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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ray Noble...........a big 'ol jumble of a list......

Ray Noble

Ray Noble (17 December 1903 – 3 April 1978) was an English bandleader, composer, arranger and actor. Noble studied music at the Royal Academy of Music and became leader of the HMV Records studio band in 1929. The band, known as the New Mayfair Dance Orchestra, featured members of many of the top hotel orchestras of the day. The most popular vocalist with Noble's studio band was Al Bowlly.

The Bowlly/Noble recordings achieved popularity in the United States. Union bans prevented Noble from taking British musicians to America so he arranged for Glenn Miller to recruit American musicians. Glenn Miller played the trombone in the Ray Noble orchestra which performed Glenn Miller's composition "Dese Dem Dose" as part of the medley "Dese Dem Dose/An Hour Ago This Minute/Solitude" during a performance at the Rainbow Room in 1935. The American Ray Noble band had a successful run at the Rainbow Room in New York City with Bowlly as principal vocalist.

Bowlly returned to England but Noble continued to lead bands in America, moving into an acting career portraying a stereotypical upper-class English idiot. His last major successes as a bandleader came with Buddy Clark in the late 1940s.

Ray Noble wrote both lyrics and music for many songs that became popular, contributing "Love Is The Sweetest Thing", "Cherokee", "The Touch of Your Lips", "I Hadn't Anyone Till You" and "The Very Thought Of You" to popular culture. He co-wrote "Goodnight, Sweetheart" (a number one hit for Guy Lombardo on U.S. charts), "Turkish Delight" and "By the Fireside". The Ray Noble composition "You're So Desirable" was recorded by Billie Holiday and Teddy Wilson, and by Robert Palmer in 1990.

Ray Noble was also an arranger who scored many record hits in the 1930s: "Easy to Love" (1936), "Mad About the Boy" (1932), "Paris in the Spring" (1935).

Noble and Bowlly's 1934 recording of "Midnight, the Stars and You" was prominently featured on the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining in 1980.

Another example of a Noble/Bowlly classic, the 1931 song "Guilty", can be found on the Amélie film soundtrack.

Noble played the piano but seldom did so with his orchestra. In a movie short from the 1940s featuring Ray Noble and Buddy Clark (one of his most popular band singers), Ray Noble is asked by the announcer to play one of his most popular hits. He sits down at the piano and plays "Goodnight, Sweetheart" ("Goodnight sweetheart, 'til we meet tomorrow. Goodnight sweetheart, parting is such sorrow"). This is the song that once seemed to be played at the end of every high school and college prom, the end of every party featuring live music, and the last song played by a dance band to signal the end of the evening.

Although Noble was no singer, he did appear twice as an upper crust Englishmen on two of his more popular New York records, 1935's Top Hat and 1937's Slumming on Park Avenue.

Noble provided music for many radio shows like The Charlie McCarthy Show and Burns and Allen and also guest appeared in some of their films. He and his orchestra appeared with Edgar Bergen in the 1942 film Here We Go Again and in 1937's A Damsel in Distress (film) with Burns and Allen. Noble played a somewhat "dense" character who was in love with Gracie Allen. His catchphrase was "Gracie, this is the first time we've ever been alone together."


British orchestra leader Ray Noble found success on both sides of the Atlantic. He rose to prominence in his native land during the mid-1920s and in 1929 was appointed Director of Light Music at British label HMV. There he led the New Mayfair Orchestra, a studio group which featured some of the best British musicians of the day, borrowed for pick-up work from other bands, mainly that of Lew Stone. Notable was vocalist Al Bowlly, who recorded many sides with Noble's orchestra. In 1933 Noble toured for the first time, taking a hand-picked outfit to the Netherlands. It was the first time that he led a group in public.

