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Smith Ballew

Biography

One of the better in addition to among the only “cowboy jazz” performers, Smith Ballew may also be reported to be the fellow who also started the Glenn Miller music group, only to own it hijacked from him. The indigenous Texan was a lot more interested in artwork than music completely until his college days. Going out in the evenings in the University or college of Tx, he and his sibling Charles Robert Ballew became area of the cultish culture referred to as jazz followers. Smith Ballew made a decision to find out acoustic guitar and banjo, even though he did research music officially at the faculty, an important section of his musical upbringing appears to be the casual knowledge he found getting together with dark music artists within the outskirts of city. The brothers became sufficient players to become listed on Jimmy’s Joys, a combo led by Jimmy Maloney. The music group can be thought to possess gotten the profession of either Ballew off to an excellent start, as by 1923 the group currently had the chance to check out California and record for the illustrious-sounding Golden record label. Golden ended up being at least metallic, the records offering quite nicely. These sides, nevertheless, usually do not feature Smith Ballew’s vocal skills — at this time, he was still simply an instrumentalist, sticking mainly towards the banjo or “five-banger.” He began up his personal music group, the Texajazzers, which in the solid custom of territory rings gigged in its house state and the ones in instant vicinity. In 1927, Smith Ballew dissolved the music group and started collaborating with pianist Dick Voynow within the Wolverine Orchestra, bringing in the eye of bandleader and skill hunter Ben Pollack in a Chicago present. Pollack developed a job give, and it had been in this music group that Ballew started performing as controlling a banjo on his leg. In the past due ’20s he going to NEW YORK with bandleader Ted Fio Rito, but finished up busking merely to survive. Needless to say, the brand new York streets could be a darn great spot to make fresh connections, and he do. Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey noticed him on the road and launched him to violinist Joe Venuti; a ball started moving for Ballew’s skill that made a wholesome Tx tumbleweed patch appear to be a baseball. He began dealing with Fred Rich’s music group in the Astor Resort, in addition to with Meyer Davis within the documenting studio room and radio. After trimming the musical query “Was It a Desire?” inside a concert set up using the brothers Dorsey, the Okeh label provided the vocalist a agreement. The resulting music group that was put together, including a contingent of Tx music buddies, mixed Southern and metropolitan rhythms in the way of western golf swing. Ballew continued dealing with New York’s cream-of-the-crop players, including trumpeter Crimson Nichols, Venuti, guitarist Eddie Lang, trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke, and saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer. At one stage, if biographical story can be thought, Ballew had achieved the purpose of every NY musician: total domination. He was thought to have been documenting for each and every label around, and dealing with every bandleader of any renown whatsoever. Ballew was among the many performers out of this period who have been wiped out with the Unhappiness, losing very much moolah in expenditure debacles as well as the stock market accidents of the past due ’20s and early ’30s. Who owns one venue where in fact the vocalist worked regularly experienced similar loss and dedicated suicide, erasing a slew of schedules from the calender. The Ballew Orchestra persevered, still filled with talent such as for example Venuti, Lang, and brothers George and Bobby Truck Eps. A 1932 edition of the group was set up by ex-Pollack music group sidekick Glenn Miller, and highlighted Bunny Berigan on trumpet as well as the friendly Chummy MacGregor on piano. Because the 10 years wound on, Ballew begun to eliminate control of his orchestra, Miller as well as other brand-new associates such as for example Ray Noble increasing in the pit to consider power just like the music artists in Federico Fellini’s questionable film Orchestra Rehearsal. By the first springtime of 1935, his ouster was comprehensive, and his last program for Columbia released beneath the name of Glenn Miller & His Orchestra. Ballew fled to LA, where Victor Youthful, then your musical movie director of both Decca label and NBC radio, organized a job for him within a Hollywood radio present. Ballew was also provided an opportunity to action in some B westerns for 20th Hundred years Fox, and he warmed to the thought of becoming a performing cowboy. His performing career after that dominated his profession, his last part becoming his most significant, in John Huston’s effective 1951 adaptation from the Crimson Badge of Courage. Following this he embarked on a nonperforming career in public areas relationships, retiring in 1967. He shows up on a number of classic recordings like a presented visitor, while Australia appears to be the center point of inside a revival appealing within the Ballew orchestra’s Okeh, Columbia, and Crown materials, in addition to music from his cowboy films, accumulated to a complete of six different produces on two different down-under brands.

