Ford T. Dabney

Ford Thompson Dabney (March 15, 1883, Washington, DC - June 21, 1958, New York City) was an American composer, songwriter, bandleader, music businessman, and vaudevillian, best known as the composer of the song "Shine".

Dabney's uncle was journalist and activist Wendell Dabney. Ford Dabney owned a theater in Washington, DC in the early years of the twentieth century, and wrote and published several songs, including "Haitian Rag", "That Minor Strain", and "Shine" early in his career. He began working with James Reese Europe at the Clef Club in the 1910s, and together collaborated with Florenz Ziegfeld on his shows in New York City (including at the New Amsterdam Theater from 1913 to 1921). Europe and Dabney's collaborations included eight pieces to accompany the dancing of Vernon and Irene Castle. After Europe's murder in 1919, Dabney continued on with his own ensembles, including Dabney's Band and Ford Dabney's Syncopated Orchestra, the latter of which recorded for Belvedere Records and Puritan Records. However, these endeavors were less successful, and in 1921 he lost his theater position on Broadway. He continued working in New York and composing for several decades; among his later credits were the films Social Register (1934) and Stormy Weather (1943).

Birth and Death Data: Born 1883 (Washington, D.C.), Died 1958 (Manhattan)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1911 - 1942

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, leader, songwriter, arranger, vocalist

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 32 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-10713 10-in. 7/12/1911 You can lead a mule to water, but you can't make him drink Ed Morton Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-12301 10-in. 8/8/1912 Porto Rico Felix Arndt Piano solo composer  
Victor B-14434 10-in. 2/10/1914 Castle walk Europe's Society Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor B-16599 10-in. 10/5/1915 The Georgia grind Signor "Grinderino" "Street" (barrel) piano composer  
Victor B-25672 10-in. 10/26/1921 Sweet cookie Ford T. Dabney ; Ford Dabney's Syncopated Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader  
Victor B-25673 10-in. 10/26/1921 Dapper Dan Ford T. Dabney ; Ford Dabney's Syncopated Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader  
Victor B-29953 10-in. 4/30/1924 Shine Ross Gorman ; Virginians Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BVE-49781 10-in. 3/13/1929 Shine Boyd Senter ; Senterpedes Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Victor BS-75980 10-in. 7/29/1933 Shine King's Jesters Vocal and instrumental ensemble songwriter  
Victor BS-80632 10-in. 6/18/1934 Shine Red Nichols ; Pennies ; Songcopators Jazz/dance band, with male vocal ensemble songwriter  
Victor BS-98121 10-in. 11/15/1935 S-H-I-N-E Dolly Dawn and her Dawn Patrol Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo composer  
Victor PBS-09646 10-in. 8/16/1937 Piano stomp (Shine) Lionel Hampton Orchestra Jazz/dance band songwriter  
Victor BS-071766 10-in. 2/4/1942 Shine Henry Levine ; Strictly from Dixie Jazz Band Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor [Trial 1914-12-18-06] Not documented 12/18/1914 The last waltz Ford T. Dabney ; Dabney's Orchestra Orchestra leader  
Victor [Trial 1914-12-18-07] Not documented 12/18/1914 Fox trot Ford T. Dabney ; Dabney's Orchestra Orchestra leader  
Victor [Trial 1916-12-08-03] Not documented 12/8/1916 Are you from Dixie Ford T. Dabney Male vocal solo, with vocal chorus and instrumental ensemble vocalist  
Columbia 81699 10-in. 4/18/1924 Shine California Ramblers Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia 81791 10-in. 5/23/1924 Shine Van and Schenck Male vocal duet, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 36930 12-in. ca. 1914 The Castle walk Prince's Band Band composer  
Columbia 36935 12-in. ca. 1914 Castle's half and half Prince's Band Band composer  
Columbia 37009 12-in. 7/24/1914 Castle valse classique Prince's Band ; G. Hepburn Wilson Band arranger  
Columbia 37297 12-in. 5/21/1915 Georgia grind Prince's Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Columbia 49236 12-in. 6/9/1917 Castle valse classique Earl Fuller ; Rector Novelty Orchestra Jazz/dance band arranger  
Columbia W148577 10-in. 6/5/1929 Shine Ted Lewis and his Band Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Columbia W149568 10-in. 12/6/1929 Shine Dallas String Band ; Coley Jones String band, with male vocal duet composer  
(Results 1-25 of 32 records)


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Dabney, Ford T.," accessed May 30, 2023,

Dabney, Ford T.. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from

"Dabney, Ford T.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 30 May 2023.

DAHR Persistent Identifier


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