The Comedian Harmonists along with other European close harmony trios, quartets, and quintets, trace their origins to an American group "The Revelers," whose recordings of "Dinah," "Ol' Man River," "Birth of the Blues," "When Yuba Played the Rumba on the Tuba," and many more swept across Europe in the late 1920's.
The Revelers, a quintet made up of two tenors, two baritones, and a bass singer, were busy on radio and in vaudeville, as well as in the recording studio. In addition to their recordings for Victor, they also recorded as "The Singing Sophomores" on Columbia, and "The Merrymakers" on Brunswick. In 1933, Ring Lardner outlined his "perfect radio program" for The New Yorker, and found a place for them along with Paul Whiteman and Fanny Brice. He added, "under any name they sound as sweet."
For a taste of what they sounded like, listen to "I'm Gonna Charleston Back to Charleston" on the CD "The Roaring Twenties" (ABC 838 215-2) from the series "Robert Parker's The Golden Years." The information in the previous paragraph is shamelessly lifted from Mr. Parker's notes to that release.
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