“You Are My Sunshine” as performed by Wilf Carter

you-are-my-sunshine-200“You Are My Sunshine” is an example of country music’s large contribution to American music. This version shows off the song’s country roots. The tune was made popular by Jimmie Davis, who would later became governor of Lousiana. The song was written by a Paul Rice, but the songwriting was credited to the Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell, who purchased the song from Mr. Rice.

Wilf Carter, who performs this version, was a Canadian who often used the nickname of “Montana Slim.” Carter’s version evokes the deep melancholy in the song. The contrast between the cheery chorus (the most recognizable section), and the tone of the verses, make this version unique.

One curious part of this recording, the fluttery instrument that emerges during the first chorus, sounds like a direct reference point for a similar texture The Clash would employ on “Somebody Got Murdered,” several decades later.

Al Dollar & His 10 Cent Band w/ Billy Murray – “Popeye the Sailor Man”

After his debut appearance in a comic strip by E. C. Segar, Popeye the Sailor became a beloved star of: radio, TV, theater, movies, popular songs, and even pinball and video games. In short, Popeye was successful in every arena he could possibly appear in. This very early version of the “Popeye the Sailor Man” theme song is enough to inspire even the most squeamish of kids to try some gooey, slimy, canned green spinach for the first time.

Annette Hanshaw – “Body And Soul”

AnnetteHanshawAnnette Hanshaw’s relaxed, jazz-influenced pop singing style was a hit with the Flappers in the 1920s. Known as “The Personality Girl,” Hanshaw had a prolific career, recording for Columbia, OKeh, and a handful of other labels through the late 1930s. Her early take on “Body and Soul” is a classic, which helped establish the song. Composed by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton with music by Johnny Green, this piece been interpreted by literally hundreds of artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Billy Eckstine, Etta James, Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra.