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Centuries of Sound on Cambridge 105 Radio – Episode 39 (Halloween 1902-1926)

Time: 6pm BST, Sunday 24th October
Place: Cambridge 105 Radio

In this very special episode of Centuries of Sound, sound curator James Errington plays a selection of Halloween-themed recordings from the acoustic recording era, prior to 1927. Be ready for ghosts, skeletons, vampires, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, “The Goose Bone Man” and Mr Halloween himself, Aleister Crowley

You can listen to the show on 105fm in Cambridge, on DAB digital, on the Cambridge 105 website here, or on any good radio apps, or play the whole extended version on this mixcloud player, as you’ve already missed it.

1939

At Centuries of Sound I am making mixes for every year of recorded sound. The download here is only for the first hour of the mix. For the full 4.5-hour version please come to centuriesofsound.com to stream, or patreon.com/centuriesofsound for downloads and a host of other bonus materials for just $5 per month. This show would not be possible without my supporters on there, so please consider signing up or sharing this with someone who may be interested.

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A decade ago, researching another project, I found myself listening to oral histories of the second world war, interviews with people who were children during The Blitz. Their memories, surprisingly, included admissions that they had found the experience to be an exciting one, playing in a semi-ruined, semi-abandoned city. This was the inspiration for a novel (which I think will never be ready for release, no great loss there) – but is it useful as a picture to paint of the time? It challenges a popular perspective, but does it just do this by introducing another, equally unbalanced one?

British culture is awash with unreal memory of the second world war. Popular entertainment of the time has already been forgotten – for those who were born in the decades to follow, the stiffness, forced jollity and now-obscure references make it hard to connect with Arthur Askey or Tommy Handley – but the “blitz spirit,” the never-issued “keep calm and carry on” poster and a whole industry of Hitler-based comedy remain cultural touchstones. It’s in this spirit that nostalgic collages of the time are assembled – plucky Londoners going about their business cut to the post-war orchestral recording of Vera Lynn singing “We’ll Meet Again” This recording seems to hold much less in the way of restless ghosts than the contemporary version with Vera backed by Arthur Young on the Novachord (one of the world’s first synthesisers) – but the goal of nostalgia is always to comfort.

Perhaps the best way to address this time is by starting in the manner of the documentary series The World At War (still close to definitive nearly 50 years after its release) which opens with a deadpan monotone describing the arbitrary massacre and destruction of an entire village. It’s an act of genuine courage to present some of the worst horrors immediately, challenging the viewers to only keep watching if they are ready for more of this – no glory or heroism, no warm glow, just unspeakable horror, and only an ambiguous way for the horror to be eventually stopped.

I am – thankfully! – not making a documentary about the second world war, but, all the same, the idea of a sound collage of 1939 leaving it out entirely is a ridiculous one. If I layer pop songs of the time behind news clips, then all I am doing is dulling them of all meaning, folding them into this insulting nostalgic view. Equally, if I put stirring, positive music behind political speeches, is that not a tacit endorsement for their place in history? Is it my place to present Churchill, for example, as a hero? And yet I cannot steer clear of manipulation entirely. For the most part I have tried to give news reports and speeches space to breathe, using classical recordings which are less time-bound than pop or jazz, but when I needed to adopt a palette, the flavours were sadness and hope.

But I’m afraid I’ve been leading you down the garden path a little here. This is a four and a half hour long mix (!) and the second world war doesn’t really make an appearance until the last hour. While Europe and East Asia spent the year either at war or in anticipation of war, for the rest of the world, other things were on the agenda. This is the year that swing starts to really split – the smoother styles, more acceptable by white society, were becoming codified in the “Big Bands” of Glenn Miller, Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. Band leaders like Louis Jordan and instrumentalists like Pete Johnson were taking inspiration from blues to create an upbeat kind of stripped-down jazz, which would soon be labelled “rhythm & blues”, “jump blues” and eventually “rock & roll”. Then there were the swing pioneers, looking to break down ideas about rhythm and melody, big names like Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington who were kicking off what would soon become “Bebop”. It’s a genuinely exciting time for music, and three and a half hours seemed, if anything, not enough to give a real feel of all these ideas in the air.

Of all the recordings featured here, however, the two most notable fit neither into the war, nor the developments in swing. Solomon Linda & The Evening Birds improvised “Mbube” in the only recording studio in Sub-Saharan Africa one day in 1939 – while the song is best-known these days for its adaptation “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, this belies its importance for generations of African musicians. Then there is Billie Holiday’s recording of “Strange Fruit” – the only pre-50s recording in Rolling Stone’s new top 500 tracks of all time. It’s more than I can do to write about it, and even mixing it seemed crude and insulting, instead it sits on its own at the heart of this mix.

Tracklist

0:00:00 Victor Young – Prelude
(Clip from BBC Winston Churchill – Ten Weeks Of War)
(Clip from The Voder – Homer Dudley Bell Labs)
0:00:38 Harry James – Here Comes The Night
(Clip from 1939-09-03 BBC Places Of Entertainment To Be Closed)
0:01:32 Solomon Linda & The Evening Birds – Mbube
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
0:04:33 Betty Hutton – Ol’ Man Mose
(Clip from Gone With The Wind)
0:07:16 Glenn Miller – In The Mood
0:10:49 Al Donahue – In The Mood (Paula Kelly, Vocal)
(Clip from Ninotchka)
0:11:31 Carmen Miranda – Mama Eu Quero
0:13:27 Fats Waller – Ain’t Misbehavin’
(Clip from The Women)
0:17:24 Art Tatum – Tea For Two
(Clip from Gone With The Wind)
0:19:54 Lionel Hampton – Central Avenue Breakdown
(Clip from Young Mr Lincoln)
0:23:01 Pete Johnson – Let ’em Jump
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
0:26:31 Billie Holiday – Some Other Spring
(Clip from 1939-03-08 BBC Gas Mask Drill)
(Clip from A.R.P. – Gas All Clear (Handbells))
0:29:40 Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith – Echoes Of Spring
(Clip from 1939-03-15 BBC Chamberlain After Czech Invasion)


