Vintage Music Productions

Ina Ray Hutton

Ina Ray Hutton and Her Melodears (1934-1944) VMP 0081 [Vintage Music Productions CD] Featuring 14 of the best sides from Ina Ray Hutton's "All Girl" Melodear Orchestra, plus 10 by Ina Ray Hutton and Her Orchestra. Digitally restored to compact disc by Bill Hebden. Liner notes by Jeff Hopkins. Order No. 32300

1. How's About Tomorrow Night [Jul 12, 1934]
2. And I Still Do [Jul 19, 1934]
3. Georgia's Gorgeous Gal [Sep 13, 1934]
4. Wild Party [Sep 13, 1934]
5. Twenty-Four Hours In Georgia [Sep 13, 1934]
6. Witch Doctor [Jul 12, 1934]
7. Blues In The Groove [1936]
8. Truckin' [1936]
9. High Steppin' [1936]
10. I'm 100% For You [1936]
11. Struttin' With The Ladies [1937]
12. Medley: Stardust/Organ Grinders Swing [1937]
13. Suzi-Q [1937]
14. Melodear Swing [1937]
15. What's The Good Of Moonlight [Jul 16, 1941]
16. Nobody's Sweetheart [Jul 16, 1941]
17. Angry [Apr 13, 1943]
18. Remember [Jun 1, 1943]
19. In My Arms [Sep 18, 1943]
20. Star Eyes [Sep 18, 1943]
21. Rose Room [Apr 13, 1943]
22. Tess' Torch Song [Apr 13, 1943]
23. Ring Dem Bells [Apr 13, 1943]
24. All Of Me [Jul 23, 1944]

I'm selling this show as a music program ...

but if curves attract an audience, so much the better.

~ Ina Ray Hutton

Ina Ray Hutton was born Odessa Cowan, in Chicago, on March 13, 1916. Her professional career began early, when in 1924, she appeared, as a young tap dancer, with a revue produced by Gus Edwards. By 1934, she was appearing in several Broadway shows, including George White's "Melody" and the Ziegfeld Follies. It was also in 1934 that Ina Ray, with the help of Irving Mills, began organizing her Melodear orchestra.

In a time when both bandleaders and musicians were almost exclusively men, Ina Ray Hutton and Her Melodears represented a rare novelty. Without a doubt, the curiosity of an "all-girl" orchestra, led by a well-proportioned and ceaselessly undulating, young blonde, contributed tremendously to the band's early popularity. But it would be a mistake to conclude, as some critics have suggested, that mere novelty was the only thing standing between them and obscurity. To be sure, few bands, in 1934, could have been expected to go toe-to-toe with a Jimmie Lunceford or a Chick Webb, and the Melodears were certainly no exception. Nevertheless, the band did have its share of genuine talent in such musicians as Ruth Bradley (clarinet, alto sax), Helen Baker (guitar) and Lil Singer (drums). In fact, given that so few opportunities otherwise existed for these women, it is really no surprise that Ina Ray Hutton and Her Melodears represented the highest concentration of female talent anywhere in the industry.

The Melodear orchestra toured and recorded for five years. During this period, they appeared in several Paramount film shorts, including "Feminine Rhythm" (1935), "Accent On Girls" (1936) and "Swing, Hutton, Swing" (1937). They also appeared in Paramount's feature-length production, "Big Broadcast of 1936."

In 1939, Ina Ray disbanded the group and, in partnership with George Paxton, formed a new, all-male orchestra. This band, too, featured many fine musicians, including Paxton (tenor sax), Hal Schaefer (piano) and Jack Purcell (guitar). For a time, the band also employed future sax headliner, Serge Chaloff.

In the two years prior to the start of World War II, Ina Ray Hutton and Her Orchestra, as the new band was called, made a number of recordings for Okeh and Elite. During the war, however, their greatest source of recorded output came from broadcast transcriptions produced by the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS). These were made during the band's extensive tour of military bases, throughout the country. During this period, the band also appeared in the film short, "Ina Ray and Her Orchestra" (Paramount 1943), and Ina Ray herself had a featured part in the Columbia musical, "Ever Since Venus" (1944).

Ina Ray, again, disbanded her orchestra, in 1944, during that same fateful December when so many big band leaders called it quits. Two years later, she briefly led another all-male band (the band formerly led by Bob Alexander), and in 1949, she married fellow bandleader, Randy Brooks. In 1950, she organized a new all-girl orchestra, which, for several years in the 1950s, reached its audience through the medium of television. In the summer of 1956, she even had her own nationally-televised "Ina Ray Hutton Show." Ina Ray's last recorded performance came in the 1974 movie, "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?" She died in Ventura, California, February 19, 1984.


With Ina Ray Hutton and Her Melodears * Ina Ray Hutton (vocals, director) * Kay Walsh (trumpet) * Estella Slavin (trumpet) * Elvira Rohl (trumpet) * Ruth McMurray (trombone) * Althea Heuman (trombone) * Ruth Bradley (clarinet, saxophone, vocals) * Betty Sticht (clarinet, saxophone) * Helen Ruth (clarinet, saxophone) * Audrey Hall (clarinet, saxophone) * Jerrine Hyde (piano) * Mirriam Greenfeld (piano) * Helen Baker (guitar) * Marie Lebz (string bass) * Lil Singer (drums) * Ina Ray Hutton and Her Orchestra * Clarence Willard (trumpet) * Eddie Zandy (trumpet) * Mac Adams (trumpet) * Joe Ortolano (trombone) * Bud Smith (trombone) * Jack Andrews (trombone) * Leonard Ray (trombone) * Sol Kane (saxophone) * Martin Berman (saxophone) * Danny Cappi (saxophone, arranger) * George Paxton (saxophone, arranger) * Tony Aless (piano) * Jack Purcell (guitar) * Pat Ruggles (string bass) * Ralph Collier (drums) * Kim Loo Sisters (vocals) * Stuart Foster (vocals).

Ordering Information

To order this CD, visit Worlds Records at http://www.worldsrecords.com. Or call 1-800-742-6663. When ordering, refer to the order number below (in red). For online orders, this five-digit number can be copied and pasted into the text field for "itemcode" searches.

Order No. 32300

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