1964 Berl Olswanger Orchestra with the Olswanger Beat
Berl Olswanger has been a recognized leader in music circles since he was twelve years old and had his own radio show. Except for a four-year tour of duty in the United States Navy during World War II, his name has been synonymous with "Mister Music of Memphis."
The outstanding orchestra grew from solo playing engagements with Berl at the piano. Clients would request that an instrument or two be added for cocktail music and after a few years, the orchestra was born. It is so much in demand that Berl can no longer accept solo playing engagements.
The musicians are Art Sutton on trombone, who once had a band of his own and who plays the South's most wicked tailgate Dixieland trombone; Pee Wee Wamble, hot trumpet man, one of the old Swift Jewel Cowboys and a genius at almost any instrument; Tommy Bennett, on electric bass, a terrific ear man who attended junior high school with Berl and has been playing with him since they were kids; Byron Hudson, staff clarinetist at WREC-TV and assistant to Berl on arrangements; Tommy Bullock, exceptional rhythm-man who has been with Berl about eight years; talented, young Bobby Ryan, alternate on the drums; and lovely, young Jeanie Page, the vocalist who grew up in show business, with a repertoire of hundreds of songs.
Many reasons have been given for the popularity of the orchestra. Some folks say it's their personalities, while others say it's their interesting arrangements, the showmanship and variety of their costumes, because the band has a knack for being able to please any age group, or because Berl can feel the pulse of the crowd and recognize the mood during the first set. But the reason heard most is that this is the band with an intoxicating beat. Out-of-town bands, when performing or passing through Memphis, come to listen.
All the musicians played with name bands before joining Berl. The Berl Olswanger Orchestra has a combined total of two hundred thirty-four years of playing experience! Not only is this something few bands can say, it could account for the sound of this band with a "beat." Teenagers are always amazed that their rock & roll music can be played with the authentic beat by an adult group that uses no guitars, except the electric bass.
Country clubs, debutante parties, receptions and conventions keep the band booked solid six months in advance. Many dates are held for a year or more. Large corporations have flown the band to sales meetings all over the country because the "Olswanger Beat" gives their salesman the rousing send-off needed to get them excited over new sales promotions.
Berl is famous for his personalized floor shows for large companies and conventions. He writes material exclusively for the client, such as parodies and puns about the product or service and the people. This material is memorized by Jeanie Page and alternate vocalist Linda Lewis, and it never fails to produce a show that leaves a captivated audience enthusiastically asking for more.
Aside from this popular orchestra, the name Berl Olswanger is recognized on the marquee of two fun-filled busy music stores that together house one of the South's largest and most complete music centers with franchised lines of leading musical instruments and accessories, two music schools where thousands have flocked to learn to play "the easy, Berl Olswanger way," using the popular simplified method Berl himself wrote and published, and the Berl Olswanger Entertainment Bureau, a booking agency that can supply a variety of talent from rock & roll groups to dance bands, organists, pianists, accordionists, violinists, clowns, comedians, magicians, opera stars, dancers, folk singers and sing-alongs.
In addition to being involved in all the above activities, Berl finds time to appear on a daily television show.
This long-playing record is an answer to hundreds of requests from fans who can't get enough of the "Olswanger Beat."