0:32:07 Duke Ellington – Sergeant Was Shy
(Clip from Only Angels Have Wings)
0:34:47 Xavier Cugat – One Two Three Kick Conga
(Clip from Ninotchka)
0:36:24 The Manhattan Brothers – Thaba Tseu
(Clip from Gone With The Wind)
0:39:12 Raymond Scott – Oil Gusher
(Clip from Bachelor Mother)
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
(Clip from The Cup Final 1939)
0:41:24 Benny Goodman Sextet – Flyin’ Home
0:44:35 Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – Ida Red
0:46:52 The Carter Family – Hello Stranger
(Clip from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)
0:48:59 Grigoraș Dinicu – Hora Lui Ion Dinicu Și Sârbă Lui Tanţi
(Clip from General Franco in Barcelona)
0:50:09 Sexteto Flores – Un Besito No Mas
(Clip from Hollywood Hobbies)
0:53:31 Artie Shaw – Begin The Beguine
(Clip from Philo T Farnsworth – The Birth of Television)
0:55:27 Carl Stalling – Good Egg
(Clip from Beau Geste)
0:55:53 Hoosier Hot Shots – Like A Monkey Likes Cocoanuts
(Clip from Dodge City)
0:57:50 Cats And The Fiddle – I Miss You So
(Clip from La Règle du Jeu)


1:00:22 Charles Trenet – Mam’zelle Clioénilmontant
(Clip from Le Jour se lève)
1:03:51 Georgius – Sur La Route De Pen-Zac
(Clip from La Règle du Jeu)
1:05:31 Django Reinhardt Et Le Quintette Du Hot Club De France, Avec Stéphane Grappelli – Younger Generation
(Clip from The Voder – Homer Dudley Bell Labs)
1:07:59 Gus Viseur – Swing 39
(Clip from Lou Gehrig – Farewell To Baseball)
1:10:43 John Kirby – Effervescent Blues
1:12:29 Andy Kirk – Twinklin’
(Clip of Dr James Naismith – Creator Of Basketball In Rare Interview)
(Clip from Eve Ad 2000)
(Clip from Blondie Dagwood – Dagwoods New Suit)
1:15:60 Count Basie Orchestra – You Can Depend On Me
(Clip from Blondie Dagwood – Dagwoods New Suit)
1:19:14 Bud Freeman – The Eel
1:20:39 Lead Belly – Poor Howard / Green Corn
(Clip from Drums Along the Mohawk)
(Clip from Goodbye Mr Chips)
1:23:45 Ari Barroso, Lamartine Babo – No Rancho Fundo
(Clip from Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney – 1939 newsreel footage)
1:25:47 King Radio – It’s The Rhythm We Want
(Clip from Midnight)
1:28:28 Ink Spots – If I Didn’t Care
(Clip from Confessions of a Nazi Spy)


1:32:08 Lagos Mozart Orchestra – Esan Inyong Ikide
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
1:34:07 Flanagan & Allen – Nice People
(Clip of WC Fields in You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man)
1:35:56 杉井幸一 – おけさ節
(Clip from Son of Frankenstein Trailer)
1:37:23 Carl Stalling – Rubber Dog
1:37:39 Judy Garland – The Jitterbug
(Clip from Blondie Dagwood – Dagwood’s New Suit)
1:39:03 Raymond Scott – Bumpy Weather Over Newark
(Clip from Bachelor Mother)
(Clip from The Voder – Homer Dudley Bell Labs)
(Clip from Breakfast Pals)
1:40:07 Ramblers – Drie Kleine Vischjes (Vocal – Wim Poppink)
1:41:02 Kay Kyser – Three Little Fishies
(Clip from Hollywood Hobbies)
1:42:42 Louis Armstrong – Jeepers Creepers
(Clip of James Hilton discussing his Goodbye Mr Chips – CBS Radio Interview)
1:44:45 Patricia Rossborough – Sunrise Serenade
1:46:09 Thaton Ba Hein – Taw Hnit Taung Swe
(Clip from Intermezzo)
1:48:08 Sukru Tunar – Cifte Telli
(Clip from Ninotchka)
1:51:08 Joe Turner & Pete Johnson – Roll ’em Pete
1:52:55 Sonny Boy Williamson – Good Gravy
(Clip from Midnight)
1:54:31 Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five – Keep A-Knockin’ (But You Can’t Come In)
(Clip from Gone With The Wind)
1:56:20 Lionel Hampton And His Orchestra – Denison Swing
(Clip from Stagecoach)
1:59:36 Gene Autry – Back In The Saddle Again
(Clip from Drums Along the Mohawk)


2:01:42 Ida Cox – Death Letter Blues
(Clip of Lincoln’s cross examination from Young Mr Lincoln)
2:03:21 Jelly Roll Morton – Oh Didn’t He Ramble (+ Sidney Bechet)
2:06:10 Sister Rosetta Tharpe – This Train
(Clip from In Name Only)
2:08:45 Mills Brothers – Georgia On My Mind
(Clip from Destry Rides Again)
2:11:38 Sidney Bechet Quintet – Summertime
2:15:26 Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit
2:18:47 Perihan Altindag And Rakim Elkutlu – Ne Bahar Kaldi Ne Gul
2:20:43 Hanende Agyazar Efendi – Kessik Kerem
2:22:05 Tommy Dorsey – Dawn On The Desert
(Clip from Philo T Farnsworth – The Birth of Television)
(Clip from Ninotchka)
(Clip from The Man In The Iron Mask)
(Clip from Mr Smith Goes to Washington)
2:24:35 Johnny Hodges (Ellington) – Dooji Wooji
(Clip from Only Angels Have Wings)
2:27:17 Coleman Hawkins – Body And Soul


