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Phil Spitalny - Shine On Harvest Moon (1931)

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Published on Oct 15, 2011

Phil Spitalny was born in Odessa Russia in 1890, and as a child prodigy of the clarinet, he toured his homeland before emigrating to America in the early teens. By the 1920s, was fronting his own band, and recorded mainly for the Victor and Edison Companies. His most successful records were a version of "Jackass Blues," cut for Victor Records in 1926, and "I Want to Meander in the Meadow," cut for Edison in 1929. He later became leader of the "Hit of the Week Dance Orchestra" in the dark and early days of the depression, but also recorded selections for the company (such as the ones heard here), under the name of "Phil Spitalny's Music".
In 1934, Spitalny distinguished himself from virtually all of the competition by forming an orchestra made up entirely of women, and billed as Phil Spitalny & His All-Girl Orchestra. They were a good outfit, able to play "jazzed" classics and light classical music They made a name for themselves initially in radio on a program called "The Hour of Charm".
Later on, they were signed to Universal Pictures and appeared in features and short subjects that exploited the orchestra's visual appeal, but Spitalny had found women who were good at their instruments as well. Mary McClanahan was a top-flight drummer in her time, and the virtuoso Evelyn, billed as "Evelyn & Her Magic Violin" in the Orchestra, was a very flashy and charismatic player, and later became Mrs. Spitalny.
Spitalny continued to work in music and recorded several sides for the Vogue Record Company in the late 1940s, however musical tastes were changing and by the mid 1950s, Spitalny retired and moved to Miami, where he died in 1970. The University of Miami offers two academic awards, The Evelyn and Phil Spitalny Music Achievement Award and The Evelyn and Phil Spitalny Scholarship

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