What is a 30's Uke Girl up to these days??

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I have been writing music and performing professionally for 30 years.  Since moving to Florida, I've added many new originals that embrace the Florida scenery, history and lifestyle.  This has been met with great enthusiasm from crowds all over the state.  I currently have two CDs out but am now working on one that is exclusively Ukulele.  

I plan to use this site to give back, meaning, I will be posting info on where to go for festivals, sites that are all about Ukulele, song sites, and fun photos and pics of local and national events.  Enjoy and most of all Have Fun!  

Remember this, Never Stop Dreaming, But, Now Is The Time To Take Your Dreams To The Next Level, And Start Living Your Dreams!!!! quote by Norine Mungo :)

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Annette Hanshaw 'The Personality Girl'

Catherine Annette Hanshaw
Annette Hanshaw, known as, "The Personality Girl," was born Catherine Annette Hanshaw in Manhattan at her parents residence on October 18th, 1901.  (She originally was reported to have a birth date of 1910, which would have made her 16 when she first recorded and 25 when she retired, but in fact, she was 25 at her first recording and 35 when she retired.)

Her family was well to do, she came from privilege, but her personality was such that everyone loved her as if she was the girl next door. In her early life  Annette 'Demo'd' sheet music at her family's Hanshaw Music Store in Mount Kisco, New York.  She also performed for guests at some of the hotels that her father owned. 

She even appeared on local radio several times while down here in Florida on family vacations.  People reported that she had, "The voice of an angel!" 

 Her father, who was musically inclined and loved show business,  dropped everything at one point,and ran off to join the circus!  That in itself is a story, aye?   He did return though, and life went back to normal.  That as well as  musical influences  Aunt, Nellie McCoy along with cousin, Bob 'Uke' Hanshaw  who were well known vaudeville   performers propelled Annette into a recording career.   Still, Annette actually didn't plan to enter the world of music.  She wanted to be a designer, and after high school, she entered  the National Academy of Design for one year.   

During all this time, between school and later, design school, she had  rave reviews at each singing appearance around town.  That and those early radio appearances that her father had set up,   led to her first recording, “Black Bottom” and “Six feet of Papa” in New York on September 12th and September 18th of 1926.  Though she never wanted to be a recording star, and shunned public performances, it is recorded that between her disc recordings and her radio appearances (which were recorded back then), she accumulated over 780 recordings of her voice. 

Annette Hanshaw Recording on CBS
Annette preferred to sing alone, and in all those recordings, she only sang with someone else twice.  That was on 'Say It Isn't So' and 'Happy Days Are Here Again.'   She also recorded with the best musicians in the Jazz and Swing Band industry at the time.   The names of
Miff Mole, Phil Napoleon, Eddie Lang, Vic Berton, Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Red Nichols, Joe Venuti, Adrian Rollini and Jack Teagarden were just a few of those big name stars that backed up her records.  Wow! Yet, if you were to ask someone on the street today, "Who was Annette Hanshaw"  you'd probably get a blank stare.  Though famous in the circles of the mid 20's to 30's, because she kept PUBLIC appearances down, we now have to discover her for ourselves. 

At the height of her career in radio and 'phonograph' recording, they say she was in direct competition with Ruth Etting, of which I did an earlier biography. Where Ruth did enter into 
the film industry, Annette took a much quieter
 path, and preferred dogs, cooking and homemaking to fame and glory.  This shy young woman never sought fame and fortune, though it came to her easily.  She was offered roles in film and tours, which would have made her even more famous than she was at the time.  She turned those offers down save for one short film.  That was called, "Captain Henry's Radio Show"  and it depicted real life for radio stars.  

She grew weary of the recording industry, probably from the pressure put upon her to advance into film and touring, thus retiring in the late 30's.  She married Pathe' Records executive, Herman 'Wally' Rose. Herman was in the audience at one of her performances in 1926, and recognized her full potential.  He was a music executive at Pathe Records.  They worked together to create some of the most quintessential jazz recordings of the "Flapper" era.  

 Even while still recording, her family life was much more important to her than fame.  She prized herself on being a good housewife and companion to Herman.  Critiques to this day admonish her for this, stating that she was one of the voices of the ages, and that she belonged to the public.  I wonder at a woman of this talent, who was able to have both sides of the coin.  Her love for Herman was epic they say.   He passed away in 1954.   

Eventually Annette remarried in the 70's, to Mr Herb Kurtin, who  was with her to the end, but official biographers always refer back to Herman as her true love.  Though she retired in the mid thirties, she was astonished when there was a resurgence of interest in her recordings in the 70's.  There have been  quite a few newer records created from her old recordings.  

