Image of Sam Donahue.

Sam Donahue

(Tenor sax, trumpet, valve trombone, arranger) 1918-1974

Donahue was born in Detroit on March 8, 1918. He first formed a band in 1938 but left it in the care of Sonny Burke while he went on the road with Gene Krupa. In 1940 he returned to assume the leadership and gradually through recordings and the booking skills of the Schribman brothers in the England area built the band into quite a draw. The overall style was created by the arranging of Donahue himself who was heavily influenced by the Lunceford sound and also Count Basie.

Image of The Band of the U. S. Navy Liberation Forces. Left to right: Sam Donahue, Charlie Wade, Bill Nichol, Rocky Coluccio, Mark Pierce, Ralph La Polla, Barney Spieler, Joe Aglora, Al Horish, Buzz Sithens, Dick Le Fave and Tasso Harris.

As the effects of America's entry into the war took effect he disbanded in October 1942 and joined the Navy where he became part of Artie Shaw's Navy Band. The all star unit saw action in the Pacific before returning to the US in October 1943. Shaw received a medical discharge and leadership fell to Donahue. A few months later the reorganised band with a Donahue inspired library departed for Britain as part of the preparation for D-Day and was grandly named the U.S. Navy Band of the Liberation Forces. While in Britain it toured bases and also broadcast over the BBC and was generally regarded as a superior jazz unit to the better known Glenn Miller AEF Orchestra.

Image of The Band of the U. S. Navy Liberation Forces. Left to right: John Best, Charlie Wade, Dick Le Fave, Conrad Gozzo, Frank Beach, Tasso Harris, Don Jacoby, Tak Takvorian, Bill Nichol, Gene Leetch and Mark Pierce.

The orchestra returned to the US in March 1945 and made a series of V Discs which demonstrated its excellence. These are to be heard on Heps 2, 5, and 25 along with some small group jazz of the period. Late in 1945 he received his discharge and set about getting his civilian band together again. Times had changed and although he enjoyed some success and made some excellent studio recordings he never quite recaptured the spirit of the Navy Band.

In the fifties he variously worked for Billy May and Tommy Dorsey as well as many studio recording jobs. In 1960 he even became part of the Stan Kenton Band. His final years were spent in Nevada leading bands in the resort town of Sparks. He died March 22, 1974.

< Top
Image of Hep CD2 - Sam Donahue & The Navy Band - Vol 1: Convoy


SAM DONAHUE & The Navy Band

"Vol 1: Convoy"

Sam Donahue directs The Band of the U. S. Navy Liberation Forces on these historic V-Disc and live performances including rare alternates from 1945.

Titles - Convoy / Deep Night / I've Found A New Baby / Moten Swing / Homeward Bound / Lonesome Nights / Saxophone Sam / Without A Song / Bugle Call Rag / You Was Right, Baby / Just You - Just Me / Out Of This World / Take Me In Your Arms / C Jam Blues / Gypsy Love Song / On The Sunny Side Of The Street / My Silent Love / Please Get Us Out / Convoy.

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £8.99

Sam Donahue - "I've Found a New Baby"

Image of Hep CD5 - Sam Donahue & The Navy Band - Vol 2: LST Party


SAM DONAHUE & The Navy Band

"Vol 2: LST Party"

Historic V-Disc and live performances including rare alternates from 1945.

Titles - The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise / Dinah / I Can't Give You Anything But Love / Play, Fiddle, Play / Cocktails For Two / Mean To Me / Bugle Call Rag (take 1) / My Melancholy Baby / Dear Al / Paradise / Convoy (take 1) / Moten Swing (take 1) / St Louis Blues / Dinah / LST Party / My Heart Stood Still / Liza / C Jam Blues (Breakdown) / C Jam Blues / Minor De Luxe.

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £8.99

Sam Donahue - "Dinah"

Image of Hep CD25 - Sam Donahue & and His Orchestra - Hollywood Hop


SAM DONAHUE and His Orchestra

"Hollywood Hop"

Studio and transcription performances by Sam Donahue and his orchestra from 1940-48.

Titles - Pick A Rib / Easy Does It / Carry Me Back To Ol' Virginny / Jumpin' Salty / Minor De Luxe / It Counts A Lot / Skooter / Saxophone Sam / Do You Care / Six Mile Stretch / Flo Flo / Hollywood Hop / Encore Essence / Round The Block / Catch As Catch Can / East Of The Sun / September In The Rain / Smooth Blend / Waiting For The Train To Come In / Sentimental Journey / It's Been A Long, Long Time / I Cover The Waterfront / That's The Way / There'll Be Some Changes Made / Exactly Like You / Sax O'Boogie.

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £8.99

Sam Donahue - "Catch As Catch Can"

Image of Hep CD71 - Sam Donahue Orchestra - Take Five


SAM DONAHUE and His Orchestra

"Take Five"

Studio and transcription performances from 1945-47.

Titles - Song Of The Seabees / Drunken Sailor / Farewell to Grog / Maid of Amsterdam / Dinah / Gypsy Sweetheart / Moten Swing / Take Five / Convoy / Just The Other Day / I Left my heart in Mississippi / Constellation / September in the Rain / Put That Kiss Back / Scufflin' / Rainy Night in Rio / Suicide Leap / Conversation at Lindy's / Melancholy baby / I Never Knew / Red Wing / Sax O Boogie / Robbins Nest / Tacos, Echiladas and Beans.

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £8.99

Sam Donahue - "Constellation"

< Top

artists @ Hep Jazz