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Dismuke's Hit Of The Week
Previous Selections
December 2002

December 19, 2002

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
Eberhard Faber Pencil Ad
(from circa 1929ad)


Why Do You Suppose?Click on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Nat Shilkret and His Victor Orchestra 
Franklyn Baur, vocal                             1929
(Victor 22204 - B)

Here is a record that I picked up a month or two ago in a small town antique shop.  It is a bit noisy during the vocal passage, but still quite listenable.  The song was written by Rodgers and Hart and is from the musical comedy Heads Up

December 12, 2002

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
1923 Stromberg Carburetor Ad
Stromberg Carburetor
(from circa 1922 ad)



Bell Record Label

A Song For SaleClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Golden Gate Orchestra                      1923
(Bell P253-B)

This week's selection is from an acoustically recorded Bell record.  Bell records were issued between 1920 and 1928 and were sold through the W.T. Grant dime store chain.  I've always thought that the Bell label's drawing of a horn playing devil made it one of the more attractive and interesting looking labels of the period.

On this week's selection, "Golden Gate Orchestra" was a recording pseudonym for the California Ramblers (the Harry Reser band also made recordings under that pseudonym).  The New York based California Ramblers was one of the early "hot" white jazz bands.  The band's personnel changed over the years, but included for a time such famous names as Adrian Rollini, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Red Nichols and Glenn Miller.  The band made records under a number of pseudonyms for most of the record labels in business during the 1920s.  My understanding is that the California Ramblers ceased to exist as a band around 1929 - though the name was used in various recording sessions through about 1935.

This week's selection was recorded November 24, 1923.  A few weeks earlier, on November 5, the Ramblers made a different recording of the same song which was released on a number of labels.   On the Paramount and Puritan releases, the band was identified as the "Golden Gate Orchestra." On the Claxtonola and Harmograph releases, the band  was listed as being the "The Broadway Music Masters."  On the Radiex release, however, the band was billed under its real name.

December 5, 2002

This week's Hit of the Week is brought to you by
Crazy Water Pavilion - Mineral Wells, Texas

Interior View of Crazy Well Drinking Pavilion
Showing The Bar Where The Famous Crazy Well Water Is Served
Mineral Wells, Texas

For Bright's Disease, Diabetes 
or all Nervous Trouble, 
cannot be surpassed. 
- - - - - 
For Sound Sweet Sleep
- - - - -
For Prompt Action on THE LIVER
- - - - -
When A Strong Cathartic Is Required
(from circa 1920 postcard)


Sometime - MedleyClick on song title to stream or right clock on folder to download
Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra             1919
(Victor 35684-A)

Joseph C.Smith's Orchestra was the Victor Talking Machine Company's most successful band for popular dance records in the late 1910s.  Featuring string instruments and piano, the band's sound was, at the time, considered fresh and modern compared with the military bands the record companies previously used to present dance music.  But by the early 1920s, the rise of larger and jazzier sounding bands such as the Paul Whiteman Orchestra quickly made Smith's recordings sound old fashioned by comparison and his popularity faded.  His last recordings for Victor were made in 1922.  After he left Victor, he recorded without much success for the Brunswick label. His final recordings were made in Canada for the HMV label in early 1925.  More detailed information on the rise and fall of the Smith band can be found in this article.

This recording is slightly longer than most presented here because it is from a 12 inch 78 rpm as opposed to the 10 inch size more commonly used on popular recordings.  This selection is very typical of  instrumental dance recordings of the period - a time when ragtime was on the verge of giving  way to jazz.  One very beneficial development that came with the jazz era was more elaborate and imaginative musical arrangements.  Before the 1920s, recorded dance music tended to be played "straight" from the published sheet music.  Jazz provided a greater freedom to make changes which extended not only to the improvised solos  featured by the more jazz oriented dance bands but to the bands' arrangers as well.   Previously,  if a song was not long enough to fill an entire side of a record, the arranger would simply repeat certain passages over again with only limited variation.   Because of this, recordings of even interesting songs from the period can be a bit tedious to listen to.  My guess is that this at least partially explains why so many early dance records featured medleys - as does this week's selection.  The other tunes featured in the recording are "The Tune You Can't Forget," "Any Kind of Man" and "Keep on Smiling."  Despite having four songs, however, the recording has many repeated passages and one gets the feeling that the guiding premise was something along the lines of : "How much time do we have to fill? - what can we do to stretch this out a bit?"


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