March 06, 2011

Brother can you spare a dime

I just thought I'd draw everyone's attention to a radio program about one of the great songs of the thirties- Brother can you spare a Dime. First heard on Rudy Vallee's radio program in 1932 (two weeks before Roosevelt was elected), or at least first heard on broadcast there, it was performed by performer after performer- Ad Colson did one version which is on youtube and Bing Crosby's is on my ipod. It gets into the context of the song- that most of the men in the Great Depression had fought in the Great War. That generation was one of those generations that seem to be afflicted by all the slings and arrows that fortune might throw at them: in their twenties they fought in the Trenches, in their forties they were sacked from their jobs and in their fifties they watched their sons go off to war. Its a fantastic program which strays into discussing the difference between Vallee's version and Crosby's version- the music of the twenties and the thirties and also the opposition between that and other songs of the Depression, particularly the fantastic 1933 song from Golddiggers, 'We're in the Money'. The latter is worth appreciating in its youtube version.

Contrast that with Brother can you spare a Dime, written a year earlier and in a version which the radio program doesn't include.

And you can see quite how shocking the latter's sentiments were.


James Higham said...

Just love that top one.