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The Chesterfield Broadcasts, Vol. 1

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Album Review

1939 was Glenn Miller's breakthrough year, and at the end of it he earned his own network radio show, broadcast on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights at 10 p.m. over CBS. The hiring of the Andrews Sisters, who had scored their first hit at the start of 1938 and several more since, as the show's regular guests gave the brief broadcasts considerably added star power. The sisters stayed with the show only for the first 13 weeks, and this oddly arranged disc is the first of a scheduled two to chronicle their appearances. The oddity is that this is more a Miller album than an Andrews one: it was his show, it's on his record label, the liner notes are mostly about him, and he and his band perform without the sisters on five of the 16 tracks. Nevertheless, the album provides an opportunity to hear the Andrews Sisters sing many of their big hits — "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön," "Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out the Barrel)," "Hold Tight-Hold Tight (Want Some Sea Food Mama)," and others — in live aircheck renditions, as well as Miller doing favorites like "In the Mood" and "Tuxedo Junction." The recordings have been culled from throughout the 13-week period and edited to create the impression of a single radio show. The result is both a good time capsule of the winter of 1939-1940 and a collection of well-performed music.


Formed: 1932 in Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

The Andrews Sisters were the most successful female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century in the U.S. One source lists 113 singles chart entries by the trio between 1938-1951, an average of more than eight per year. They boasted an exuberant, close-harmony style well-suited to cheery novelty songs, and their intricate vocal arrangements and rhythmic ability mirrored the sound of the swing bands that constituted their chief competition in their heyday. But, in a sense, they had no competition....
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