photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
Recently we featured a photograph of Jim Davidson and his band being met a Sydney’s Central Station after completing a season at the Palais de Danse in the Melbourne bayside suburb of St. Kilda. This photograph from the Tom Lennon archive shows Jim Davidson and his New Palais Royal Orchestra, as they were billed for their Sydney season, recording their version of Pink Elephants at Columbia Studios in Homebush, New South Wales. The photograph was published in The Australian Music Maker and Dance Band News, 1 August 1933, vol. 2 no. 3, p11.
In the previous post in Photo of the Day we mentioned that at this time Jim Davidson’s band comprised Ray Tarrant as first trumpet, Jimmy Gussey second trumpet, Dudley Cantrell trombone, and Tommy Stevenson on second trombone and guitar. Other members of the band were Frank McLoughlin on first alto saxophone, Peter Cantrell third alto saxophone, Chic Donovan second tenor saxophone, Orm Wills on bass and Gordon Rawlinson on piano. Davidson was on drums and percussion. In this photograph Jim Davidson is positioned behind the microphone. The singer John Warren also sang on a number of their recordings.
Pink Elephants was composed by Mort Dixon and Harry Woods and was a hit for Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians in October 1932. Jim Davidson and his New Palais Royal Orchestra’s version of Pink Elephants was released on Columbia Graphophone (Australia) Pty Ltd’s Regal Zonophone label in June 1933. An advertisement for Paling’s music store in The Sydney Morning Herald on 20 June showed that it retailed for 2/6.
A newspaper report headed New Records in The Sydney Morning Herald on 24 June 1933 reported that Jim Davidson and his band had also recorded I’ll Do My Best To Make You Happy from the film Say it With Music which was on the flip slide of Pink Elephants and 42nd Street and Shuffle Off to Buffalo from the musical and later film 42nd Street.
You can hear Sitting in the Dark and some other songs by Jim Davidson and his New Palais Royal Orchestra on YouTube.
Tom T. Lennon was a commercial photographer whose studio was at 64 Victoria Road, Drummoyne. At the time that this photograph was taken, Lennon was also the official photographer for The Australian Music Maker and Dance Band News. The 1796 negatives in the Powerhouse Museum Tom Lennon archive are largely of balls and dinners held in Sydney, but also include weddings, funerals, work events, parties, portraits, pets, fashion, horse races, and various places and events. Many images from the Tom Lennon archive have been posted previously on Photo of the Day.
Post by Paul Wilson A/Manager Archives
Photography by Tom Lennon, 94/63/1-104/35
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