Saturday, April 8, 2017

Alas, No Gas

Jane White
Alas, No Gas

Dauntless 033

Jane Douglass White 
essentially a pianist and composer, also recorded songs, but not too many.  Twenty years earlier, in 1953, there was at least two singles (as by Jane Douglass) on Opportune Records. She was backed by Johnnie Garnieri Orchestra.  One song was a duet with Tom O'Malley. 

Dauntless Records was the subsidiary of Audio Fidelity Records founded by Sidney Frey in 1954.

Born Ruby Jane Douglass in 1919 in Coffeyville, Kansas, she was educated at Oklahoma University, Columbia University (MA) and Colorado College of Education. As early as the mid-thirties, she was described as "a  capable pianist, but violinist and organist as well."

During the War, she was an officier with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).  According to John Bush Jones (The Songs that Fought the War: Popular Music and the Home Front, 1939-1945), Lt. Douglass (later Captain)
wrote some significant war-related songs of various kinds   Among Lt. Douglass's wartime songs were two lighthearted though not comic pieces that fall into this catchall bunch, each happily pointing out, as one of their titles proclaims, "Something New Has Been Added To The Army (Leeds, 1943), that something neatly summed up in the single line "Right along with khaki shirts comes the sight of khaki skirts."  Lt. Douglass expands upon her theme to cover all the women's service branches in "There'll Be A New Style Bonnet In The Easter Parade" (Leeds, 1943), declaring "the WACS will wear a hat that os smart and new, the WAVES wear a bonnet of Navy blue,/ And the SPARS come out in a hat that's O.K., there's no original by Lily Daché.
 Jane Douglass ended up writing the official WAC Song and was awarded the Legion of Merit medal for service in lifting the morale of troops with her music.  After being discharged in the Big Apple, a friend asked Jane Douglass to accompany her on the piano for an audition. The agent at the audition was not looking for a singer, but for a pianist, instead, for the Park Sheraton Hotel dining room. "I got the job! But I found that the tips there were bigger when I could play the classics, and I needed coaching since I had been playing strictly pop music in the Army.  Someone recommended Anton Bilotti, a concert pianist, as a possible coach.   I auditioned for him and he took me on as a student. 

She soon married Gail White,  her coach's brother-in-law, and pursued a
postwar career as Jane Douglass White, composer, singer, pianist and producer of TV's Name That tune. 

Later, through a week spiritual renewal at her home church in Wyckoff, New Jersey she came to a personal commitment of her life to Christ.   Combining her talents with another professional in music, Janet Baird Weisiger she formed a musical team named Janet and Jane, giving sacred concerts and recording at least one album for Messiah Records in 1973 (Joy and Praise).    She also worked with prison ministry in leading Bible study seminars in prisons throughout the USA,  through Charles W. Colson's Prison Fellowship


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