2:30:14 Larry Clinton; Bea Wain – Deep Purple
(Clip from Gone with the Wind)
2:32:30 Chick Webb – Undecided
(Clip from Swing Dance In Secret)
2:35:46 Coleman Hawkins – Fine Dinner
(Clip from Midnight)
2:38:15 Carmen Miranda – South American Way
2:40:02 Dorival Caymmi – O Que É Que A Baiana Tem
2:43:00 Francisco Alves – Aquarela Do Brasil
2:44:59 The Growler – Trinidad Loves To Play Carnival
(Clip from Rules of the Game)
2:47:33 The Atilla – La Reine Maribone
2:49:26 Cab Calloway & His Orchestra – The Jumping Jive
(Clip from Ninotchka)
2:51:36 Bram Martin – Chopsticks (Vocal – Bob Howard)
(Clip from The Women)
2:52:38 Slim Gaillard – Matzoh Balls
2:54:45 George Formby – Sweet Sue, Just You
2:56:06 Arthur Askey – The Worm
2:58:11 Flanagan & Allen – Run, Rabbit, Run


3:00:53 Johnny & Jones – We Hoeven Niet Te Hamsteren
3:02:48 Andrews Sisters – Beer Barrel Polka
(Clip from The Voder – Homer Dudley Bell Labs)
3:05:05 Pyi Hla Pe – Shwe-Tanga
3:07:54 Will Bradley Trio – Down The Road A Piece
(Clip from Lou Gehrigs 1939 Radio Interview While at the Mayo Clinic on 1340 KROC AM)
3:10:57 Fats Waller – Your Feet’s Too Big
3:13:59 Rex Stewart (Ellington) – Fat Stuff Serenade
(Clip from Machine Made Voices)
3:15:52 See There Singing Band Kumasi – Anoma Oreko
3:17:52 Be Sackey’s Band Of Appam – Nkyrinna
3:18:41 Kpagon Band Accra – Ba Wo Ni Aya Ye
3:20:43 Lead Belly – Fannin Street
3:22:25 Pete Johnson – Barrelhouse Breakdown
(Clip from The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
3:24:00 Andy Kirk And His Twelve Clouds Of Joy – Floyd’s Guitar Blues
3:27:05 Edward Heyman & The Les Paul Trio – Out Of Nowhere
3:29:56 Stéphane Grapelli – Baby


3:32:36 Glenn Miller – Moonlight Serenade
(Clip from Of Mice and Men)
(Clip from Goodbye Mr Chips)
3:37:09 Debutantes & MGM Studio Orchestra – Optimistic Voices
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
3:38:02 MGM Studio Orchestra- March Of The Winkies
(Clip from 1939-08-27 BBC Czech Ambassador In London On Poland Situation)
3:39:08 Toscanini, NBC Orchestra – Beethoven 3 Symph. Funeral March
(Clip from 1939-08-28 – CBS Coverage on the Eve of WWII)
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
(Clip from 1939-08-31 BBC Alvar Liddell Reports On German 16 Point Plan)
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
(Clip from 1939-09-01 State Of Armed Conflict With Poland)
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
3:42:40 Pablo Casals – Bach No. 5 In C Minor – I- Prelude (Adagio – Allegro Moderato)
(Clip from 1939-09-01 BBC Alvar Liddell Reports The Invasion Of Poland)
(Clip from 1939-09-01 BBC Ignace Paderewski On The War Looming Before Poland)
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
(Clip from 1939-09-03 BBC Britain Declares War On Germany)
(Clip from 1939-09-03 BBC Prime Minister Chamberlain Declares War On Germany)
3:46:24 Max Steiner – The Death Of Melanie
(Clip from 1939-09-03 BBC King George VI Addresses The Nation)
(Clip from 1939-09-03 BBC Places Of Entertainment To Be Closed)
3:50:30 Toscanini, NBC Orchestra – Beethoven 3 Symph. Funeral March
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
3:53:05 Django Reinhardt – Echoes Of Spain
(Clip from 1939-09-01 BBC Alvar Liddell Reports On Evacuation Of Children)
(Clip from 1939-09-01 BBC S J de Lotbiniére Reports Further On Evacuation)
(Clip from 1939-09-01 BBC S J de Lotbiniére Reports Train Now Leaving)
3:54:22 Bert Ambrose – Nasty Uncle Adolf (Vocal – Jack Cooper)
(Clip from 1939-09-10 BBC Evacuee Message To Parents)
3:56:50 Judy Garland – Over The Rainbow
(Clip from 1939-10-13 BBC Children’s Hour Broadcast By Princess Elizabeth)


