Trumpet player Dick Barrie was a member of Kay Kyser’s orchestra before he formed his own group in February 1936. The young band, with an average age of 22, proved popular among the dance crowd and quickly attracted radio interest. Vocalists were Barrie himself, Anita Boyer, who was Barrie’s wife, and Kenny Stoker. The orchestra also featured the Three Shieks vocal group and a glee club. Later male vocalists, in 1939, were Eddie Metcalfe and Burt Rogers. The orchestra recorded on the Vocalion label in 1938 and 1939 and had their own radio show on the Mutual network.
Boyer quit the band in the summer of 1939, joining Tommy Dorsey in October of that year, and the couple subsequently divorced. Blanche Labow replaced her as vocalist. The group was active through at least September 1941. Sometime soon after that, though, Barrie scrapped it and returned to being a sideman again, working in Cecil Davidson’s orchestra in early 1942, acting as the band’s emcee as well as playing trumpet.
In February 1943, Barrie formed a new six-piece outfit and hit the cocktail lounge circuit. Sax player and arranger Ted Phillips was named alternate leader in case Barrie was called into the service, which happened by mid-year when Barrie entered the Navy. He spent the rest of the war as a flight instructor at Lockport, Illinois.
Dick Barrie was the brother of singer Gracie Barrie, who married saxophonist and bandleader Dick Stabile. In January 1941, Barrie’s trumpet was apparently stolen.
- Martin, Darrell V. “Lost! Six Precious Seconds.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 29 Feb 1936: 9.
- Martin, Darrell V. “Young Band Is Lauded Highly.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 6 Jun 1936: n.p.
- “Barrie and 'Jumbo” Now at Kennywood." Pittsburgh Press 13 Jun. 1937: Society 7.
- “Dick Barrie Opening at Kennywood Monday.” The Pittsburgh Press 14 Jul. 1939: 17.
- “Barrie Band, Albanis at Kennywood Park.” The Pittsburgh Press 21 Jul. 1939: 17.
- “Parks Closing Day Features Orchestra.” The Pittsburgh Press 10 Sep. 1939: 7.
- Cohen, Harold W. “The Drama Desk.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 5 Oct. 1939: 26.
- “Bright Spots.” Fortune, Dick. The Pittsburgh Press 29 Nov. 1939: 34.
- Radio Schedule The Free-Lance Star [Fredericksburg, VA] 22 Sep. 1941: 8.
- “St. Louis Blues Takes New Key.” Spokane Daily Chronicle 19 Feb. 1941: 2. ' “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 28 Feb. 1942: 23.
- “Night Club Reviews: Edgewater Beach Hotel, Marine Dining Room, Chicago.” Billboard 28 Mar. 1942: 21.
- “Dick Barrie Starts Band.” Billboard 27 Feb. 1943: 21.
- Cohen, Harold V. “The Drama Desk.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 15 Jul. 1943: 14.
I Have Eyes
Dick Barrie (Anita Boyer), Vocalion (1938)
You're a Sweet Little Headache
Dick Barrie (Dick Barrie), Vocalion (1938)