"The band that plays the blues" as Woody's orchestra was called during the period of these broadcasts, developed out of the Isham Jones orchestra of which Woody had been a member since the spring of 1935. During 1939 good things began to happen to the boys who just wanted to play the blues. In April Woodchopper's Ball was recorded in Decca's New York studio and overnight it became a major hit. With regard to the beginning of successful popularity for the band, Woody felt it was when the band went into the new Famous Door on New York's "Swing Street." They followed Basie and Barnet and the big band fans were ready for them. An impressed Dave Dexter for DOWN BEAT predicted '1940 will be their year."
Woody Herman, Clarinet/alto & tenor saxophones vocal leader. Horace "Steady" Nelson, Bop Prince, Carroll "Cappy" Lewis, trumpets. Joe Bishop, flugel horn/arranger. Lyman "Neal" Reid, Toby Tyler, trombones. Maynard "Saxie" Mansfield, Ronny Perry, tenor saxophones. Joe Denton, alto saxophone. Ray Hopfner, alto & baritone saxophones. Tommy Linehan, piano. Henry "Hy" White, guitar. Waiter Yoder, string bass. Frankie Carlson, drums. Carol Kay, vocal.