From the Land of Band Box Records

Vinyl Show Coming to Colorado Springs November 10th!

October 2, 2019

Save the Date Vinyl & Music Collectors!

Christopher Davis of the ‘Springs’ has announced his first collectors’ record show event coming soon:


Colorado Springs Record Show
November 10, 2019
Venue: The Masonic Center
1130 Panoramic Drive, 80904

(Located “just five minutes up the road from I-25 and Exit 145” Christopher Reports

Times & Costs

Early Bird Admission: 9 am – $10.00 Ticket
General Admission: 10 am – $3.00 Ticket
Show Hours 10 am until 4 am

Sellers Tables: $55.00 each

Click on the image above to visit the Colorado Springs Record Show Event – Christopher has posted a PDF file with additional information for vendors including a sign-up sheet, etc.

Web Site:





Mr. Whiteman…& All that Jazz

August 19, 2019

(Note: Paul Whiteman was born Paul Samuel Whiteman on March 28th, 1890 in Denver, Colorado. Whiteman attended East High School as well as other Denver high schools (some say as many as five) including Denver West High School,due to his rambunctious ways and frequent suspensions.  His first instrument as a boy was the violin.  At the early age of 16 Whiteman was a short-term member of the Denver Symphony.  He left Denver in the spring of 1914 where he joined Max Bendix’s Exposition Orchestra playing both violin and viola.  He would next join the San Francisco Symphony and also played with the Minetti String Quartet.  During World War I Whiteman  conducted the U.S. Navy band, the Mare Island Naval Training Camp Symphony Orchestra.  After the war he formed his own “Paul Whiteman Orchestra”.  By 1922 Whiteman’s popularity soared and he was earning a staggering sum of around one million dollars a year!)

The Versatile Paul Whiteman

In the spring of 1929 Paul Whiteman was interviewed by Radio Digest Magazine.  Reflecting on a burgeoning musical form – jazz – he stated, “Jazz is what we are as we go about day to day; it is our life expressed in musical terms.”

He further related that jazz in many ways was a way of bringing the music of “the masters” (think the classical composers) to the masses.  Whiteman has been challenged through the years by critics as not being a purveyor of ‘genuine’ jazz.

But defenders point out that Whiteman was genuinely interested in and an early practitioner of the form – and that while performing in an era of stringent racial segregation in music (as in all areas of life in America) he often worked with black musicians.

He offered, “When it is all over I want to know more about what the American public likes than anyone else has ever known before.”  Whiteman believed strongly about interpreting the classics into a rhythmic jazz form.

He summarized, “I do believe the radio public is willing to receive jazz with an unprejudiced mind.”  By the 1920’s, America’s media was calling Whiteman “The King of Jazz”.

From Classical to Jazz

Whiteman’s musical background was firmly classical music and his initial exposure was – as stated above – with symphony orchestras.  So how did he evolve into the world of jazz?  In a November, 1929 article – again appearing in Radio Digest magazine,

Seems that Paul – while in San Francisco – had fallen into a period of depression that he just couldn’t shake.  An acquaintance of his steered him into a Barbary Coast jazz venue (which was alluded to as a “hell hole”).  Paul relates what happened next:  “”Here it was that jazz and I met for the very first time, and I, at least, have since never been the same!”

Whiteman’s jazz men 1929 on the CBS Old Gold Hour radio program

He continued “Jazz bowled me over the moment I heard its screeching notes which seemed to strike at me from out of the not too pleasantly aromatic haze of a beer dive back room where men and women seemed to be contorting themselves in a queer gyration that stressed the mad house blare beat of the music.”   

“….I wanted to shout, with the ecstasy of the spiritual release from all oppression that I felt, and so I did it.  No one heard me.  They were all doing the very same thing because they felt the very same way!  Hurrah for JAZZ!”

Whiteman was on his way to a new way of life.  And soon he would be freed from the fiscal restrictions of being a symphony performer.

Whiteman acknowledges the many critics that he faced and would continue to face summing up “To my caustic critics, the the preachers, the pedagogues, to all others I have since, and more than once, pointed out that for me jazz was nothing short of a moral agent.  Yes, of course they laughed at the idea, but that was their mistake…”

By 1931, Whiteman was being referred to as “The King of Jazz” and was appearing on a weekly NBC radio program which was extremely popular with his fans.

The Rhapsody of Whiteman

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In 1924 – the always versatile and diverse Paul Whiteman commissioned composer George Gershwin.  A true American standard, Rhapsody made its debut on February 12th, 1924 with a presentation by Whiteman and orchestra performing in New York City at Aeolian Hall – constructed in 1912 the by Aeolian Piano Company.  Gershwin participated in the concert playing piano.  The number would establish George Gershwin and set the stage for a marvelous composing career.

