Throw on that kilt and kick up your legs!


The other night I found myself singing "Loch Lomond," which I of course had in my head from this clip that I hadn't watched in ages. So I decided for my new blog that I simply HAD to revisit this clip, and the glorious Martha Tilton in the soundie "Loch Lomond" (1941).

I guess I never realized how BEAUTIFUL Martha Tilton was! She is absolutely adorable and stunning at the same time in this great soundie from 1941, which also features Ben Pollack's Orchestra. Her hair is perfectly rolled in 1940's curls, and she walks on stage wearing the cutest chorus girl outfit with a short plaid skirt and platforms. And her huge eyes just dazzle as she sings happily towards the camera.

A bit about Martha Tilton, from IMDB:
Martha Tilton (November 14, 1915, Corpus Christi, Texas -December 8, 2006, Brentwood, California) was an American popular singer, best-known for her 1939 recording of "And the Angels Sing" with Benny Goodman. She was sometimes introduced as The Liltin' Miss Tilton.

Tilton and her family lived in Texas and Kansas, relocating to Los Angeles when she was seven years old. While attending Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, she was singing on a small radio station when she was heard by an agent who signed her and began booking her with larger stations. She then dropped out of school in the 11th grade to join Hal Grayson's band.

After singing with the quartet, Three Hits and a Miss, she joined the Myer Alexander chorus on Benny Goodman's radio show, Camel Caravan. Goodman hired Tilton as a vocalist with his band in August 1937. She was with Goodman in January 1938, when the band performed the first jazz performance at Carnegie Hall. She continued to appear as Goodman's star vocalist through the end of 1939.
At around 1:20, in enter the chorus girls! Six ladies enter onstage in short plaid skirts and fabulous hats with feathers. For only have six ladies total on stage in this scene, the formation changes and dancing seem superb. Although I can't really tell if that is a reflection upon the dancers themselves, or the fact that (like what often happened back in the day with chorus girl casting) all of the girls look like a clone of each other - same height, same long ass legs, same hair color, same hair length (could be wigs, granted).

What comes out of this routine though, is a great mixture of classic scottish style folk dancing, with a little jazz mixed in.

So now for your viewing pleasure, I present "Loch Lomond" (1941).

Hot Tap in Hot Shorts

Do you know who Cora La Redd was? Unfortunately there's not too much information about this gem of a harlem tap dancer online. According to IBDB (Internet Broadway Database), La Redd is credited with 3 recorded performances: "Say When", "Messin Around", and "Change Your Luck".
However, the clip we are reviewing today is from 1933, which is after these other movies were produced, so we know she made more appearances in cinema than these three instances. The clip we are watching of Cora La Redd is her performance of the song, "Jig Time" from the film "That's The Spirit" (1933), featuring the Noble Sissle Orchestra.

As far as I can find about Cora La Redd, she was a dancer at the infamous Cotton Club. It appears that some also credit her with popularizing "The Truckin'" dance to the public audience:

19 July 1935, Washington Post, "Broadway" by Ed Sullivan, pg. 19:
I like best the "Truckin' Down" number led by Cora La Redd. "Truckin'," in Harlem, is a description of a peculiar slouchy walk, and the new dance has the same contagion of rhythm that made an instantaneous hit of the Black Bottom when Tom Patricoa and Ann Pennington brought it to town. With one shoulder hoisted, the dancers do a spraddle-legged walk that finally gives you a terrific yen to try it yourself.

According to some resources online, it is believed that Cora La Redd made "truckin'" popular with the dancing public around 1927. Unfortunately, the ONLY other info I could find in my online research on Cora La Redd was that she passed away on March 21, 1968.
In this clip, not only do we get to see Cora bust out her skills as a tap dancer, but we get to hear her sing this adorable song, "Jig Time." Talk about fantastic facial expressions - everything from her chubby cheeks to her raised eyebrows as she sings. Another thing to note here is the way that she moves her arms while she taps - almost as if she is conducting her own feet as they perform. This is a stylistic note that I have heard many old-timer tap dancers (who performed in the films back in the 30's & 40's) note: that even amazing young tap dancers of our generation don't know how to use their arms when they perform, and they also always forget to look up and engage the audience. Cora La Redd shows that perfectly here as her feet fly beneath her.

And one of the things I appreciate so much about Cora La Redd is that she was clearly no small woman. But, look at her go! Even with such a fun jazz song played by the band, she seems to step up the energy of the whole number 200% with her flying feet & giant smile, along with some hops here and there.. hahaha.

God, and LOVE the outfit!!!

So now, please enjoy, "Jig Time" (1933)