While there may not be many people walking around today who even remember the Ted Weems Orchestra, there are a great number, I’d wager, who remember his male vocalist, a fellow named Perry Como, who passed away in May six days before his eighty–ninth birthday. Some may even recall the band’s other vocalist, Marva (later to become film star Marilyn) Maxwell, or Weems’ best–known “intrumentalist,” the unrivaled whistler, Elmo Tanner, who helped make “Heartaches” a mega–hit for Weems and the band. This relatively brief and sonically impaired album was cobbled together by Soundcraft from the orchestra’s popular radio broadcasts in 1940–41 (whose announcer, Garry Moore, later teamed on radio with the wonderful Jimmy Durante before hosting his own weekly television show, a series that introduced, among others, a young comedienne named Carole Burnett). This is standard dance–band fare, enlivened at times by a dixie beat, with Como featured on half a dozen selections including “Indian Summer” and “Fools Rush In,” Tanner on three (“Charming Little Faker,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” with Perry on “When It’s Twilight on the Trail”). Maxwell, who may or may not have been a member of the orchestra at this time, doesn’t sing at all. Because radio time was limited and Weems seldom lingered more than two minutes or so on a given number, no less than seventeen songs (sometimes separated by awkward banter between Weems and Moore) are squeezed into the album’s 39:14 playing time. The orchestra sounds largely generic, and the album’s main points of interest are Tanner’s remarkable whistling (an art that seems almost to have vanished) and the early vocal development of soon–to–be superstar Perry Como.
Contact:Soundcraft, P. O. Box 840705, Hollywood, FL 33084.
Personnel: Ted Weems, leader; Perry Como, Marvell (Marilyn) Maxwell, vocals; Elmo Tanner, whistling. Other personnel unidentified.