I won't whine about all the birthdays, although there are nine being celebrated on tonight's "Big Broadcast." The toughest part, especially when the nonet includes such major talents as Hoagy Carmichael, Tommy Dorsey and Coleman Hawkins, is getting it all to fit into four hours. The nine stacks represent Carmichael to Cecil Scott, and there are twenty more 78s that have to be added. So, it'll be another fruitcake dense program. But I'm not whining!
After 41 years of doing anything, it's possible, even likely, that at some point you start to slip. The Fear of Incompetence keeps me on my toes, even if I may not be the first to notice my inevitable decay. I was feeling down after a few shows where I thought my end was off. Not just what comes out of my mouth, but what records I choose to play. When that happens, I listen to an old show or look at an old playlist. Whew! I'm no worse than I was during Reagan's first term.
Some Sundays there are ten birthdays, and some, like tonight, there are three. But they're solid: Fanny Brice, Denny Dennis and Ethel Waters, all singers. Curiously, no band leaders, songwriters or instrumentalists. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough. At times like these, I think, "Guest!" There aren't many people who "work" for "The Big Broadcast." In the early years of the show, there were still people around I play: Connie and Vet Boswell, Edward Eliscu, Cab Calloway, Ben Selvin, and I was fortunate to have them on the air.
This week's musical preview isn't tied to one of the show's seven birthdays. It comes from the forthcoming "Big Broadcast" Volume 10, which features a cover by a generous friend of the show, Kim Deitch. "Heartaches" was a hit in two decades. The "big" version by Ted Weems & His Orchestra was recorded in 1933, but not a huge success until, the story goes, a North Carolina deejay started playing it nightly in early 1947. Probably not coincidentally, a crime drama, "Heartaches," was released in June 1947.