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1926

At Centuries of Sound I am making mixes for every year of recorded sound. The download here is a cut-down 30 minute mix, for the full two-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.

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We’ve been waiting for a year like this for a long time; when the limitations of technology and the music business would finally be advanced enough to get out of the way and let the music speak for itself. It could not have come at a more fortuitous time – the jazz age is right at the point of moving from fun novelty to full-blown art-form, country folk is undergoing a wave of exploration, and vaudeville and the speakeasies are soaking up and celebrating all the developments of this exciting era.

We start the mix with one of the founding fathers of jazz, and mentor to Louis Armstrong, King Oliver. Here with his new Chicago-based group the “Dixie Syncopators” he plays high-octane dance tune “Deep Henderson” – the group would continue a residency at the Plantation Cafe until it burned down in 1927.

Gustav Holst’s ‘The Planets’ was one of the first orchestral pieces given the full electrical recording treatment – it really brings home what a revolution has happened in sound recording in the last couple of years. The piece started at the outbreak of the first world war in 1914, and the premier was held during its final weeks in 1918. It’s hard not to feel that ‘Mars’ is inspired by the incomprehensible, industrial carnage of those grim years.

Plenty is written about the “blues roots” of American music, but this year we have plenty to demonstrate that “church roots” or “gospel roots” might be just as important. The Birmingham Jubilee Singers were organised by Charles Bridges, a trainer of gospel quartets from Alabama. The group included the extremely deep voice of one Ed Sherrill. “He Took My Sins Away” is a particularly strong example of the innovative a capella techniques practised in churches in the Southern states of the USA. Reverend J.M. Gates one of the most prolific preachers of the pre-war era, recording over 200 sermons. Death’s Black Train Is Coming” was recorded in front of his participating congregation in Mount Calvary Baptist Church for Columbia Records after their state-of-the-art electric recording system was shipped down especially for this purpose – it sold more than 35,000 copies.

New Orleans Creole pianist Jelly Roll Morton is another of the founding fathers of jazz. By 1926 he was recording with a group called The Red Hot Peppers. Doctor Jazz is one of the best examples of the early New Orleans jazz sound, using counterpoint, pre-written stop-time breaks and improvised solo passages – truly a feast within a few minutes, and the pinnacle of this particular sound.

“Masculine Women! Feminine Men!,” performed here by journeyman singer Irving Kaufman, often turns up on lists of the earliest queer records, though it should be stressed that this is accidental. The lyrics are intended as a sardonic look at changing fashions, but the effect is detached and wry rather than offended, leading to a reasonable implication that things like sexuality and gender are ripe for exploration, generally not a big deal, and basically fine to play with – a nice introduction to the changing social mores of the time.

The craze for female blues is on the wane by 1926, but Ethel Waters has stuck around, this time without her backing band. “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor” is a folk blues, dating back to the 19th century, but its status as a standard only became fixed with this recording.

There is plenty to say about Duke Ellington elsewhere, just to note here that we have his earliest recording of East St Louis Toodle-Oo, which is usually acknowledged as his first classic. This isn’t the best recording of the track – we’ll be hearing another quite soon – but still stands out in its sheer sonic originality, even in this semi-developed form.

The tango was taking off in Argentina at this time, and the form was also having a huge influence in the old world, particularly Eastern Europe and Western Asia. We have a couple of examples here, from Greece and Turkey. Ibrahim Özgür, from Istanbul, declared the music he wrote was dedicated to the love letters sent by his female fans.

Portable electronic recording is already recording plenty of country folk music in the USA. Our first examples of this are Carl T. Sprague with a particularly morbid cowboy song, and Uncle Dave Macon with the white equivalent to the gospel tracks featured here: that is, much less adventurous in terms of harmonies, and dedicated to mocking the theory of evolution the year after the Scopes Monkey Trial.

