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World Broadcast Recordings

Posted by sambr 
World Broadcast Recordings
November 13, 2017 09:30PM
A new double CD release from Audiophile

World Broadcast Recordings 1955
Re: World Broadcast Recordings
December 18, 2017 05:23AM
This double-CD issue from Audiophile is the first comprehensive issue of the tracks Peggy Lee recorded for World Broadcasting System. Audiophile is one of the labels of the George H Buck Jr Jazz Foundation, which owns the masters of the World recordings. Accurate discographical information is also now available.

At the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters convention in Washington in May, 1955, World Broadcasting System announced the addition of new stars to its roster of artists. They included George Shearing (though he appears to have recorded earlier for World), the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, Four Freshmen, and Peggy Lee. The company also publicised new 'name-value programs' that included The Melachrino Musicale, Passport to Daydreams, and Peggy Lee Sings.

In 1955, World Broadcasting was a subsidiary of Frederic W Ziv Co, who had bought World from Decca Records in August, 1948. The vice-president in charge of Hollywood production for Ziv Co was Herb Gordon. In the early 50s, transcription companies such as Ziv were attempting to provide small radio stations with enough programming to fill most of their broadcast schedules. In May, 1953, as part of this effort, Gordon had signed four Hollywood names to star in an hour-long, 5-days-a-week disc-jockey program titled Hour of Stars. They were Tony Martin, Ginger Rogers, Dick Powell and Peggy Lee. Each of the neophyte disc-jockeys was responsible for a daily quarter-hour segment when s/he 'played' records and provided connecting patter. The initial broadcasts appeared at the end of September. The program was not produced by World Broadcasting, but by Ziv Co's own transcription service and the discs were branded with the company's fwz logo. The two-year contract was Peggy Lee's first project with Ziv Co. In their 1954 year-end report, the company listed the four stars as continuing to record Hour of Stars. The program did not continue after the original contract period, and the last regular broadcasts were in September/October, 1955. Peggy Lee's second Ziv project was the recordings for World Broadcasting.

By the time World announced Peggy Lee's addition to their list of artists the singer had already recorded 25 songs for them in two sessions on February 8th (masters L53784 – L53795) and 9th (masters L53796 – L53808). The recording logs list 6 accompanying musicians without identifying them: piano, drums, bongos, harp, bass and guitar. At this time, Peggy Lee was accompanied in her appearances by a group that included Gene DiNovi (piano), Larry Bunker (drums), Stella Castellucci (harp) and Bill Pitman or Laurindo Almeida (guitar). Gene DiNovi has confirmed to James Gavin, who wrote the liner notes for the CD release, that he was the pianist on all the World tracks. Stella Castellucci is the only candidate for the harpist, though her memory of when the sessions occurred is faulty. She remembers no details about the sessions or the other musicians. Bill Pitman has confirmed he was the guitarist. Gene DiNovi identified Bob Whitlock on bass, Jack Costanzo on bongos, and Larry Bunker on drums. Jack Costanzo confirmed his participation.

Both February sessions were directed by Henry P Hayward, a Ziv director.

The balance of the World tracks were recorded in two sessions in August, 1955. On August 8th (masters L54087 – L54098) Peggy Lee was joined by musicians playing piano, bass, drums, bongos, guitar and trumpet. During this period her group included Gene DiNovi (piano), Don Prell (bass), Larry Bunker (drums), Jack Costanzo (bongos), Bill Pitman (guitar) and Stella Castellucci (harp). Castellucci did not participate in the August 8th session. At a Lake Tahoe date in July, Pete Candoli had played the trumpet. He is most likely the trumpeter on the World tracks. Candoli appeared with the singer sporadically on her personal appearances in the mid-fifties, and at a few recording dates. Lee and Candoli can be seen together in an often-used photo from the Lake Tahoe date.

On August 9th (masters L54099 – L54110) the orchestra consisted of piano, harp, drums, guitar, bass and trumpet. The most likely combination is Gene DiNovi, Stella Castellucci, Larry Bunker, Bill Pitman, Don Prell and Pete Candoli.

Both August sessions were directed by Henry P Hayward, who had directed the February sessions, and engineered by Ben Jordan and CL (so far unidentified), engineers at Radio Recorders. The sessions' location was Studio 1, which was in the Radio Recorders Annex on Sycamore St in Hollywood. The master numbers assigned to the tracks do not have the usual RR Radio Recorders prefix. The L (Los Angeles) prefix may be a carry-over from the period when World was owned by Decca. World tracks recorded in New York around this period have N as the prefix.

All 49 tracks recorded during the four Peggy Lee sessions were released to subscribing radio stations in 1955 and 1956 by World Broadcasting System on World Program Service transcriptions. No tracks remain unissued. [Note: World Transcription Service, a separate World Broadcasting service introduced in 1938 has been mistakenly identified as the issuing service in many online articles about World.]

Peggy Lee was also recording for Decca Records when she recorded her World tracks. There was no longer any connection between Decca and World; that had ended in 1948 when Ziv Co had bought World. World signed artists who made commercial recordings for any record company. George Shearing was recording for MGM and soon to move over to Capitol Records. Four Freshmen were signed to Capitol. The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra and Melachrino Strings were recording for RCA Victor. The Daydreamers do not appear to have had a commercial recording contract.

Other than the identity of the musicians, the discographical information provided in this post is from the World recording logs for the four Peggy Lee sessions. Surviving AFM contracts from the period are between the artist and World Broadcasting System, Inc and are for one or two sessions. California contracts stipulate Radio Recorders as the Place of Engagement. The contracts with Peggy Lee have yet to surface. Information on Hour of Stars and other artists is mostly from contemporary press reports.
Re: World Broadcast Recordings
December 23, 2017 10:16AM
Hi All.

Thanks for your info Sambr! This could be very interesting, right? In the line-up I see several people that also worked with Peggy on "Black Coffee". I'm hoping for some nice music! It's great that we are still getting "spoiled" by new releases from time to time.....

Happy Holidays to all!

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