"When You're Smiling" What better way to look at the world, and when Larry Shay wrote this with Mark Fisher and Joe Goodwin in 1929, things were looking up. World War One was 10 years in the past, the music business was booming and PROHIBITION was coming to an end. No one was looking for the depresssion that would take charge of the next decade. This song would certainly be a "lifter-upper" for those next years that were the thirties.
Larry Shay was born in Chicago, August 10, 1897 and was a Charter Member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, having published over 300 tunes. "When You're Smiling has been recorded over 100 times and it is currently well-known in Japan, where it is being used in a toothpaste commercial. He is truly one of the leegends of Tin Pan Alley.
Larry took up the piano as a youngster and attended the Bush Conservatory of Music in Chicago, before moving to New York to become a songwriter. His songs have been sung by some of the all-time greats of the entertainment business: Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Sopphie Tucker, Nat "King" Cole, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Perry Como, and Frank Sinatra, to name a few. Louis Armstrong did the original recording of "When You're Smiling" and it was done disco style in the 70's by Donna Summer.
In the 1930's, Larry and his wife, Doris, were lured away from New York by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer,who made him their Musical Director. Larry hired Bing Crosby and paid him $50.00 a day for Bing's first picture. He left California in the 1940's to be Program Director for NBC in New York.
Larry joined ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) in 1925 and remained a member for 63 years. He wrote ballads, novelty songs, silly songs, love songs, religious songs, (especially in his later years) and even country/western songs. His first song, published in 1923, was "Do You, Don't You, Will You, Won't You." Larry died in 1988.
Larry's daughter, Dawn Russum, lives in Ventura, California, where she is the current president of the Channel Cities Jazz Society.
We're going to stick with the twenties for this CD, featuring songs of Larry Shay and the many collaboraters he worked with, and other greats of that time period. Every tune is played from a chart written in the 1920's or a copy of a 20's recording. The one exception is "Don't Cross Your Fingers, Cross Your Heart". It was written in the mid 30's, as was the arrangement, and it shows the beginning of the next decade of pop music, SWING.
The "Palace" is a group of Ventura County, California musicians who enjoy preserving a type of music that very few people remember. The band has several retired music teachers, several professional musicians, and assorted other professions. In trying to be as authentic as possible, our drummer plays an authentic 1920's set and our tuba player uses a tuba made for John Phillip Sousa's band. The music is very danceable, with the dance floor always full when we play for the public.