Greg Poppleton

21 May - Hear 1940s Jazz Harpsichord on this week's Phantom Dancer LISTEN

1929 Brunswick Brevities – Phantom Dancer 14 July 2020

Brunswick Brevities, the 1929 weekly radio series advertising Brunswick electrical records,  Brunswick radio and the Brunswick Panatrope with Radio  is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature.

You’ll hear 1920s Brunswick artists Frank Black, Libby Holman and Red Nichols with his Five Pennies from 1929 radio transcriptions.

The Phantom Dancer is produced and presented by 1920s-30s singer and actor Greg Poppleton. The show has been on-air over 107.3 2SER Sydney since 1985.

You can hear The Phantom Dancer  online from 12:04pm AEST Tuesday 14 July at

The finyl hour is vinyl.

brunswick brevities us radio


Quoting research on the Brunswick Brevities radio series by John Newton at,

“By the summer of 1929 radio had become firmly established as the primary entertainment vehicle in the USA and it had already begun making a significant impact upon the record industry in the form of lower sales. The reasoning then was “why buy phonograph records when similar entertainment could be had for free via radio – including the very same performers.
Record sales peaked in the early 1920s and declined through much of the decade, though there was a slight bump in the 1927-8 period. With that in mind, and with radio reaching more and more households, executives of the Brunswick Balke Collender Co., hit upon the idea of using radio to advertise its products – phonographs and records and radio receivers.


In mid-1929 the Brunswick decided to use its own resources of contract talent and facilities to produce their own series of broadcasts, to advertise Brunswick talent and, especially to produce Brunswick records and Brunswick radio-broadcast combinations. Instead of “live” programs, Brunswick pre-recorded its programs for future or varied time slots. In many cases these recordings for radio purposes could be made while the talent was at hand in the studios for regular recording sessions.

Brunswick called its own series of broadcast programs Brunswick Brevities and produced about 26 of the shows, each containing almost 30 minutes of entertainment and advertising. Ultimately this format would be copied by others, particularly Columbia a year or so later in the fall of 1930. The Columbia offerings were called Tele-Focal Radio Series and used dubbings from commercial recordings with added announcers and advertising. Brunswick, however, did not use dubbings. The broadcast series therefore often contained performances that were very different from the commercially-released versions of the selections.

Additionally – and significantly – the Brunswick artists occasionally did their own announcing and sometimes performed selections that they did not record for commercial release.

brunswick brevities tain't no sin


The premier Brunswick Brevities went on the air, August 19, 1929 and were broadcast weekly until February 1930. Al Jolson, then Brunswick’s top artist, was featured on the first program. Jolson’s recordings for the program had been made during his July 25, 1929 recording session which produced Liza (Brunswick 4402). It was therefore no coincidence this same number was one he recorded for the broadcast. It is believed the Colonial Club Orchestra recorded the non-vocal parts of the program as they were in the studio nine days earlier. That session included a medley of songs made famous by Jolson as well as an instrumental version of There’s a Rainbow `Round My Shoulder, another Jolson hit.

Brunswick advertising in its own publications shortly after the series began listed the 28 stations that carried the weekly programs. Trade advertisements later stated that 32 stations, blanketing the country, were airing the programs every week. These advertisements for Brunswick Brevities – Radio’s Greatest Entertainment” proclaimed such “Stars of the First Magnitude” as Al Jolson, Belle Baker, Red Nichols, Abe Lyman, Nick Lucas, Ben Bernie and Zelma O’Neal.

This is the 14 September 1929 radio listing for Brunswick Brevities over WSM Nashville

brunswick brevities wsm radio 1929


In this week’s Phantom Dancer Video of the Week see ‘exclusive’ Brunswick artist, Red Nichols and his Five Pennies’in a 7 minute musical short from 1929. Red Nichols plays “Ida”, “Whispering”, “Nobody’s Sweetheart”, “Who Cares” and “China Boy”. The musicians are Red Nichols (cornet), Tommy Thune and John Egan (trumpet), Herb Taylor (trombone), Pee Wee Russell (clarinet), Irving Brodsky (piano), Eddie Condon (banjo and vega lute) and George Beebe (drums).


Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #445

107.3 2SER Tuesday 14 July 2020
After the 2SER 12 noon news, 12:04 – 2:00pm (+10 hours GMT)
and Saturdays 5 – 5:55pm
National Program:
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Sunday 10 – 11pm
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2SEA Eden Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4pm
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4pm
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Tuesday 8 – 9pm
2MCE Bathurst / Orange / Central West NSW Wednesday 9 – 10am
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Sunday 5 – 6am

Set 1
1940s Swing On Air
Lungo il Viale
Natalino Otto
Comm Rec
For The First Time
Shep Fields and his New Music
‘One Night Stand’
AFRS Re-broadcast
Aug 1945 /div>
Instrumental + Moonlight Serenade (theme)
Glenn Miller Orchestra
‘Sunset Serenade’
Cafe Rouge
Hotel Pennsylvania
22 Nov 1941
Set 2
Progressive Keyboards on Radio
Lullaby of Birdland (theme) + Asute
Wild Bill Davis (Hammond Organ) and Trio
‘Stars in Jazz’
Lullaby of Birland (theme) + Poco Loco
Bud Powell (piano) and Trio
‘Stars in Jazz’
8 Jul 1953
Blue Skies
Erroll Garner (piano)
‘Guest Star’
Radio Transcription
New York City
14 Dec 1949
Set 3
1920s Brunswick Jazz Sides on the Wireless
I’d Walk A Million Miles
Frank Black Orchestra (voc) Unknown
Comm Rec
Brunswick Records
New York City
Jul 1927
Moanin’ Low
Libby Holman
‘Brunswick Brevities’
Radio Transcription
New York City
That’s A’Plenty + Say It With Music (Theme)
Red Nichols and his Five Pennies
‘Brunswick Brevities’
Radio Transcription
New York City
27 Aug 1929
Set 4
At The Jazz Band Ball on 1956 – 62 Radio
At The Jazz Band Ball (theme) + Sweet Georgia Brown
Al Hirt and his Jazz Band
‘The Jazz Band Ball’
WLW CBS New Orleans
18 Aug 1956
It’s Alright + Hava Nagila
Henry Red Allen
London House
WBBM CBS Chicago
30 Mar 1962
Set 5
Cotton Club on the Radio with Duke Ellington
If You Were In My Place
Duke Ellington Orchestra
Cotton Club
24 Mar 1938
Oh Babe Maybe Someday + I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
Duke Ellington Orchestra (voc) Ivie Anderson
Cotton Club
8 May 1938
Duke Ellington Orchestra
Cotton Club
18 Mar 1937
East St Louis Toodle-Oo + Jazz Pot Pourri
Duke Ellington Orchestra
Cotton Club
22 May 1938
Set 6
Big Band Swing on ‘Spotlight Bands’
Contrasts (theme) + King Porter Stomp
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands’
Blue Network
11 Feb 1945
Wire Brush Stomp
Gene Krupa Trio
‘Spotlight Bands’
Newport, Rhode Island
Blue Network
2 Oct 1944
Minnie’s in the Money
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) BG
‘Spotlight Bands’
Cornell University NY
Blue Network
25 Sep 1943
Harry James Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands’
Mutual Network
18 Oct 1946
Set 7
1920s – 1930s Radio Jazz
Ted Weems Orchestra (voc) Parker Gibbs
Comm Rec
Camden NJ
25 Nov 1927
Earl Burtnett Orchestra (voc) Jess Kirkpatrick
Biltmore Hotel
Los Angeles
Dancing on the Ceiling
Anson Weeks Orchestra
Radio Transcription
Peacock Court
Hotel Mark Hopkins
San Francisco
You’re Driving Me Crazy (1950s and 1920s version)
Paul Whiteman Orchestra
‘Forever Pops’
ABC Chicago
Set 8
Bebop Vocal Harmonies
Deedle + What’s This?
Dave Lambert and Buddy Stewart
‘Symphony Sid Show’
Royal Roost
26 Feb 1949
I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
Jackie Kane and Roy Kral
‘Symphony Sid Show’
Royal Roost
Every Day
Lambert, Hendricks and Ross (voc) Buddy Rich Quintet
8 Nov 1958

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