1928

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In Chicago, Al Capone was at the height of his powers in 1928, but, as we always must, let’s go on a wild tangent to look at the dull metal structures which loomed hundreds of feet over his head. In February, work began on a new transmitter site for WMAQ Radio in Chicago. WMAQ already had a powerful transmitter in the city, but since it was built in 1922 a brace of skyscrapers (The Chicago Temple Building, The Civic Opera House, The Pittsfield Building) had sprung up around it, reducing its reach to less than half the city. The new transmitter had five times the power of the old, fortunate for the city as this was also the year that WMAQ got hold of two white actors, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, to play the roles of Amos and Andy in a new radio sitcom. The show would soon become the biggest name in radio, staying on the air for over 30 years, and all the more notably so because its two lead characters were black.

It was, of course, not really in the spirit of the nascent civil rights movement to have this sort of audio blackface as the most mainstream of entertainments, but, despite the embarrassed moving-on of generations of musical historians, minstrelsy was still very much a visible force a decade into the jazz age. Godsen and Correll had come from that world, so had Al Jolson, and so had Emmett Miller, a more obscure figure, who still managed to straddle the worlds of minstrelsy (he wore and performed blackface), jazz (he sang blues songs and performed with jazz musicians) and country (his yodel predated that of Jimmie Rodgers.) Things at this time are messy – messy can be good, genre boundaries seem to stifle innovation more than guide it – and the wonderful and the repellent can be so entangled as to be inseparable.

Over in that other hotspot of the decade, New York, for example, Duke Ellington was performing at the legendary Cotton Club. The name of this establishment was chosen as evocative of the old days of the deep south – it was in fact no less than an antebellum-themed nightclub, with a whites-only policy as far as customers were concerned. Decorations on the walls presented black people either as slaves or jungle savages. On stage, of course, was an a-to-z of famous black performers – Ellington, Ethel Waters, Fletcher Henderson, and soon Cab Calloway, all performing for rich white New Yorkers.

Edward Kennedy Ellington was the resident bandleader of the club, encouraged to play “jungle music,” yet he could not have fitted less the role if he tried. A classically trained upper-middle-class pianist from Washington DC, he was nicknamed ‘Duke’ by the friends he made when he ventured out into the world of jazz, a joke about his sophisticated clothing, which was hardly typical of a jazz musician.

Ellington may not have really made any “jungle music” but ‘The Mooche’ does seem to capture the dark, seedy underworld of the 1920s like nothing else. It’s impossible for me to hear it and imagine a dull audience of rich white stiffs at their theme pub, it’s more like the theme to a dingy speakeasy where something terrible is about to go down.

