Greg Poppleton

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04 October 2022

(Until 04 October)

Lenny Herman and 1950s Lounge Music

Greg Poppleton's Phantom Dancer swing jazz radio show

Lenny Herman accordianist and xylophonist led what was dubbed ‘The Mightiest Little Band in the Land’ in the 1940s and 50s. For fans of 1950s Lounge Music albums, here’s one of those bent easy listening orchestras live on 1948 and 1957 radio as this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist.

The Phantom Dancer is your weekly non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week.

LISTEN to this week’s Phantom Dancer mix (online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 4 October) and two years of Phantom Dancer mixes online at, at


Lenny was a ‘best-seller on stereophonic tape’ (he released songs on reel-to-reel tape) and a band with bright party-like LP album covers from the 1950s beloved of record bin hunters with a penchant for the staidly wacky.

The Lenny Herman Quintet that you’ll hear on this week’s Phantom Dancer airchecks:

Lenny Herman – Accordion, Vibraphone, And Vocals
Alan Shurr – Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, And Vocals
Charles Shaw – Piano, Celeste, And Organ
Earl “Gumpy” Comfort – Violin, String Bass, And Vocals
Stan Scott – Drums

Lenny Herman’s legacy has been dumped on from great heights by contemporary music reviewers such as Eugene Chadbourne who wrote in All-Music:

“Lenny Herman is sometimes described as a jazz bandleader of the ’40s and ’50s, yet his band bus was really more of a bandwagon, using the latter word in terms of a fad or flavor of the day.

He got in early on [sic], covering “Daddy’s Little Girl” in 1947, and not with the shroud that might have really been appropriate with this anthem of treacle. Alternate publications of the sheet music for this song featured photographs of artists who recorded it; the version with the Lennie Herman Quintet describes the group as “Latin-American.” Despite this stylistic designation the small combo was also featured on a recording of “Grandfather’s Clock” the year before.

Herman also took charge of much larger groups, building a reputation as a big-band leader that eventually eclipsed that of the quintet, if a word as mighty as “eclipsed” can be used to describe something more like a radar blip than a super nova.

He recorded orchestra sides such as “When You Fall in Love” for Decca and a nifty red vinyl 45 entitled “Mightiest Lil’ Band in the Land.” During the early ’50s Herman was on the front line of the new trends in commercial children’s music, waving a diaper like a flag of surrender.

He used the quintet to cut “Percy the Pale Faced Polar Bear” in 1951 and eventually had enough tracks for tots and tykes to tote up the early-’60s Family Album LP, also featuring singer Ginny Gibson. The 1957 Dance Party showcases Herman’s talents on both accordion and xylophone, the set list consisting mostly of Tin Pan Alley hits.”

The reviewer, Eugene Chadbourne, and his Electric Rake…


Lenny gets a fairer review in

“Although generally uncelebrated during his career being a band head, Lenny Herman made a substantial contribution towards the dance band music of NY, USA, from the first 50s onwards.

Located in hotels like the Astor, Edison, Roosevelt, Waldorf-Astoria and New Yorker, his small band, frequently dubbed ‘The Mightiest Small Music group In The Property’, etched an absolute impression over the night time dancers of these establishments with music such as for example ‘No Foolin’’.

Led by Herman’s accordion playing, the music group, which hardly ever numbered a lot more than ten and sometimes significantly less than eight, also discovered engagements additional afield in Philadelphia (the Warwick Resort), Atlantic Town (the Straymore Resort), Virginia Seaside (the Cavalier Resort) and Dallas (the Baker Resort).

With the middle-60s the music group had moved completely towards the Lake Tahoe region, where the right now five or six solid ensemble gained its living playing to combined audiences in the resort hotels.”

