Centuries of Sound on Cambridge 105 Radio – Episode 21 (1913)


Time: 8pm GMT, Saturday 28th March 2020

Place: Cambridge 105 Radio

Another adventure back into the early days of recorded sound with James Errington, this time joined by Cambridge 105 Radio’s Maciek Pawlikowski to listen to some of the sounds of 1913, the year of the short-lived hot dance ragtime craze, led by the first all-black orchestra and the couple who brought the foxtrot to prominence.

Listen to the show on 105fm in Cambridge, on DAB digital nationwide, on the Cambridge 105 website here, or on any good radio apps, or, as it is too late to do any of these things, just use the player below, or sign up to my patreon for the radio podcast.

Elsewhere in 1922

January 7 – Dáil Éireann, the parliament of the Irish Republic, ratifies the Anglo-Irish Treaty by 64 votes to 57

January 11 – The first successful insulin treatment of diabetes is made, by Frederick Banting in Toronto.

January 15 – Michael Collins becomes Chairman of the Irish Provisional Government

January 28 – Snowfall from the biggest-ever recorded snowstorm in Washington, D.C., causes the roof of the Knickerbocker Theatre to collapse, killing 98.

February 1 – Irish American film director William Desmond Taylor is found murdered at his home in Los Angeles; the case is never solved.

February 2 – Ulysses, by James Joyce, is published in Paris on his 40th birthday by Sylvia Beach.

February 5 – DeWitt and Lila Wallace publish the first issue of Reader’s Digest.

February 6 – Pope Pius XI (Achille Ratti) succeeds Pope Benedict XV, to become the 259th pope.

February 6 – The Five Power Naval Disarmament Treaty is signed between the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, France and Italy.

March 4 – The film Nosferatu is released.

March 10–14 – The Rand Rebellion, a strike by white South African mine workers, becomes open rebellion against the state.

March 15 – Egypt having gained self-government from the United Kingdom, Fuad I becomes King of Egypt.

March 18 – In British India, Mahatma Gandhi is sentenced to six years in prison for sedition (he serves only two).

March 31 – The Hinterkaifeck Murders occur in Germany, on a late evening.

April 3 – Joseph Stalin is appointed General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party.

May 3 – Viktor Kingissepp, leader of the underground Estonian Communist Party, is executed in Estonia.

June 11 – Nanook of the North, the first commercially successful feature-length documentary film, premières in the U.S.

June 24 – Weimar Republic foreign minister Walther Rathenau is assassinated.

July 11 – The Hollywood Bowl opens.

August 2 – A typhoon hits Shantou, China, killing more than 5,000 people.

August 22 – Irish Civil War – General Michael Collins is assassinated in West Cork.

September 3 – The Autodromo Nazionale Monza, the world’s third purpose-built motorsport race track, is officially opened at Monza in the Lombardy Region of Italy.

September 9 – Turkish forces pursuing withdrawing Greek troops enter İzmir, effectively ending the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22).

September 13–15 – The Great Fire of Smyrna destroys most of İzmir. Responsibility is disputed.

September 24 (O. S. September 11) — 11 September 1922 Revolution in Greece.

September 29 – Drums in the Night (Trommeln in der Nacht) becomes the first play by Bertolt Brecht to be staged, at the Munich Kammerspiele.

October 15 – T. S. Eliot establishes The Criterion magazine, containing the first publication of his poem The Waste Land.

October 18 – The British Broadcasting Company is formed.

October 25 – The Third Dáil enacts the Constitution of the Irish Free State.

October 28 – In Italy, the March on Rome brings the National Fascist Party and Benito Mussolini to power.

October 28 – The Rose Bowl Stadium officially opened in Pasadena, California

November 1 – The Ottoman Empire is abolished after 600 years, and its last sultan, Mehmed VI, abdicates, leaves for exile in Italy on November 17.

November 21 – Rebecca Felton of Georgia takes the oath of office, becoming the first woman United States Senator.

November 22 – During a 3-day strike action in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, police and military fire into a crowd, killing at least 300.

November 24 – Popular author and anti-Treaty Republican Erskine Childers is executed by firing squad in Dublin, for the unlawful possession of a gun presented to him by Michael Collins in 1920

December 6 – The Irish Free State officially comes into existence. George V becomes the Free State’s monarch, and Tim Healy is appointed Governor-General.

December 9 – Gabriel Narutowicz is elected the first president of Poland.

December 16 – Gabriel Narutowicz is assassinated by a right-wing sympathizer in Warsaw.

December 30 – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Transcaucasian Republic come together to form the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, dissolved in 1991.

1921 in Art

Pablo Picasso – Three Musicians

Fernand Léger – Man and Woman

Pierre Bonnard – The Open Window

Edward Hopper – Girl at Sewing Machine

Dora Carrington – Farm at Watendlath

Willem Jan Pieter van der Does – Maanlicht over de Javaanse rijstvelden

Charles Demuth – Incense of a New Church

Max Ernst – The Elephant Celebes

Guy Pène du Bois – An American Oriental

Pablo Picasso – Reading the Letter

Duncan Grant – Bathers by the Pond

Han van Meegeren – Hertje

Francis Picabia -Optophone I

Sonia Delaunay or Robert Delaunay (or both), 1921-22, published in Der Sturm, Volume 13, Number 3, 5 March 1922


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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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