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Dismuke's Message Board _ Early 20th Century Popular Music _ The worst vocals ever

Posted by: Terry Aug 19 2012, 08:41 AM

Just listening to Radio Dismuke and up comes "Paul Whiteman Orchestra - How About Me".

Who is the vocalist on this? It must rank near to the worst ever, along with Wes Vaughn on I'll Be a Friend, and Seger Ellis on Bix and Trams' Blue River.

Any more candidates ?

Posted by: gregoryagogo Aug 19 2012, 01:35 PM

Paul Whiteman Orchestra - "How About Me"... he seems to be doing a 'trick' or 'style' that resembles the male equivalent of Helen Kane with that Betty Boop style! Moving the voice up then back down... he's trying to be 'modern' in his styling, but just sounds out of tune! Another 'fail' in this recording is his voice is too far in the background and the orchestra overpowers him.


"I'll Be A Friend With Pleasure" isn't too bad... that was 'the style' in vocals at that point.

Personally, I'm not a fan of vocals at all in music! If there must be a vocal, it should be only one chorus! I do love vocal trios, and and groups though. I find too, that in the music of the 20s and 30s there is a 'fail' in the vocal, and takes away from the great musical styles. I have gone as far as to edit a vocal out completely.

Posted by: Bob from Pa Sep 4 2012, 09:22 AM

QUOTE (Terry @ Aug 19 2012, 04:41 AM) *
Just listening to Radio Dismuke and up comes "Paul Whiteman Orchestra - How About Me".

Who is the vocalist on this? It must rank near to the worst ever, along with Wes Vaughn on I'll Be a Friend, and Seger Ellis on Bix and Trams' Blue River.

Any more candidates ?

I nominate almost any song about Lindbergh (like "you flew into my heart") to be rather bad--even the best vocalists of the day sound terrible when singing these songs. Vaugn De leath even.

Bob

Posted by: 2nd Sax Bb Tenor Feb 9 2013, 03:22 AM

QUOTE (gregoryagogo @ Aug 19 2012, 01:35 PM) *
"I'll Be A Friend With Pleasure" isn't too bad... that was 'the style' in vocals at that point.

Well, it was "a" style. Wes (Weston) Vaughan recorded a good bit with Ted Weems and acquits himself a little better, but damn, not much.

QUOTE
I find too, that in the music of the 20s and 30s there is a 'fail' in the vocal, and takes away from the great musical styles. I have gone as far as to edit a vocal out completely.

Tell 'em about Sam Sanders. (I hope, for his sake, that that wasn't his real name.)

Posted by: 2nd Sax Bb Tenor Feb 16 2013, 06:47 PM

Still lousy, but probably meant to be lousy, is trumpeter Frank Zullo's turn on Old Yazoo with Fred Waring in 1932. With the band way in the background, he overloads the new ribbon microphone like a frustrated Cab Calloway wannabe, shrieking and carrying on like a man who has alighted from the choo-choo at old Yazoo only to be told that his luggage has been sent on to Duluth.

Posted by: 2nd Sax Bb Tenor Feb 16 2013, 07:04 PM

(double post, because smartphones are not always that smart)

Posted by: gregoryagogo Feb 16 2013, 09:31 PM

I found this song recently, and definitely this IS THE WORST VOCAL EVER!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgga3-Dk9xo


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgga3-Dk9xo

Posted by: gregoryagogo Feb 16 2013, 09:33 PM

Soooo bad it was, that I removed the vocal!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-wLogX6wUo


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-wLogX6wUo

Posted by: Terry Feb 17 2013, 08:44 AM

You did a nice job there Gregory, it is now a very presentable recording.

However I still think the vocalist on the Whiteman 'How about Me' is about twice as bad as Sam Sanders smile.gif

Listen again: http://www.redhotjazz.com/songs/whiteman/hwboutme.ra

Damn good job that Bix was not on that record !

Posted by: 2nd Sax Bb Tenor Feb 17 2013, 03:49 PM

I can't play redhotjazz files any more, but I'm going to guess that Jack Fulton is singing.
Here's another one of Jack for comparison's sake, a rather nice 1932 thing called http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lijy0LgiOxM.

Jack actually was a normal human being, a trombonist(!), with a normal voice, as you can hear on this bit of hokum called http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKQIMnHsJDE, recorded in 1949.

Posted by: gregoryagogo Feb 17 2013, 04:40 PM

QUOTE (Terry @ Feb 17 2013, 12:44 AM) *
You did a nice job there Gregory, it is now a very presentable recording.

However I still think the vocalist on the Whiteman 'How about Me' is about twice as bad as Sam Sanders smile.gif

Listen again: http://www.redhotjazz.com/songs/whiteman/hwboutme.ra

Damn good job that Bix was not on that record !



Yep, that's bad!

