Friday, May 20, 2011
A bit of a departure from my recent posts, today I feature the legendary Joe Sanders (1896-1965) and Carleton Coon (1894-1932), who led one of the first widely successful radio bands, the Nighthawks. Legend attributes their collaboration to a chance meeting while trying out sheet music in a Kansas City music shop, a meeting which led to the formation of the "Coon-Sanders Novelty Orchestra". The group struck pay-dirt in 1922 when they began a series of late night broadcasts on WDAF originating from Kansas City's Muehlebach Hotel. Re-christened "The Nighthawks", the band began a decade long run that carried them to Chicago, and eventually New York. A very "publicity oriented" organization, the Nighthawks astutely exploited the new medium of radio, with stunts like setting up a ticker-tape machine on the bandstand to register requests during broadcasts. At one point the band traveled to engagements with each member piloting his own expensive Cord automobile.
Despite such flamboyance, Coon and Sanders' exiting, highly detailed music was the real basis of their popularity. The orchestra set a very high standard for the era; the Nighthawks were a disciplined collection of solid musicians, both men were exceptional vocalists, and Sanders' skills as a truly gifted and inventive composer/arranger gave the band a quality that is still evident on their recordings today. The Nighthawks' fame, influence, and legacy may have continued beyond the "roaring twenties" if the hard-living Carleton Coon had not succumbed to complications from blood poisoning in May of 1932.
While never again achieving the success of the Nighthawks, Joe Sanders continued to work, leading respectable Orchestras until retiring in 1959. The pictured "Radio's Aces" LP was in preparation when Sander's passed away in 1965, and released later that year. It features sixteen of the band's Victor recordings, some of which used alternate masters to the original 78rpm versions. Also included in this post is a small run 1974 LP featuring a 1945 broadcast by Joe Sanders' Orchestra on Coca-Cola's "Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands". This performance provides an interesting contrast to the Nighthawk's 1920's work, while the latter is of course more subdued, we do hear a flash of the old energy on Sander's vocal performance of "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?". The seconds side of this LP features an appearance on the same series by the Orchestra of Henry King, more about whom can be found here.
1. Here Comes My Ball And Chain
2. I Ain't Got Nobody
3. Little Orphan Annie
4. Darktown Stutter's Ball
5. High Fever
6. Alone At Last
7. Tennessee Lazy
8. Deep Henderson
9. Alone In The Rain
10. Wabash Blues
11. What A Girl!What A Night!
12. Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now
14. After You've Gone
16. Rhythm King
includes jacket and label scans
Joe Sanders & His Orchestra/Henry King & His Orchestra
"Victory Parade Of Spotlight Bands Volume 4"
1. Joe Sanders - Part 1 - Honeysuckle Rose, Wish You Were Waiting For Me (Joe Sanders - vocal), Saturday Night (Mary Malloy - vocal), In The Middle Of Nowhere (Joe Sanders - vocal)
2. Joe Sanders - Part 2 - Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby? (Joe Sanders - vocal), Don't You Know I Care? (Mary Malloy - vocal), Blue Skies3. Henry King - Alexander's Ragtime Band, (medley) The Day After Forever, There Goes That Song Again (Virginia Jackson - vocal), Tico Tico, (medley) Waiting, Don't You Know I Care? (Tommy Smith - vocal), You've Got Me Where You Want Me (Virginia Jackson - vocal), Why Don't You Kiss Me? (Tommy Smith - vocal), Accentuate The Positive (Virginia Jackson - vocal), Tea For Two
includes jacket scans