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 26-32 of 32 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
OKeh 156 10-in. ca. June 1918 Castle valse classique Jazarimba Orchestra Instrumental ensemble arranger  
OKeh S-72488 10-in. Apr. 1924 Shine Okeh Syncopators Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W404421 10-in. 3/9/1931 Shine Louis Armstrong ; Sebastian New Cotton Club Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Brunswick LAE219 10-in. July 1928 Shine Jesse Stafford Orchestra Jazz/dance band songwriter  
Edison 3240 10-in. 8/22/1914 Castle's half and half National Promenade Band Band composer  
Edison 4165 10-in. 10/4/1915 The last waltz Sisty and Seitz's Banjo Orchestra Instrumental ensemble composer  
Gramophone 0LA1293 10-in. 10/15/1936 Shine Stephane Grappelli ; Quintette du Hot Club de France ; Django Reinhardt ; Freddy Taylor Jazz/dance sextet, with male vocal solo composer  
(Results 26-32 of 32 records)


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Dabney, Ford T.," accessed March 29, 2023,

Dabney, Ford T.. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from

"Dabney, Ford T.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 29 March 2023.

DAHR Persistent Identifier


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