So bad, that I removed the vocal! This one was tricky... not sure it's perfect, but there it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-ILtVY2Cqg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-ILtVY2Cqg

Posted by: gregoryagogo Feb 17 2013, 04:46 PM

QUOTE (2nd Sax Bb Tenor @ Feb 17 2013, 07:49 AM) *
I can't play redhotjazz files any more, but I'm going to guess that Jack Fulton is singing.
Here's another one of Jack for comparison's sake, a rather nice 1932 thing called http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lijy0LgiOxM.

Jack actually was a normal human being, a trombonist(!), with a normal voice, as you can hear on this bit of hokum called http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKQIMnHsJDE, recorded in 1949.


This guy sucks too... He sings at the end... don't think I can 'fix' this one!

Posted by: 2nd Sax Bb Tenor Feb 17 2013, 08:43 PM

QUOTE (gregoryagogo @ Feb 17 2013, 04:40 PM) *
This one was tricky... not sure it's perfect

At 1:23 there's a measure with an extra beat in it (3/2 in cut time).

Posted by: Terry Feb 17 2013, 09:41 PM

However, that is such a vast improvement that I can now listen happily to it without squirming, thanks Greg.

Jack Buchanan was a British star of stage and film in the 20s and 30s, debonair with a cane and a girl on his arm, but he couldn't really sing, not the worst by any means, but his Goodnight Vienna folds me up as he goes up and down an octave:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o38Qwz1j8KQ

Posted by: gregoryagogo Feb 18 2013, 01:53 AM

QUOTE (2nd Sax Bb Tenor @ Feb 17 2013, 12:43 PM) *
At 1:23 there's a measure with an extra beat in it (3/2 in cut time).



Hows this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M4oKe0fTlQ&feature=youtu.be

Posted by: 2nd Sax Bb Tenor Feb 18 2013, 05:20 AM

QUOTE (gregoryagogo @ Feb 18 2013, 01:53 AM) *
Hows this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M4oKe0fTlQ&feature=youtu.be

Yeah, that's one way to do it. I doubled a short 2-note brass figure instead, which made it a little less choppy.

Posted by: gregoryagogo Feb 18 2013, 06:04 AM

QUOTE (2nd Sax Bb Tenor @ Feb 17 2013, 09:20 PM) *
Yeah, that's one way to do it. I doubled a short 2-note brass figure instead, which made it a little less choppy.

Let me hear yours! gregory_may_jr@yahoo.com

Posted by: heer_bommel May 6 2013, 03:30 PM

You think those were bad? Then I've got a surprise for you. This guy is the absolute worst. He sounds a bid like an extremely angry Arthur Fields. I don't know his name, but he completely spoils an otherwise excellent recording.
https://www.box.com/s/yrjmqkn6zrkik96bxs9m


Posted by: gregoryagogo May 6 2013, 03:40 PM

QUOTE (heer_bommel @ May 6 2013, 07:30 AM) *
You think those were bad? Then I've got a surprise for you. This guy is the absolute worst. He sounds a bid like an extremely angry Arthur Fields. I don't know his name, but he completely spoils an otherwise excellent recording.
https://www.box.com/s/yrjmqkn6zrkik96bxs9m



LOL Another remove the vocal project! Such a great sounding band and arrangement too... too bad! Too often the vocals ruin a recording.

Was an easy vocal removal!

Posted by: Terry May 11 2013, 12:23 AM

QUOTE (heer_bommel @ May 6 2013, 10:30 AM) *
You think those were bad? Then I've got a surprise for you. This guy is the absolute worst. He sounds a bid like an extremely angry Arthur Fields. I don't know his name, but he completely spoils an otherwise excellent recording.
https://www.box.com/s/yrjmqkn6zrkik96bxs9m


That song is on YouTube and the poster (Victor Talking Machine) said the vocalist is Herman Engler, can't say I'm familiar with the name. He sounds a bit over the top smile.gif Mind you, Harry Richman when in full flight was way over the top !

Posted by: Roseman May 28 2013, 11:38 PM

In doing some web searcing for Fran Frey stuff (Saxophonist and vocalist with George Olsen band),
I ran across this piece of singing which might fit into this thread.

The singing is off key/on key and then at one point his phrasing is as if he forgets the words but manages to
recover at the last second. It starts at the 1.36 mark.

Also what is that wierd solo playing beginning at the 1.00 mark?

Ironically the song is titled http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS8GmQFvS5U&


Don...

Posted by: Terry May 29 2013, 12:17 AM

I think the weird solo sounds a bit like a high pitched "hum" through the lips.

Posted by: laughland May 29 2013, 12:53 AM

Yup Don, I'd agree - that is a little bit bad.

I think Terry's right about the strange solo - it's a hummed instrument sound - like you might hear from the Mills Brothers, only they knew how to do it well.

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