J24: Local songwriters, part II, Joe Goodwin and John Redmond

Here again is a take on area tunesmiths, who, although could never be called jazz writers, found many an improvising artist covering their songs.

Joe Goodwin is the author of “When You’re Smiling,” one of Louis Armstrong’s earliest and most endearing hits. Goodwin was born in Worcester on June 6, 1889. He died in the Bronx on July 31, 1943.

According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), Goodwin was charter member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) since 1914. He was recognized as a songwriter during World War I, having written tunes for the Wildcats of 81st.

Goodwin, who was educated in Worcester Public Schools, next became a monologist in vaudeville and a manager for music a publishers. Parlor Songs, which features writings on popular songs from the 1800s to the 1920s, wrote that Goodwin continued to develop his songwriting craft as well.

Authors Richard A. Reublin and/or Robert L. Maine, write this about him: “As a lyricist, his output was relatively small but significant. He collaborated with the best that Tin Pan Alley had to offer, including George Myer, Al Piantadosi, Nat Ayer and Gus Edwards.”

In addition to “When You’re Smiling,” published in 1930, they also mention that Goodwin’s other popular works are “Baby Shoes” (1916), “Three Wonderful Letters From Home” (1918), “Tie Me To Your Apron Strings Again” (1925) “Everywhere You Go” (1927), which was recorded by Jimmy Dorsey and “Strolling Through The Park One Day” (1929).

IMDb talks about Goodwin’s contribution to film-music and the musical material that he wrote for London revues. Other popular songs credited to Goodwin include such long forgotten parlor songs as “That’s How I Need You,” “When You Play in the Game of Love,” “Liberty Bell It’s Time to Ring Again,” “I’m Knee Deep in Daisies” and “They’re Wearing ‘Em Higher in Hawaii.”

In his book, The Unsung Sonwriters: America’s Masters of Melody, author Warren W. Vache writes: “A number of [Goodwin's] songs have been successfully revived, and therefore well-known – possibly more now than when they were first published. A prime example is “Billy” (For When I Walk), published in 1911, with Goodwin collaborating with James Kendis and Herman Paley.

“Revived by Orrin Tucker with a vocal by Bonnie Baker on a Vocalion record in 1939, it was carried along to success by the sensational “Oh, Johnny, Oh Johnny Oh!” that Tucker and Baker recorded a few months later for Columbia.”

Vache also reports on another Goodwin song often covered by jazz artists. “In 1919 Goodwin, Ballard MacDonald, and James F. Hanley combined their talents on “Breeze” (Blow My Baby Back to Me), a tune that has endeared itself to jazz musicians with its interesting and moving melodic line and its hospitality towards improvisation. Illustrating this is the Bluebird recording by the irrepressible Wingy Manone.” Other jazz performers to cover the piece include Andy Kirk, Al Hibbler and Jess Stacy. Bix Beiderbecke recorded Goodwin’s “Hoosier Sweetheart,” Gene Krupa covered “I’d Love to Call You Mine” and Ray Noble waxed “On a Steamer Coming Over.”

Vache has done his homework on Goodwin. He details other songs by the Worcester lyricist such as “When I Get You Alone Tonight.” It was written with composer James F. Hanley and published in 1912. “Singer Dick Robertson, in his long series of Decca recordings aimed at jukebox trade, revived it in 1940, and it did very well,” writes Vache. “That same year Teddy Grace, one of the better female vocalists, recorded, “Gee, I Hate to Go Home Alone,” also for Decca, a 1922 collaboration between Goodwin, Joseph McCarthy, and Fred Fisher.”

On the tune, Grace is supported by an all-star cast called the Summa Cum Laude band, featuring tenor saxophonist Bud Freedman. Vache says the trend of Goodwin revival continued with “Everywhere You Go,” recorded by Guy Lombardo in 1949. Doris Day also later covered it.

As for Goodwin’s best known piece, “When You’re Smiling,” which was co-authored with Mark fisher and Larry Shay, Vache says, it was a song that never needed to be revived, because it never went out of style. “Introduced by Louis Armstrong, it quickly became a standard and has been played and recorded ever since. It was the title song for a 1950 movie [in a cast that included Frankie Laine, Bob Crosby and Kay Starr], and Frank Sinatra sang it in the film Meet Danny Wilson in 1952.”

Other jazz artitists recording the song include, Benny Carter, Nat Cole, Billie Holiday, Joe Williams and Lester Young.

John Redmond

Although not much is written about John Redmond, he is the author of “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart,” one of Duke Ellington’s better known popular songs.

Born in Clinton on February 25, 1906, Redmond went on to publish more than 300 songs. In the late 1940s, he was featured in a Worcester Telegram & Gazette column called “They Made the Headlines,” a colorful little feature written by A. Phillips, complete with a portrait of Redmond and illustrations of the lyricist at different times in his career.

The piece mentions “I Let Song,” as well as other songs by Redmond, such as “The Gaucho Serenade [Paul Whiteman],” “Dream, Dream, Dream [The Mills Brothers],” and “You’re Breaking My Heart All Over Again [Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra].” Glenn Miller recorded Redmond’s “Crosstown.” Fats Waller cut “Old Plantation.” Billie Holiday minted “Where is the Sun.” The Mills Brothers also documented “I Still Love You” and “Wish Me Good Luck Amigo” with Count Basie.

Redmond also wrote a novelty tune with Jackie Gleason called, “Hey Mr. Dennehy,” and penned “Massachusetts, My Home State” and “Old New England Town,” which have never been recorded. He also wrote songs with a score of collaborators, including Jack Berch, James Cavanaugh, Allan Flynn, Martin Fryberg, David Lee, Nat Simon, Jack Ward, Frank Weldon and Lawrence Welk.

Phillips also notes that a collection of 12 songs titled “Songs of Brotherly Love,” were being featured on the Jack Berk Show daily, heard over a national radio network. “After studying voice in New York, Redmond made his radio debut as a singer over WTAG Worcester,” Phillips wrote. “Later he sang over all networks out of New York on ‘Major Bowes Family Hour,’ ‘Music Festival Programs’ and others.” Phillips added that Goodwin served in the U.S. Navy during WWII doing rehabilitation work.

Penned with Ellington, Henry Nemo and Irving Mills, “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” was first recorded by the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1938. A partial list of the singers who have recorded this great American standard includes, June Christy, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Hibbler, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughn and Dinah Washington. Instrumental versions include recordings by Kenny Burrell, Count Basie, Erroll Garner, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Sonny Stitt, and Toots Theilemans.

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