4:00:04 Art Tatum – Over The Rainbow
4:00:27 MGM Studio Orchestra – Terrified Lion
(Clip from Adolf Hitler – Speech – 1939-09-22 – Poland and it’s imminent defeat)
4:01:01 Max Steiner – Soldiers In Retreat
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
4:02:20 Toscanini, NBC Orchestra – Beethoven 3 Symph. Funeral March
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
4:03:17 Pablo Casals – Bach No. 4 In E Flat – I- Prelude (Allegro Maestoso)
(Clip from 1939-10-01 BBC Winston Churchill – The First Month of the War)
4:05:27 Golden Eagle Gospel Singers – A Warrior On The Battlefield
4:08:02 Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet – Precious Lord
4:10:33 Roland Hayes – ‘Roun’ ‘Bout De Mountain
4:11:59 Duke Ellington – Informal Blues
(Clip from 1939-10-15 (BBC Richard Dimbleby) By a French Road)
4:14:21 Art Tatum – Deep Purple
(Clip from 1939-11-11 BBC Queen Elizabeth – Fortitude Of Women)
4:17:35 John Kirby – Dawn On The Desert
4:20:21 Django Reinhardt – Echoes Of Spain
(Clip from Review of the Year 1939)
4:21:39 Victor Young – The Scroll And The Storm
(Clip from 1939-12-18 BBC Winston Churchill – The Sinking Of The Graf Spee)
(Clip from HM King George VI – The Royal Christmas Message of 1939)
4:23:58 Lale Andersen – Lili Marlen
(Clip from HM King George VI – The Royal Christmas Message of 1939)
4:27:39 Vera Lynn – We’ll Meet Again (Novachord – Arthur Young)
(Clip from The Roaring Twenties)

1938 Preview – The Munich Crisis

At Centuries of Sound I am making mixes for every year of recorded sound. This is one of the ten chapters in the full version of Centuries of Sound 1938
To get the whole mix as a podcast, and a load of other extras, sign up for five dollars per month at http://patreon.com/centuriesofsound

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One of the worst crimes of the nostalgia business is to transform the worst traumas our civilization has suffered into light entertainment, and for this reason I didn’t feel it appropriate to mix coverage of Hitler’s rise with any sort of jazz. Instead, the events of late 1938 – the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Munich peace conference, the triumphant hubris of Neville Chamberlain and, it turns out, the British and international media – seem to fit better with the more sombre classical music recorded this year.

For all the creative energy released in 1938, it is ultimately a year remembered for its complacency, not just that of the British government, but from a western world which feels it is through the worst, while a “quarrel in a far away country, between people of whom we know nothing” is not something worth worrying about. Next year we will see that focus being sharply pulled.

Centuries of Sound on Cambridge 105 Radio – Episode 38 (1930)

Time: 6pm BST, Sunday 26th September
Place: Cambridge 105 Radio

James Errington presents an archaeological investigation into the year 1930. Wall Street has crashed, the great depression has arrived, record sales are down 95%, but the music goes on! Featuring Louis Armstrong, Jimmie Rodgers, Cab Calloway, Marlene Dietrich, Blind Willie Johnson and much more.

You can listen to the show on 105fm in Cambridge, on DAB digital, on the Cambridge 105 website here, or on any good radio apps, or play the whole extended version on this mixcloud player, as you’ve already missed it.

Radio Podcast #14 – 1906

bert-williams-600

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Another journey back in time with James Errington bringing you original historic recordings, this time from 1906, the year of the San Francisco earthquake. We have a brace of songs from the brilliant Bert Williams, plenty of music hall and vaudeville, and a performance of Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag from Sousa’s Band.

Centuries of Sound is an independent podcast without any advertising, and it’s only with the support of my patrons that the show can survive. To download full mixes, get early access to the radio podcast, and a get host of other benefits for $5 (or local equivalent) per month, please come to https://patreon.com/centuriesofsound

1938 Preview – War of The Worlds

At Centuries of Sound I am making mixes for every year of recorded sound. This is one of the ten chapters in the full version of Centuries of Sound 1938
To get the whole mix as a podcast, and a load of other extras, sign up for five dollars per month at http://patreon.com/centuriesofsound

MP3 preview download | Patreon | Apple | Mixcloud | Spotify | Castbox | Stitcher | RSS

Certainly the most famous episode of The Mercury Theatre on the Air, Orson Wells’ adaptation of H.G. Wells’ (no relation) science fiction novel caused a scandal on broadcast when it allegedly caused panicked listeners to flee to the hills. The people actually fleeing or even complaining in vast numbers appear to have been an invention of some sort, certainly the main change when the dust settled was that Orson Wells was now well-known nationwide and able to pick up his first directing work, and I’m sure everyone knows what that is. From my POV the most interesting thing about War of the Worlds is the way it combines fantastic elements with an imitation of a standard radio programme with breaks for a live broadcast of light music. Here we have most of the first half of the drama, with the music swapped for more interesting lighter dance music from 1938, plenty of it from the UK, and at least some of it re-used later by Leyland Kirkby for his The Caretaker project.

00:00 Raymond Scott Quintette – The Happy Farmer
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
00:57 Russ Morgan – What Do You Know About Love
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
02:47 Leslie Hutchinson – It’s De Lovely
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
04:11 Geraldo – You’re As Pretty As A Picture
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
09:00 Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – Pray For The Lights To Go Out
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
12:17 Harry Roy – Highland Swing (Vocal – Ray Ellington)
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
19:02 Unknown Mahafaly – Flute Solo (Ampanihy, Madagascar)
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
21:05 Prof. Anukul Ch. Das – Piano Instrumental- Ramprasad Sen
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
25:20 Bruno Walter & Wiener Philharmoniker – Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 9
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
33:37 Artie Shaw And His Orchestra – Nightmare
(Clips from Orson Welles Press Conference)

1938

At Centuries of Sound I am making mixes for every year of recorded sound. The download here is only for the first hour of the mix. For the full 3.5-hour version please come to centuriesofsound.com to stream, or patreon.com/centuriesofsound for downloads and a host of other bonus materials for just $5 per month. This show would not be possible without my supporters on there, so please consider signing up or sharing this with someone who may be interested.

