10 of the best jazz songs to listen to on an antique radio

11410_10151499830026660_1208696290_nRecently I acquired a 1937 Silvertone antique radio, after an idea I had to connect old radios with the modern day convenience of AirPlay and iTunes. I connected the line in to an Airport Express, thereby making the radio a veritable Airplay Speaker

Criteria used:

1. The song should be recorded during a time in which analog and tube output was the only option. To hear a song in the original “format” as it were, where the only quality assurance done was with speakers using similar technology, is pure bliss. It’s exactly how the people who made it thought it sounded best. Of course, it wasn’t by choice, but the point is the artist or studio would reject recordings because they didn’t sound good in the analog medium. Perhaps a different choice would have been made if digital was available.(sidestepping the entire digital vs analog argument here..)

2. The song should exemplify a poignant moment in history either with when it was recorded, what it’s about or who the artist that recorded it was. It doesn’t have to be a well known song, but the artist should be one that recorded AND listened to(of course) their recordings(along with the general public who would pay to hear it) on analog equipment.

3. The song should invoke feelings of nostalgia. Not just feelings of being somewhere or of some point in time, but feelings of memory. Memories of your parents or grandparents and what it was like to be them when these songs were released. Or of old movies or various antiquities of the time.

Here they are in no particular order,

1 – “Isfahan” Duke Ellington, The Far East Suite, 1966

2 – “Begin the Beguine” Artie Shaw and his orchestra, 1938

3 – “Mack the Knife (Live)” Louis Armstrong, 1957

4 – “Ain’t Misbehavin’ (I’m savin’ my love for you)'” Louis Armstrong and his orchestra, 1929   http://archive.org/details/Misbehavin

5 – “West End Blues” Louis Armstrong, Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five, 1928

6 – “Body and Soul” Sarah Vaughan, 1954

7 – “King Porter Stomp” Benny Goodman, 1935

8 – “All of me”, Billie Holiday, 1931

9 – “Moonlight Serenade”, Glenn Miller, 1939

10 – “A tisket a tasket” Ella Fitzgerald with Chuck Webb Orchestra, 1938   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUYpUogn91U


There’s also, Top Songs from 1937

And from one of my all time favorites, songs from Bethesda’s Fallout 3

“I don’t want to set the world on fire” The Ink Spots

“A wonderful guy” Tex Beneke, South Pacific, 1949

“Civilization” Danny Kaye with The Andrews Sisters, Angel in the wings musical, 1947

“Crazy he calls me” Billie Holiday, 1949

“Way back home” and “Happy Times” Bob Crosby (Bing’s Father) 1949

“Into each life some rain must fall” The Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald, 1944

“Lets Go Sunning” Jack Shaindlin, 1954

 “Maybe” The Ink Spots, 1940

 “Mighty Mighty Man” Roy Brown, 1948