Annette recorded under many pseudonyms for different radio show personas that she took on through the years. Those names were, Gay Ellis, for sentimental songs, and Dot Dare, and Patsy Young, for her Helen Kane (Betty Boop) impersonations. She also recorded under the names Ethel Bingham, Marion Lee, Janet Shaw, and Lelia Sandford. Many people would mistakenly think they were listening to Helen Kane or Betty Boop when they would hear Annette on the radio.
 That makes me think of the line in the song, "Video Killed The Radio Star", because, when you think about it, back when you didn't see the person, they could sing a plethora of material, changing personas to fit the style.  Today, it is almost impossible for a non cookie cutter looking person to make it, given the media we have today, let alone changing personality and style. 

Since investigating these early radio stars, I've come across  multiple recording names consistently.  All told, Annette Hanshaw recorded about 250 sides in her short lived ten year career.  Ten years in itself is amazing when you compare it to recording stars today, and to add to that,  leaving behind a huge portfolio of songs this size is just amazing.  Of course, as earlier stated, if you include the radio appearance recordings as well, you know have a documented 780.  Holy Cow!   Some of the songs she was known for are listed on a site called Red Hot Jazz.  Here is a link to that site.

Annette passed away on March 13, 1985, succumbing to cancer.  She is laid to rest in Hartsdale, New York.  I think she had a great life.  The best of both worlds they say.  She was famous for a line that she said at the end of many of her recordings, which they kept and did not cut out.  She would say, "That's All!"
Indeed, Annette, I hope I brought some of your music to the attention of the public, and as we move on to your peers, I fondly say, "That's All!"

Oh, so, as to the UKULELE, lol, which this blog is about, check out this recording of Annette Hanshaw performing "I  Love A Ukulele".  Enjoy!

There are many more you tube videos of Annette Hanshaw recordings.  Many of which are the Ukulele songs that we perform today.  I love the slow vamp style of these recordings and it influences my take on the style I am going for in my own performances.  Play along if you can.  Sometimes though, the tuning is just a little off because of the speed of the recordings of those times.  I actually down tuned slightly on one song to play along with the recording.  LOL.  But then of course, you must retune afterwards.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

'Shine On Harvest Moon' Ruth Etting America's Sweetheart of Song

Ruth Etting
America's Sweetheart of Song, Ruth Etting, was born November 23rd, 1897 in the town of David City Nebraska.  

According to Wikipedia, my favorite source on the web for Biographical material:

Ruth Etting left David City at the age of seventeen to attend art school in Chicago. Her job designing costumes at the Marigold Gardens nightclub led to employment singing and dancing in the chorus there.

She became a featured vocalist at the nightclub, and married gangster Martin "Moe the Gimp" Snyder on July 12, 1922. He managed her career, booking radio appearances, and eventually had her signed to an exclusive recording contract with Columbia Records.

She made her Broadway debut in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1927. She went on to appear in a number of other hit shows in rapid succession, including Simple Simon and Whoopee!. In Hollywood, she made a long series of movie shorts between 1929 and 1936, and three feature movies in 1933 and 1934. In 1936, she appeared in London in Ray Henderson's Transatlantic Rhythm.

Ruth on Cover of Radio Mirror
Back to Me:
She had over 60 recordings in her career.  Well known for 'Shine On Harvest Moon'  as well as her hit, 'Get Happy' from her Broadway appearance in 'Nine-fifteen Review', she was a household name. 

She was in over 20 short films through the mid thirties as well as 4 feature films.  The best known is her debut in 'Roman Scandals' with Eddie Cantor and Gloria Stuart.  

She sang, 'Shine On Harvest Moon' while in the Ziegfeld Follies, reviving the tune.  This tune has survived big time through the ages, and has even been recorded by an 8 year old Britney Spears on Mickey Mouse Club, and as recently as 2012 by Lon Milo DuQuette on the Baba Lon II release which includes 11 originals as well. 

There was scandal though, involving her marriage and divorce of gangster MOE the Gimp Snyder.  After their divorce in 1937, she fell in love with her pianist, Myrl Alderman.  He was shot by her ex, the gangster.

 Hospitalized, after two gun shot wounds, he would survive the attack.  Ruth and Myrl married, despite the fact that he was 10 years her junior.  Moe did 1 year in jail. The scandal effectively ended her career.

The images abound on image search, and her discography is hefty for a woman of that time.  She lived well, and passed away at the age of 80 in Colorado Springs in 1978.  

She had so many songs I could choose to share, but as this is the Ukulele Blog, lol, and we have all played this song so many times in the learning of our instrument, I thought it fitting to place this one in the archive for future enjoyment!

Here are some images of cover shots on sheet music featuring Ruth Etting. 
Again, there were so many to choose from but I reduced it to three, and now you can investigate this interesting woman further.  Look her up on youtube for big surprises!

                                                        Shine On Harvest Moon.  

