A Collection of Special Recordings of Music for Tap Dancing | Russ Morgan & His Orchestra
This is a 78 rpm album with four records; A Collection of Special Recordings of Music for Tap Dancing, played by Russ Morgan and his Orchestra. (Decca Album No.A-55) There is no release date on this album but I have tracked down the recording date to January 9, 1939. This is certainly one of the earliest recordings arranged especially for tap dancing. With 78s, of course, you get one tune per side and the eight in this album are chosen for typical tap routines: Neapolitan Nights for waltz clog, Bye Bye Blues for buck and wing, Swanee River for soft shoe, The Stars and Stripes Forever for military tap, The Japanese Sandman for rhythm tap, Satan Takes A Holiday for swing tap, La Cumparsita for Spanish tap, Mama Inez for rumba tap. 78's don't have the clear sound of CD's or even an LP, but they have a really nice soft mono sound that newer recordings don't try to replicate. I have an old wind up Victrola. It sounds so good that one time I brought it on stage and played Artie Shaw's Begin the Beguine for my tap accompaniment. It created such a nice mood on stage and for the audience. I bet tap dancers back then were excited to have this album designed especially for tap dancing.
The liner notes from this album are very interesting and offer a perspective on the place of tap dancing in the culture at that time. There is also a nice profile of Russ Morgan. Click here to read the liner notes from the 78 rpm album. You may also enjoy this web site about the Russ Morgan Orchestra.
This record apparently was popular enough that it was reissued as an LP a dozen years later in the 50's and I recently added this LP to my tap dance record collection.
When the 78s were reissued on LP the track list was a little different. La Cumparista and Mama Inez are deleted and 6 new tracks added including Sidewalks Of New York for waltz clog, Canadian Capers for buck and wing, Sweet and Lovely for soft shoe, Strike Up The Band for military tap, A Little Bit Independent for rhythm tap and Alexander's Ragtime Band for swing tap.
— Shinichi Matsumoto