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Bob Causer & His Cornelians - Why Do I Dream Those Dreams

5 years ago95 views



Although Bob Causer was a pseudonym used on dozens of budget label issues, this musician, far from being a mere alias, was a well-known arranger and leader in many studio recording sessions. Since Rust does not mention this issue, I could not find out whether these credits are referring to another band or actually one of Causer's own orchestras. It seems Causer originally was a hotel manager in Ithaca who went out and put a band together just because he could not find any groups to book into the hotel's ballroom. Working musicians may find this account both impossible and improbable, and indeed details are left out. Although he may have been employed as a hotel manager, Causer obviously must have had a background in music, helpful when he supposedly prowled local Cornell University looking for young musicians to jam in his ballroom. He is listed as the drummer on recording sessions, displaying skills that could not have been concocted in such a short time. Causer also pulled off vocal features, recording Baby Face. His main group associations were Bob Causer & His Cornellians, which recorded prolifically in the '30s, and somewhat earlier activity involving a group known as Bob Causer's Big Four, or sometimes just the Big Four. Trombonist Spiegle Willcox Newell began working with Causer in 1922, becoming one of eight members of the Big Four. The ambitious Paul Whiteman discovered the band in the same year and was excited by the octet's musical possibilities. He may also have have been bothered by the accounting discrepancies between the band's name and its number of members, insisting on a change of name to the Collegians. Whiteman took the group to New York City for both concerts and recording sessions, including three sides for Victor. According to historic accounts, Whiteman was nowhere to be seen during any of these sessions. Nonetheless, the group became known as Whiteman's Collegians in 1924. Did Causer return to Ithaca, begin managing a hotel, and triumphantly return to action with Bob Causer & the Cornellians? Did the notoriously competitive Whiteman spread rumors that Causer did not exist? Is it true that the Cornellians performed in the hotel ballroom, and only in the hotel ballroom, releasing records simply to promote the hotel? All are serious possibilities, but the presence of much brilliant young talent in the band, including vocalist Russ Morgan and trumpeter Bunny Berigan, is a solid fact. Anyhow, this lovely record was made in 1934, with a vocal credited to Tony Sacco.

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