Saturday, August 05, 2006


Happy Birthday, Sir Harry!

It was on August the 4th, 1870, that a wee bairn was born in the fair land of Scotland. His name was Harry, and he went on to be the first person ever to sell one million records. Yes, it was Harry Lauder, the Singin' Scotsman (later to be knighted as Sir Harry Lauder).

Also, someone on the 78 list posted a very late (in his career) recording of Hiking Medley, which prompted me to unearth my encodes of Sir Harry stuff. (If I get permission to share the Hiking Medley song, I'll add in the link). I have 10 twelve-inch sides, altogether, which I'll try and put in some chronological order (no guarantees!)...

The earliest ones I have would be the Victor purple label single-sided discs in the 70000-series. From the North, East, South, and West, on Victor 70120, would have been recorded during the US involvement in World War One, as Harry is remarking about the soldiers and sailors he encountered on this voyage to and from America. The other single-sided purple label is Victor 70125, I Think I'll Get Wed in the Summer. Probably about the same time, given the catalog number, as the other one, but I'll have to check Ty's discography to be sure. This one was a very worn copy, so the encode is not very good, I'm afraid.

Next up is There Is Somebody Waiting For Me, on a blue label Victor disc, catalog number 55121-A, paired with The Bounding Bounder (55121-B). Don't know when this was recorded, as Ty's online discography doesn't cover any of the Victor bat-wing ethnic issues.

Next up is the pair of Sir Harry's most popular and well-known recordings, Roamin' in the Gloamin', and Wee Hoose 'Mang the Heather (Victor blue label 55129-A and -B respectively). The B-side was also pretty beat up, so the encode isn't the greatest, but you get the idea. I think somewhere in the stacks I have another copy of this, I'll need to dig it up and re-record it.

I suspect, and maybe someone on the 78 list can confirm, that the blue label discs were re-releases of teh purple label single-side discs, coupled so that the buyer would have half the weight to carry home, and save twice the space in the gramophone cabinet (or Victrola cabinet). Very thrifty and Scottish ideal!

The next disc is a surprise to me as I forgot I had encoded it! Cut from the UK HMV (His Masters' Voice) masters Cc8016 and Cc8002 respectively, here are the electrically recorded versions of Roamin' in the Gloamin' (Victrola Scroll-label Red Seal 9012A), and I Love A Lassie (Victrola Scroll-label Red Seal 9012B). Harry's voice made the transfer from the horn to the microphone quite well, and in these sides you can hear the warmth in his voice that could only be imagined with acoustic recording technology. Don't have a date on these, maybe someone can fill me in...

Last up is Victrola Red Seal (Scroll label) 9295, the A-side being the electrically recorded version of Loch Lomond (HMV master Cc8029), and the B-side, Scotch Memories (interestingly, no indication of this being a HMV master!). Again, no dates I have on these, unfortunately, but I would put them at approximately the late 20s.

THe significance of the scroll label (which I'll post as soon as I can find the discs again) was that these were electrical (or, as Victor put them, "New Orthophonic") recordings. Electrical recording was the rage as early as 1927, and finally took over the industry by 1930. Victor and Western Electric had two different systems (yes, one was Victor and the other was Columbia... same story, same rivalry, things just don't change, do they...), so if you see a 78 with a W in a circle or a diamond in the groove run-out area, it is an electrical recording. This stopped as well in the mid-30s.

I hope you enjoyed my little tribute to Sir Harry... raise a glass of single-malt and toast the man for bringing a bit of Scotland to the Victrolas of America.

Thanks for these . Sir Harry is one person I've been meaning to add to my blog but you've beaten me to it!
Brad, thanks for the Tiabi side, and especially for remembering a playing the earliest Sir Harry I've ever heard, simply brilliant lad, I mean Brad !
Byron c/o of Lee's my(p)whae
Brad, I really really think that Spike Jones record is an all time favorite as well, WoW ! the 78 sounds so new !

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