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Ten stories from 1938

Part One – The Famous Carnegie Hall Concert

1938 opens with perhaps the most famous Jazz concert of all time. Every five years it is my duty to report that “Jazz has gone mainstream” but this might really be it – never before has the genre been so accepted as a national music across spectra of race and class, and after a brief plateau, it’s all going to splinter and decline (commercially – certainly not artistically!) from this point on. The concert at Carnegie Hall January 16th was held by Benny Goodman – a clarinettist and band leader who looked, and dressed, like a befuddled office clerk in a Howard Hawks movie – and an all-star ensemble. Goodman had already been recording in a trio with drummer Gene Krupa, pianist Teddy Wilson, and a quartet also featuring Lionel Hampton, and took the opportunity to massively expand on this with every other big name of the day. It’s hard to convey the novelty of a racially-integrated jazz act playing in public at all, let alone in Carnegie Hall. Such a thing would have been completely unthinkable even five years earlier.

Much like Paul Whiteman’s 1924 concert which introduced Rhapsody in Blue, the show began with a history of jazz – this time with a marginally more accurate starting point of the “dixieland” era of the early 20s. Then through the two hours the pace began to build with a number of special guests, including the Duke Ellington and Count Basie orchestras, until finally the Goodman Quartet blitzed through their hits. The program had been wisely planned, with muted reception for the first half an hour winding up to demands for several encores at the end. Three recordings were made, two acetates and one set of aluminium discs – this may seem like a minor detail, but it has been important to the making of this mix because the lower-fidelity acetates were the source for the 1950 LP of the concert, and the CD version currently available is a direct rip from the higher-fidelity aluminium master, which archivist Phil Schaap put together in the late 1990s, and which I find to be almost unlistenable because he apparently refused to do any kind of restoration work, resulting in scraping and hissing noises being present through most of the two CDs. For this mix, then, I have combined the two versions, adding extra fidelity to sections of the old record and doing mostly eq-based noise reduction on the CD version. It still isn’t perfect, but right now it’s the best sound you’re going to get.

Part Two – Countless Blues

The late thirties, after the death of Robert Johnson, is one of the least-heralded eras for the blues – but it really shouldn’t be. Half a decade before jazz artists started playing jump blues, here we are with electric guitars, boogie-woogie rhythms and dance arrangements. Call it one of the many births of rock & roll if you like – there’s certainly a great deal here which wouldn’t feel out of place in the fifties, Georgia slide blues from Tampa Red and Georgia White, Chicago blues from Washboard Sam, Piedmont blues from Blind Boy Fuller and proto-R&B from Big Bill Broonzy and Jazz Gillum.

Part Three – Mein Rhythmus

A European tour, starting in the music halls of England, then Finnish accordion, Romanian violin and German dance bands, before settling down into a five-track exploration of French singers. Charles Trenet gives us one last taste of optimism before the events of 1939, Edith Piaf on the other hand, has a military song. Rina Ketty, an Italian, sings “J’attendrai” (“I will wait”), a translation of an Italian song, which later became emblematic of World War II, summing up the anxious longing of women awaiting the safe return of their sons and husbands from the war. Deanna Durbin was another immigrant to France, though luckily for her she was still in Hollywood at this point – and there’s Marie-Jacques Renée “Jacotte” Perrier, aged only 13, performing with the Hot Club De France – we will be hearing more from them in time. We finish our European tour with Johnny & Jones, Jewish jazz-pop artists from Amsterdam, both of whom would sadly become some of the final victims of the Holocaust.

Part Four – Algiers

This selection of Middle-Eastern and African music begins in Bulgaria, before moving on to Turkey (including Turkish-Armenian oud virtuoso Udi Hrant) and Algerian singer Cheikh Zouzou. The 1938 movie Algiers (a remake of 1937 French film Pépé le Moko) depicted a fantasied version of the native quarter of Algiers known as the Casbah – while it is certainly guilty of exoticism, and possibly a lot worse, the film is notable for bringing Hedy Lamarr to the attention of American audiences. The African section features Africans in Brasil, recorded by Mário de Andrade, and East African and Nigerian recordings about which I can find very little information – please let me know if you have anything on these artists.

Part Five – Vitalogy

A tour around the Caribbean and elsewhere, we start with Carmen Miranda, perhaps the biggest star ever to come from Brasil’s Samba scene – she would move to the USA and begin her screen career the following year. Off then to Cuba, with “Guantanamera,” perhaps the best-known song from the island, with lyrics by the Cuban poet José Martí and music by Joseíto Fernández, and another adaptation of Son music by Xavier Cugat for the American public. We have a trio of recordings from Trinidad, where Portuguese music promotor Sa Gomes is doing his best to support, record and promote the genre – one track from Carnival’s Vagabonds is a tribute to the man himself – and a little Hawaiian music, now finally fading away from the popularity and influence it has had for the last two decades.

Part Six – Stepping Into Swing Society

The first of two overviews of Swing in 1938, this one begins with some gospel music and preaching (of course this is not swing, but bear with me) in order to introduce “Reverend Sachmo” who kicks off some of the hotter jazz selections from the year. Famous names here include Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Chick Webb and Tommy Dorsey – the only slightly more obscure name is that of Pee Wee Russell. The chapter concludes with a few novelty swing records, from two different groups of Hot Shots and the Raymond Scott Quintette.

