Volume 2 (1937-40)


Shoestring SS-101

It was the fall of 1929 and Frank Cornwell was returning (after a session or two of vaudeville) to Janssen's Hofbrau for the fall opening. A young (he would not reach 21 till the following month) and unknown BUNNY BERIGAN arrived from Wisconsin to join the Cornwell band (which also included Frank Froeba and Charlie Keagley). BUNNY did not remain for long. Tommy Dorsey, another future star, who had already established himself in the NYC music scene, was a regular visitor to hear BUNNY and the band and without a doubt Tommy took BUNNY to Plunkett's, the musicians hangout of that period and also to the numerous jam sessions which were then so common. This was the beginning of an association that would continue until the demise of BUNNY in 1942.

Within the next 18 months BUNNY would join the Hal Kemp band, tour Europe and within a short time after the band's return to NYC, join the CBS staff orchestra. Soon the demands for this man's talents would exceed his ability to accommodate them. He was featured on a number of Dorsey Brothers recording sessions. Prior to working in Tommy's band of late 1936 early 1937 he would spend almost 6 years in and out of the radio and recording studios and do hundreds of club dates, almost always in the company of one or both of the Dorsey.

Among the vast groups of enthusiasts who proclaim swing as 'THEIR MUSIC', the name BUNNY BERIGAN, in association with the bands of Kemp, Rich, Goodman, Dorsey and the many pseudonyms used by American Record Company labels, will always remain a tribute to the superb artistry of the 'Miracle Man of Swing'.

In this album will be heard the rare air checks of Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra, as well as the first and most successfull band of BUNNY BERIGAN. Heard also in ari check from the Westwood Symphony Gardens in Dearborn, Michigan, a subrub of Detroit. An outdoor ballroom completely shadowed by huge oak and elm trees, this pavillion was considered the finest dancing emporium in the Detroit area.

As we listen to this LP it will be remembered that though all the musical success of BUNNY, the financial guidance and admiration of Tommy Dorsey is present. Thirty eight years later, it is refreshing to hear professional talent in the music media, that was lost when the big bands succumbed to the individual talents of corrosive amateurs.

May you enjoy this LP as much as this writer did, and at the same time remember that SWING will never die as long as the phonograph is available and the music of the 30's can be obtained.


J. Michel O'Brien - November, 1975.

This abridged text is used with the permission from Shoestring Records.