Every 78 rip deserves a second chance, I always say. Save for two "new" offerings--Yearning (written by Neil Moret) and Laff It Off)--all of today's 78s have previously seen the light of blog, some as recently as three months ago (and some way back in 2017). But, in each case, I felt I could do a better job with them, and hopefully I have. In particular, my original rips of Plus Ultra and the ragtime-before-ragtime classic Patrol Comique (composed by Thomas Hindley in1886) seemed to lack proper "bass," and so I experimented with the bass turnover. (Both are U.S. recordings, so the curves should have conformed to the standard curves, but you know how that goes.) The 1929 Comique sounds great now, while Plus at least sounds better. Meanwhile, the 1924 acoustical gems Prince of Wails and Get Lucky (composed by Paul Whiteman's and The Benson Orchestra's Roy Bargy) sound less groove-worn in these new rips. Paul Whiteman's 1945 re-recording of the Bill Challis-arranged San sounds better than ever, and it's the original 78 from Capitol's History of Jazz, Vol. 2 album set. Meanwhile, Ben Selvin's version of Doin' the Raccoon (as the Knickerbocker Orchestra) and Nat Shilkret's amazingly good Me and My Shadow (sad lyrics, joyous mood) and Out of the Dawn never sounded better--not here, anyway. Both first showed up at the blog in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Plus, hopefully much improved rips of the 1918 Wilbur Sweatman classics Ringtail Blues and Bluin' the Blues, from a copy that falls just a little short of VG, condition-wise. (I'm always hoping to find a better one.) The Sweatman rips turned out well, though--lots of loud percussion, and much detail in the busy trombone work. And I decided, just for the heck of it, to re-up my previous (May, 2021) rip of the Black Diamonds Band's Carmen March, from British Zonophone, a 1931 recording that seems to support my long-held opinion that the Brits were ahead of us in the sound-reproduction realm, at least in the early electrical days. The 1909 (?) Lerhone et al Saone polka evidently refers to two rivers in France, though it's played by the "Banda de Artilleria," which of course is Spanish for "Arteries Band." Er, I mean, "Artillery Band." The flip, a reissue of a 1900 recording of the once-famous Mosquito (aka, Mosquitoes') Parade, sounds awesome for 1900, and I'm nearly certain this rip is a step up from my 2017 effort. The clunky sound of the march is, I believe, intended for comic effect. And the Waldorf-Astoria "Singing Orchestra"'s 1919 version of Byron Gay's The Vamp is one of my favorite acoustical 78s ever, even if only one out of every three lyrics are audible (I'm not sure it matters with this particular number). Knecht's outfit sounded like a looser, less formal version of Joseph C. Smith, and his Waldorf-Astoria sides, both the Columbia and Victor recordings, are usually a joy. Smith's version of the number is memorable, but it lacks the spirit of crazy fun that makes this side such a priceless novelty. And, yes, you're hearing passages lifted from Puccini's Madame Butterfly. Skillfully lifted, imo.
The two "new" sides are the laughing-song classic Laff It Off (Bob Haring, 1924), which features Al Weston and Irene Young performing the laughing-chorus chores. Laughing records, of course, were an old story by 1924. Not only had there been the big 1922 hit, The Okeh Laughing Record, but also who-knows-how-many previous laughing-while-singing numbers churned out by a host of British musical hall performers and American comic singers like Cal Stewart (one of whose specialties was the "laughing story"). Many decades before Hollywood and TV "blooper" reels, we had artists breaking up on purpose in front of the recording horn. The other "new" side is Neil Moret's Yearning, a charming number superlatively arranged for (Charles A.) Prince's Dance Orchestra in 1919, with wonderful and varied obbligatos around the main melody. It's just one of a number of pre-Paul Whiteman sides that sound influenced by Whiteman--as in pre-influenced, if such a thing is possible. Prince (the musical director of Columbia records from 1900-1920) and his musicians made a flawless transition from marching sides to dance numbers, operating in a Joseph C. Smith/Joseph Knecht idiom, and perhaps doing an even better job in it. To the shellac...
DOWNLOAD: Laff It Off--1900-1945
Laff It Off (Kalmar-Ruby)--Bob Haring and His Orch., Laughing Chorus: Al Weston-Irene Young, 1924.
Plus Ultra--Spanish Fox Trot (Joseph M. Lacalle)--Lacalle Spanish Orchestra, 1926.
San (McPhail-Michels; A: Bill Challis)--Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra (Capitol 10026; 1945).
Yearning (Neil Moret)--Prince's Dance Orchestra, 1919.
Ringtail Blues (Robinson and Williams--Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band, 1918.
Bluin' the Blues (Ragas)--Same
Doin' the Raccoon (Coots and Klages)--The Knickerbockers (Ben Selvin), with vocal, 1928.
Me and My Shadow (Rose-Jolson-Dryer)--Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orch., V: Johnny Marvin, 1927.
Out of the Dawn (Walter Donaldson)--Same, V: Franklyn Baur, 1928.
Prince of Wails (Elmer Schoebel)--Ralph Williams and His Rainbo Orch., 1924.
Get Lucky--Chicago Stomp or Shimmy (Bargy)--Same.
Patrol Comique (Thomas Hindley)--Victor Orchestra, c. Rosario Bourdon, 1929.
Snakes Hips (Spencer Williams)--Original Memphis Five, 1923.
Carmen March (Bizet)--Black Diamonds Band (Zonophone, U.K., 1931)
The Vamp (Byron Gay)--Waldorf-Astoria Singing Orchestra, Dir. Joseph Knecht, V: Irving and Jack Kaufman, 1919.
Lerhone et al Saone (Polka)--Banda de Artilleria, c. 1909.
The Mosquito Parade (Howard Whitney)--Columbia Band, 1900 (c. 1909 reissue).