From the Record Shelves #125

Everything I Have Is Yours

CD Columbia/Legacy C2K 52942

This well produced CD contains vocals by 18 crooners, some of them like Gene Austin worthy of more remembrance today. The angle of the album is to present music from the art deco era, and we get an interesting article on the subject in the accompanying booklet by Michael Brooks.

It also states that the art of American pop singing started in the middle of the 1920s with the introduction of electrical recording, when a singer of popular songs could be personal and come closer to the listener.

Gene Austin (1900-1972) with a background in vaudeville became very popular at the time with big record sale figures. His greatest hit was My Blue Heaven from 1927. He had a good voice with a wide register, and he kept up a broad repertoire, not only taking profit from this success. He also composed some tunes, the most impressive is the gospel styled Lonesome Road.

In this tune he is backed up by Jimmy Dorsey on clarinet and Joe Venuti on violin. The recording is made in December 1933, so the guitar could not be played as usual by Eddie Lang who sadly had died earlier in the year. His replacement is probably one Coco Heimel. We hear a second take in which Austin, the singer makes a mistake by entering too soon in the second chorus, but he handles it well.

The song came from a musical called Dancing Lady and other recordings of it were made by, for example, Joe Venuti’s big band and later by Billie Holiday.