow Dog Blues”, but the recording played on this link is that of “By The Light Of The Stars” (Emerson matrix 3636 with take 1 or 2) made in New York around May of 1925 by alto saxophonist Nathan Glantz’s orchestra with Earl Oliver’s growling trumpet, Eph(riam) Hannaford’s trombone, Larry Abbott’s alto & tenor saxophones doubling on clarinet & soprano sax, William Covington “Bill” Perry’s piano & Harry Reser’s banjo among the personnel. It was also issued on Everybodys 1059 (as Sunkist Serenaders), Grey Gull/Globe/Radiex 1286 (as White Way Dance Orchestra), Bell 367 (as Frank Dailey’s Meadowbrooks) & german Homocord B-1901 (as Pennsylvania Syncopators).
    -Your recording of “I’m Just Dance Crazy” is again by alto saxophonist Nathan Glantz’s orchestra with Herman “Hymie” Farberman’s snappy trumpet, Jack Stillman’s shaky trumpet, Eph(riam) Hannaford’s trombone, Larry Abbott’s alto sax, tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet & bass clarinet (Abbott takes the improvised alto sax on the 2nd chorus), William Covington “Bill” Perry’s piano & John Cali’s romping rollicking banjo among the personnel. That recording was made around August of 1925 in New York & originally issued on Grey Gull/Radiex/Supreme 1303 (as University Dance Orchestra), Grey Gull/Globe/Madison 8017 (as University Dance Orchestra), german Homocord B-1913 (as Pennsylvania Syncopators) & australian Lily of the Valley E-9113 (as Pennsylvania Syncopators).

    The information is from my copy of Richard J. Johnson & Bernard H. Shirley’s American Dance Bands On Record & Film (Rustbooks, 2010) & Allan Sutton & William R. Bryant’s Emerson Records discography of their 10″ & 12″ issues (Mainspring Press, 2013).

    You can find a biography about Nathan Glantz on this link:

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      1. -Your Madison pressing of “Lady Love” is a retitling of “Loveable Ladies” (Emerson matrix 3720-B [remember that Grey Gull didn’t open their own electrical recording studios until early to mid 1926, and at the time this recording was made, Grey Gull was using Emerson masters]), which was recorded by the Emerson Dance Orchestra (under Paul Bolognese’s direction) in New York around September of 1925 & originally issued on Dandy 5103 (as the Georgia Melody Makers) & Grey Gull/Globe 1305 (as Olympic Dance Orchestra). I hear among the known musicians of that side Julius Berkin’s trumpet & Larry Abbott’s alto sax & clarinet.
        -Your recording of “Loveable And Sweet” (Grey Gull matrix 3586) was made by the Grey Gull studio band (under Paul Bolognese’s direction) in New York in early August of 1929 & it went issued on Grey Gull/Radiex 1761 (as Metropolitan Dance Orchestra), british Octacros 366 (as Fifth Avenue Dance Band), british Metropole 1240 (as Fifth Avenue Band:, british Piccadilly 454 (as Metropolitan Dance Players), australian Bellbird 105 (as Metropolitan Orchestra) & polish Sirena 6593 (as Metropolitan Dance Orchestra). The vocalist is Jerry White, and among the musicians featured in the band you can hear Mike Mosiello’s trumpet & Andy Sannella’s alto sax & clarinet among the personnel.
        -Your recording of “Geraldine” (Grey Gull matrix 3310-A) was made in New York on February of 1929 by pianist Fred “Sugar” Hall’s Sugar Babies with Arthur Fields’s vocals, Mike Mosiello’s trumpet, Eddie Grosso’s alto sax & clarinet (Grosso also provides the scat singing in the 4th & last chorus in the first 16 bars of such chorus), Philip d’Arcy’s violin, harmonica & whistling, Albert “Al” Russo’s banjo & guitar, Al Morse’s tuba & Joseph “Joe” Mayo’s drums. It went issued on Grey Gull 1598, Madison 1653 (as Cotton Pickers Orchestra), Madison 5059 (as Synco Jazzers with the title as “Boop Oop A Doop”), Radiex/Van Dyke 914 (as Arthur Fields Windjammers with the title again as “Boop Oop A Doop”), Van Dyke 5059 (as Synco Jazzers with the title as “Boop Oop A Doop”) & Van Dyke 7805 (as Collegiate Jazzers, which is the copy from whom you transferred this title).

        Information from my copy of Richard J. Johnson & Bernard H. Shirley’s American Dance Bands On Record & Film (Rustbooks, 2010).

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