Archive for August, 2016
[Posted by Henry Arneth, Special Collections Assistant]
First written and recorded early in the 20th century, one 1920s version of “In my Merry Oldsmobile” inadvertently became a scarce record highly sought after by both motoring enthusiasts and record collectors. The recording is desirable because it was a special pressing, created for General Motors as a give-away at the 1927 auto show.  Special pressings were not released to the general public and were not available in stores. They were obtained as premiums, or incentives, for using certain products. Adding to the allure of this record is that the same song is on both sides—another rarity in the industry—by the same group; one is a fox trot and the other a waltz.
The vocalist for this version, Bix Beiderbecke (1903-1931), was known more as a cornetist, pianist, and composer than he was his for his singing. He first joined Jean Goldkette’s Orchestra in 1924, left, then rejoined the group in time to sing on the recording. One of his bandmates in Godldkette’s Orchestra at the time of the recording was the trombonist and later bandleader Tommy Dorsey. Beiderbecke would leave Goldkette’s band to join the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, where he would play coronet from 1928-1930 before branching out on his own.
 Griswold, Wendy; American Guides: The Federal Writers’ Project and the Casting of American Culture; University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois; 2016