Happy Fourth! The charming image above comes from around 1900, when child safety was clearly the first thing on everyone's mind. In the 1870s, families put on firework displays in their parlor ("Papa, are the curtains supposed to be lighting up?"); by 1900, the ritual had been simplified to handing a firecracker to the nearest toddler and saying, "Go outside and have a blast." Surviving childhood was made that much harder....
This would have been up earlier, but we had a Fourth of July cat emergency with Gomez, who is experiencing urethral spasms and whose pee was backed up in his bladder (along with much glucose--Gomez might be diabetic). The nearest emergency vet clinic is one county away, so it was a bit of a drive, though not as much as we expected. Of course, finding a clinic open on the Fourth was a blessing, and the vet was quite cool--she packed Gomez with meds, and the big guy is doing better. We were told he would be counting sheep most of the day, but he's fully awake--and looking much less pained.
And, as usual, we have some old, old records to share for this Fourth of July, spanning the years 1901 to 1944. Seventy-eights, all, and all ripped and burned by me from my shellac collection.
"Harry will play the Maple Leaf Rag, and I might add that he puts plenty of English on it."--J.M. Witten. The contrast between Witten's over-enunciating and Harry Snodgrass' ultra-fast, go-for-broke playing is pretty surreal (second to last title in our playlist, from 1926). Missed chords, failed jumps, wrong-note passages aside, Snodgrass' playing is amazing. Simply being able to play the thing at that tempo is impressive, even if a greater number of correct notes would have made it even more so. It's certainly entertaining. Was Joplin's ghost sitting in on the session, pleading "Slow down! Slow down!" to no avail?
My Maple Leaf Rag copy is in G- condition, at best, but MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX was up to the task. All I did was set the filters and take out about 200 clicks, one at a time.
Happy Fourth! Wait, I already said that....
To the music: July Fourth, 2016
The Arkansaw Traveler (Descriptive)--Harry Spencer, talking; prob. Charles D'Almaine, fiddle, 1901.
Original Jigs and Reels--George Stehl, Violin Solo w. Orch., 1910.
Home, Sweet Home (Payne)--George Alexander, Baritone Solo w. Orch., 1906.
Reuben and Cynthia--"Miss Morgan and Mr. Stanley" (from announcement), 1903.
Swanee (Caesar-Gershwin)--Peerless Quartet, 1920.
The Arkansaw Traveler--Len Spencer, Speciality w. Violin, 1908.
Medley of American National Airs--George Schweinfest, piccolo, 1901.
The Banjo (Gottschalk)--Boston Pops Orch., c. Arthur Fiedler, 1944.
Maple Leaf Rag (Joplin)--Harry Snodgrass (King of the Ivories), 1926.
My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean--Leake County Revelers, 1927.