Greg Poppleton

30 April - 2SER celebrates 45 years on air. Hear Sarah Vaughan & Duke Ellington LISTEN

Erskine Hawkins 20th Century Gabriel – Phantom Dancer 25 August 2020

Erskine Hawkins, that 20th Century Gabriel, from live 1940s radio is this week’s Phantom Dancer non-stop swing jazz feature artist.

Greg Poppleton has been bringing you The Phantom Dancer every week since 1985.

It’s your non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week.

Hear The Phantom Dancer online from 12:04pm AEST Tuesday 25 August at where you can also hear two years of archived shows.

The finyl hour is vinyl.

erskine hawkins


Erskine Ramsay Hawkins, ‘the 20th Century Gabriel’ was an American trumpeter, composer and big band leader from Birmingham, Alabama.

His outstanding hit, ‘Tuxedo Junction’ (1939) written saxophonist and arranger Bill Johnson, has become a jazz standard.

Vocalists who were featured with Erskine’s orchestra include Ida James, Delores Brown, and Della Reese.

Erskine Hawkins was named by his parents after Alabama industrialist Erskine Ramsay. The industrialist was rewarding parents who named their children after him with savings accounts.

At high schoold he played in the band directed by Fess Whatley, a teacher who trained numerous African-American musicians, many of whom populated the bands of famed band leaders such as Duke Ellington, Lucky Millinder, Louis Armstrong and Skitch Henderson (of the NBC Orchestra).


From 1936 to 1938, he recorded for Vocalion Records as ‘Erskine Hawkins and his ‘Bama State Collegians’. In 1938, he signed with RCA Victor Records and began recording on their Bluebird label as, ‘Erskine Hawkins and his Orchestra’.

In the late 1930s Hawkins and his Orchestra were one of the house bands at the Savoy Ballroom. They alternated with the Chick Webb band, and often used Tuxedo Junction as their sign-off song before the next band would take the stage, so that the dancing would continue uninterrupted. Hawkins also engaged in ‘battles of the bands’ with such bandleaders as Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, and Lionel Hampton.

In the mid 1940s, he was transferred to the main RCA Victor label, recording many of his greatest hits for both labels during this decade. He remained with them until 1950 when he switched over to Coral Records. He continued to record for many years.

From 1967 – 93, Hawkins was trumpeter and band leader in the lobby bar and show nightclub at The Concord Resort Hotel in Kiamesha Lake, New York with his last performing group Joe Vitale piano, Dudly Watson bass, Sonny Rossi vocals and clarinet, and George Leary drums.


A clip of Erskine Hawkins and his Orchestra from 1938. Enjoy!


Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #451

107.3 2SER Tuesday 25 August 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
1950s Big Bands on Radio
Open + Leap Frog +
Les Brown Orchestra
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Palladium Ballroom
12 Oct 1953
Nina Never Knew
Sauter – Finegan Orchestra (voc) Andy Roberts
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Blue Note
WMAQ NBC Chicago
12 Sep 1953
Scianina Mia + Close
Ralph Flanagan Orchestra
‘Treasury Bandstand’
Cafe Rouge
Hotel Statler
WCBS CBS New York City
Set 2
Radio Jazz from the late 1920s
Louis Dumaine’s Jazzola Eight
Comm Rec
New Orleans
7 Mar 1927
Shut The Door They’re Coming Through The Window
Murray and Scanlon (voc) Colonial Club Orchestra
‘Brunswick Brevities’
Radio Transcription
New York
Nov 1929
Jazz Me Blues
Little Buster and the Corn Poppers (Red Nichols)
‘Dickenson Program’
Radio Transcription
New York
Nov 1929
Set 3
Three Unique Jazz Guitarists on 1930s-50s Radio
Django Reinhardt and the Air Transport Command Band
‘AFN Bandstand’
AFN Paris
26 Oct 1945
Chick a la Swing
Carl Kress and Dick McDonough
‘Saturday Night Swing Club’
12 Jun 1937
You Don’t Know What Love Is
Tal Farlow (g) Trio
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Composer Club
23 Apr 1956
Set 4
Holding The 8 Bar Vocal Note on Radio
In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down
Count Basie Orchestra (voc) Joe Williams
‘Al Freed Rock ‘n’ Roll Dance Party’
KFWB CBS Hollywood
Meniana Ae
Harry Owens Orchestra (voc) Eddie Bush
‘Sweet Leilani Time’
Mural Room
Hotel St Francis
KGO NBC San Francisco
Ev’ry Day
Count Basie Orchestra (voc) Joe Williams
‘Al Freed Rock ‘n’ Roll Dance Party’
KFWB CBS Hollywood
I’ll See You In My Dreams
Greg Poppleton (voc) and the Bakelite Broadcasters
‘Back In Your Own Backyard’
Set 5
1930s Jazz Bands and Singers on the Radio
Minor Mania
Claude Hopkins Orchestra
Radio Transcription
New York City
Swinging On The Strings
The Inkspots
9 Aug 1935
One, Two, Button Your Shoe
Duke Ellington Orchestra (voc) Ivie Anderson
Cotton Club
18 Mar 1937
St Louis Blues
Count Basie Orchestra (voc) Jimmy Rushing
Hotel William Penn
WCAE NBC Pittsburgh
8 Feb 1937
Set 6
Women Jazz Stars on 1940s-50s Radio
Once In A While
Sarah Vaughan (voc) Jimmy Jones (piano)
‘Jazz Club USA’
Carnegie Hall, New York City
Voice of America
25 Dec 1949
I Cover The Waterfront
Billie Holliday
Storyville Club
WMEX Boston
29 Oct 1951
There’ll Be A Jubilee
Dinah Washington (voc) Lionel Hampton Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Trianon Ballroom
Southgate Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
16 Jun 1944
Deed I Do
Lena Horne (voc) Fletcher Henderson Orchestra
AFRS Re-broadcast
Set 7
Erskine Hawkins – The 20th Century Gabriel on Radio
Baltimore Bounce
Erskine Hawkins Orchestra
Comm Rec
New York City
20 Dec 1939
Open + Eelibuj Boogie
Erskine Hawkins Orchestra
AFRS Hollywood
Uncle Bud
Erskine Hawkins Orchestra
New York City
Jun 1942
It’s Dawn Again
Erskine Hawkins Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln NY
AFRS Re-broadcast
1 May 1946
Set 8
Jump Blues on 1944-45 Radio
Hey Lawdy Mama
Miss Rhapsody
Comm Rec
New York City
6 Jul 1944
How High The Moon
Jubilee All-Stars
AFRS Hollywood
Oct 1945
Dee Dee’s Dance
Herbie Fields Orchestra
Comm Rec
New York City
19 Dec 1944
Jam Session Blues
Johnny Otis Orchestra (voc) Ivie Anderson and Joe Turner
AFRS Hollywood
Oct 1945

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