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In a moment I will press the ‘publish’ button on this post, the RSS feed will be updated, the show will be updated on different podcast apps, and people all over the world will be able to hear this mix. It’s a bit glib to say we take all of this for granted, that’s what the progress of technology is all about, after all, but still, imagine someone in 1922 in the place you live – most of this music would be completely inaccessible to them. They might be rich enough to own a phonograph, but the chances they would have something like this collection of new sounds is astronomically small. If I’m making a soundtrack of what people are hearing around the world then this still isn’t really it.

But things are still changing at an increasing speed (aren’t they always?) For one, radio is finally taking off, a good 25 years after its initial “invention” (putting scare quotes around that because it’s such a minefield I don’t know where to even begin.) Strangely enough there were effectively audio broadcasts as far back as the 1890s, with music and speech transmitted down phone lines, but these never took off as a mass medium. The best claim to being the first real radio station is perhaps 2XG in New York, which was using a vacuum-tube transmitter to make news and entertainment broadcasts (gramophone records) on a regular schedule as early as 1915, and even broadcast the result of the 1916 presidential election. This was, naturally, over a small area of the city, probably picked up by a small number of hobbyists, and disappeared from the airwaves as the USA became involved in the First World War. By 1922, though, a wide range of stations had sprung up around the USA, the Marconi company opened 2MT and 2LO in London and CFCF in Montreal, and music stations were broadcasting in Paris and Buenos Aires. What tantilising recordings do we have from this? The answer is, apparently none whatsoever, not even the merest scrap, nothing substantial for another five years. Nobody thought to put a recording gramophone in front of a radio receiver. They did, however, record radio parodies on disc, and that’s something at least.

This is a music-based show, so I shouldn’t neglect developments in this area. The majority of this mix is concerned with a massive expansion of classical female blues, with a knock-on explosion of resurgent jazz, but we’ll have plenty of time to discuss this next time. More interesting perhaps are two simply transcendent recordings from Alexander Campbell “Eck” Robertson. Robertson was born in Arkansas, grew up in Texas, and began learning the fiddle from the age of five. He spent 18 years working as a jobbing musician at medicine shows, a piano tuner, an accompaniment for silent movies and at country fiddling contests. At a reunion of confederate soldiers in 1922 he met 74-year old fiddler Henry C. Gilliland, and the two of them decided to audition for the Victor Talking Machine Company. The resulting records made no great waves at the time, but in a historical context they are just astonishing, not simply country music five years before it supposedly started to be recorded, but such perfect sounds that they seem to be a door to an unknowable world of regional music prior to the invention of electrical recording.

This is also the “stride piano” mix – not such a wild departure as it represents the natural bridge from ragtime piano to jazz piano, but a music which thankfully has its pioneers reasonably-well represented. James P. Johnson and Fats Waller both appear here, on their own and accompanying the blues singers. If we want to take away one single picture from this year, it would again be these people playing somewhere in a smoky speakeasy. That wouldn’t be a fair representation, of course, but really, what is?

0:00:20 Joe Hayman – Cohen Listens in on the Radio
0:00:27 Frederic Lamond – Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5 ‘Emperor’
0:02:10 Monroe Silver – Cohen on the Radio
0:02:23 Edith Wilson – Rules And Regulations ‘signed Razor Jim’
0:05:33 Joe Hayman – Cohen Buys a Wireless Set
0:05:39 Ladd’s Black Aces – Virginia Blues
0:08:30 Sophie Tucker – High Brown Blues
0:11:36 Prof. Charles H. Collins – Victor Records for Health Exercises
0:11:59 Frank Guarente’s Georgians – Chicago
0:14:35 Sara Martin & Fats Waller – T Ain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do
0:17:24 James P. Johnson – Carolina Shout
0:20:04 Eva Taylor – Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home
0:22:58 Fats Waller – Birmingham Blues
0:25:54 The Virginians – Blue
0:27:41 Johnny Dunn’s Original Jazz Hounds – Four O’Clock Blues
0:30:45 Mamie Smith – New Orleans
0:33:42 Ethel C. Olson – The Larson Kids Go Bathing (Excerpt 1)
0:33:59 Henry C. Gilliland And A. C. (Eck) Robertson – Arkansaw Traveler
0:36:53 Eck Robertson – Sally Gooden
0:39:57 Ethel C. Olson – The Larson Kids Go Bathing (Excerpt 2)
0:40:15 Rudy Wiedoeft – Saxema
0:41:44 New Orleans Rhythm Kings – Bugle Call Blues
0:44:03 Carl Fenton – Kitten On The Keys
0:46:24 Zez Confrey – Coaxing the Piano
0:49:03 Gilbert Girard – Santa Claus Tells of Mother Goose Land (Excerpt 1)
0:49:15 Original Memphis Five – Strutting At The Strutters Ball
0:52:13 Conchita Piquer – El Florero
0:55:13 La Argentinita – Una Vida De Mujer
0:55:30 Salgado do Carmo & Eugenio Cibelli – Fado popular
0:58:36 Agustín Barrios – Minueto
0:59:26 Robert Trucksess – Flow gently sweet afton & Bonnie, sweet Bessie
1:00:51 Gilbert Girard – Santa Claus Tells of Mother Goose Land (Excerpt 2)
1:01:08 Original Dixieland Jazz Band – Bow Wow Blues
1:04:21 Edith Wilson and Johnny Dunn’s Original Jazz Hounds – Old Time Blues
1:06:07 Alberta Hunter – Down Hearted Blues
1:09:07 Ethel Waters – ‘Frisco Jazz Band Blues
1:12:32 Ed Gallaher & Al Shean – Mr Gallagher And Mr Shean
1:14:53 Anna Hoffman and Jacob Jacobs – Chana Pesel furht in an Automobile (Excerpt 1)
1:15:15 Anton Günther – Wu de Wälder haamlich rauschen
1:16:52 Anna Hoffman and Jacob Jacobs – Chana Pesel furht in an Automobile (Excerpt 2)
1:17:15 W. C. Handy’s Memphis Blues Band – St. Louis Blues
1:18:41 Lucille Hegamin – He May Be Your Man But He Comes To See Me Sometimes
1:20:41 The Cotton Pickers – Hot Lips
1:23:04 The Original Memphis Five – Ji-Ji-Boo
1:25:01 Carl Fenton + Rudy Wiedoeft – Georgia
1:26:47 Ethel Waters’ Jazz Masters – Tiger Rag
1:29:53 Guy Maiere and Lee Pattison – Espana Rhapsody
1:32:40 The Original Sacred Harp Choir – The Christian Warfare 179
1:33:32 Shimizu Itoko – Yasugi Bushi
1:35:18 Marika Papagika – Olympos Ke Kisavos
1:37:57 Monroe Silver – Cohen Becomes a Citizen
1:38:00 Harry Kandel’s Orchestra – Kiever Bulgar
1:40:33 Semen Kirsanov Reads Velimir Khlebnikov – Not To Panel!
1:40:59 Naftule Brandwein – Kallarash
1:44:08 Georgel – La Garçonne
1:45:13 Maurice Chevalier – Pas Pour Moi
1:47:40 Okeh Laughing Record – Okeh Laughing Record
1:50:29 Amelita Galli-Curci – Rimsky-Korsakov- Sadko – Song Of India

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