Ralph Flanagan - Bid Band at the Twilight.
Ralph FlanaganBig Band at the Twilight.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Ralph Flanagan Band – CBS Radio – September 19, 1950 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

I haven’t posted any Big Band in a while. If you discount Count Basie, Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington, then I really haven’t posted any Big Band at all; not this genre of Big Band anyway.

The Mainstream/Pop side of Big Band. The one which was very popular in the 1930s and 1940s. The one which played primarily Dance music – the one which began the slow fade after World War 2 and came to an end with the birth of Rock n’ Roll. Although it was still around long after that, but mostly it was relegated to the “nostalgia” crowd, and the bands were comprised of “pickup musicians”, not regulars, as booking a large band of this kind was an expensive and no longer profitable proposition, and venues capable of sustaining a crowd needed to support a band like this were getting fewer and farther between.

But Jazz was busy evolving and it evolved away from a form best listened at to a form best listened to. And like Rock n’ Roll (as my previous post today indicated), there was resistance to that newly developing style of Jazz. To many from the glory days of Big-Band, this new hybrid of Jazz wasn’t really Jazz – as Louis Armstrong once referred to it – it was “Chinese Music”.

So Ralph Flanagan, with a sound strongly reminiscent of Glenn Miller (one of the key figures of the Big Band era), achieved a modest amount of popularity during his tenure, mostly by re-popularizing the Miller sound. Having formed his first band in 1949, this broadcast features the band in their early period.

Although he had a number of top-40 hits all through the early and mid-1950s, Ralph Flanagan has very much fallen off the radar, and his work has been relegated to the Sweet-Band section of Pop Music. But it must be remembered that bands like Flanagan’s were the backbone of Popular Music in its day, and provided a jumping-off point for musicians and listeners alike.

With that in mind – have a listen to this broadcast by Ralph Flanagan and His Band, as it was heard on September 19, 1950 over the CBS Radio Network.

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