Last week, we listened to Chick Webb's first recording Dog Bottom.
Another very popular tune among Swing DJs by Chick Webb is Midnite In A Madhouse. What many don't know is that the song was composed by Larry Clinton.
Clinton also recorded a version with his own orchestra. This is our Song of the Week.
Larry Clinton (August 17, 1909 – May 2, 1985) was a trumpeter, trombonist, arranger and bandleader.
He has played, arranged and/or written for many bands in the 1930s, such as Isham Jones, Claude Hopkins, the Dorsey Brothers, Jimmy Dorsey, Glen Gray, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, and Bunny Berigan.
In late 1937, he started to led his first band and recorded until 1941 many hits for Victor. The repertoire was a mix between popular songs, instrumental tunes written by himself and adaptions of classical and operatic melodies into swing songs.
A major hit in 1938 was My Reverie with vocalist Bea Wain. Clinton added lyrics and a light syncopation to Claude Debussy's Reverie, originally composed as a piano solo.
Larry Clinton's orchestra was mainly a recording band. Though, they made appearances in three 10-minute theatrical films and six short musical films, known as soundies.
In 1941, he broke up his band and joined the army as a pilot. After World War II be was active again and worked for different labels. Also, he re-recorded his hits with a pickup band in hi-fi sound with singer Helen Ward .
He retired from music in 1961 and was mainly writing fiction afterwards.
To learn more about Larry Clinton, check out the Article Larry Clinton – “True Confession” by Christopher Popa on Big Band Library.
Midnite In Harlem (Midnite In A Madhouse)
The song doesn't have a typical swing feeling, it's rather popular dance music. I especially like certain parts in this song: the deep toned piano at the beginning, the melody change at around 1:34 energy buildup at 2:06.
The stretched overlying melody slows the feeling of the tempo down. Though it's faster as it seems. Great for Balboa.
Title: Midnite In Harlem (Midnite In a Madhouse)
Artist: Larry Clinton & His Orchestra
Tempo: 224 bpm
You can find all the songs of the series also on my Spotify playlist.
Official hashtag of the series: #djcsotw
Which version do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!