Greg Poppleton

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

Weekly Swing Radio Show – Phantom Dancer 14 Jan 2020

Your feature artists on this week’s Phantom Dancer with Greg Poppleton – your two hour non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio, ON-AIR SINCE 1985 – are singers Frankie Laine, Mel Torme and Jo Stafford from live 1940s radio. The last hour is all vinyl.

You can hear The Phantom Dancer online now at

frankie laine


Frankie Laine (born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio) was an American singer, songwriter and actor whose career spanned nearly 75 years.

He first sang in 1930 with a marathon dance company. His final performance was “That’s My Desire” in 2005. Often billed as “America’s Number One Song Stylist”, his other nicknames include “Mr. Rhythm”, “Old Leather Lungs”, and “Mr. Steel Tonsils”. His hits included “That’s My Desire”, “That Lucky Old Sun”, “Mule Train”, “Jezebel”, “High Noon”, “I Believe”, “Hey Joe!”, “The Kid’s Last Fight”, “Cool Water”, “Rawhide”, and “Lord, You Gave Me a Mountain”.

He sang well-known theme songs for many movie Western soundtracks, including 3:10 To Yuma, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and Blazing Saddles, although his recordings were not charted as a country & western. Laine sang an eclectic variety of song styles and genres, stretching from big band crooning to pop, western-themed songs, gospel, rock, folk, jazz, and blues.

On this week’s Phantom Dancer, The Velvet Fog, Mel Torme, sings two songs including one when aged 17 in front of Chico Marx’s Orchestra on a CBS Fitch Bandwagon.

mel torme


Melvin Howard Tormé was nicknamed “The Velvet Fog”. He was an American musician, singer, composer, arranger, drummer, actor, and author. He composed the music for “The Christmas Song” (“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) and co-wrote the lyrics with Bob Wells.

A child prodigy, Torme first performed professionally at age 4 with the Coon-Sanders Orchestra, singing “You’re Driving Me Crazy” at Chicago’s Blackhawk restaurant.

He played drums in the drum-and-bugle corps at Shakespeare Elementary School. From 1933 to 1941, he acted in the radio programs The Romance of Helen Trent and Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy. He wrote his first song at 13. Three years later his first published song, “Lament to Love,” became a hit for bandleader Harry James.

From 1942 to 1943 he was a member of a band led by Chico Marx of the Marx Brothers. He was the singer, drummer, and also did some arrangements. In 1943, Tormé made his movie debut in Frank Sinatra’s first film, the musical Higher and Higher. His appearance in the 1947 film musical Good News made him a teen idol.

In 1944 he formed the vocal quintet Mel Tormé and His Mel-Tones, modeled on Frank Sinatra and The Pied Pipers. The Mel-Tones, which included Les Baxter and Ginny O’Connor, had several hits fronting Artie Shaw’s band and on their own, including Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?” The Mel-Tones were among the first jazz-influenced vocal groups.

jo stafford


Jo Elizabeth Stafford was an American traditional pop music singer and actor. Her career spanned the late 1930s to the early 1980s. Admired for the purity of her voice, she originally underwent classical training to become an opera singer before following a career in popular music, and by 1955 had achieved more worldwide record sales than any other female artist. Her 1952 song “You Belong to Me” topped the charts in the United States and United Kingdom, the record becoming the first by a female artist to reach number one on the UK Singles Chart.

Born in Coalinga, California, Stafford made her first musical appearance at age 12. While still at high school, she joined her two older sisters to form a vocal trio named the Stafford Sisters, who found moderate success on radio and in film. In 1938, while the sisters were part of the cast of Twentieth Century Fox’s production of Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Stafford met the future members of the Pied Pipers and became the group’s lead singer. Bandleader Tommy Dorsey hired them in 1939 to perform back-up vocals for his orchestra.

In addition to her recordings with the Pied Pipers, Stafford featured in solo performances for Dorsey. After leaving the group in 1944, she recorded a series of pop standards for Capitol Records and Columbia Records. Many of her recordings were backed by the orchestra of Paul Weston. She also performed duets with Gordon MacRae and Frankie Laine. Her work with the United Service Organizations giving concerts for soldiers during World War II earned her the nickname “G.I. Jo”. Starting in 1945, Stafford was a regular host of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) radio series The Chesterfield Supper Club and later appeared in television specials—including two series called The Jo Stafford Show, in 1954 in the U.S. and in 1961 in the U.K.

Jo Stafford film and TV clips make up your Video of the Week. The first clip is introduced by Ronald Reagan and includes a live version of ‘Temtayshun’, with Jo Stafford as ‘Cinerella G Stump’ singing a quarter tone out and taking no spaces like all of our great indie singers (but back then it was considered a joke).