And one more for nostalgia's sake.  Just loved this recording of 'Love Me Or Leave Me'.  One of those voice captures that is so elegant.  This one also has some great photos of Ruth Etting.  If you go on youtube and pull her name up with the word FILM attached, you can actually watch some of the very first musical shorts she was in.  I can't believe how they could get a whole story in to a small ten to twenty minute film.  

                                                           Love Me Or Leave Me

Ukulele Lady by Vaughn De Leath "The Original Radio Girl"

Vaughn De Leath, born Leonore Vonderlieth September 26,1984 in the town of Mt. Pulaski, Illinois was known as "The First Lady of Radio". She was a stylized singer, of the crooner method and though quite popular in the 1920s is little known today.

This being a Ukulele blog, about all things Ukulele, I thought it would be cool to start with her!

One of her hit songs, 'Are You Lonesome Tonight' , recorded in 1927, later became a well recognized mega hit for, of course, Elvis Presley in 1960.

According to Wikipedia:
In January 1920, the inventor and radio pioneer Lee DeForest, brought her to his studio in New York City's World Tower, where De Leath sang "Swanee River" in a cramped room. Most radio listeners at the time were only equipped with crystal radio, which limited audio fidelity. This performance is sometimes cited as the first live singing broadcast (although this is disputed by some historians). According to some historical accounts of this incident, having been advised that high notes sung in her natural soprano might shatter the fragile vacuum tubes of her carbon microphone's amplifier, De Leath switched to a deep contralto and in the process invented "crooning", which became the dominant pop vocal styling for the next three decades.

By 1921, in the formative years of commercial radio, De Leath began singing at WJZ, in Newark, New Jersey (a station later known as WABC in New York City). She also performed on the New York stage in the early to mid 1920s, but radio became her primary medium, and she made a name for herself as a radio entertainer.

Her recording career began in 1921. Over the next decade she recorded for a number of labels, including Edison, Columbia, Okeh, Gennett, Victor, and Brunswick. She occasionally recorded for major label subsidiaries under various pseudonyms.[2] These included Gloria Geer, Mamie Lee, Sadie Green, Betty Brown, Nancy Foster, Marion Ross, Glory Clark, Angelina Marco, and Gertrude Dwyer.[1] De Leath had a highly versatile range of styles, and as material required could adapt as a serious balladeer, playful girl, vampish coquette, or vaudeville comedienne.

De Leath's recording accompanists included some of the major jazz musicians of the 1920s, including cornetist Red Nichols, trombonist Miff Mole, guitarists Dick McDonough and Eddie Lang, and bandleader Paul Whiteman. She demonstrated a high level of instrumental ability on the ukulele, and occasionally accompanied herself on recordings. In performance she played banjo, guitar, and piano. She also recorded ukulele instruction records.

In 1923, she became one of the first female executives to manage a radio station, WDT, in New York City, on which she also performed. In 1928, she appeared on an experimental television broadcast, and later became a special guest for the debut broadcast of Voice of Firestone Radio Hour. She also was one of the first American entertainers to broadcast to Europe via transatlantic radio transmission.

De Leath made her last recording in 1931 for the Crown label. She made her final nationwide network performances in the early 1930s. In her waning years, she made radio appearances on local New York stations, including WBEN in Buffalo.

Her 1925 hit recording, "Ukulele Lady", was used in the 1999 film, The Cider House Rules.[1]

Back to me:
I would have rewritten the above but, why mess with something so perfect, right? Better for you to have that info in tact.

She was an amazing lady for her times. She lived well, died poor, as all musicians and artists seem to do, and they say she had health complications from a 'Drinking Problem.' She died at the age of 42 on May 28th, 1943. I give you now, the link to her song, "Ukulele Lady".

4th Thursday Ukulele Jam with TBUS

Tonight is the 4th Thursday Ukulele Jam with TBUS. 
That is the Tampa Bay Ukulele Society meetup where everyone, young, old, 
and in between come out to The Whistle Stop Bar & Grill to play and or listen to others
play Ukuleles.  Even the Ukuleles come in all shapes and sizes and ages.
New and seasoned ukulele players/owners come out in totem 
and jam individually to responsive audiences who applaud every
effort you make to perform with your ukulele.

I started out going to this jam carrying in my huge guitar.  Yes, and I capo'd the fifth fret and played the bottom four strings which then become the exact tuning of a Tenor C tuned Uke. 
TBUS was very welcoming to me and my HUGE Uke, and then they celebrated with me 
when I finally got my Luna High Tide from my husband at Christmas. 

I will post more about Ukes as we try them out, and I will post lots of links to videos and other sites that help new Ukulele owners get information as to chords, songs, accessories and products.  

Welcome to 30s Uke Girl!
Norine Mungo!