Miguel Prado Articles

“Time Was” (1942)

“Time Was.” Originally published as “Duerme” by composer Miguel Prado, with Spanish lyrics by Gabriel Luna de la Fuente; here the English lyrics by S. K. Russell are used. Recorded in London on January 19, 1942 by Carroll Gibbons and the Savoy Hotel Orpheans with singer Anne Lenner. Columbia FB-2764 mx. CA-18862-1.

Personnel: Carroll Gibbons-p dir. Frenchie Sartell / either Dennis Ratcliffe or George Wilder-t / Abe Walters-tb-p-pac / Buddy Hammond or Bert Boatwright-tb / Billy Apps-cl-as / Laurie Payne-cl-as-bar or George Pallat-cl-as / George Smith-cl-ts / Reg. Leopold-vn / Sid Kruger-2nd p / Bert Thomas-g / Jack Evetts-sb / Rudy Starita-d-vib / Anne Lenner-v

Carroll Gibbons and the Savoy Hotel Orpheans (v. Anne Lenner) – “Time Was” (1942)

“Time Was” originated in the mid-1930s as the Spanish-language song “Duerme,” composed by Mexicans Miguel Prado (music) and Gabriel Luna de la Fuente (lyrics). A representative version of the Spanish original is the one by Xavier Cugat, with vocals by Carmen Castillo. In 1941 American S. K. Russell wrote English lyrics for the tune, and those are what Carroll Gibbons chose for his Savoy Orpheans recording with singer Anne Lenner. The Spanish lyrics take the form of a sort of lullaby for grownups, whereas the English lyrics concern nostalgia for a youthful romance.

Carroll Gibbons maintained the classic sound of his Savoy Orpheans well into the 1940s but tended to gesture towards the evolving tastes of the public by incorporating strong swing codas into each song. In “Time Was,” however, the contemporary swing sensibility is evident from start to finish. Indeed, this beautiful recording has all the marks of being from a late period. It is one of Anne Lenner’s final collaborations with Carroll Gibbons; she would soon move on to do exclusively wartime broadcasts. Her interpretation of the theme of the sweet recollection of young love is unusually passionate, and she appears to savor every syllable of S. K. Russell’s lyrics as she delivers them with her trademark crisp elocution.

In 1941, American artists who recorded “Time Was” included Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra (v. Bob Eberly & Helen O’Connell), Wayne King and His Orchestra (v. Buddy Clark), and Kate Smith (dir. Jack Miller). Notable broadcasts were made by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra (v. Tommy Taylor) and Artie Shaw and His Orchestra (v. Bonnie Lake).

Other British dance bands who recorded “Time Was” in 1941-1942 were Oscar Rabin and His Band (v. Bob Dale), Ambrose and His Orchestra (v. Sam Browne), and Charlie Kunz and His Ballroom Orchestra.