Tuesday, August 28, 2007
These 78s may definitely change your life. That much I'm just about sure of. Into what, I don't know. But they will change it, probably.
A few comments before I unleash the herd--a few comments which may change your life. First off, there's the matter of The Arkansaw Traveller, which the label credits to "Talking." According to The Online 78 rpm Discographical Project, this talking took place 107 years ago, in 1900 (though my copy is a double-sided reissue from 1907). Who's talking, it doesn't say.
I'm guessing it's Len Spencer, who is known for having recorded this routine a number of times in the early days of recording. I don't know who the other guy might be, unless it's Len Spencer doing two voices (I'm guessing not). I do know it's the exact same routine contained on my 1902 Victor label version of the same skit. Example: "That road don't go anywar! It just stays where it is! Haw, haw, haw." (Or "stays where it's at.")
The bottom line: the road doesn't go anywar. The moral? Never ask where a road "goes;" ask instead where it leads to. ("Haw! Haw! It don't lead to noplace! It.... Oh. Wait a minute.")
Morning in Noah's Ark is a "humorous fantasy" with sound effects right out of Spike Jones. Except that Spike was minus-four years old in 1907, when this was made. (Maybe he heard this as a kid?) The flip is James Bodewalt Lampe's marvelous ragtime number, Mr. Rooster, listed on the label as a "Characteristic March and Two-Step." (What, you thought it would say "ragtime"?)
British composer Frank Bridge's Cherry Ripe sounds (to my ears) like something Paul Whiteman's Concert Orchestra might have introduced in the late 1920s, only more sophisticated, and from 1916. One of my best 78 finds ever, and my introduction to Bridge. And for a mere buck.
Lorry Raine's Fickle and False most likely features a backing by Jack Halloran's Chorus and Orchestra--Jack Halloran being the man whose 1957 arrangement of Carol of the Drum was reused (in a mildly modified form) by Harry Simeone in 1958 under the title The Little Drummer Boy. Read about it here, and see the recent comment by Dawn Halloran, who I was happy to hear from.
I'm only ninety percent sure it's Halloran--see the second photo above, which shows the damaged 78 label ("Vocal, with Jack Hallo... Chorus and orchestra"). I mean, it almost has to be "ran," but we can't be for sure.
The Revelers (The Big Bass Viol) are not, to the best of my knowledge, the famous Victor label group or a continuation thereof, but they are a very talented set of singers. The label is Cole, and that's all I know about the label. (I.e., that it's called Cole.)
Big Movie Show in the Sky features lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Music for a Chick pamphlet? Kind of sounds like it! But it was written for the 1949 musical Texas, Li'l Darlin'. Now we know.
Link to the folder: 78s That May Change Your Life
(Files no longer available)
The Arkansaw Traveller--Talking, 1900.
Morning in Noah's Ark--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1907.
Mr. Rooster (Lampe)--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1910.
Cherry Ripe (Bridge)--London String Quartette, 1922.
Sally in Our Alley (Bridge)--London String Quartette, 1922.
My Dog Has Fleas (David Rose)--Victor Young Concert Orch., 1945.
The Big Bass Viol (Bohannon)--The Revelers.
Big Movie Show in the Sky (Dolan-Mercer)--Blue Barron and His Orch., vocal by Bobby Beers and the Choir, 1949.
I Wish I Were Somebody Else--Lorry Raine with Cliff Parman Orchestra.
Fickle and False--Lorry Raine with Jack Halloran (?) Chorus and Orchestra.
More Merv coming up! And, hopefully, come Saturday my Box.net downloading bandwidth will have refreshed itself. We'll see....