US Military V-Discs in the Eugene Earle Collection

VDISCDuring World War II, the U.S. military and American record companies collaborated to produce a series of records for the “V-Disc” program, a morale-boosting  effort designed to provide troops overseas with access to exclusive new music. Many of the top performers of the day, including Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington, contributed recordings to the project. The V-Discs were produced exclusively for use by military personnel and the artists who volunteered their recordings insisted they not become commercially available, so when the program came to an end in 1949 the Army destroyed most of the original pressing plates and many of the existing discs, making V-Discs a rather collectible commodity today.

The 261 V-Discs in the Eugene Earle Collection represent a wide variety of popular music, including big band jazz, country and blues. Many of the songs were recorded with the military audience in mind, as you can hear in the clip below of Carson Robison performing “Nursery Rhymes of 1944″, from Army V-Disc 145 (SFC # TR/12-19). He really lets Hitler have it, in the classic schoolyard manner.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.