Part Seven – War of The Worlds

Certainly the most famous episode of The Mercury Theatre on the Air, Orson Welles’ adaptation of H.G. Wells’ (no relation) science fiction novel caused a scandal on broadcast when it allegedly caused panicked listeners to flee to the hills. The people actually fleeing or even complaining in vast numbers appear to have been an invention of some sort, certainly the main change when the dust settled was that Orson Welles was now well-known nationwide and able to pick up his first directing work, and I’m sure everyone knows what that is. From my POV the most interesting thing about War of the Worlds is the way it combines fantastic elements with an imitation of a standard radio programme with breaks for a live broadcast of light music. Here we have most of the first half of the drama, with the music swapped for more interesting lighter dance music from 1938, plenty of it from the UK, and at least some of it re-used later by Leyland Kirkby for his The Caretaker project.

Part Eight – Did You Ever Milk A Cow?

Folk and country music has had as hard a time as country blues over the course of the great depression, but it is also finding ways to adapt to the new world. Some, like the Hackberry Rambers are working with a niche market, Some, like the Dezurik Sisters, are making as an extreme an impression as possible to grab as much attention as they can (despite being a fairly traditional yodelling record, “Arizona Yodeler” is one of the most out there things in the entire mix.) For the most part, however, this is a run-through of the early days of “western swing” – essentially just swing made by white musicians in the former wild west, with the horns sometimes (but not always) switched for fiddles, and, as of this year, electric guitars.

Part Nine – When The Sun Sets Down South

Drawing towards our conclusion, this chapter covers some of the more relaxed and vocal swing records of the year, including some of the biggest hits. Ella Fitzgerald adapted A-Tisket, A-Tasket from a nursery rhyme, and Count Basie joined in the fun with his “Stop Beatin’ ’round The Mulberry Bush” – selections from Billie Holiday are also notably relaxed and reassuring in tone, especially when compared to her recordings from 1939. It isn’t all smooth classics here, though. Django Reinhardt provides one of his most curious recordings, Sugii Kōichi has more Spanish-tinged Japanese lounge jazz, and Bob Haggart & Ray Bauduc play Big Noise From Winnetka, one of those records you’ve known all your life, but never knew the name.

Part Ten – Munich

Much of the time spent on this mix was dedicated to trying to judge the tone of this final section. I can’t promise that it has been done perfectly, but practice was needed, considering everything I will need to include on the next seven mixes. One of the worst crimes of the nostalgia business is to transform the worst traumas our civilization has suffered into light entertainment, and for this reason I didn’t feel it appropriate to mix coverage of Hitler’s rise with any sort of jazz. Instead, the events of late 1938 – the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Munich peace conference, the triumphant hubris of Neville Chamberlain and, it turns out, the British and international media – seem to fit better with the more sombre classical music recorded this year.

For all the creative energy released in 1938, it is ultimately a year remembered for its complacency, not just that of the British government, but from a western world which feels it is through the worst, while a “quarrel in a far away country, between people of whom we know nothing” is not something worth worrying about. Next year we will see that focus being sharply pulled.

Tracklist

Part One – The Famous Carnegie Hall Concert

0:00:00 Carl Stalling – Warner Brothers Intro
0:00:20 The Benny Goodman Orchestra – China Boy
(Clip from Pygmalion)
0:04:10 The Benny Goodman Orchestra – Dizzy Spells
0:08:33 The Benny Goodman Orchestra – Sing Sing Sing (With A Swing)
(Clip from You Can’t Take It With You)

Part Two – Countless Blues

(Clip from Review Of The Year)
0:13:02 Georgia White – The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ But…!!!
(Clip from Peg-Leg Pedro)
0:15:44 Big Bill Broonzy – Trucking Little Woman
(Clip from How To Undress In Front Of Your Husband)
0:17:10 Kansas City Six – Countless Blues
(Clip from The Shadow 38-02-13 The House Of Horror)
0:20:07 Bob Crosby – Honky Tonk Train Blues
(Clip from Andy Hardy)
0:22:01 Blind Boy Fuller – Step It Up And Go
(Clip from A Slight Case of Murder)
0:23:16 Tampa Red – Rock It In Rhythm
(Clip from Bringing Up Baby)
0:25:23 Jazz Gillum & His Jazz Boys – Reefer Head Woman
(Clip from How To Undress In Front Of Your Husband)
0:27:17 Washboard Sam – Don’t Leave Me Here
(Clip from La Bete Humaine)
(Clip from Four Daughters)
0:29:51 Blind Boy Fuller – Get Your Yas Yas Out
(Clip from Always Goodbye)
0:32:13 Hudson ‘Tampa Red’ Whittaker – Forgive Me Please

Part Three – Mein Rhythmus

(Clip from A Christmas Carol Trailer)
0:35:02 Tommy Trinder – I Don’t Do Things Like That
(Clip from Adele England – Chestnut Tree)
0:37:00 George Formby – In My Little Snapshot Album
(Clip from The King’s Speech)
0:38:56 Viola Turpeinen – Kahden Venheessä
(Clip from Kerensky interview)
0:40:14 Georges Boulanger – Tokay
(Clip from BBC Interview with Sigmund Freud)
0:42:14 Heinz Munsonius – Mein Rhythmus
0:43:30 Heinz Rühmann – Ich Brech Die Herzen Der Stolzesten Fraun
0:44:21 Charles Trenet – Boum!
0:46:13 Jacotte Perrier + Hot Club De France – Les Salades De L’ Oncle Francois
(Clip from La Femme du Boulanger)
0:48:25 Rina Ketty – J’ Attendrai
(Clip from Port of Shadows)
0:50:28 Edith Piaf – Le Fanion De La Legion
0:52:05 Deanna Durbin – Les Filles De Cadix
(Clip from Lou Bandy – Conference Vergeten)
0:53:18 Johnny & Jones – Lied Van Den Slangenbezweerder (Snake Charmer)

