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Phantom Dancer :: 12:00pm 5th May 2020

Harry ‘ The Hipster’ Gibson is your feature artist on this week’s Greg Poppleton Phantom Dancer. You’ll hear him play two of Bix Beidebecke’s famous piano compositions, In a Mist and Candlelight on live 1944 radio.

The Phantom Dancer, your non-stop 2 hour mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio, is produced and presented by 1920s-30s singer and actor Greg Poppleton can be heard online from 12:04pm AEST Tuesday 5 May at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

The last hour is all vinyl.

harry the hipster gibson

1920s-30s

Harry “The Hipster” Gibson was a jazz pianist, singer, and songwriter. Gibson played New York style stride piano and boogie woogie while singing in a wild, unrestrained style. His music career began in the late 1920s, when under his real name, he played stride piano in Dixieland jazz bands in Harlem. He continued to perform there throughout the 1930s, adding the barrelhouse boogie of the time to his repertoire.

Gibson was fond of playing Fats Waller tunes, and when Waller heard Gibson in a club in Harlem in 1939, he hired him to be his relief pianist at club dates. Between 1939 and 1945, Gibson played at Manhattan jazz clubs on 52nd Street (“Swing Street”). Harry took the name “Gibson” from brand of gin.

harry the hipster gibson radio transcription

1940s

Gibson was known for writing unusual songs considered ahead of their time.

He recorded often but there are very few visual examples of his work. In 1944 he filmed three songs in New York for the Soundies film jukeboxes, and he went to Hollywood in 1946 to appear as himself in the feature-length film musical Junior Prom. He preceded white rock-and-rollers by a decade: the Soundies he recorded are similar to Jerry Lee Lewis’s raucous piano numbers of the 1950s.

For all his wild-man theatrics, Gibson demonstrated remarkable discipline. While working on “Swing Street” at night, he was a fellow at the Juilliard Graduate School during the day. At the time, Juilliard was strictly a classical music academy; Gibson excelled there.

Like Mezz Mezzrow, Gibson consciously abandoned his ethnicity to adopt black music and culture. Gibson grew up near Harlem in New York City and his constant use of black jive talk was not an affectation; it was simply something he picked up from his fellow musicians. In his autobiography, Gibson claims he coined the term hipster between 1939 and 1945 when he was performing on Swing Street, and he started using “Harry the Hipster” as his stage name.

Harry the Hipster Gibson movie

1950s

He recorded “Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine?”, released in January 1946 and radio stations across America refused to play it, resulting in his being blacklisted in the music industry. Although Gibson’s mainstream movie appearance in Junior Prom was released that same year, it couldn’t overcome the notoriety of the “Benzedrine” record. Gibson’s own drug use led to his decline.

1960s-80s

In the 1960s, when Gibson saw the huge success of the Beatles, he switched to rock and roll. By the 1970s, he was playing hard rock, blues, bop, novelty songs and a few songs that mixed ragtime with rock and roll. His hipster act became a hippie act. His old records were revived on the Dr. Demento radio show, particularly “Benzedrine”, which was included on the 1975 compilation album Dr. Demento’s Delights.

His comeback resulted in three more albums: Harry the Hipster Digs Christmas, Everybody’s Crazy but Me, (its title taken from the lyrics of “Stop That Dancin’ Up There”) (Progressive, 1986), and Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine (Delmark, 1989). Those two include some jazz, blues, ragtime, and rock and roll songs about reefer, nude bathing, hippie communes, strip clubs, male chauvinists, “rocking the 88s”, and Shirley MacLaine.

Gibson may have been the only jazz pianist of the 1930s and 1940s to go on to play in rock bands in the 1970s and 1980s.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

‘Handsome Harry the Hipster’ from 1944. Enjoy.

