Saturday, April 22, 2017

USA:Layton And Johnstone - Harmony Heaven (2017)

Clarence Johnstone and Turner Layton teamed up in 1924 and first appeared in London in an Elsie Janis revue, they were booked to appear in a cabaret before going home, and this time caught the ear and eye of a recording executive who signed them up to a contract, written out on the back of a menu card then and there, and for over eleven years they made records of all the best popular songs of what has since become known as the Golden Age of the Dance Bands (and by this, the Golden Age of the Popular Songs). Turner Layton was already quite well-known in New York as the composer of such very popular standards as After You've Gone, Dear Old South Land, Strut Miss Lizzie and Way Down Yonder In New Orleans. After the partnership broke up in November, 1935, he continued as a solo act, recording regularly until 1948. Johnstone returned to New York, and died in obscurity there after eking out an existence as a bell-boy in a hotel; Layton stayed in London until his death, well into his eighties, in February I978. The twenty numbers on this disc were made between the end of 1925, at the outset of electric recording (although the singers' first records together were made by the old acoustic method of singing into a long metal horn) and the late summer of 1933. It offers a cross section of the kind of songs that were popular then, in all the various styles, from the extrovert Stein Song that swept the country in the summer of 1930 to the tenderness of Ramona, which did likewise just two years earlier.