Thursday, January 28, 2016
Tea Cup Girl; The Vamp; more! (1919-1922)
So, I just discovered something about my Magix program that I didn't know: it exports individual WAV files as mp3s. Previous versions didn't do this, and I swear I tried it with this version and nothing worked. That's very possibly because my previous PC was an all-in-one model, which pretty much means a laptop. There are all sorts of things it wouldn't do. (Or, rather, couldn't do. I can't ascribe intention to a machine, though I do, anyway.)
Now I have lightning-fast WAV to mp3 conversion. You can't know how much easier this makes life. I am very pleased.
And I hope you'll be very pleased by today's dance band 78s, most of them from the early 1920s, and ripped with care and skill by your blogger (he thinks so, anyway). Lots of fascinating changes happening in dance music of the late 1910s and early 1920s, not the least of which is the fairly sudden appearance of four-beat pulses (thanks, in large part, to the banjoists' time-keeping) versus the usual two-beat. The tracks to listen for in that regard: Ruby, Birdie, My Sunny Tennessee, and Who'll Be the Next One. None of these swings in the 4/4 style of 1932 Duke Ellington, but they're an important evolution beyond the (as much as I love them) one-steps and slow fox-trots of Joseph C. Smith and others. There's just a whole new rhythmic feel in these particular sides--smooth and streamlined, swingier.
On the other hand, though not four-beat in feel, the Waldorf-Astoria Orch.'s lightning fast one-step on The Vamp is unusually potent, so maybe I'm underestimating the power of 2/2. Just don't try to make out the bizarre and clunky lyrics--it's not worth the effort, and it distracts from the (for its time) progressive arrangement. Waldorf-Astoria leader Joseph Knecht, born in 1864 in Austria, is better known for his fabulous B.F. Goodrich Silvertown Cord Orch. recordings on Victor.
And yes, you're hearing Puccini in The Vamp chorus.
The Kentucky Serenaders' 1920 Venetian Moon, after a sluggish start, gets nice and swingy, and two familiar strains pop up: the one used by Elvis Presley on Surrender, and a tune that sounds uncannily like the first half of the huge 1922 hit, Hot Lips. And if you think you're hearing Tchaikovsky in Where the Volga Flows, you are correct. And that's a bit from Rachmaninoff's C-sharp minor prelude at the end, possibly the most quoted piece of the early 1920s.
To the music: Tea Cup Girl, The Vamp, more!
Tea Cup Girl--Eddie Elkins Orch., 1921
Breeze (Blow My Baby Back to Me)--The Synco Jazz Band, 1919
Tell me--Waldorf-Astoria Dance Orch., vocal: Irving Kaufman, 1919
Ruby--Medley--Vincent Lopez Orch., 1921
Where the Volga Flows--Frank Westphal and His Rainbo Orch., 1922
Birdie--Frank Westphal and His Rainbo Orch., 1922
The Vamp--One-Step (Byron Gay)--Waldorf-Astoria Singing Orch., 1919
Venetian Moon--Kentucky Serenaders, 1920
My Sunny Tennessee--The Columbians, Dance Orch. De Luxe, 1921
Who'll Be the Next One (To Cry Over You)--The Happy Six, 1921
Oriental Stars--One-Step (James Monaco)--Prince's Dance Orch., 1920
Bound in Morocco--Princ'es Dance Orch, 1920