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At 91, Aubrey Native Louise Tobin Recalls Singing with Big Band Greats

LouiseTobin_dallasnewsarticleLouise Tobin, 91, sang for Benny Goodman, the King of Swing, and was married to two other bandleaders, Harry James and Peanuts Hucko.

The North Texas native had performed across the country with all sorts of bands. She was singing with Benny Goodman, the King of Swing, whose songs became chart-toppers.

In the late 1930s and early ’40s, her jazzy voice was on the radio, and her picture was in the papers. Movie executives were reaching out to her.

But her husband, Harry James, the famous big-band musician, wanted her to stop singing.

So the songstress walked away from it all.

She got pregnant. She had one son and then another. She was focused on her husband’s blossoming career. Then, in 1943, James wanted a divorce. He left her for Betty Grable, the actress and World War II-era pin-up. The news generated headlines across the country.

Tobin – born in Aubrey and raised in Denton – doesn’t let the divorce and the abrupt interruption of her career define her. She says she is just grateful to have sung jazz when jazz was hot.

“I feel like that was a real era of contribution to the culture of the world,” said Tobin, now 91.

“It’s truly melodic. Beautiful music.”

Years later, after exiting the singing spotlight, Tobin would return to her jazz roots.

And she would fall in love again, this time with Peanuts Hucko, another famous musician.

She never lost her love of jazz and the ability to improvise, be loose with the notes and sing harmony.

“Jazz, it’s freedom,” she said.

 

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3 Comments
  1. Dear Louise,
    I see you are still around, fantastic! You made 2 albums in my studio in Monster Holland back in 1986, tribute to Armstrong and tribute to Goodman. Maybe you can remember that. I think it came out very well.
    It was in the beginning of my recording days. Later I worked so 25 years in New York so 4 times a year and recorded there over 300 cd,s
    only jazzmusic.When you rere in my studio with Peanuts you both invited us, Els my wive and me to come to your house, unfortunately it never happend.They are writing a book about my studio and your name came along
    and now I realize what an impressing backround you have!
    Louise hope you will read this message and whish you all the best,

    Many greetings, Max Bolleman and Els my wife.

  2. Dear Max –
    What a delightful surprise to get your e-mail via my son Harry James Jr. I remember well our date in your studio, which I think was in your home in Holland – a very sweet memory indeed! I too am sorry that we never got to visit socially. I have an apartment in my son’s home, and tho I’m pushing 96, I’m very grateful to be well and mobile. If you ever get to Texas, I’ll be very pleased to see you and Els again. Please send me the book about your studio.
    Be well and be Blessed,
    Louise Tobin Hucko

  3. Hallo Louise,
    Finally I saw your message after almost more than a year.
    So nice you wrote me back so soon after my message about the recordings in my studio.
    What the book concerns it is written in Dutch and they are working to make another one in English.
    When ever that comes out I send you one.

    Many greetings Max. Hope you are still in good health.

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