Sunday, March 06, 2011

Lawrence Welk's Big Band Splash

And now the time has arrived for the 15th Lawrence Welk public television pledge special, Big Band Splash.

With your host Doc Severinsen!

It was an entertaining program, filled with clips from several episodes from the show featuring the band and the Musical Family performing the classic songs from that era.

Big Band icons like Glenn Miller, Harry James, The Dorsey Brothers, Artie Shaw and Duke Ellington were featured.

It was also nice that the special featured many of Welk's orchestra in the spotlight, such as Dave Edwards on the saxophone playing Contrasts made famous by Jimmy Dorsey.

I also liked Bob Ralston's rendition of Paul Whiteman's Rhapsody In Blue, in which every time I hear it, for some reason thoughts of the old United Airlines commercials with Gene Hackman narrating come to mind.

And what can I say about the trumpet section's arrangement of The Dipsy Doodle....

Johnny Zell, Mickey McMahan, Charlie Parlato and Norman Bailey were all outstanding!

But that was just a sample of the fine instrumentals featured in the program, many of the featured singers had the spotlight such as Tanya Falan's excellent version of the Sammy Kaye song Daddy.

Other singers featured were Mary Lou Metzger and Champagne Lady Alice Lon with different versions of Harry James' "You Made Me Love You". The differences were that Mary Lou went with the Dear Mr. Gable route while Alice from Dallas just sang it straight up.

I was disappointed that the special did not feature any Sandi, Gail and Mary Lou numbers. Their version of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by the Andrews Sisters in my opinion would be considered big band and would have been a good fit.

But Toot Toot Tootsie by Bob Lido and the Hotsy Totsy Boys? That, by the way was the final number featured in the special, and by the way, I always thought Al Jolson was more Music Hall than Big Band.

Oh, and here's an extreme close up of Bob Havens and his trumpet.

Doc himself was featured, when he guested on the Welk show in 1972 playing the theme song from the movie "Love Story".

His performance and talent was picture perfect excellence and well done, but for his wardrobe.....we'll the jury is still out on that.

In all, it was a wunnerful, wunnerful special.

And no pledge special would be complete without Bob Allen and Mary Lou in the studio with the pledge breaks.

So until next time, keep a song in your heart and may the only Blues in the Night you get are the St. Louis Blues playing hockey. 

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