So now enjoy Lenny Herman on this week’s Phantom Dancer in airchecks from 1948 and 1957…


Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney

Community Radio Network Show CRN #565

107.3 2SER Tuesday 4 October 2022
12:04 – 2:00pm (+10 hours GMT) and Saturdays 5 – 5:55pm
National Program
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4am
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4am
2BRW Braidwood Monday 3 – 4am
2YYY Young Monday 3 – 4am
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Monday 6 -7pm
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Tuesday 12am – 1am
2SEA Eden Tuesday 6 – 7pm
2MCE Bathurst Wednesday 9 – 10am
2RDJ Burwood Wednesday 12 – 1pm
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am
2RRR Ryde Friday 11am -12 noon
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm
Denmark FM (West Australia) Saturdays 10 – 11am
Repeat: Wednesdays 10 – 11pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm

Set 1
Tex Beneke
Moonlight Serenade (theme) + Uncle Remus
Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra (voc) Tex Beneke, Jenny O’Conner and the Mellowlarks
‘March of Dimes’
Radio Transcription
1 Dec 1946
Falling Leaves
Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra
‘March of Dimes’
Radio Transcription
1 Dec 1946
Somewhere in the Night
Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra (voc) Gary Stevens
‘March of Dimes’
Radio Transcription
1 Dec 1946
Give Me Five Minutes More + Moonlight Serenade (theme)Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra (voc) Tex Beneke
‘March of Dimes’
Radio Transcription
1 Dec 1946
Set 2
Your Hit Parade
Intro + I’m Gunna Love That Guy + It’s Gotta Be This or That
Joan Edwards
‘Your Hit Parade’
AFRS Re-broadcast
27 Oct 1945
I’ll Buy That Dream
The Hit Paraders
‘Your Hit Parade’
AFRS Re-broadcast
27 Oct 1945
On The Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe
Dick Todd
‘Your Hit Parade’
AFRS Re-broadcast
27 Oct 1945
Set 3
Latin Rhythms
My Shawl (theme) + In a Little Spanish Town
Xavier Cugat Orchestra
Roseland Ballroom
Xavier Cugat Orchestra
Roseland Ballroom
Xavier Cugat Orchestra
Roseland Ballroom
Xavier Cugat Orchestra
Roseland Ballroom
Set 4
Lenny Herman
Lenny Herman Quintet
Golden Thread Room
Hotel New Yorker
Kisses Are Better Than Roses
Lenny Herman Quintet (voc) Alan Shurr
Golden Thread Room
Hotel New Yorker
Don’t Forbid Me
Lenny Herman Quintet (voc) The Hermanaires
Golden Thread Room
Hotel New Yorker
Noon Balloon to Rangoon + In Ol’ Kalua (theme)
Lenny Herman Quintet
Hotel Astor
25 Jun 1948
Set 5
Western Swing
Does My Baby Love Me, Yes Sir!
Jimmie Revard and his Oklahoma Playboys
Comm Rec
San Antonio TX
14 Sep 1937
Baby Won’t You Please Come Home
W. Lee O’Daniel (voc) Texas Rose
Comm Rec
Dallas TX
15 May 1938
Sam the Old Accordian Man
Adolph Hofner and His Texans
Comm Rec
Dallas TX
13 Feb 1940
Get Hot
W. Lee O’Daniel
Comm Rec
San Antonio TX
21 Nov 1936
Set 6
Tommy Dorsey
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (voc) Bob Allen
Meadowbrook Ballroom
Cedar Grove NJ
11 Feb 1941
I Dream of You
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (voc) Bob Allen
‘For the Record’
17 Apr 1944
Always in My Heart
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (voc) Frank Sinatra
‘Raleigh Show’
Capitol Theatre
WJSV CBS Washington DC
18 Aug 1942
Losers Weepers
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
Palladium Ballroom
26 Nov 1940
Set 7
Lester Young
Lullaby of Birdland (theme) + Three Little Words
Lester Young Quintet
5 Sep 1956
How High the Moon
Lester Young Jam Session (voc) Ella Fitzgerald‘Symphony Sid Show’
27 Nov 1948
Set 8
Blues & Cool
Empty Bed Blues + Love My Baby + Improvised Blues + Theme
Johnny Otis Orchestra and Jubilee All-Stars (voc) Ivie Anderson + Joe Turner
AFRS Hollywood
Oct 1945
I’ll Remember April
Dave Brubeck Quartet
Jan 1954
All Gigs
12:04 pm - 2:00 pm
2SER 107.3 Sydney

11 Broadway NSW

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