Noble's recordings sold well in the United States, and in 1934 he decided to move across the Atlantic, taking Bowlly with him. In contrast to the straight dance music that his British orchestra had played Noble embraced jazz upon his arrival in America. He employed Glenn Miller to assemble him a top notch band, and Miller did just that. Noble's new group featured such talented artists as trumpeters Charlie Spivak and Pee Wee Erwin, trombonist Will Bradley, saxophonist Bud Freeman, guitarist Fred van Eps, and pianist Claude Thornhill.

Noble's orchestra settled in at the Rockefeller Center's Rainbow Room in 1935, with Miller taking on much of the arranging duties. Though jazz was prevalent in its book it was on the ballads where the group shined, particularly on numbers which featured Bowlly. Noble's American band never did as well as his British outfit, partly due to inferior recordings and partly due to Noble's inability to completely grasp and exploit the abilities of his musicians. He often seemed in awe of his men's talent, as if he couldn't believe what he heard.

Though Noble's orchestra proved popular with the public, backstage the story was not as happy. Miller emerged as a favorite among many of the men, a fact often resented by Noble. The band also put in a grueling schedule, working well into the night seven days a week. Stress levels were high, and many of the key musicians had left by the end of 1936. In 1937 open conflict broke out amongst the members with the result that Noble quit as leader and the group disbanded.

After his orchestra broke up Noble left New York for the West Coast, where he formed another less-noted band and served as musical director on the Burns and Allen and Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy radio programs. He also worked sporadically in Hollywood, scoring for several films and appearing in two. Noble remained in the United States until at least 1959. He eventually returned to England, retiring to Jersey in the Channel Islands. Ray Noble died of cancer in 1978.

Ok.....enough with the bio. This is a list of everything I have from Ray Noble. It's a fairly big list. In the effort to get this one up, I've scoured every source I could find to get as many songs as I could. Bit rates and quality vary, there are broadcasts, and studio tracks. Some tracks are from my collection, some from friends, and quite a few from sources found online...royalty free sites, archives, and from various other words, quite the jumble. I know there are quite a few Noble fans out there (thinking of you, specifically, Dylan Ross), I'm posting a lot of this knowing that you all may probably have most of the event that you don' it is.  In that the list is so large, I've not done quite as much of the usual research that I do on dates, etc....this list has been taking so long to put together, that, in the essence of wanting to get it up, I have not done that this time...(I may come back very soon and add a lot of that in to the post....not just now...I apologize)

So it is...such as it is....I hope everyone gets a little something from it :)

Copper Blues (Intro: Dancing shoes)
Baby you've got the right idea
Every day away from you
Crazy feet
Allah's holiday
Brighter than the sun
All I do is dream of you
Crazy rhythm (b'cast)
Dipsy doodle
Easy to love
El Relicario
Footprints in the snow
Haunted house
I'll follow my secret heart
I'll be around v=Anita Ellis (b'cast)
Amore v=Anita Newton (b'cast)
How are things in Glocca Morra v=Buddy Clark
A foggy day
Let's face the music v=Fred Astaire
Double trouble v=Freshmen
Goodnight sweetheart
A bedtime story
A couple of fools in love  
After all you're all I'm after  
All over Italy  
And so goodbye  
Beat of my heart  
Beautiful lady in blue
Belle of Barcelona (b'cast)
Beside a Dutch canal
Blue moon  
Blues in my heart  
But definitely  
Butterflies in the rain
By the fireside  
California here I come
Can't we meet again
Close your eyes
Did you ever see a dream walking
Dinner for one please, James
Dreaming a dream
Dreams that don't grow old  
Dreamy serenade  
Driftin' tide  
Everything's been done before
Freckle face, you're beautiful  
Good evening  
Goodnight little girl of my dreams
Goodnight sweetheart  
Goodnight Vienna  
Gypsy fiddles  
Hand in hand  
Hang out the stars in Indiana
Happy and contented
Have you ever been lonely
Hiawatha's lullaby
Hold me
How could I be lonely
Die Eensaam Weg (The Lonesome Road)  Al Bowlly in Afrikaans
It's all forgotten now
The prisoner's song
Blue Prelude w/ Paul Robeson

