Al Donahue formed his first ensemble in 1925, playing mainly sweet music. In 1938 Donahue reformed his band and started to play more swing in the style of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. He recorded for Vocalion and Okeh up to 1941 and had a few hits, including 'Jeepers Creepers' and 'Stop Beatin' 'Round The Mulbury Bush'. Besides a nice CD collection – The Solid Swing of Al Donahue and His Orchestra – not much of his work has been reissued.
The 78 featured here contains two songs of quite different styles. Tabu (a.k.a. Taboo) is a slow, moody instrumental, written by Margarita Lecuona. Originally a Cuban song, versions of it have been recorded by several other swing bands, including Larry Clinton, Artie Shaw and Stan Kenton. On the other side we find the happy uptempo number Jumpin' At The Juke Box with a nice vocal by Dee Keating. The song is also featured in a soundie from 1943.
Discographical data from The Jazz Discography by Tom Lord:
Al Donahue and His Orchestra: Benny West, Pete Castellano, Hank Maddilena (tp) Bart Varsalona, Mickey Iannone, Don Cavanaugh (tb) Al Anthony, Pres Hudson (as) Jack Donahue, Danny Ippolito (cl,ts) Bill Haley (p) Tony Carlson (b) Jimmy Felton (d) Dee Keating (vcl)
New York, February 18, 1941
29762 Tabu Okeh 6136
29763 Jumpin' At The Juke Box (dk vcl) -
78 source: Okeh 6136