“Clicquot Club Eskimos Back - Reser ‘N’ All” was just one of the many newspaper headlines in January of 1951 applauding the return of Harry Reser to the national broadcas airwaves. For the story behind these headlines, some historical background is in order. In 1924, H. Earle Kimball, the visionary owner of Clicquot Club Ginger Ale, was looking for a unique way to advertise his product over the radio. Banjo virtuoso Harry Reser was approached to create a format for a weekly musical variety program that would “sparkle” like Mr. Kimball’s beverage, and this marked the birth of one of the most successful bands in popular music history - the Clicquot Club Eskimos. Starting in December of 1925, the thirty minute live broadcast ran for nearly ten years, spotlighting Reser’s considerable talents as conductor, orchestrator and composer - he wrote the Eskimo’s popular theme march - “Clicquot” - in addition to his renowned performing skills. In 1950, Clicquot Club again approached Harry with an offer to bring back the Clicquot Club Eskimos, but this time in a more contemporary setting. Reser agreed to a one-year contract calling for 52 weekly broadcasts with a 15 piece studio band consisting of 3 violins, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, 4 saxophones, piano, bass, drums. Again, Harry conducted, wrote all the arrangements and was featured on both banjo and guitar.
The music of the “new” Eskimos was more modern in approach. Reser re-scored his earlier compositions, surprising his audience at times with such innovations as an electrified banjo! Always exploring new technological developments, he experimented with new sound capabilities by playing with a microphone mounted on his instrument.
How fortunate we are that these sessions were recorded, for despite some technological limitations of the era - the masters were on disc, not magnetic tape - the musical excitement created by the playing and writing of the great Harry Reser remains undimmed. All those who enjoy Harry Reser’s music should welcome these tracks to their collection!