Saturday, December 5, 2015

Nobody's Sweetheart

Original Sheet front illustration (1924)
Nobody's Sweetheart was published in 1924 with music by Billy Meyers and Elmer Schoebel, and lyrics by Gus Kahn and Ernie Erdman. The song was introduced by Ted Lewis  in the revue The Passing Show of 1923.
Part of music sheet front
Jazz musicians took an immediate liking to the tune, and ever since its inception it has been a favorite of jazz players and listeners everywhere.

Isham Jones and his orchestra
Isham Jones and his orchestra was one of the first 'hot' dance bands to record a version of Nobody's Sweetheart in February 1924

The lyrics of Nobody's Sweetheart are about a female character who challenges the norm and morality of the the bourgeois, the text reads: 
You're nobody's sweetheart now.
They don't baby you somehow.
Fancy hose, silken gown--
You'd be out of place in your own hometown. 
When you walk down the avenue,
They just can't believe that it's you.
Painted lips, painted eyes, 
Wearing a bird of paradise--
It all seems wrong somehow that
You're nobody's sweetheart now.

Marion Harris
Vaudeville singer Marion Harris  had a hit with Nobody's Sweetheart in 1929 

Cab Calloway and his orchestra
Bandleader Cab Calloway and his orchestra had success with the recording of Nobody's Sweetheart with vocal by the leader 1930

During the 1930s Nobody's Sweetheart became part of the standard book of the swing jazz ensemble, here I'll focus on two recordings made on December 5, 1938.

Freddie Valier's String Swing - Robert Normann far right
The guitarist Robert Normann recorded his first session with Freddie Valier's String Swing in Oslo on December 5, 1938. Among the four recordings was a version of Nobody's Sweetheart featuring a great solo by Robert Normann, inserted below

Oscar Alemán in the 1930s
Also on December 5, 1938, this time in Copenhagen, another version of Nobody's Sweetheart was recorded. Oscar Alemán recorded his solo version of the tune while on tour in Scandinavia with Josephine Baker - the recording is an unaccompanied solo for guitar by a master of the instrument

This particular recording by Oscar Alemán - together with the three other tunes recorded at the same session - was my step stone 35 years ago to embark on a research adventure of the complete discography of Oscar Alemán. Until recently the online discography patiently and carefully collected by Hans Koert has been the most complete listing of Alemán's recorded legacy. Now a revised and updated version of the material including newly found items has been made available by Andrés 'Tito' Liber. You may read more about it at the Oscar Alemán blog that also has the links to an uploaded and free accessible version of the discography, here 

Retrospect Keep Swinging (old) Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Friends of the Keep Swinging blog Keep Swinging Contributions

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