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George and Paul (no Ringo or John)

The song didn’t lend itself to recording on the 78 rpm format due to it’s length which approached 18 minutes.  A 1945 version by Oscar Levant managed to chart on the Cash Box charts reaching number 23.  A jazz-rock version was released in 1973 by Eumir Deodato reaching number 41 on the Billboard charts.  The piece was originally referred to as a “jazz concerto” before becoming “Rhapsody in Blue”.  Analysis of the composition is complex and far-ranging but there was no doubt that jazz was the impetus for the number.

NBC’s Synchronization Experiment

In 1932 the Whiteman Orchestra participated in an NBC bold first time radio experiment in which musicians performing over 1,000 miles apart were synchronized – the result being vocalist Bebe Daniels singing in Hollywood backed by the Whiteman Orchestra who were in Illinois.  Radio Doings Magazine stated, “Without missing a single note or losing the rhythm, Miss Daniels sang to Whiteman’s music as perfectly as if they had been in the same room.”

Synchronized: Daniels West – Whiteman Midwest

Whiteman Hard at Work 1932

The Daily Grind

Paul gave an interview in late 1933 with Radio Stars Magazine explaining how tedious his daily routine was – a routine which included constant touring, often performing three times daily, delivering a weekly radio broadcast, making special guest appearances – with much more crammed in – and all on about 5 hours of sleep per night.  He recognized radio as a means of promoting and enlarging his audiences at live performances.

Margaret Livingston

In the summer of 1931, Paul Whiteman tied the knot with the attractive motion picture actress – with the ceremony back in Paul’s home town of Denver.  Margaret was interviewed by Radio Stars Magazine.  She related how a condition of Paul’s marriage proposal was an edict for the 300 pound-plus Whiteman to trim down.  And trim down he did – losing more than 100 pounds!  The article also relates how – before departing for the West Coast – Whiteman held down a job in Denver as a taxi driver.

It was revealed that in 1932 Whiteman earned over $150,000 from broadcasting and an additional $250,000 to $300,000 from his appearances and recordings.  The couple were unable to have children of their own and so they adopted four.

Into the Halls

Paul Whiteman ranks right near the top as a successful recording artist ranking in the “Top Ten” artists of all-time.  That listing also includes Coloradoan’s Glenn Miller and Billy Murray.

Whiteman is an inductee into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.  He has also been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, The Big Band Hall of Fame and the Jazz Hall of Fame.  He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – one for Radio and one for Recording.

What’s on the Air Magazine – 1931

Radio Land Magazine – August, 1934

Radio Stars Magazine – March, 1936

Billboard Magazine – January, 1938

Radio Guide Magazine – September, 1940

Tune In Magazine – September, 1944

Radio Album Magazine – 1948

The Paul Whiteman Family

Many musicians of note passed through the Whiteman band/orchestra over the years.  He had an excellent eye and ear for talent and was constantly on the lookout for new promising musicians.

(Row 1: Billie Holiday; Al Caiola; Bix Beiderbecke; The Brox Sisters – Row 2: Vic Berton; Tommy Dorsey; Roy Barby; Red Norvo; Bing Crosby – Row 3: Red Nichols; Red McKenzi; The Pickens Sisters; Paul Robeson; Billy Murray – Row 4: The Original Rhythm Boys; The Modernaires; Mildre Bailey; Jimmy Dorsey; Billy Butterfield – Row 5: Jack Teagarden; Hoagy Carmichael; Henry Busse; Helen Clark; Bunny Berrigan – Row 6: George Gershwin; Elsie Baker; Eddie Lang; Carl Kress)

Recording Success

Paul Whiteman enjoyed 209 charting records from 1920 through 1940 – with 30 records obtaining the number 1 position.  He recorded primarily on Victor Records but also Columbia and Decca – as well for a short time on Capitol Records.

Visit the Paul Whiteman 78 RPM Discography here (or click on the image below

Paul Whiteman in the Movies

King of Jazz – 1930

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Thanks A Million -1935

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Strike Up The Band – 1940

Atlantic City – 1944

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Rhapsody in Blue – 1945

The Fabulous Dorseys – 1947

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Roadrunners – The “Fabulous” That is….

August 10, 2019

Coffee & More Memories with Sunderland…..

John Sunderland

Had a nice reunion with former Denver rocker, Denver Post Staff Photographer and soon-to-be Colorado Press Club Hall of Fame Inductee John Sunderland.

We met out on East Colfax appropriately enough – at Starbucks which John pointed out had started off back in the day as a “Red Barn” fast food establishment – We were also noot far from where John spent many of his growing up years as well close to a venue where his 1960’s group “The Roadrunners” appeared often – Le Bistro A-Go-Go located at 3100 East Colfax (today is “Annies”).  That venue went through several name changes including “The Bandbox” and “The Mad Russian”.

Image result for the red barn on east colfax restaurantImage result for the red barn on east colfax restaurant

For an historical narrative of John’s Colorado garage groups visit this Garage Group” page and scroll down to “The Fabulous Roadrunners” listing and then “Denver’s Super Sonics” page (with Bobby Swanson).  John had come to Bobby Swanson’s Sonics after his earlier group disbanded “The Emeralds”.

