More than 1,880 Soundies were produced between June 1940 and October 1946, and this is one of the most remarkable of them all.

Day, Dawn and Dusk was a black vocal trio composed of Bob Caver, Eddie Coleman, Gus (Bot) Simons. While most black vocal harmony groups either followed the lead of the Mills Brothers, or were performers out of the black gospel tradition, Day, Dawn and Dusk headed in another direction. They did sing popular tunes, of course, but their forte was comic interpretations of classic operatic themes.

“Rigoletto” by Giuseppe Verdi was a melody that would be familiar to many listeners, black and white. What the trio does with it is not only unique, but is presented in an incredibly complicated arrangement in which each voice must be “spot on” for the song to work. The timing must be perfect, and the performance here is impeccable. This is one Soundie to watch twice, first for pure enjoyment, and second to listens carefully to the manner in which the individual voices are woven into very special “whole” that combines a burlesque of a classical theme with a swinging jazz-influenced presentation.

For the record, Bob Caver is at the piano, with the vocal lead by Bob Simons. Eddie Coleman plays the part of Verdi … one of the few times that an African American is seen on film appearing in “white face.”