[Dixielandjazz] The Torch

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Fri Sep 19 02:54:12 PDT 2008

Roger Wade wrote:
> My favorite version is sung by Monte Ballou with the Famous Castle  
> Jazz Band on the 1958 Good Time Jazz LP S-10030.  I think it was  
> also reissued on CD.

Dear Roger,
It was.
Good Time Jazz GJCD-10030 "The Famous Castle Jazz Band In Stereo".
What may not be known is that in 1947-50 The Castle Jazz Band released  
a series of fine 78s discs on its own Castle label.
Good Time Jazz investigated reissuing these discs but regretfully  
considered them to be 'not of sufficient quality for release' on LP.
So GTJ hired the band to record some of the same titles.
What many Castle JB fans may not know is that in 2003 an Australian,  
my friend Peter Wolstenholme, remastered all the Castle 78s and  
reissued the 20 titles as a B&W Music CD, BWCD-16.
It is still available, has a 32 page booklet (with pics), excellent  
notes and a complete band disccography. Great value indeed.
Contact Peter Wolstenholme via the B&W website:

Both the above CDs include "The Torch" with vocal by Monte Ballou.
Of interest to those involved in our current DJML thread will be the  
information that on the 78 version (on the B&W CD) the title is given  
as "Kansas City Torch" (Harry Herschel) whereas the GTJ LP label (and  
presumably the CD) gives the title as "The Torch (When the Gang's All  
Here)" by (Tommy Lyman). Who???
<wicki.answers.com> provides the following:
""Sing a torch song" is commonly used in Broadway late-places as a  
request for a ballad in commemoration of the lonesome state. Tommy  
Lyman is said to have created the slang and he announced one night:  
'My famous torch song: "Come To Me, My Melancholy Baby". (_Vanity  
Fair_, November 1927)
Torch song is 1927 ("My Melancholy Baby," performed by Tommy Lyman, is  
said to have been the first so-called), from carry a torch "suffer an  
unrequited love" (also 1927), an obscure notion from Broadway slang."
Where do we go from here?
Kind regards,

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