5 MAY PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #435

107.3 2SER Tuesday 5 May 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
1930s Swing on the Wireless
Back Room Romp (A Contrapuntal Stomp)
Rex Stewart and his 52nd Street Sompers
Comm Rec
NYC
7 July 1937
Margie
Benny Goodman Orchestra
‘Camel Caravan’
WABC CBS New York
6 Sep 1938
Here Comes Your Pappy Down The Own Dusty Road + Close
Bob Crosby Orchestra (voc) The Freshman
‘Ford V-8 Revue’
NYC
1936
Set 2
The Songs of Juan Tizol
Zambu
Harry James Orchestra featuring Juan Tizol
Meadowbrook Gardens
Cedar Grove NJ
WNBC NBC NY
Feb 1946
Take The A-Train (theme) + Caravan
Duke Ellington featuring Juan Tizol (tb)
‘Stars in Jazz’
Birdland
WNBC NBC NY
24 Nov 1952
Perdido + Lullaby of Birdland (theme)
Sarah Vaughan
‘Stars In Jazz’
Birdland
WNBC NBC NY
31 Mar 53
Is There Life On Other Planets?
Various Learned Professors
‘University of Chicago Roundtable’
NBC Chicago
1948
Set 3
The Great Jazz Singers of the 1950s on Radio and Tv
Keeps On Raining
Billie Holliday
‘Eddie Condon’s Floor Show’
WPIX TV NY
1949
You’re My Thrill
Carmen McCrea
‘All-Star Parade Of Bands’
Birdland
WRCA NBC NY
1956
Linger Awhile + Tenderly (Close)
Sarah Vaughan
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Sardi’s Hollywood
KFI NBC LA
21 May 1956
Set 4
Cuban Rhythms – Cugie and Desi on the Radio
Open + Brazil
Xavier Cugat Orchestra (voc) Choir
‘Xavier Cugat Show’
AFRTS Re-broadcast
1944
Cachita
Desi Arnez Orchestra (voc) DA
Ciro’s
Hollywood
KNX CBS LA
1946
Chiu Chiu + Close
Xavier Cugat Orchestra (voc) Nita Rosa
‘Xavier Cugat Show’
AFRTS Re-broadcast
1944
Set 5
1944 – 1946 Radio Swing on One Night Stand
Cherokee
Charlie Barnet Orchestra
Radio Transcription
21 Jul 1944
Zanzi
Cab Calloway Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Club Zanzibar NY
AFRS Re-broadcast
16 Jul 1945
On The Road To Mandalay
Jack Teagarden Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Joplin, Missouri
AFRS Re-broadcast
18 Mar 1946
Holiday For Swing + Trinidad
Erskine Hawkins Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln NY
AFRS Re-broadcast
1 May 1946
Set 6
1930s Swing on the Radio
can You Take It?
Fletcher Henderson Orchestra
Comm Rec
New York
18 Aug 1933
Let’s Dance (theme) + Te Object Of My Affection
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) Buddy Clark
‘Let’s Dance’
WEAF NBC Red NY
1 Dec 1934
Zonky
Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra
‘Camel Caravan’
WABC CBS NY
17 Dec 1935
Happy As The Day Is Long + Close
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
‘Ford V-8 Show’
Texas Centennial Exposition
Dallas
Aug 1936
Set 7
Bix Beidebecke
Singin’ The Bluess
Frankie Trambauer Orchestra Orchestra, Bix Beidebecke (cnt) The 1st recorded jazz ballad?
Comm Rec
New York
4 Feb 1927
In A Mist + Candlelight – both composed by Bix
Harry ‘The Hipster’ Gibson (piano)
‘Eddie Condon’s Jazz Concert’
Town Hall
WJZ Blue Network NY
22 Jul 1944
You Took Advantage Of Me
Paul Whiteman Orchestra (voc) Bing Crosby (cnt) Bix Beidebecke
Comm Rec
New York
28 Apr 1928
Set 8
Bop Singers On The Air
What’s The Matter Now?
Clyde Hart’s All-Stars (tp) Dizzy Gillespie (voc) Rubberleg Williams
Comm Rec
NYC
Jan 1945
Hurry Home + Deedle + Royal Roost Bop
Dave Lambert and Buddy Stewart (voc)
‘Symphony Sid Show’
Royal Roost
WMCA NY
5 Mar 1949
I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
Jackie Kane and Roy Kral (voc) Charlie Ventura Quartet
‘Symphony Sid Show’
WMCA NY
1949
Romance Without Finance
Charlie Parker Quintet (voc) Jimmy Butts
Comm Rec
NYC
15 Sep 1944

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