Quick Facts


Full Name Smith Ballew
Died May 2, 1984, Longview, Texas, United States
Profession Actor, Singer
Education University of Texas at Austin, Austin College
Nationality American
Music Songs Time On My Hands, Sing You Sinners, Blondy, I'll String Along With You, As Time Goes By, Fair And Warmer, Same Old Moon, I Won't Dance, You Call It Madness, Tender Is The Night, In My Little Hope Chest, My Old Girl's My New Girl Now, Just Can't Be Bothered With Me, Lovely To Look At, The Night is Young, Sleep, Come On And Take Me, How The Time Can Fly, Hittin' The Ceiling, I'll Be Blue Just Thinking Of You, Snuggled On Your Shoulder, If I Didn't Have You, Goodnight Moon, Painting the Clouds With Sunshine, You're Simply Delish, What Is It?, Shout Halalula, I'm Home, Out Of The Dawn, I Used to Love Her in the Moonlight, Goodnight Sweetheart, When You Were The Blossom Of Buttercup Lane, On The Beach With You, I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling
Albums Top 50 Classics - The Very Best of Smith Ballew
Movies Racing Lady, Western Gold, Roll Along, Cowboy, Hawaiian Buckaroo, Rawhide, Gaucho Serenade, The Man Who Walked Alone, The Mutineers, I Killed Geronimo, The Red Badge of Courage, Palm Springs, Panamint's Bad Man, Tex Granger, Rambling 'Round Radio Row 4, Gun Cargo, Drifting Along


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#Fact
1 Attended the University of Texas and got his first part-time job as a singer on a local radio station.
2 Was voted #8 in the top ten Western moneymaking stars of 1938.
3 According to Don Creacy in an in-depth article on Smith in Classic Images (April 2010), the cowboy actor retired from Hollywood and moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where he became a manager in the missiles division of an aircraft company.
4 Besides being a popular radio singer, he recorded hundred of records, as one of the prominent studio vocalists. His smooth, honest style of singing was featured on many important hot jazz sides of the late 1920s and early 1930s (a good example of his vocal style on a great hot jazz record is his vocal on Frank Traumbauer's version of "Happy Feet" from 1930, which is available on CD). He also had his own band for a time during the early 1930s.
5 Contrary to popular opinion, Ballew did NOT dub John Wayne's singing voice in Riders of Destiny (1933), which is generally considered to be the first "singing" western. Wayne's voice was dubbed by Bill Bradbury, an actor who was the son of the film's director, Robert N. Bradbury.


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Red Badge of Courage 1951 Captain (uncredited)
I Killed Geronimo 1950 Lt. Furness
Federal Man 1950 James Snow - Mining Engineer (uncredited)
Gun Cargo 1949 Singing Sailor
The Mutineers 1949 Beasly (uncredited)
Tex Granger: Midnight Rider of the Plains 1948 'Marshal' Blaze Talbot
Under Arizona Skies 1946 Band Singer
Drifting Along 1946 Band Singer Smith
The Man Who Walked Alone 1945 Alvin Bailey
Gaucho Serenade 1940 Buck Benson
Panamint's Bad Man 1938 Larry Kimball, alias John Smith
Rawhide 1938 Larry Kimball
Hawaiian Buckaroo 1938 Jeff Howard
Roll Along, Cowboy 1937 Randy Porter
Western Gold 1937 Bill Gibson
Racing Lady 1937 Steven Wendel
Palm Springs 1936 Slim
Rambling 'Round Radio Row #5 1933 Short Smith Ballew - Singer

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Magic in the Moonlight 2014 performer: "You Call It Madness But I Call It Love"
Boardwalk Empire 2013 TV Series performer - 1 episode
Magic City 2013 TV Series performer - 1 episode
Under Arizona Skies 1946 performer: "Livin' Western Style", "Strawberry Blonde"
Drifting Along 1946 performer: "You Can Bet Your Boots and Saddles" - uncredited
Panamint's Bad Man 1938 performer: "Got Some Ridin' to Do", "Last Rose of Summer", "Auld Lang Syne"
Roll Along, Cowboy 1937 performer: "On the Sunny Side of the Rockies", "Stars Over the Desert", "Roll Along, Ride 'em Cowboy"
Western Gold 1937 performer: "Echoes of the Trail", "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" uncredited, "Gwine to Rune All Night" aka "De Camptown Races", "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair"
Palm Springs 1936 performer: "The Hills of Old Wyoming"
Rambling 'Round Radio Row #5 1933 Short performer: "Deep in Your Eyes" - uncredited
Rhythms 1929 Short performer: "If I Had You" - uncredited

Stunts

Stunts

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Cariboo Trail 1950 stunt double: Randolph Scott - uncredited

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Screen Snapshots Series 17, No. 5 1938 Documentary short Himself
Rhythms 1929 Short Himself. Vocalist

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Golden Saddles, Silver Spurs 2000 TV Movie documentary

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