Train songs Articles

“My Cutey’s Due at Two-to-Two Today” (1926)

“My Cutey’s Due at Two-to-Two Today.” Music by Albert Von Tilzer, lyrics by Leo Robin (1926). Recorded by Elsie Carlisle with piano and vocal accompaniment by Carroll Gibbons in London on October 6, 1926. Zonophone 2815.

My Cutey's Due At Two-To-Two To-Day – Elsie Carlisle

My Cutey’s Due At Two-To-Two To-Day – Elsie Carlisle

Video by David Weavings (YouTube)

Von Tilzer and Robin’s “My Cutey’s Due at Two-to-Two Today,” an example of the “train song” genre, is a light composition that makes up for a fundamental lack of profundity by being ridiculously catchy, almost addictive. It speaks primarily of faithfulness in one’s lover’s absence and of the giddy anticipation of reunion. Elsie Carlisle brings to it the requisite frantic, girlish enthusiasm and applies her vaguely conversational style of delivery to the song’s rhythmical patter with great effectiveness. She is accompanied on this record, not only by Carroll Gibbon’s piano playing, but also by his voice; he engages in a muted antiphony with Elsie for part of the song.

“My Cutey’s Due” was recorded in America in 1926 by Sam Lanin and His Orchestra (as the Missouri Jazz Band), Ted Weems (Park Gibbs, vocalist), the Happiness Boys (Billy Jones and Ernest Hare), The Clevelanders (with vocals by Tom Stacks), and the Little Ramblers (with vocalist Ed Kirkeby). In Britain there were 1926 versions by Bert Firman’s Dance Orchestra, Don Parker and His Band, Victor Sterling and His Band, Van Straten and His Riviera Dance Orchestra (with vocals by Harry Fay). In early 1927 there were recordings made by Alfredo’s Band and by the Picadilly Revels Band.

“Fare Thee Well, Annabelle” (1935)

“Fare Thee Well, Annabelle.”  Words by Mort Dixon, music by Allie Wrubel (1934).  Recorded on June 20, 1935 by Ambrose and His Orchestra, with vocals by Donald Stewart, Elsie Carlisle, and the Rhythm Brothers.  Decca F. 5590.

Personnel: Bert Ambrose dir. Max Goldberg-t-mel / Harry Owen and 1 unknown-t / Ted Heath-Lew Davis-tb / Danny Polo-cl-as-bar / Sid Phillips-cl-as-bar-a / Joe Jeannette-as / Billy Amstell-cl-ts / Ernie Lewis-Reg Pursglove-vn / Bert Barnes-p-a /Joe Brannelly-g /Dick Ball-sb /Max Bacon-d

Ambrose and his Orchestra "Fare thee well, Annabelle" 1935

Ambrose and his Orchestra – “Fare Thee Well, Annabelle” (1935)

Transfer by phonomono78s (YouTube)

Mort Dixon and Allie Wrubel wrote “Fare Thee Well, Annabelle” in 1934; it was introduced in 1935 by Rudy Vallée and Ann Dvorak in the film Sweet Music.  The Ambrose Orchestra’s version does justice to this admirable example of the “train song” genre; it lacks the lollapalooza tap dancing sequence of the film, but its simulated train sounds evoke the original context of the song nicely, and Donald Stewart and Elsie Carlisle make suitable stand-ins for the movie actors.

Notable Americans to record “Fare Thee Well, Annabelle” that year were Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra (with Pee Wee Hunt as vocalist), Charlie Barnet (with singer Marion Nichols), Ted Fio Rito and His Orchestra (with vocals by Muzzy Marcellino and The Debutantes), Chick Bullock and His Levee Loungers, Wingy Manone, and the Boswell Sisters (recording in London).

In 1935 Britain would hear other recordings of “Fare Thee Well, Annabelle” by the Debroy Somers Band (with Brian Lawrance as vocalist), Billy Merrin and His Commanders (Ken Crossley, vocalist), Harry Roy and His Orchestra (Bill Currie, vocalist), Sidney Kyte and His Piccadilly Hotel band (with Norman Phillips singing), and Joe Loss and His Radio Band.

"Fare Thee Well, Annabelle" sheet music featuring Rudy Vallée and Ann Dvorak
“Fare Thee Well, Annabelle” sheet music featuring Rudy Vallée and Ann Dvorak

"The Idol of the Radio." British dance band singer of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

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