Part Four – Algiers

0:54:51 Vulkana Stoyanova – Dimo Na Rada
0:56:55 Udi Hrant – Kurdili Hicazkar Taksim
(Clip from “The Speech Of Ancient Egypt, 18th Dynasty”)
0:58:00 Cheikh Zouzou – Gheniet Ben Soussan, Pt. 7
(Clip from Algiers)
1:00:37 Kemani Haydar Tatliyay – Arap Oyun Havasi
1:02:09 Mário De Andrade – Instrumentos Do ‘Caboclinho Índios Africanos’
1:02:23 J.P. Nyangira – Hongo Owiti
1:04:28 Godwin Scotland – Adelebo Ilu Eko
(Clip from Algiers)

Part Five – Vitalogy

1:05:37 Carmen Miranda – Boneca De Pixe
(Clip from The Citadel)
1:07:05 Cuarteto Caney – Guajira Guantanamera
1:09:53 Xavier Cugat – La Paloma
(Clip from The Adventures of Robin Hood)
1:13:35 The Caresser – Clear The Way When The Bamboo Play
1:15:23 The Lion – Vitalogy
1:15:45 Carnival’s Vagabonds – We Want Sa Gomes
(Clip from Jezebel)
1:16:34 Mannie Klein’s Swing-A-Hula’s – Hoolihi Oe Ke Ike Mai

Part Six – Stepping Into Swing Society

(Clip from Angels With Dirty Faces)
1:20:17 Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet – John The Revelator
1:21:22 Rev. Benny Campbell – You Must Be Born Again
1:22:43 Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra – When The Saints Go Marching In
(Clip from American Air Record – Interview With Pilot)
1:24:20 Pee Wee Russell – I’ve Found A New Baby
(Clip from Alexander’s Ragtime Band)
1:25:45 Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra – Downhome Jump
(Clip from The Sisters)
1:28:20 Duke Ellington – Stepping Into Swing Society
(Clip from Bringing Up Baby)
1:31:17 Tommy Dorsey – Boogie Woogie
(Clip from Bringing Up Baby)
1:33:21 Count Basie – Jumpin’ At The Woodside
(Clip from Mr Moto’s Gamble)
1:36:28 Chick Webb & His Orchestra – Harlem Congo
1:39:38 Joe Daniels Hot Shots – Limehouse Blues
(Clip from Too Hot To Handle – Trailer)
1:42:44 Hoosier Hot Shots – The Girl Friend Of The Whirling Dervish
(Clip from Bringing Up Baby)
1:45:04 Raymond Scott Quintette – The Happy Farmer

Part Seven – War of The Worlds

(Clip from War of the Worlds)
1:48:03 Russ Morgan – What Do You Know About Love
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
1:49:53 Leslie Hutchinson – It’s De Lovely
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
1:51:18 Geraldo – You’re As Pretty As A Picture
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
1:56:06 Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – Pray For The Lights To Go Out
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
1:59:24 Harry Roy – Highland Swing (Vocal – Ray Ellington)
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
2:06:08 Unknown Mahafaly – Flute Solo (Ampanihy, Madagascar)
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
2:08:11 Prof. Anukul Ch. Das – Piano Instrumental- Ramprasad Sen
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
2:12:26 Bruno Walter & Wiener Philharmoniker – Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 9
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
2:20:42 Artie Shaw And His Orchestra – Nightmare
(Clips from Orson Welles Press Conference)

Part Eight – Did You Ever Milk A Cow?

(Clip from The Adventures of Robin Hood)
2:24:24 Hackberry Ramblers – Fais Pas Ca
(Clip from Adele England – Chestnut Tree)
2:26:06 Coon Creek Girls – Old Uncle Dudy (Keep Fiddling On)
(Clip from Merrily We Live)
2:28:30 The Monroe Brothers – Have A Feast Here Tonight
(Clip from Boys Town)
2:29:30 Dezurik Sisters – Arizona Yodeler
2:31:52 Cliff Bruner – When You’re Smiling
2:33:31 Light Crust Doughboys – Pussy Pussy Pussy
(Clip from Test Pilot)
2:37:05 Roy Acuff & His Crazy Tennesseans – Wabash Cannonball
(Clip from Holiday)
2:38:40 Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – Liza, Pull Down The Shades
(Clip from Mind The Doors)
2:41:12 Judy Garland – Cry Baby Cry

Part Nine – When The Sun Sets Down South

2:43:42 Count Basie – Stop Beatin’ ’round The Mulberry Bush
(Clip from AT&T – Operator)
2:45:38 Ella Fitzgerald feat. Chick Webb And His Orchestra – A-Tisket, A-Tasket
2:48:10 Sidney Bechet & Noble Sissle’s Swingsters – Blackstick
(Clip from Kerensky interview)
2:50:56 Duke Ellington – Pyramid (Part 2)
(Clip from Four Daughters)
2:54:09 Andy Kirk & Mary Lou Williams – Twinklin’
(Clip from You Can’t Take It With You)
2:56:40 Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra – Any Time At All
(Clip from CBS WBBM World Series Game 2 NY Yankees vs Chicago Cubs)
2:58:13 Django Reinhardt – Improvisation No. 2
(Clip from CBS WBBM World Series Game 2 NY Yankees vs Chicago Cubs)
(Clip from The Lady Vanishes)
3:00:18 Bob Haggart & Ray Bauduc – Big Noise From Winnetka
3:02:59 Sugii Kōichi – Kusatsu-bushi
(Clip from NBC ATMOTA – Is an Economic Plan for World Peace Available?)
3:05:21 Fats Waller – Waterboy
3:05:34 Django Reinhardt – Appel Indirect (Appel Direct)
(Clip from A Slight Case of Murder)
3:08:30 Noble Sissle’s Swingsters – When The Sun Sets Down South
3:11:33 Teddy Wilson And His Orchestra – When You’re Smiling
3:14:21 Hot Lips Page – Rock It For Me
3:17:10 Billie Holiday – You Go To My Head
(Clip from A Slight Case of Murder)

