Happy 110th Birthday, Ray Starita!

Ray (Renato) Starita, an Italian-American, along with his brothers Al and Rudy (and the less well-known Julio) were influential in British dance band music in the 1920s and early 1930s.  Ray, a saxophonist and clarinetist, led the Piccadilly Revels Band and the Ambassadors’ Band.

John Wright has compiled some interesting historical data regarding the Starita family, drawing on the accounts of their children, and he provides a unique photo gallery of Ray Starita‘s career in England and later life in the United States.

Elsie Carlisle made a number of noteworthy recordings with Ray Starita and His Ambassadors’ Band in 1932, including “Let That Be a Lesson to You,” “I Heard,” and Noël Coward’s “Mad About the Boy.”

Ray Starita and His Ambassadors' Band c. 1930
Ray Starita and His Ambassadors’ Band c. 1930

Elsie Carlisle on a 1935 Ardath Cigarette Card

1935 Ardath Tobacco cigarette card, front and back. “Film, Stage and Radio Stars” #8 of 50.  “…they also say that [Elsie Carlisle] has more “IT” in her voice in her voice than any other radio star.” As Elsie, following Helen Kane, would ask, “Whats ‘IT?’ Huh?”

1935 Ardath Tobacco cigarette card. "Film, Stage and Radio Stars" #8 of 50. Front.
1935 Ardath Tobacco cigarette card. “Film, Stage and Radio Stars” #8 of 50. Front.

 

1935 Ardath Tobacco cigarette card. "Film, Stage and Radio Stars" #8 of 50. Reverse.
1935 Ardath Tobacco cigarette card. “Film, Stage and Radio Stars” #8 of 50. Reverse.

“My Old Flame” (1934)

“My Old Flame.” Composed by Arthur Johnston (who also wrote “Pennies from Heaven”), with lyrics by Sam Coslow. Elsie Carlisle with Ambrose and His Orchestra (Embassy Club, London, November 1, 1934). Decca F 5293.

My old flame – Ambrose and his orchestra with Elsie Carlisle

“My Old Flame” – Ambrose and His Orchestra with Elsie Carlisle

Video by Julian Dyer (YouTube)