Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Paull Sisters - a forgotten vocal duo

The Paull Sisters - a forgotten vocal duo ( English) De Paull Sisters - een vergeten zangduo ( Nederlands) The Paull Sisters - Stars of Radiolands ( English) De Paull Sisters - Radiosterren ( Nederlands)


Last Paull Sisters, Julia, passed away - 104 years old

Hans Koert

A year ago I posted a contribution about the Paull Sisters. I had found its name on a Hit of the week cover released in the fall of 1931 and that was all info I could find. Thanks to Bill Schoerner I received some additional information and a few photos and advertisements in which the two girls were introduced. Bill Schoerner is fascinated by these vocal groups and posted a series of blogs concerning the William Sisters.Within a few months most living relatives of these William Sisters were located and a lot of unknown information could be traced. And now, it seems .....history repeats itself ........ A few weeks ago I was contacted by Judye Talbot who happens to be the daughter of Julia. Julia was one of the Paull Sisters, together with her sister Ruth. Julia passed away last August 104 years old. Thanks to Judye I can show you some new photos and news paper clippings from Julia's scrap book and some new information, that was unknown up to now. Today the first part about their cooperation with Phil Spitalny.

Sleeve: Guilty - Phil Spitalny's Music - vocal by the Paull Sisters ( Hit of the Week L-2 - October 1931) (source: Hit of the week Discography - Hans Koert)
Julia was born in 1905 in Conrad, Iowa as Julia Brock and her sister followed two years later named Ruth. They went to Chicago to study singing and soon they sung professionally with Phil(ip) Spitalny's Music as the Paull Sisters. It is weird that they were even labeled in advertisements as Julia Paull and Ruth Paull, although their real name was Brock.
The Paull Sisters - a popular harmonising team (advertisement - 1930s)
Phil Spitalny, born in Odessa Russia, October 1890 played the clarinet in his native country before he immigrated, after the Russian Revolution, to the States (Cleveland). Here he became known as a dance band leader. His first recordings were made in Cleveland, March 1924. He moved to New York City a year later and recorded two songs with the Paull Sisters for Edison on the 31st of May, 1929 followed by several other recording sessions in the summer of 1929. Listen to: I Want to Meander In The Meadow by Phil Spitalny and his Music, sung by the Paull Sisters ( NYC June 1929)

The Paull Sisters made several recordings for Edison with that band and in February 1930 he recorded for the new born cardboard Hit of the week label.

I'm Keepin' Company / I Wanna Sing About You - Jack Norman's Orchestra ( = Phil Spitalny) with Chick Bullock. The Paull Sisters sing on the first tune. ( durium EN-5) ( NYC October 1931) ( Source: Durium Discography - Hans Koert)
The first Durium session with the Paull Sisters and Phil Spitalny's Music was scheduled October 1931 and titled Guilty and Goodnight Sweetheart; the Eton Boys were a male vocal group also present on this session, responsible for the small extra tracks She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain and In The Shade of the Old Apple Tree. These Hit of the week records were promoted as "the five-minute Hit-of-the-Week with almost twice the playing time of the average record at your news-dealer's next Thursday". These small 1.5 minutes tracks were used to complete the extra playing time.

Page from the Julia Brock's scrap book ( photo courtesy: Judye Talbot)
It is likely that, during the same session, recordings for Durium were made for export to Europe together with Chick Bullock - the popular US crooner. To prevent problems with legal contracts and things like that ( Chick Bullock was under exclusively contract for ARC), Durium used the pseudonym Jack Norman and his Orchestra for the Phil Spitalny group. The names of the Paull Sisters and Chick Bullock were skipped on the US pressings ( DURIUM), but on the European pressings by durium ( small letters) and Sefono labels the names were mentioned. On a Swedish Veckans SKIVA sleeve nr. 6, I have in my collection, one of those recordings: I'm keepin' company" is described as: Foxtrot: I'm keepin' company "Jag följer med dig! ".
A nice promo picture from Paull Sisters the early 1930s. (photo courtesy: Judye Talbot)
In the liner notes ( mind I'm talking about a record sleeve from ca. 1934 !!) the Paull Sisters are labeled as a quartet: it reads: "Refrängsången utföres av en populär damkvartett - Paull Sisters - som utgör ett raffinerat inslag i schlagern" ( = The vocal refrain is performed by a popular female quartet - Paull Sisters, - a sophisticated sequence of the recording ). Mind that this sleeve was released in 1934 for a 1931 recording and there were no reasons anymore to suppress the names of the Paull Sisters and Chick Bullock but it is weird to learn that the Paull Sisters were labeled as a quartet.

The colorfull sleeve of the Swedish VECKANS skiva ( = Weekly record) ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
I asked Judye why they called them selves the Paull Sisters. I'll inform you about that in the second part later in which I will spotlight the 1930s with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, titled: The Paull Sisters: The 1930s.
Thanks Judye for sharing the info and some photos from your mother's scrap book. Hope to publish more later. Thanks Jo for sharing your linguistic talent of the Swedish language.

This contribution will also be published on the Hit of the week blog.

Hans Koert

In December 1929 the DURIUM PRODUCTS CORPORATION prepared the start of a new unbreakable record, made of cardboard. The well known weekly issues, called the Hit of the Week, were released in a weekly schedule, which started in February 1930. The Hit of the week blog and the Keepswinging blog will follow the development of these 80 years old records in an unique series of blogs. If you love to be informed about these contributions ask for the newsletter

Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Friends of the Keep Swinging blog Keep Swinging Contributions

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Blogger Bill S said...

This is great news, Hans. I know how long you have been trying to fill in the details on the Paull Sisters. Thank also to Judye for sharing this information about her mother. I am looking forward to the next chapter in the story.


8:38 PM  

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