Library to receive donated copies of Toledo music CDsWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo’s musical heritage will be preserved in historical fashion with a 36-song, two-CD set being donated to all Toledo-Lucas County Public Library branch locations. At 3 p.m. Dec. 30 in the Main Library Audio/Visual department, 325 Michigan St., copies of “Legacy: Songs in the Key of Toledo” will be presented.
A year in the making, the CDs cull never-before-on-CD tracks from seven decades of Toledo history. Highlights include a medley of several mayors singing “Strong for Toledo,” a monologue from Randy Sparks about the writing of “Saturday Night In Toledo Ohio” and dozens of cuts and clips from local bands, from obscure garage groups to national hitmakers.
K100 personality Gary Shores and Harvey Steele recorded introductions for each song, as contributed by local music historians. Many of the tracks were obtained from 78-
and 33-rpm discs from private collections.
Lucas County Commissioners and Toledo City Council will recognize the project, which was funded by Columbia Gas of Ohio and researched in part by the staff of Toledo Free Press. The disc will not be commercially available; copies kept in the libraries will be available for check out.
- Here are some of the highlights on the CD collection “Legacy: Songs in the Key of Toledo”:
- “When Malindy Sings”: Poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, born in Dayton, Ohio in 1872, was the first black poet to realize national acclaim. That acclaim came through his activities and contacts in Toledo. Dunbar produced 12 books of poetry, four books of short stories, a play and five novels, as well as lyrics for several songs. “When Malindy Sings” was written in 1903. It was recorded in 1916, 10 years after Dunbar’s death.
- “Cho-Piano”: Born in Toledo in 1895, Henry Lange was a composer, conductor and pianist. Listen to Lange’s “Cho-Piano” and see why ragtime is often called America’s classical music.
- “Rough and Ready,” “Sunshine Capers”: Roy Bargie grew up in Toledo. He composed, arranged and performed for the Imperial Piano Roll Company. He was a leader, pianist and arranger for the Benson Orchestra of Chicago, one of the most successful dance bands of its time. Here are two genuine rags composed and played by Bargie, “Rough and Ready” and “Sunshine Capers.”
- “Tiger Rag”: Art Tatum was born in Toledo in 1909. In 1938, Tatum dropped into a club to hear his biggest influence, Fats Waller. In his introduction of Tatum, Waller told the audience, “I just play the piano, but God is in the house tonight.” It is fitting that this song comes from Tatum’s first recording session in New York City in 1933. The song is “Tiger Rag.”
- “Strong for Toledo”: Recorded by the song’s author, Joe Murphy, and his group, the Icehouse Quartet.
- “Strong for Toledo,” a medley sung by Toledo mayors Harry Kessler and Carty Finkbeiner.
- “Dark Eyes”: A performance by the Art Tatum Trio.
- “How to Play Baseball”: Joe E. Brown was born in 1892 in Holgate, but grew up in the Toledo area.
- “Oh Moon,” “Toledo Dan”: Danny Thomas, while he was probably best known as a television star, was also highly successful as a nightclub entertainer, radio, film and recording star, as well as a top producer. Thomas was also a humanitarian. The song is Thomas singing “Oh Moon” from the film “The Jazz Singer.” The last selection is called “Toledo Dan,” a more satirical look at Thomas.
- “Altitude”: “Altitude” is by the Vivian Geary Trio, featuring Arc Garrison on guitar. Garrison was born and raised in Toledo. He drowned in Centennial Quarry in 1960 at age 38.
- “Humpty Dumpty Jumped” is by the Pacemakers. This was Toledo’s own new song label founded by Porter Roberts in the late 1940s.
- “Rising Tide” is led by George Benson on alto sax.
- “Hopper Topper” by Barry Harris and his band, including Frank Foster on tenor sax.
- “You’re My Inspiration”: This song is by a group called The Creations. It’s from 1962, and one of two groups from Toledo to record from the world-renowned Motown Records in Detroit.
- “Wedding Bells”: The Swans were teenagers in 1954 when they waxed their dreamy ballad of “Wedding Bells.” They played at the old Civic Auditorium, now the Erie Street Market, with other singing groups and blues acts, such as B.B. King.
- The other Toledo group to record at Motown was Lee and The Leopards, whose 1962 song, “Come into my Palace,” was in response to “The Duke of Earl.”
- Frank Williams, James Sutton, Howard Bell and Jay Hooker were so proud to be from Toledo that they called themselves The Toledos. They actually recorded as The Highlighters in 1958 on Toledo’s New Song Records.
- “Oriental Rock and Roll” is by Lewis Paine. Paine was a Toledo-reared musician.
- “I’m Laughing at You” by The Tempos. The record did not sell well.
- “Crazy Legs”: Wedy Gallagher moved to Toledo in the late 1940s to work as a sheet-metal worker and to raise a family. He financed all of his recording sessions himself.
- “Next Train Back to Toledo” was issued in 1969 during the love and flower power days of pop culture.
- Jimmy Dorsey hits.
- Teresa Brewer, the pride and joy of Valentine Street in East Toledo’s Birmingham neighborhood. Theresa’s voice and talent was discovered early on at the age of 8. Her signature song is “Music, Music, Music.” This is a six-song medley of Brewer’s music, which spans from 1949 to 1956.
- Six-song medley from Johnny and the Hurricanes, the most popular rock ‘n’ roll act to come out of the Toledo area. Its popularity was international and it created an incentive for other local bands to achieve the same stardom.
- Six-song medley from Johnny Gibson Trio, a very popular local and regional group in the 1960s. The band played at many local clubs.
- Four-song medley from The Raging Storms, a powerhouse rock ‘n’ roll band from the Toledo area.
- A four-song set from Metamora, who played in Maumee during the 1960s.
- “Pretty Little Girl” by Joey Leo.
- “Toledo” by Kip Tyler. Tyler was not a Toledo artist, but the name of the song, a novelty tune, was called “Toledo.” The story goes, according to the words of the song, Kip was coming from Chicago going to Detroit and stopped in Toledo. He met a young lady working at a coffee house, and was so taken back by this young lady, he decided to spend a little time in Toledo.
- A monologue by Randy Sparks that includes the origins of “Saturday Night in Toledo Ohio” and the evolution of the song into a pro-Toledo tune.