Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Ain't Got Nobody!

Like everyone else, I go through phases in the music I listen too. Through most of 2005 and 2006 I was crazy about music that I mostly found Vocal section of Tower Records (while they were still breathing). The Andrews Sisters, The Boswell Sisters and The Mills Brothers were my favorites. All of their recordings swing, jump, pop, and have a joy in the beat that still shines through after soooooo many long years.

I remember the Mills Brothers as a trio of old guys on Johnny Carson when I was a kid. They sang smooth old standards like their own hit "Paper Doll" and “Dinah.” It was clear that Carson had a real affection for the Mills Brothers from his youth.

A while back I read a biography of Bing Crosby called "A Pocketful of Dreams-the Early Years, 1903-1940." (Highly recommended if you like such things.) I never had much interest in Crosby's music (still don't really) but it was in that book that I kept reading about the The Andrews Sisters, The Boswell Sisters and The Mills Brothers being such a big influence upon him in addition to Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. I really liked THOSE guys so I decided to have a “look-hear” at the others.

Was I ever glad I did!

All three of those vocal groups were real eye-openers to me. The Mills Brothers started out as a bit of a novelty act. In their first recordings, they rarely even sang lyrics--they imitated instruments with their hands and mouths. The only real instrument they used was the guitar played by John Jr. who also sang bass/tuba. These numbers are quite hypnotic.

This piece of film (including genuine a genuine follow-the-bouncing-ball) gives you a taste of their music from the '30’s featuring the original Mills Brothers—Harry, Herbert, Donald, and John Jr.

Hang on ‘til the last minute of the clip and you will get a taste of how skillful they were at being their own amazing orchestra!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally terrific what a gem. My husband and I loved it thanks for making this available. To see the bouncing ball was trip down memeory lane. Yes the mills borthers were and are quite exstroydinary. Thanks again.