Notice that this newspaper does prefix the band’s name with “The Fabulous”.  They were then backing a local soul singer – Kenny Jay.  Le Bistro featured a large glass window facing Colfax where the owner would place a live Go-Go Dancer to attract the attention of passing motorists (notice “In the Window”) listed in the ad.  John told me that he still knows the dancer’s name – She is now in her mid 70’s and we both agreed it would be fun to locate her and revisit Denver’s 1960’s Go-Go Scene!

The Denver night club scene was very competitive and a rivalry among bar owners was not always that friendly according to Sunderland.  “We must have been evacuated 10 or more times in the midst of a nightclub appearance due to a phone in bomb scare” Sunderland recalled.  Though nobody was ever identified – John knew the scare call had to come from a competitor.

Another time John remembers two very large tough looking guys entering into the nightclub where the Roadrunners were playing – both taking a seat near the stage – then glaring up at the band or rather threateningly scanning the club.  “Then just like that, one of them stood, grabbed a chair and flung it through the bar”, John exclaimed.  A knockdown drag out fist fight instantly broke out between the ‘messengers” and the night club’s bouncers – clearing the club – a little more proactive than a bomb scare – but effective all the same.

Fireman’s Hall – Surf’s Up in Aurora!

No Surf City in the Mile High City

John related another tale – His group – The Emeralds, were playing at Aurora’s “Fireman’s Hall” a small venue in the east Denver suburb – When they entered the hall and were about to set up they were approached by the manager who casually informed them they would be performing on the same bill as Jan and Dean!  “We just looked at him thinking – Jan and Dean?  We don’t play surf music!”  Before the could regroup – out walk two blond haired – young – surfin’ types.  They were introduced – stepped up to club microphone – and then commenced to lip sync one of their songs.

(Note that the “Fireman’s Dance” was yet another Pogo Poge production)

“It was horrible”, recalls John.  “The speaker broadcasting from the microphone was inferior, crackling and difficult to hear.  Kids in the hall just sort of sat on their hands, looking rather embarrassed.”  They only ones who should have been embarrassed were Jan and Dean and the Fireman’s Hall manager – The two certainly were not Jan and Dean – just two blond haired locals – impostors!

The Mammoth

Another local venue – which had served Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood located just off East Colfax as a roller skating rink, was Mammoth Gardens.  In early 1960, KIMN’s very popular Pogo Poge began presenting a weekly teen dance at the venue – probably in April of 1960 which was billed as the “Pogo Poge Teen Dance”.

John remembered that Mammoth was still functioning as a roller rink during the week and then would be set up on Saturdays for the Teen Dance.  “The kids all had to take off their shoes to protect the skating rink surface”, he remembers.  John said that typically a couple of local acts would play each Saturday and that Swanson’s Sonics were more or less regulars.  John said there was another four-piece local garage group which played several times on the same dates as the Sonics.  “They were really good.  They had a great tight rock and roll sound” he remembers.  “They all wore slick blue jackets.  After the Mammoth, I never ran into them again.

Vincent – Hurricanes

On occasion the Sonics would be on the same bill with a national act – John recalls playing on the same date as Johnny and the Hurricanes one time and another time with Gene Vincent.  The troubled rocker had very recently just made his comeback after being involved in a horrific automobile accident which damaged his ribs, collarbone and further damaged a bad leg which plagued him throughout his brief career.  The accident also claimed the life of rocker Eddie Cochran and severely injured Cochran’s song-writing girl friend Sharon Sheeley.

“I remember going down into the basement of the Mammoth – a rather bleak depressing catacomb-like area where acts changed – and there was Vincent.  He wasn’t accompanied by the Blue Caps at this point.  He just sat there all alone on a little wooden bench with holding his head in his hand, lost in thought.  It was sad.”

Into the Hall

John Sunderland enjoyed a long career with the Denver Post serving as a staff photographer and because area musical events generally took place on weekends and nights he was tapped as the music photographer.  This provided John with many opportunities to see some great talent and to meet many of the stars.  Bob Dylan, Elton John, Fats Domino were among the many he met up with.  The Denver Press Club is located at 1330 Glenarm Place in downtown Denver.  The club opened in the 1860’s and today is protected by the National Historic Register

This coming October, John will be inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame – a tremendous and well-deserved honor indeed!

“I have been so fortunate”, John exclaims.  I got to play rock and roll in Denver during a great time in this city, and then I landed my dream job as a photographer.”  Truly a wonderful life.

The Sonics

The Rathskeller with The Fabulous Roadrunners

John told me the white Corvette below belonged to the photographer who took the picture.

L-R: Hernandez – Swanson – Sunderland – Corrigan

L-R: Hernandez – Corrigan – Sunderland – Swanson

L-R: Bobby Swanson, Mike Corrigan. Tony Hernandez and John Sunderland