Saturday, April 29, 2006
Weekends are made for 78s
We'll start off this fine fine weekend with a couple from Bob Haring's Orchestra, also known as the Colonial Club Orchestra. "It's Too Late to Be Sorry Now" features Bob's statuesque (for lack of a better term) vocals and a nice little romper on Brunswick from 1925. Since there's no indication of electrical recording on the label, but the bass is just too full to be done on a horn, dont'cha think? The back side, "My Pal Jerry", was labelled as Bob Haring & His Orchestra on the on-line discog., but on the label it shows as Colonial Club Orchestra, with, again, no vocal credits. I don't know why I want to call Bob Haring 'Bob Hoskins', maybe it is the vocal stylings, I guess... still a nice record, though!
Next, another nice pairing for a spring sun-shine-y day, here's Gene Austin with Frank Banta on the piano with "Tamiami Trail". In 1926, when this was recorded, the road from Tampa to Miami, Florida, was basically a two-lane track through the Everglades. Now, it is a 4-lane highway, paralelled by an Interstate motorway some miles to the south. Back then, though, I'm sure there were some very romantic spots along the side of the road, where the adventurous couple could spend the mosquito-filled evenings fanning away the perspiration, on the lookout for alligators in their "little two-by-four" bungalow... I guess love conquors all in the middle of the Florida swamps... "But I Do - You Know I Do" would might be the song for the next morning, when asked if true love can get through a night of mosquito bites.... A Victor electric recording, showing that the nuances of recorded music changed drastically with the advent of the microphone.
Keeping with the 'singer-and-piano' motif, we'll go to Austria for a couple of very curious numbers, recorded by Hermann Leopoldi, recorded on Austrian HMV (His Master's Voice), some time in the late 40s. I suspect that these are political humor pieces, because, through my very faltering German, I notice that the song "Wenn der Ungar Justig ist" has several references to Hungary or Hungarian custom, and the reverse side "Powidltatsckerln" makes reference to a person from (the former) Czechoslovakia, and how they order a salad with mayonaisse. This may have been recorded when Austria was still under Allied control after World War 2 and broken up into four pieces, much like Germany was until the reconsolidation. If anyone has any more insight on these sides, please leave a comment or three :)
We'll continue with a couple of Ted Lewis sides, but only one with vocalization... the one with his crooning, "That Certain Party", recorded in December of 1925, was one of his better known sides... but I think the better side of this pairing is the reverse, "Don't Wake Me Up (Let Me Dream)". Not because of the lack of Ted's patter, but because the band seems to get a chance to stretch out, even if it is limited to the length of a 10-inch 78 side.
Closing it out today is one of the reasons I got into collecting 78s, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. These guys could STOMP it! Nick LaRocca and Larry Shields penned up a choice pair and recorded these in March of 1918 in the New York studios of Victor... you can see how jazz started to develop with "At the Jazz Band Ball" and "Ostrich Walk". Check out the opening of Ostrich Walk, now you know where perhaps a lot of musical pop, rock, and R&B opening ideas came from many years later.
These are labelled as "Original Dixieland Jazz Band" (not "...Jass..." as on the original release of "Livery Stable Blues"). You can read an excellent article on ODJB written by Tim Gracyk here that sheds some great insight on their history.
Before I forget, I'd like to thank Tyrone Settlemier for his great work on the on-line discography mentioned in the previous posting. Tim & Ty are names I remember from the 78rpm mailing list, otherwise known as 78-L, which I was active on a few years ago (and may have to re-activate myself upon once again, there are a great bunch of characters and historians there).
Have a great weekend, and see you next week!
I love your comments on the Austin sides!
My German is about as faltering as yours - 'Wenn des Unger lustig ist' seems to be a humoristic piece mocking the Hungarian temper: when the Hungarian is happy, he can't help crying. There might be a touch of politics in the other tune, since there is a reference to Franco and the Spanish dictature and lines about Norway and France. But also lines about food (kougloff, paprika, 'Schwein carré'...).
Thank you, those songs are fun to listen to!
You'll never believe it. The first three letters of the word verification thing are : hmv. Must be a sign of some kind...
Even a closer listen didn't help much... My German is way too rusty. The lyrics seem to be mostly about food, but I'm still wondering what can be said about Frankreich, Spanien and Norwegen!
I just posted a nice link + article on my English blog -- click on my name if you wish to try it.
thank you for the wonderful tunes. I will try to help out since I speak perfect German - but the Leopoldi songs are in Austrian, which is a little bit different :-)
"Wenn der Ungar Lustig ist" - like Lady Domi said: When the Hungarian is happy, he can't help crying.
"Powidltatschkerln" are pastries from Czechoslovakia. Leopoldi starts off with denying he likes pastries, he wants to eat meat all the time. Then he goes off to visit several ladies, eating all kinds of meat and salad with mayonaise :-). But the lady he likes best is the one who serves him his favourite food - Powidltatschkerln from Czechoslovakia. He also sings about the goods from other countries now coming to Austria: cigarettes from the US, gladiators instead of salami from Hungary, and Franco's spain now has dictatorship instead of chestnuts. It needs to be understood from his historical perspective. He is critizing Spain, and Hungary, too, though I don't understand the joke about the gladiators.