Alvino Rey

Alvino Rey

Real Name:
Alvin McBurney
US-American swing era guitarist, musician, and bandleader.

Born : July 01, 1911 in Oakland, California.
Died : February 24, 2004 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Alvino Rey is best known as the father of the pedal steel guitar. His inventive style helped popularize the amplified guitar for generations to come.

Rey grew up in Oakland and moved to Cleveland, Ohio, at age ten. His first interest in music came when he received a banjo as a birthday gift. In 1927 he made his professional debut with Ev Jones and a year later signed with Phil Spitalny. He eventually switched to guitar and adopted the name Alvino Rey in 1929 while performing in New York City, where Latin music was the rage. He worked for Russ Morgan and Freddie Martin before joining Horace Heidt's outfit in 1935.

With Heidt, Rey switched to the pedal steel guitar (which he later modified and called a console guitar) and quickly became popular for his unique sound. It was also with Heidt where Rey met his wife, King Sister Louise. They were married in 1937.

In 1938 Heidt's orchestra landed a spot at the Biltmore Hotel in New York. Their new radio sponsor had signed them on the strength of Alyce King's vocals. Heidt was resentful and seized upon the first opportunity to fire her when one night her microphone fell off its stand and hit a patron. The other sisters immediately quit, followed by Rey, who took saxophonist Frank DeVol with him. They headed to Los Angeles, where Rey worked on forming his own band, which debuted in 1939 with the King Sisters as star vocalists. It was an immediate success and they began touring the country, eventually landing a job at the Biltmore, where they had been fired a year earlier and were quickly fired again when Rey played a jazz number instead of the society dance music favored by the house.

The group found refuge in New Jersey at the Rustic Cabin, where they were broadcast over radio station WOR. Rey became famous for opening his act with an effect that sounded like a multitude of electrified voices, a gimmick whose technique he refused to reveal but involved Louise singing into a mic connected to his guitar. He was also well-known for playing Latin and Hawaiian music (two styles he later grew to hate).

In 1941 Rey's group substituted for an ailing Dinah Shore at New York's Paramount Theater, which led to more exposure, and soon they were one of the most popular acts in the country, garnering top ten hits and making appearances in Hollywood films. In 1942 Rey reorganized his orchestra, bringing in an enormous brass section. The new lineup included such future stars as Ray Conniff, Neal Hefti, Billy May, Johnny Mandel, and Zoot Sims. Though considered one of the best bands of all time by critics, the musicians' union recording ban of 1943 meant they were never able to record. Financial hardship caused by the strike forced Rey and his musicians to take night jobs at a war-plant before Rey officially dissolved the group in 1944 and enlisted in the Navy, where he formed a service band.

After his discharge in late 1945 Rey formed a new orchestra, which produced a few hits before being disbanded in 1950. Rey toured with small combos throughout the rest of the decade. In the late 1950s he served as music director for the King Sisters as they made their comeback. He also worked on several exotica projects with such artists as Esquivel, George Cates, and the Surfmen. In 1965 ABC broadcast a special featuring the extended King Family. This special grew into a series which ran for five seasons, with Rey as musical director. Rey continued to perform well into his eighties. Alvino Rey passed away from pneumonia and congestive heart failure in 2004.
In Groups:


Alvino Rey Discography Tracks


Alvino Rey A Swingin' Fling (Album) Capitol Records US 1958 Sell This Version
DL 8403 Alvino Rey, The Jud Conlon Rhythmaires Alvino Rey, The Jud Conlon Rhythmaires - My Reverie(LP, Album, Mono) Decca DL 8403 US 1958 Sell This Version
Alvino Rey That Lonely Feeling (Album) Capitol Records, Capitol Records, Capitol Records US 1960 Sell This Version
DLP 25391 Alvino Rey His Greatest Hits(LP, Album, Ste) Dot Records DLP 25391 US 1961 Sell This Version
Alvino Rey As I Remember Hawaii (Album) Dot Records US 1962 Sell This Version
Club Record No. 13 Alvino Rey The Steel Guitar Record Club No. 13: The Big Band Steel Guitar(LP, Album) Steel Guitar Record Club Club Record No. 13 US 1977 Sell This Version
R-1000 Alvino Rey Dance With Me(LP, Album) Alysa Records R-1000 USA, Canada & UK 1981 Sell This Version
Alvino Rey Refreshing Melodies Sacred Records (4), Sacred Records (4) US Unknown Sell This Version
The King Sisters, Alvino Rey, Del Courtney The King Sisters, Alvino Rey, Del Courtney - Love At Home With Members Of The Famous King Family (Album) Capitol Records US Unknown Sell This Version
4012 Alvino Rey, Boyd Raeburn, Bob Chester And His Orchestra Alvino Rey, Boyd Raeburn, Bob Chester And His Orchestra - Spotlight On Alvino Rey, Boyd Raeburn and Bob Chester(LP) Joyce 4012 US Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

452 Alvino Rey Oh Peter (You're So Nice) / Near You(Shellac, 10") Capitol Records 452 US 1947 Sell This Version
15104 Alvino Rey Friendly Mountains / Bye Bye Blues(Shellac, 10") Capitol Records 15104 US 1948 Sell This Version
15344 Alvino Rey Nighty Night / The Continental(Shellac, 10") Capitol Records 15344 US 1949 Sell This Version
C 9036 Alvino Rey Guitar Boogie / Steel Guitar Rag(Shellac, 10") Capitol Records C 9036 Sweden 1953 Sell This Version
Alvino Rey Rock Gently (Single) Capitol Records US 1958 Sell This Version
PRO 789 Alvino Rey A Swingin' Fling(7", Promo) Capitol Records PRO 789 US 1958 Sell This Version
45-16251 Alvino Rey Spanish Mama Blues / The Steel Guitar Rag(7", Single) Dot Records 45-16251 US 1961 Sell This Version
45-16227 Alvino Rey The Original Mama Blues / Steel Guitar Rag(7", Single) Dot Records 45-16227 US 1961 Sell This Version
hld9431 Alvino Rey the original mama blues(7", Single) London American Recordings hld9431 UK 1961 Sell This Version
C 80 136 Tennessee Ernie Ford, Alvino Rey Tennessee Ernie Ford, Alvino Rey - Shot Gun Boogie / Guitar Boogie(Shellac, 10") Telefunken Capitol C 80 136 Germany Unknown Sell This Version
820 Alvino Rey Steel Guitar Rag / The Third Man Theme Song(Shellac, 10") Capitol Records 820 US Unknown Sell This Version
1076-1L1 Alvino Rey Sepulveda(Shellac, 10") Capitol Records 1076-1L1 US Unknown Sell This Version
390 Alvino Rey Midnight Masquerade / Mama Blues(Shellac, 10") Capitol Records 390 Unknown Sell This Version


49/50 Benny Carter, Alvino Rey, Harlan Leonard, Phil Harris, Ray Anthony Benny Carter, Alvino Rey, Harlan Leonard, Phil Harris, Ray Anthony - The Greatest Recordings Of The Big Band Era 49/50(2xLP, Comp + Box) The Franklin Mint Record Society 49/50 US 1983 Sell This Version
HCD249 Alvino Rey By Request(CD, Comp) Hindsight Records (2) HCD249 Canada 1993 Sell This Version

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