MARTHA TILTON: Martha Tilton (born November 14, 1915) is best-known for her 1939 recording of "And the Angels Sing" with Benny Goodman. She also had major success from 1942-49 as one of the first artists to record for Capitol Records. Among her biggest hits as a solo artist were "I'll Walk Alone," which peaked at #4 in 1944; "I Should Care" and "A Stranger in Town," both of which peaked at #10 in 1945; and in 1947: "How Are Things in Glocca Morra," which reached #8; "That's My Desire," which hit #10; and "I Wonder, I Wonder, I Wonder," which peaked at #9. After she left Capitol, Tilton recorded for various labels, including Coral and Tops. Tilton also appeared in films. Her singing voice was dubbed over other actresses including Barbara Stanwyck, Martha O'Driscoll, and Anne Gwynne.
PHIL HARRIS: Phil Harris (born Wonga Philip Harris) was a singer, songwriter, jazz musician and comedian. Though successful as an orchestra leader, Harris is remembered today for his recordings as a vocalist, his voice work in animation and the radio situation comedy in which he co-starred with his second wife, singer-actress Alice Faye, for eight years. Although he was born in Indiana, Harris spent much of his childhood in Nashville, which accounted for his Southern accent and, in later years, the self-deprecating Southern jokes of his radio character. Harris began his music career as a drummer in San Francisco, forming an orchestra with Carol Lofner in the latter 1920s.
Harris married Alice Faye in 1941; the marriage lasted 54 years, until Harris's death in 1995. After radio, Phil worked as a voice actor for animated films, with performances in the Disney features "The Aristocats," "Robin Hood" and "The Jungle Book" as Baloo the Bear.
The Jungle Book was his greatest success in the years following his radio heyday. He sang one of the film's showstoppers, "The Bare Necessities," a performance that introduced Harris to a generation who had no idea he was once a popular radio star. Harris also joins Louis Prima in "I Wanna Be Like You", delivering a memorable scat-singing performance.
LEAH RAY was the Phil Harris Orchestra's lead female vocalist during its early run at the Cocoanut Grove in Hollywood. This teenage beauty from Norfolk, Viringia (born Leah Ray Hubbard) was tagged "the dimples from Dixie." In 1933, she appeared with Maurice Chevalier in the Paramount film "A Bedtime Story." From 1936-38, she appeared in 20th Century Fox musicials "Wake Up and Live" and "One in a Million." She gave up her promising career in 1938 in favor of marriage.
These recordings of Leah and Phil survive thanks to transcription discs of broadcasts of the Phil Harris Orchestra from the Cocoanut Grove in the late 1930s.
TONI ARDEN, BOB JOHNSTONE and SHEP FIELDS: Often described as "a little girl with a big voice," Toni Arden, born Antoinette Ardizonne, has enjoyed a long and productive career of recording and performing which began when she was 15 years old and has continued into the 21st century. When a male lead vocal was called for, Bob Johnstone was Shep Fields' vocalist of choice.
These recordings are solo and duet performances from the One Night Stand radio show made with Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra.
GLORIA HART and ART KASSEL: Saxophonist Art Kassel and his "Kassels in the Air" were a staple on the Chicago music scene for 30 years. Debuting in 1924 at the Midway Gardens, the group spent a 15-year engagement at the Bismark Hotel and frequented the Aragon and Trianon ballrooms, where it received national radio exposure. Gloria Hart joined as a vocalist in the mid-1940s and was Art's regular female vocalist for the next 20 years. In the late 1950s, Kassel moved to the West Coast, where he appeared for two years with his orchestra on a local television program, The Gloria Hart Show. In its early years, the band boasted jazz artists Benny Goodman, Bud Freeman, and Mugsy Spanier, but Kassel switched to sweet music during the 1930s. This latter orchestra had an extremely loyal following. After Kassel's death in 1965, the orchestra continued to perform West Coast engagements.
The recordings here are from various radio transcriptions and on-air broadcasts from the 1940s to late 1950s.