Sunday, November 20, 2022

Sacred shellac--Smith's Sacred Singers, William McEwan, Frank and James McCravy, more!


Note: Zip file modified at 2.07 PM 11/20/2022

Near the beginning of the classic 1944 movie musical Meet Me in St. Louis, "Tootie" (Margaret O'Brien) is sitting in the back of an ice delivery cart.  The scene takes place in 1903, and the six-year-old O'Brien is singing Brighten the Corner Where You Are--ten years before that hugely popular gospel song was written.  Oops.  Anyway, we'll be hearing the (surprisingly tinny-sounding) 1920 Brunswick recording of Corner, sung by the Criterion Quartet.  This ingenious tune makes a perfect close-harmony number.

But we begin with four classic sides by Smith's Sacred Singers (the only kind they ever made)--1928's Lord I'm Coming Home, 1927's I Want to Go to Heaven, 1928's When Jesus Comes, and 1929's Meet Me There, all recorded for Columbia in Atlanta, Geogia.  The Singers are followed by a remarkably modern-sounding family group called the Wright Brothers Quartet.  I mean, it's either a mixed quartet, or one of the "men" is a boy.  At any rate, I've featured locally recorded 1970s gospel efforts that sound little different in style--a fact which pleases me a great deal.  These 1929 numbers are What a Glad Day and God's Message to Man.  These, too, were recorded in Atlanta.

Then, Frank and James McCravy provide more urban-sounding gospel with Jacob's Ladder and I Want to Be There.  Usually, I take the time to track down all the authors and composers the labels didn't bother to list, but not this time.  Except for I Want to Be There, which is actually 1899's I Want to Go There by David Sullins.  Did Okeh commit a typo or was it trying to avoid royalty payments?  Who knows?  It's as if labels of the 1920s assumed that anything "down home" was necessarily of unknown origin.  It all seems like simple carelessness, but it could have been the canny type. 

Then, we switch to the acoustical era with the aforementioned Brighten the Corner, which no one was singing in 1903, either on or off of ice delivery carts, along with a great Conway's Band rendition of Onward Christian Soldiers, properly credited to Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame, of course).  Our other pre-microphone side is a typically overwrought but wonderful William Mcewan rendition of Charles (Brighten the Corner) Gabriel's All Hail, Emmanuel, a marvelous 1910 anthem actually published as All Hail to Thee, Immanuel!  With an exclamation mark.

All restored by me from my 78 copies, and all reasonably quiet, save for a noisy start to the McEwan side.  I've yet to find an acoustical McEwan 78 with a quiet surface.  There may not have been any pressed...

To the sacred shellac!

DOWNLOAD: Sacred Shellac--Smith's Sacred Singers, William McEwan, more!

Lord I'm Coming Home--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1928

I Want to Go to Heaven--Same, 1927

When Jesus Comes--Same, 1928

Meet Me There--Same, 1929

What a Glad Day--Wright Brothers Quartet, 1929

God's Message to Man--Same, 1929

Jacob's Ladder--Frank and James McCravy, 1927

I Want to Be There (aka I Want to Go There, by David Sullins)--Same, 1927

Onward Christian Soldiers--Conway's Band, 1915

All Hail, Emmanuel--William McEwan, approx. 1912

Brighten the Corner Where You Are--Criterion Quartet, 1920



Ernie said...

Thanks Lee! Don't forget about us poor bloggers. I'm old fashioned and much prefer the downloading to the streaming, but I suppose you have to go where you can find an audience for your fine work. :)

Lee Hartsfeld said...


I'm going to try to maintain a balance between YT and the blog. I established a pace at YT that I can't really maintain, so my subscribers are going to have to get used to one or two titles a day. I'm trying to pace myself...

Lee Hartsfeld said...

(Apologies to Josh--I meant to publish this comment but accidentally hit "delete." So I've copied and pasted the text I received in my notification email.)

From: A man for whom Christ died

So glad to see you back to your Sacred posts and no, I haven't gotten a round tuit yet, but I will. I'd like to weigh in, on your download vs stream comments, if I may, please. Personally, I much prefer downloading, for on-demand listening. I've noticed a trend though (unfortunate IMHO) with at least, the pages I'm affiliated with, over say, the past couple years. I'm noticing more folk clicking the play button or listening via the app, i.e., listening to the file(s) and not downloading them for later/more listening. IMHO, it's all part of this instant, disposable, Facebook society that we live in. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad folk come by and listen and praise the LORD for any help they get, but don't they know, that when they download an MP3, they can listen to it a hundred times or more if they choose, without having to go back to the site to click on it again? Sure, some folk may like it 'cause their hits go up, but I'd rather someone download a message I post and them listen to it over and over and over again and get help each time, than have a thousand listens/hits on the same message! Hit a nerve there, amen! I'll get to the folder asap and LORD willing, I'll be back with comments thereon. So, 'til later, love and prayin' for ya!

Romans 11:33-36 KJB

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Lee Hartsfeld said...


Thanks for your comments, and sorry about the accidental deletion. I've checked on line, and there's no way to undo the deletion. I totally see your point about streaming vs. downloading, and I will try to better balance my YT videos and blog posts--I just sort of got carried away at YT, establishing a volume of posts that I realize I can't maintain. I want to get back to regular Sunday posts, and I'll be holiday-posting, too, of course--As usual, I have nothing prepared in advance for Christmas, so you'll be getting my rips in real time. Well, almost real time. A day's delay, perhaps.

Nice to hear from you!