Tracklist

0:00:22 Rudy Wiedoeft – Radio Program (Excerpt 1)
0:00:24 Duke Ellington And His Orchestra – The Mooche
0:03:33 John A. Scott & Mr. Greenfield – Radio program for WAAM, Newark, New Jersey (Excerpt 1)
0:03:46 Mississippi John Hurt – Ain’t No Tellin’
0:06:39 Clapham & Dwyer – A Day’s Broadcasting (Excerpt 1)
0:06:50 Rev. Edward W. Clayborn – A Letter From Father
0:09:44 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 1)
0:10:19 Johnny Noble’s Hawaiians Featuring M. K. Moke – Hilo March
0:12:10 Clapham & Dwyer – A Day’s Broadcasting (Excerpt 2)
0:12:25 Grupo De ‘La Alegria’ – El Tambor De La Alegria
0:15:48 Red Nichols – WAAM Edison Radio Disc (Excerpt 1)
0:16:07 Pierre Pinchik – Rozo D’shabbos
0:18:44 George Bernard Shaw – Fox Movietone Newsreel (Excerpt 1)
0:18:57 Cow Cow Davenport – Cow Cow Blues
0:22:01 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 2)
0:22:17 Eddie Cantor – Makin’ Whoopee!
0:23:33 Emmett Miller – Lion Tamers (Excerpt 1)
0:24:05 Emmett Miller – I Ain’t Got Nobody
0:27:09 Emmett Miller – Lion Tamers (Excerpt 2)
0:27:33 Fletcher Henderson – Come On Baby
0:30:23 Clapham & Dwyer – A Day’s Broadcasting (Excerpt 3)
0:30:52 Duke Ellington – Black Beauty
0:32:51 Red Nichols – WAAM Edison Radio Disc (Excerpt 2)
0:33:07 Ethel Waters – Do What You Did Last Night
0:35:44 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 3)
0:36:00 Joseph Moskowitz, A. Olshanetsky’s Orchestra – Die Neie Sirba (The New Bulgar)
0:38:50 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 4)
0:38:59 Grigoraș Dinicu – Hora Staccato
0:40:23 John A. Scott & Mr. Greenfield – Radio program for WAAM, Newark, New Jersey (Excerpt 2)
0:40:39 Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five – A Monday Date
0:41:06 Chicago Footwarmers – Brush Stomp
0:42:55 George Bernard Shaw – Fox Movietone Newsreel (Excerpt 2)
0:43:20 Henry Thomas – Bull Doze Blues
0:45:17 Dallas String Band with Coley Jones – Hokum Blues
0:47:23 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 5)
0:47:41 The Washingtonians – Take It Easy
0:50:12 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 6)
0:51:00 Pelegongan of Kuta – Gonteng (djawa) pengwak solo
0:52:38 Gong Of Belaluan – Kebyar Ding III – Oncang-Oncangan (Excerpt 1)
0:53:36 Angklung Of Sidan – Lagu ‘ngisep dublag’
0:54:15 Gender Wayang Of Kuta – Angkat Angatan
0:54:51 Gong Of Busungbiu – Lagu ‘tabuh gari’
0:55:21 Gong Of Belaluan – Kebyar Ding III – Oncang-Oncangan (Excerpt 2)
0:55:42 Walt Disney Animation Studios – Steamboat Willie (Excerpt)
0:56:14 Yahyâ Zarpanje – Mâhur
0:57:23 Isa Kremer – Oi Abram
0:58:14 Lucy German – Di Eybike Mame
1:00:24 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 7)
1:02:03 Joseph Falcon – Lafayette
1:04:58 Cleoma Breaux & Joseph Falcon – Le Vieux Soulard et Sa Femme
1:06:36 Charlie Bowman & His Brothers – Moonshiner & His Money
1:09:42 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 8)
1:09:49 John Mugat – Bukay
1:11:10 James ‘Son’ Thomas – Jon Jo Ko
1:12:09 Nicholas DeHeer – Edna Buchaiku
1:13:34 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 9)
1:13:46 Pine Top Smith – Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie
1:17:04 Clapham & Dwyer – A Day’s Broadcasting (Excerpt 4)
1:17:09 Bennie Moten – Get Low Down Blues
1:18:37 Rudy Wiedoeft – Radio Program (Excerpt 2)
1:18:41 Irving Aaronson And His Commanders, Vocal Refrain Irène Bordoni – Let’s Misbehave
1:20:07 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 10)
1:20:19 Irving Kaufman (with Vaughn DeLeath) – You Took Advantage of Me
1:22:14 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 11)
1:22:40 Roane County Ramblers – Hometown Blues
1:24:04 Clapham & Dwyer – A Day’s Broadcasting (Excerpt 5)
1:24:16 Jimmie Rodgers – In The Jailhouse Now
1:26:26 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 12)
1:26:44 Victoria Spivey – Dope Head Blues
1:28:58 Rudy Wiedoeft – Radio Program (Excerpt 3)
1:29:00 Bertha Idaho – Graveyard Love
1:31:06 Red Nichols – WAAM Edison Radio Disc (Excerpt 3)
1:31:21 Washington Phillips – Mother’s Last Word To Her Son
1:33:46 Reverend Johnny Blakey – Warming By The Devil’s Fire (Excerpt 1)
1:34:13 Arizona Dranes – He Is My Story
1:36:03 Reverend Johnny Blakey – Warming By The Devil’s Fire (Excerpt 2)
1:36:42 Daniels-Denson Sacred Harp Singers – Coronation
1:37:25 Reverend Johnny Blakey – Warming By The Devil’s Fire (Excerpt 3)
1:37:58 Dixie Jubilee Singers – Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho
1:39:44 The Denson Quartet – Christian Soldier
1:39:58 George Bernard Shaw – Fox Movietone Newsreel (Excerpt 3)
1:40:18 Blind Willie Johnson – Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed
1:41:43 Gladys Bentley – Wild Geese Blues
1:43:17 Nellie Florence – Jacksonville Blues
1:44:36 Johnson-Nelson-Porkchop – G. Burns Is Gonna Rise Again
1:44:51 William Harris – Kansas City Blues
1:46:31 Pink Anderson & Simmie Dooley – Every Day In The Week Blues
1:48:07 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 13)
1:48:26 Jack Smith – Miss Annabelle Lee
1:50:30 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 14)
1:50:52 Gay Ellis And Her Novelty Orchestra – You’re The Cream In My Coffee
1:51:59 Helen Kane – I Wanna Be Loved By You
1:53:11 Joe Venuti’s Blue Four – Goin’ Home
1:56:13 Bix Beiderbecke and His Gang – Wa-Da-Da (Ev’rybody’s Doin’ It Now)
1:58:08 Benny Goodman and His Boys – That’s A Plenty
1:59:18 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 15)
1:59:27 Louis Armstrong And His Savoy Ballroom Five – St. James Infirmary
2:02:28 Victoria Spivey – Blood Thirsty Blues
2:04:48 Mississippi John Hurt – Louis Collins
2:06:09 Dick Justice – Cocaine
2:08:10 The Carter Family – John Hardy
2:09:42 George ‘Chicken’ Wilson & Jimmy ‘Skeeter’ Hinton – Chicken Wilson Blues
2:10:22 Tom Morrison – The Connaught Reel – The Shephard’s Daughter
2:12:24 Michael Coleman – Lord McDonald’s (reels)
2:14:00 Packie Dolan And His Melody Boys – Lasses Of Donnibrook
2:14:28 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 16)
2:14:42 Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers – Kansas City Stomps
2:17:33 John A. Scott & Mr. Greenfield – Radio program for WAAM, Newark, New Jersey (Excerpt 4)
2:17:43 Giovanni Vicari – Occhi di Bambola
2:19:16 Agustín Barrios – Junto a tu Corazón
2:20:07 Mario Reis – Jura
2:21:04 Rosita Quiroga – Oíme Negro
2:22:36 Marek Weber – Crepuscule Tango
2:23:32 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 17)
2:23:37 Ethel Waters – My Handy Man (+ Clarence Williams)
2:26:32 Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra – There Ain’t No Sweet Man (Worth the Salt of My Tears)
2:29:59 Fred Elizalde & His Music – Crazy Rhythm
2:31:13 Frank Trumbauer and His Orchestra – Bless You Sister
2:32:43 Clapham & Dwyer – A Day’s Broadcasting (Excerpt 6)
2:33:10 Harry McClintock – Big Rock Candy Mountain
2:37:10 Old South Quartette – Oysters And Wine At 2 A.M.
2:37:48 Sol Hoopii & His Novelty Quartette – E Mama Ea
2:39:38 Red Nichols – WAAM Edison Radio Disc (Excerpt 4)
2:39:45 Fritz Kreisler – Indian Lament (Dvorak-arr Kreisler)
2:40:36 Parush Parushev – Zemetresenie V Bulgaria [Earthquake In Bulgaria]
2:41:03 Mordechai Hershman – Akavyo Ben Mahalalel
2:43:03 Abe Schwartz Orchestra – Unzer Toirele
2:45:25 Clapham & Dwyer – A Day’s Broadcasting (Excerpt 7)
2:45:58 Houdini – Uncle Jo’ Gimme Mo’
2:47:44 Lionel Belasco Orchestra – Blow Wind Blow
2:49:05 Monk Hazel – High Society
2:51:25 Kumasi Trio – Pen Pen Sin Pen
2:52:55 The Harlem Footwarmers – Diga Diga Doo
2:55:44 The Washingtonians – Jubilee Stomp
2:56:30 McKinney’s Cotton Pickers – The Chocolate Dandies
2:57:39 Charles Johnson’s Paradise Ten – Hot-Tempered Blues
2:59:13 Hattie Burleson – Jim Nappy
3:00:42 Tampa Red – Through Train Blues
3:02:54 Palmer Mcabee – Lost Boy Blues
3:03:48 Stripling Brothers – The Lost Child
3:05:06 Weems String Band – Greenback Dollar
3:06:06 Clapham & Dwyer – A Day’s Broadcasting (Excerpt 8)
3:06:55 Harold Collins and his Orchestra – Fashionette
3:07:45 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 18)
3:07:49 Joe Venuti – Eddie Lang – Wild Cat
3:09:13 Roger Wolfe Kahn – She’s A Great Great Girl
3:10:58 King Oliver – Four Or Five Times
3:12:38 Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers – Madison Street Rag
3:13:44 John A. Scott & Mr. Greenfield – Radio program for WAAM, Newark, New Jersey (Excerpt 5)
3:14:06 Paul Robeson – Ol’ Man River (+ studio orchestra)
3:16:46 George Bernard Shaw – Fox Movietone Newsreel (Excerpt 4)
3:17:14 Ukulele Ike (Cliff Edwards) – (I’m Cryin’ `cause I Know) I’m Losing You
3:20:03 John A. Scott & Mr. Greenfield – Radio program for WAAM, Newark, New Jersey (Excerpt 6)
3:20:07 Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra – Basin Street Blues
3:22:22 The Happiness Boys – Twisting The Dials (Excerpt 19)

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