AUDIO | Cigarettes, Cigars

Ruth Etting in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931Here’s a great audio clip of Ruth Etting singing Cigarettes, Cigars. The song features lyrics by Mack Gordon and music by Harry Revel, and Ruth first sang it in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931.

Click here for the lyrics!

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VIDEO | Close Your Eyes, 1933

Just found this slideshow on YouTube featuring some photos of Ruth Etting that I’ve never seen before! Always cool! And it’s all set to Ruth’s version of “Close Your Eyes” a song written by Bernice Petkere, in 1933. Ruth recorded it in Los Angeles, California on September 21, 1933.

For more on this song, see http://ruthetting.com/close-your-eyes/

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BroadwayWorld.com: A Tribute to Ruth Etting

From broadwayworld.com:

Martha Lorin in ‘Love Me or Leave Me’ at Milford Theater
Sunday, May 15, 2011

Martha Lorin performed at Milford Theater last night. It was the first preview of their new show “Love Me Or Leave Me – A Tribute to Ruth Etting” Directed by theater legend Larry Fuller. Written by Larry Fuller and Martha Lorin. Produced by Lampkin Music Group, Eric Bufano and Milford Theater.

Lorin performed to a large crowd which included Co-President of Women in Arts and Media and Shellen Lubin, who will be directing Lanie Kazan in an upcoming reading of BELLE BARTH in New York later this season.

Next stop is Gardenia in LA next Saturday the 14th, 2011 at 9:00p.m.

Read More

Sounds like a fun night!

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Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants, a new film starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinsonis, is set for release on April 22, 2011.

“Veterinary school student Jacob (Robert Pattinson) meets and falls in love with Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), a star performer in a circus of a bygone era. They discover beauty amidst the world of the Big Top, and come together through their compassion for a special elephant. Against all odds Jacob and Marlena find lifelong love.” – imdb.com

The soundtrack features an excerpt of Ruth Etting singing Button Up Your Overcoat – which is very cool! And because the film stars Pattinson, one of the super-hot stars of the Twilight films, it’s bound to get some attention. Here’s hoping it’s a huge hit, and that a few more people discover Ruth Etting!

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Gift of Gab this Saturday at the Billy Wilder Theatre

One of Ruth Etting’s three biggest films is being shown this week in Los Angeles, so if you’re in the area, it’s a chance to finally see a formerly “lost” film!

The UCLA Film and Television Archive’s salute to vaudevillians on film, “Mixed Nuts,” presents the 1934 musical comedy “Gift of Gab,” with Edmund Lowe, Gloria Stuart and Ruth Etting on Saturday at the Billy Wilder Theatre, along with 1932′s “The Big Broadcast,” with Bing Crosby, Burns and Allen, Kate Smith and Cab Calloway. Rounding out the program is the 1931 short “Taxi Tangle,” with Jack Benny. Scheduled for Sunday evening is a nitrate print of the 1935 comedy “Here Comes Cookie,” with Gracie Allen. Also screening is another comedy with Wheeler and Woolsey, “Diplomanics.” www.cinema.ucla.edu.
LA Times, January 12, 2011

For years Gift of Gab was thought to be a “lost” film, since there were no known surviving copies lefts. But a few years back a print was found, and it was reported that while the picture quality left something to be desired, the soundtrack was supposedly in great condition. I have no idea is the version being shown at UCLA is that version, or if another copy has been found – but either way, it definitely seems worth seeing!

For more on the film, see http://ruthetting.com/gift-of-gab/

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VIDEO | It Was So Beautiful, 1932

Ruth Etting sings It Was So Beautiful, which charted at #13 in 1932. The name of the film is omitted from the YouTube listing, but based on the costumes, the year, and the fact that it was produced by Vidafone, it’s most likely from A Modern Cinderella.

For more on the song, see http://ruthetting.com/it-was-so-beautiful/

It Was So Beautiful

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Universal Music Group donates Archive to Library of Congress

Universal Music Group, the largest music conglomerate in the United States, has donated a collection of approximately 200,000 metal, glass and lacquer master discs dating between 1926 and 1948 to the Library of Congress.
– Matthew Perpetua, Rolling Stone, January 10, 2011

Ruth Etting recorded mostly for Columbia Records, which is now owned by Sony – so this news item doesn’t affect most of her records, but it may affect a few songs! Universal Music started as a branch of Universal Pictures, and Ruth made a couple of films for Universal, including Gift of Gab in 1934. Additionally, she also recorded for Decca Records in 1936-37, and that label was later merged with several other labels, and eventually folded into Universal Music Group. So it’s entirely possible that some Ruth Etting music may be included in the donation.

The article in Rolling Stone goes on to say that while the Library of Congress will get custody of the physical master discs, UMG will retain the copyright – so UMG really isn’t losing any potential income – they’re just handing over the masters to be archived by an entity devoted to preserving historical documents. Good deal!

And perhaps even more interesting, the Library of Congress “will soon begin the process of digitizing the music directly from the master discs, which Universal may eventually issue as commercial releases.” It’s an exciting development, and good news for lovers of vintage music!

There are currently four major record labels – Sony, EMI/Warner Music Group, BMG, and Universal Music Group. And of those UMG is the largest, so perhaps where they lead, the others will follow?

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Some ideas for Christmas…

In the mood to add to your music collection this holiday season? Why not try something here, from Amazon.com.

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IMAGE | Ruth Etting in Hawaii

In Hawaii

Even celebrities go on vacation!

Louie Despres blogs on a site called Give Me the Good Old Days and in January of 2009 he posted some snapshots of Hollywood stars and other celebrities in Hawaii, found in an old scrapbook he’d acquired. Among the photos was a snapshot of Ruth Etting, circa the mid-1930′s, and he’s generously allowed me to repost it here. Thanks Louie!

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Another new collection of Ruth Etting songs!

Back in November I posted about two new collections of Ruth Etting’s music that were released the month before, but what I didn’t realize is that there was actually a third collection released during that same time period.

Hits Of The 20s & 30s was released by AP Music LTD, on October 26, 2010. The download-only album includes twenty-six tracks, including old favorites like Love Me Or Leave Me, Ten Cents A Dance, Ain’t Misbehavin’, and Button Up Your Overcoat, but also some fun new stuff like Were Your Ears Burning Baby? and Hey! Young Fella.

The most important thing this collection has in common with the other download-only album released the same month, is that in both, the files are much cleaner, and the sound is MUCH better than older files of the same songs. In other words, even if you own a CD or two with these same songs, you should still check out these new collections – the sound quality is that much better!

And just to prove the point, check out these two snippets of my two new favorite songs!

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