Clyde Lucas promotional picture
Lucas grew up in Los Angeles, California and was of "Chicano" (American Mexican) background. He began his career as a singer and trombonist in the Herb Wiedoeft orchestra, and launched his own band in the early 1930s. The band was versatile, playing a range of styles including popular Mexican tunes, Swing, Hawaiian and Hillbilly. The typical line-up at that time included four saxophones, two trumpets and a four-piece rhythm section, often with violins. Musicians were expected to be able to play more than one instrument.
In 1934, the Morrison Hotel and the Terrace Garden, both in Chicago, employed Lucas and his Dons. As the thirties progressed, "Clyde Lucas and his California Dons" grew in popularity, releasing records and playing on the radio. The band also recorded background music for some of the early talkies. In September 1938, Paramount Pictures released an 11-minute movie "short" called Lights, Action, Lucas, featuring the band. Other headliner shorts released around this time included Listen to Lucas (1938), Meet the Maestros (1938) and Clyde Lucas and His Orchestra (1939)
Gloria Wood, a popular singer from the 1940s through to the 1970s made her first recordings with the Clyde Lucas band. Singles released for Elite Records in 1941 included Sometimes and Somebody nobody knows, with flip sides Rose O'Day and When roses bloom again. Other singles from Elite that year included Shrine of St. Cecelia, I said No and Deep in the Heart of Texas. In 1942 Lucas released a cover of Glenn Miller's A string of pearls, but reviews were not favorable.
The band did not appeal to every musical taste. One radio announcer "accidentally" said "You are listening to the mucous of Clyde Lucas". However, in 1943 Billboard Magazine reported that Lucas had abandoned the schmaltzy California Dons, with its strong violin section, and was now heading a more modern swing ensemble. The band was still heavy on brass, with five saxophones and five other brass instruments besides rhythm and drums. A newcomer to the scene named Loren Helberg was featured as a tenor sax soloist, and the vocalist Teeny Riley had replaced Patty Ross.
The band continued to play in hotels and at balls through the 1940s. Lucas's band played in the July 1941 Police Ball and Reception in Troy, New York. In September 1942 the band was playing at the Hotel Claridge in Memphis, Tennessee and getting good reviews. In September 1943 the band was at the Tune Town Ballroom in St. Louis, Missouri. In December 1945 the band was playing the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. The band eventually disbanded towards the end of the forties.
- "Clyde Lucas and his California Dons". Big Bands Database Plus. Archived from the original on 2010-06-04. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- "Herb Wiedoeft". Solid!. Archived from the original on 2011-01-01. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- Walker 1989, pp. 260
- Sengstock 2004, pp. 91,217
- "Clyde Lucas Booked for Longer Stay at Terrace Garden". Down Beat: 1. July 1934.
- Lights, Action, Lucas! (1938) at the Internet Movie Database
- Clyde Lucas at the Internet Movie Database
- Hollis & Ehrbar 2006, pp. 45
- Ruppli & Novitsky 1993, pp. 676
- "Elite 5000 series numerical listing". THE ONLINE DISCOGRAPHICAL PROJECT. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- "On the Records". Billboard Magazine. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 51 (12): 66. 21 Mar 1942. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- Goffman 1981, pp. 248
- Wells, C. V. (11 September 1943). "Clyde Lucas". Billboard Magazine. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 55 (37): 13. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- Nielsen & Nielsen 2001, pp. 43
- Johnson (26 Sep 1942). "Clyde Lucas". Billboard Magazine. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 54 (38): 21. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- "Music – As Written". Billboard Magazine. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 57 (48): 16. 1 Dec 1945. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
Bibliography for references
- Hollis, Tim; Ehrbar, Greg (2006). Mouse tracks: the story of Walt Disney Records. Univ. Press of Mississippi. ISBN 1-57806-849-5.
- Sengstock, Charles A. (2004). That toddlin' town: Chicago's white dance bands and orchestras, 1900–1950. Music in American life. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-02954-7.
- Walker, Leo (1989). The big band almanac. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80345-3.
- Nielsen, Brian; Nielsen, Becky (2001). Troy in vintage postcards. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-0903-5.
- Ruppli, Michel; Novitsky, Ed (1993). The Mercury Labels: The 1945–1956 era. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 0-313-29031-8.
- Goffman, Erving (1981). Forms of talk. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1112-X.
- Colin Larkin (1998). "Lucas, Clyde". The encyclopedia of popular music: Louvin, Charlie – Paul, Clarence. 5 (3rd ed.). Macmillan. p. 3351. ISBN 978-0-333-74134-4.
- Roy Liebman (2003). "Lucas, Clyde". Vitaphone films: a catalogue of the features and shorts. McFarland. p. 370. ISBN 978-0-7864-1279-2.