Make sure you come back to this blog, Greg Poppleton’s Radio Lounge, every Tuesday, for the newest Phantom Dancer play list and Video of the Week!

Thank you.


Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #419

107.3 2SER Tuesday 14 January 2020
After the 2SER 12 noon news, 12:04 – 2:00pm (+11 hours GMT)
National Program:
ArtsoundFM Canberra Sunday 10 – 11pm
Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4pm
7MID Oatlands Tuesday 8 – 9pm
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
and early morning on 23 other stations.

Set 1
Swing on 1950s Radio
One O’Clock Jump + Sixteen Men Swinging
Count Basie Orchestra
‘Saturday Night Rock’n’Roll Dance Party’
Paramount Theatre, Brooklyn
Sitting In The Sun
Les Brown Orchestra (voc) JoAnn Greer
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Palladium Ballroom
12 Oct 1953
Capital Idea + (theme)
Dorsey Brothers Orchestra
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Magnolia Room
Hotel Claridge
WMC NBC Memphis
19 Jun 1953
Set 2
Swing Dance Bands on 1942-44 Radio
Open + Abraham
Chico Marx Orchestra (voc) Mel Torme
‘Fitch Band Wagon’
Blackhawk Restaurant
WBBM CBS Chicago
20 Dec 1942
Was It Like That?
Lionel Hampton Orchestra (voc) Dinah Washington
‘One Night Stand’
Civic Auditorium
Oakland Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
4 Jun 1944
Open + Ain’t Misbehavin’
Louis Armstrong Orchestra (voc) Louis Armstrong
AFRS Hollywood
20 May 1943
One Night Stand + Close (Coca Cola Waltz in 4/4 Swing)
Denny Beckner Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands’
Norfolk, Virginia
AFRS Re-broadcast
30 Mar 1944
Set 3
Navy Star Time Singers 1952 Radio
Baby, That Ain’t Right
Frankie Laine (voc) Buzz Adlam Orchestra
‘Navy Star Time’
Radio Transcription
I Hadn’t Anyone Till You
Mel Torme (voc) Buzz Adlam Orchestra
‘Navy Star Time’
Radio Transcription
I’ll Get By + Close
Jo Stafford (voc) Buzz Adlam Orchestra
‘Navy Star Time’
Radio Transcription
Set 4
1946 Radio Swing
Harry James Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands ‘
El Patio Playhouse
KHJ Mutual LA
13 Apr 1946
Begin The Beguine
Bobby Sherwood Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Avadon Ballroom
Los Angeles
AFRS Re-broadcast
3 jun 1946
Blue Moon + Summertime
Bob Crosby Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Palladium Ballroom
AFRS Re-broadcast
3 Dec 1946
Set 5
1934 – 36 Radio Bands
There’s Something In The Air
Red Nichols Orchestra
Radio Transcription
New York City
Robins and Roses
Lee Wiley (voc)
17 Jun 1936
Christopher Columbus
Isham Jones Orchestra
WOR Mutual NY
13 Mar 1936
Benny Goodman Orchestra
‘Let’s Dance’
2 Feb 1935
Set 6
Big Bands 1942-45 Radio
McGhee Special
Andy Kirk and his 12 Clouds of Joy
Comm Rec
New York City
14 Jul 1942
Open + Smiles
Charlie Barnet Orchestra
‘For The Record’
11 Sep 1944
Slip Of The Lip
Duke Ellington Orchestra
‘Fourth War Loan Drive’
1 May 1943
One O’Clock Jump (open) + Unidentified Time
Johnny Otis Orchestra
AFRS Hollywood
Oct 1945
Set 7
Sweet Bands on 1930-40s Wireless
You Are My Dream
Gray Gordon and his Tic Toc Rhythm Orchestra (voc) Cliff Glass
Radio Transcription
New York City
It Was Just One Of Those Things
Russ Morgan Orchestra
Biltmore Hotel
Los Angeles
13 May 1946
Words Of Love
Eddy Howard Orchestra
Aragon Ballroom
WGN Mutual Chicago
5 Dec 1945
It’s A Whole New Thing
Blue Barron Orchestra (voc) Charlie Fisher
Radio Transcription
New York City
Set 8
Bop Inspired Radio
Moppin’ The Blues
Pete Brown Quintette
Comm Rec
New York City
11 Jul 1944
A Minor Thing + In Your Own Sweet Way
Dave Brubeck Quartet
Basin Street
Feb 1956
High On An Open Mike
Fats Navarro (tp) Bill Harris (tb) Alen Eager, Charlie Ventura (ts) Ralph Burns (piano) Al Valente (g) Chubby Jackson (b) Buddy Rich (d)
‘Saturday Night Swing Session’
12 Apr 1947
Fine and Dandy
Slim Gaillard Quintet
‘Symphony Sid Show’
2 Jun 1951

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