Thursday, September 07, 2006


Acoustic Records for a Project & a Couple of Spoken Word Discs

I am in the midst of getting a project together for a friend's anniversary party, which will be set in the pre-WW1 era (approximately 1910-1913 give or take a few years), so I am going through my acoustically recorded 12 inch stuff to see if anything would be apropos for the gala, and yes, indeedy, I found some! These are more of the light classical things (popular stuff was on 10-inch pressings as a rule), but there were a lot of waltzes and one-steps released in the 12-inch format. I suspect that it was to go up against the Edison 4-minute cylinder, which played longer than the standard 10-inch disc (which would go about 3 1/2 minutes before the grooves ran into the label...).

Before we get to those, however, I landed a couple of Spoken Word discs (which are somewhat rare), and, pursuant to a topic thread in the 78-L list, I decided that I would encode them and post them.

The large label one I believe to be an acoustic pressing, both sides are combined here into one file. The Ancient Mariner is read here by E. J. Ballantine, and read quite well. As you can hear, these discs were pretty worn when I got them, and it took a lot to get what you hear out of the grooves.

The smaller label disc is a later, electrical recording (at least it SOUNDS like an electrical recording...), and we hear two selections, the first, read by Cecil Yapp, is the Frost poem, Mending Wall, and the other side, a recitation of the Biblical story of The Prodigal Son, as read by Walter Hampden.

(I am told by Mike Biel that there were only 13 disc titles issued by Spoken Word discs...)

Now, on to the project discs... we'll start out with some light classical recordings, recorded in Germany, but pressed and released in the US on the Odeon label. The band, whose only credit given is that of "Blasorchester", gives us first a Potpourri aus Offenbach'schen Operetten, as arranged by a gentlemen named Fedras. The printing on this disc is in the German font of the day (I should scan this so you will know what the heck I am talking about...), which is not surprising, since the second language in the US was German before World War One. We went through the propoganda a few posts ago, so I won't re-hash THAT issue... The reverse side is a waltz, labelled as Waltz aus Die Glocken von Corneville, written by a Mr. Planquette.

(Thanks to my German correspondent friend who helped witht he corrections of the titles...)

Oh my, here's a scan of the label of the disc so you can see what the font business is all about...

Remember the Romberg Sousa record that sounded like a film score reject? Well, I have a recording of Sousa's Band here for you, while we are in the Waltz Mode... written by Johann Strauss, we have the My Treasure Waltz. Recorded on the Victor label (on a one-sided 12-inch disc, no less!), this one came out quite nicely.

A bit of the light classical for you now, courtesy of Arthur Pryor's Band. You may know of them from Lee's MY(P)WAE blog (see sidebar for link), for their popular (for the time) music, but we have a couple of what I call 'Parlour Classics'. THese weren't 'classical' enough for the Red Seal label from VIctor, but still, they're more in the classical vein... perhaps the Mantovani or Frank Chacksfield of that era... the two pieces I have for you are the Felsenmuhle Overture by Reissinger, and something that may make you want to remember the Spike JOnes version (but please don't, Spike wasn't born yet...) of the Intermezzo from "Glow Worm", by Lincke. Yes, THAT Glow Worm. A couple of good-condition discs and nice tunes for the parlor.

We'll close out this edition with a couple of one-steps, as recorded by Prince's Band (under the direction of G. Hepburn Wilson), the Shapiro Medley, including the songs "Played By A Military Band" and "Down In Bom-Bombay". These were recorded by the Columbia Graphophone Company (a Columbia Record), in their usual style, which was quite good for the period. The other side gives us the Gilbert and Friedland one-step My Little Dream Girl. Goodness knows I have NO idea how to do a one-step, and these sound somewhat more like marches than dance numbers, but I guess they had that in them there days...

I'll be better about getting stuff going over here, because I need to get this project done (an afternoons' worth of music to encode!), and I'll be down a couple of days due to some oral surgery (only a couple of bad pre-molars this time...), so if you see any really off the wall posts, that'll be why.

Next up, I have some more acoustic stuff for you, including ANOTHER version of a Sousa march, played by, none other than, Prince's Band!

Hi, there,
as always: thank you very much for the listening pleasure.

I'd like to help out with decyphering the ancient German lettering:
The "s" looks like a modern "f", while the "k" looks like a modern "t".

So in fact it's "Offenbach'sche Operetten" and "Die Glocken von Corneville" (The Bells of Corneville).

All the best from Germany,

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