In the moonlight
I've got a feeling
Just imagine
Makin' wicky wacky down in Waikiki
I know now
In a little gypsy tea room
I've got my love to keep me warm
Let's call a heart a heart
Let's spill the beans
Little old lady
More than you know
I used to be color blind
Mad dogs and Englishmen w/ Noel Coward
Just keepin' on w/ Paul Robeson
Little pal  w/ Paul Robeson
Oh, you nasty man
It's all forgotten now
I wished on the moon
Not bad  
Linda medley v=Buddy Clark (b'cast)
I hadn't anyone 'til you v= Tony Martin
Living in clover
A letter to my mother  
A little kiss each morning
A little white gardenia  
I guess I'll have to change my plan  
I'll forsake all others
I'll string along with you
I love you truly
I'm glad I waited
I'm misunderstood (b'cast)
I'm saving the last waltz for you
I'm telling the world she's mine
I never had a chance
I never had a chance (vers 2)
I only want one girl
I shall still keep smiling along
It's bad for me
It's great to be in love
It's just a little street where old friends meet
I've got you under my skin
I was true
June time is love time
Lady in blue
Let's swing it
Little Dutch mill
Looking on the bright side of life  
Look what you've done  
Love is the sweetest thing  
Love locked out  
Love tales  
Lullaby of Broadway  
Maybe it's because I love you too much  
Midnight the stars and you
My heart is saying  
Oceans of time  
Old covered bridge hill  
On a steamer coming over  
One morning in May  
Paris in the spring  
The old spinning wheel  
Medley: What More Can I Ask for/By the Fireside/love is the greatest thing  
Nice work if you can get it v=Fred Astaire
Lady of Spain

Terribly fond of you (Intro-dance away your blues)
So the bluebirds and the blackbirds got together
Shout for happiness
Twentieth Century blues
What a perfect combination
Stay on the right side of the road
Tiger rag
Who walks in when I walk out (1)
Who walks in when I walk out (2)
Speedboat Bill
Goodnight sweetheart (show closing)
Velia  (b'cast)
Veni Veni  
Repeal the blues w/ the Three Ginx  
Rhythm is our business  
Sweet Sue just you
This little piggy went to market
Way back home
Ray Noble talks about Al Bowlly  
Pettin' in the park  
Poor me poor you  
Remember me
Roll on Mississippi  
When you've got a little Springtime in your heart   
Where are you girl of my dreams   w/ Al Bowlly and Anona Winn
The physician w/ Gertrude Lawrence  
Slumming on Park Avenue w/ The Merry Macs
Somebody ought to be told  
Sailin' on the Robert E. Lee
Seven years with the wrong woman  
Sing as we go  
Standing on the corner  
That's what life is made of  
There's a ring around the moon  
There's something in the air
The touch of your lips  
The very thought of you
This is the day of days  
Time on my hands  
Top hat white tie and tails
Way back home
When you've fallen in love  
When you were the girl on the scooter  
Why be so unkind to me  
With all my heart  
With all my love and kisses  
You're more than all the world to me  
You're the cream in my coffee  
You're twice as nice
When my little Pomeranian met your little Pekinese  
Whispers in the dark  
When day is done  v=Joe Morrison (b'cast)
Remember me   v=Tony Martin
That old feeling  v=Tony Martin (b'cast)


  1. Interesting post, but... What a pain to read the names of the audio files without spaces in between the words!


  2. If I didn't originally encode the track, sometimes the title isn't in the format I'd like, either. I gathered these from many different sources to compile the list, and unfortunately that was the result. I tried to decipher as much of it as possible on my page, and list the tracks in correct order with as much info as I could. Sorry.

  3. Any chance you could get WHAT MORE CAN I ASK FOR on its own?

  4. Hmmmm............I do have a bad copy of "What more can I ask?" --Decca 'News Chronicle' Competition Record....Lew Stone and the Monseigneur Band-With Al Bowlly. Looking for that one?

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