Vintage Music Productions

Tom Coakley

An Evening with Tom Coakley and His Orchestra (1933-1935) VMP 0031 [Vintage Music Productions CD] The unforgettable sound of the popular West Coast bandleader. Includes rare studio recordings and live broadcast transcriptions. With Tony Martin, Carl Ravazza, Armand Camgros and Kay Thompson. Digitally restored to compact disc by Bill Hebden. Liner notes by Bob Arnold. Order No. 31254

1. East Of The Sun [May 28, 1935]
2. Your Guess Is Just As Good As Mine [May 28, 1935]
3. Here Is My Heart [Mar 1933]
4. Clean As A Whistle [Oct 1933]
5. I'm Satisfied [Mar 24, 1934]
6. Many Moons Ago [Nov 20, 1933]
7. Rhythm Is Our Business [May 28, 1935]
8. Take A Number From One To Ten [Sep 25, 1934]
9. We Were The Best Of Friends [Nov 20, 1933]
10. Strike Me Pink [1934]
11. Someday I'll Find You [1934]
12. I Wish I Were Twins [1934]
13. Did You Ever See A Dream Walking? [Nov 20, 1933]
14. Mademoiselle [1934]
15. I Knew You When [1934]
16. Baby Take A Bow [1934]
17. Easy Come Easy Go [1934]
18. Okay Toots [Sep 25, 1934]
19. Your Love [1934]
20. I've Got The Funniest Feeling [1934]
21. 'Long About Midnight [1934]
22. As Far As I'm Concerned [1934]
23. I've Had My Moments [1934]
24. I Can't Give You Anything But Love [1934]

When Tom Coakley was in grammar school he and his friend Jackson Swales formed a small musical group that played for eighth grade parties. Swales played piano, Tom was the drummer. In high school the band expanded to eight pieces. At the University of California it grew to twelve pieces, played for college dances, and was known as the Jackson Swales Orchestra.

After graduation, Swales left for southern California. Tom entered the Boalt Hall School of Law, and in 1929 he re-formed the band, again playing for college dances and, during vacations, at Yosemite National Park. A two year engagement at the Athens Athletic Club in Oakland, California, begun in 1931, was highlighted one night in 1933 when Walter Winchell, hosting the Magic Carpet radio show in New York, introduced the Coakley orchestra to a nationwide audience.

The band toured the West Coast, then took a three-month engagement at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. When they returned from Hollywood, they began playing the Rose Room at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and were widely heard on radio during 1934. The resulting popularity brought them a 1935 coast-to-coast tour of hotel ballrooms. Back in San Francisco in January of 1936, the Coakley orchestra began an engagement at the Hotel St. Francis.

In April of 1936 Tom turned the orchestra over to Carl Ravazza and began a successful law career. In 1953 he was appointed judge of the Superior Court of Mariposa County, California. From 1969 until his retirement in 1972 he served as Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal. Tom Coakley died at the age of 90, on May 19, 1995, in his home in Monterey County, California.

Special mention goes to former Coakley Orchestra members Virginia Haig Green and Leon "Lee" Green. Virginia was a vocalist, Lee a pianist and arranger, and they were much in love with each other. But Lee said he was not ready for marriage. He left the band in late 1933 or early 1934. Virginia stayed on. Each eventually married someone else. Many, many years later, when both were single again, they were reunited and married. Interviewed in 1991, they provided the names of the musicians who played the sessions heard on this CD. They cautioned that there was a lot of doubling in the Coakley orchestra; one cannot be sure who played which instrument on any given recording.


With Tom Coakley (drums, director) * Frank Barton (trumpet, vocals) * Lyle Bardo (trumpet, arranger) * Bud Bardo (trombone) * Jack Vance (clarinet, saxophone) * George Kinney (clarinet, saxophone) * Milton Tharp (clarinet, saxophone) * Bill Washington (clarinet, saxophone) * Stan Brent (clarinet, saxophone) * Carl Ravazza (clarinet, saxophone, violin, vocals) * Armand Camgros (clarinet, saxophone, violin, vocals) * Joe Coates (violin) * Tom Smith (violin) * Bill Moreing (violin) * Frank Hauser (violin) * Fred Williams (violin, vocals) * Bud Gregg (piano) * Leon Green (piano, arranger) * Ham Richards (guitar) * Jerry Rice (guitar) * Bob Englander (string bass) * Carl Schwedhelm (string bass) * Ozzie Bigelow (drums) * Jimmy Emerson (drums) * Dudley Nix (vocals) * Al Morris (vocals) * Kay Thompson (vocals) * Virginia Haig (vocals) * Jackson Swales (composer).

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. 31254

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