Part Ten – Munich

3:20:02 The Lord Executor – Poppy Day
(Clip from Inside Nazi Germany March of Time newsreel)
3:21:26 Pablo Casals – No. 1 In G – I- Prelude (Moderato)
(Clip from Inside Nazi Germany March of Time newsreel)
3:22:44 Pablo Casals – Dvorak Cello Concerto In B 03 Allegro Moderato
(Clip from Inside Nazi Germany March of Time newsreel)
(Clip from Inside Nazi Germany March of Time newsreel)
(Clip from 1938-02-03 NBC ATMOTA – What Does Democracy Mean?)
3:24:53 Bruno Walter & Wiener Philharmoniker – Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 9
(Clip from Hitler In Vienna – British Pathé)
(Clip from German Propaganda Film)
(Clip from Winston Churchill – ‘We Must Arm’ Speech)
3:27:38 Herbert Von Karajan – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Ouvertüre Zu ‘die Zauberflöte’ (Excerpt 1)
(Clip from Review Of The Year)
(Clip from Peace Four Power Conference)
(Clip from Neville Chamberlain – Speech On His Return From The Munich Conference)
(Clip from Peace Four Power Conference)
3:30:17 NBC Symphony Orchestra – Adagio For Strings Op.11
(Clip from Adolf Hitler – on the occasion of the german occupation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia)
(Clip from 1938-12-01 NBC ATMOTA – Is an Economic Plan for World Peace Available?)
(Clip from 1938-12-08 NBC ATMOTA – How Should the Democracies Deal With the Dictatorships?)
3:35:03 Herbert Von Karajan – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Ouvertüre Zu ‘die Zauberflöte’ (Excerpt 2)
(Clip from Review Of The Year)
3:36:00 Flanagan & Allen – Umbrella Man
(Clip from You Can’t Take It With You)
3:38:36 Ella Logan – Adios Muchachos
3:40:12 Carl Stalling – Warner Brothers Outro
(Clip from Angels with Dirty Faces)

Centuries of Sound on Cambridge 105 Radio – Episode 37 (1929)

Time: 6pm BST, Sunday 22nd August 2021
Place: Cambridge 105 Radio

Another trip into history with James Errington. This time we’re in 1929, when the roaring twenties comes crashing to a halt. Aside from American jazz, blues, country and vaudeville, we have recordings from Cuba, Portugal, Tunisia, Japan, India and even a couple from the UK, all in an end of term party for a decade and an era.

You can listen to the show on 105fm in Cambridge, on DAB digital, on the Cambridge 105 website here, or on any good radio apps, or play the whole extended version on this handy mixcloud player.

The CoS Tapes #6 – Brass Peacocks 1897-1906

The CoS Tapes are a series of CD-sized compilations available to Centuries of Sounds Members. A donation $5 per month will give you access to these compilations and other member benefits. Join here.

John Philip Sousa’s world was a regimented one, as befitted a military band man, but when he left trombonist Arthur Pryor alone to record some “tinned music” he inadvertently created one of the most extravagant moments in turn-of-the-century music. Soon brass soloists of all varieties were competing to fill two minutes of wax with the most excessive collection of flourishes and sfx they could muster. By the late 1900s they had all apparently calmed down – but for a decade at least the peacocks were producing some of the most exciting music ever recorded.

01 – Bohumir Kryl – Arbucklenian Polka (1903)
02 – Arthur Pryor with Sousa’s Band – The Patriot (1901)
03 – Herbert L. Clarke And John Hazel – The Friendly Rivals (1905)
04 – Bohumir Kryl – Carnival Of Venice (1902)
05 – Sousa’s Band – Trombone Sneeze (1902)
06 – Bohumir Kryl – Sweet Sixteen Waltz (1904)
07 – Leo A. Zimmerman & The Edison Concert Band – Leona Polka (1903)
08 – Columbia Orchestra – Sea Flower Polka (1897)
09 – Bohumir Kryl – King Carnival (1905)
10 – John Hazel & The Edison Military Band – Secret Polka (1903)
11 – Bohumir Kryl – Russian Fantasia (with Variations) (1902)
12 – John Hazel, Frank R. Seltzer And The Edison Military Band – Two Of Us (1904)
13 – Bohumir Kryl – Sing, Smile, Slumber (1906)
14 – Albert Bode & Columbia Band – Seashell Waltz (1903)
15 – Bohumir Kryl – National Fantasia (1903)
16 – Bohumir Kryl – Kryl’s Favorite (1904)
17 – John C Martin – Arbucklenian Polka (1901)
18 – Sousa’s Band with Arthur Pryor – Love Thoughts Waltz (1898)

Radio Podcast #13 – 1905

Byron_photographic_staff_1905

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Another sonic adventure through time with James Errington, this time joined by guests Dominic, Joanne & Adam to listen to the sounds of 1905 and discuss such pressing topics as skeleton xylophones, the hubris of Dick Dastardly, melancholy in Spanish music, the latter-day lack of songs about bears in pop music and, for some reason, collared doves, which are definitely a type of pigeon.

Centuries of Sound is an independent podcast without any advertising, and it’s only with the support of my patrons that the show can survive. To download full mixes, get early access to the radio podcast, and a get host of other benefits for $5 (or local equivalent) per month, please come to https://patreon.com/centuriesofsound