Abe Lyman’s version of Papa Charlie Jackson’s “Shake That Thing” is a magnificent bit of raucous Chicago-style jazz, as hot as you get – you can only imagine the effect it would have on a dancefloor just eight years after the end of the first world war. Another hot jazz piece follows this, with Erskine Tate’s Vendome Orchestra – another Chicago outfit, this features a guest appearance from Louis Armstrong on cornet. Erskine’s only contribution is shouting the title at the start.

Then we have The Dixieland Jug Blowers, an example of a jug band – groups formed in the urban south who blew on jugs for lack of real instruments, and Ben Bernie, an old-time vaudeville band leader jumping whole-heartedly onto the jazz bandwagon.

Drop The Sack from Lill’s Hot Shots is Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five, operating under a pseudonym to bring Louis’s wife (piano player Lil Hardin Armstrong) to the forefront. Louis’s cornet with Johnny Dodds’ clarinet really do their best to overcome this fairly limited song and make something really special.

“Arizona” Juanita Dranes was a blind female gospel singer, and pioneer of the use of piano in gospel music. Her passionate, earthy, rough, nasal voice and her wild piano playing went on to have a great deal of influence, but mostly outside the world of church music.

The Savoy Havana Band was one of the big two British dance bands of the 1920s, formed by American saxophonist Bert Ralton, and featuring pianist Billy Mayerl, and young American saxophonist, Rudy Vallée, whose dreams of becoming a singer were roundly mocked by his band-mates.

Next we have some more old world tangos – a soulful Arabic piece from Farid & Asmahan and a hauntingly familiar-sounding tune from Greek singer Toula Amvrazi. Also soulful, but not in the tango tradition, is Said El Kurdi from Iraq, and we have passion from Iranina Morteza Ney-Davud – traditions which are undeservedly obscure in the west today.

At the age of 51, Fritz Kreisler was already regarded as perhaps the greatest violinist in the world in 1926, and his recordings had already had a great deal of effect in the use of vibrato from a new generation of musicians, eager to copy his style. At this point he was living in Paris, and playing around Europe, here with the Berlin State Opera Orchestra – but he would emigrate to the USA as Hitler seized power in Germany.

“The Laughing Policeman” is a British remake of George W Johnson’s “Laughing Song,” one of the best-selling records of the 1890s, and will be instantly familiar to UK listeners. Music hall artist Charles Penrose followed it up with The Laughing Major, The Laughing Curate, The Laughing Steeplechaser, The Laughing Typist, and The Laughing Lover, to diminishing returns.

The Happiness Boys was one of the most popular radio programs of the 1920s, and though radio was barely recorded in the 20s, we at least have novelty recordings from its two stars, Billy Jones and Ernie Hare, who also sang their novelty songs on disc. “What? No Women!” is another song of the times featuring possible transgressive undertones, maybe? Or am I imagining this?

Sol Hoʻopiʻi was one of the pioneers of the Hawaiian steel guitar, and on Farewell Blues he stretches the instrument to its limits, producing chicken squawking and pecking noises with the strings and the body. Nick Lucas was another pioneer of the guitar, though a more traditional one. Nevertheless, he has a decent claim to be the first jazz guitar soloist, and here accompanies himself on one of the biggest hits of the year, “Bye Bye Blackbird.”

Mandolin player Chris Bouchillon was also a pioneer – not so much with the mandolin, though, more with his distinctive half-singing-half-talking vocals, which he described as “Talking Blues.” If it sounds familiar, it’s because the style was picked up wholesale by Bob Dylan and others in the 1960s, and it feels slightly disconcerting to hear someone sing like that in 1926. Sam McGee, another pioneer guitar player, here presents a style which would also be picked up by folk musicians in the 1960s, though he would have a much better career, playing in a duo with his brother Kirk and becoming fixtures at the Grand Old Opry through the next few decades.

We will be hearing more from Gene Austin, one of the first crooners, but here we have him only starting to explore the new style made possible by electrical microphones.

Violinist Joe Venuti, here playing as ever with Eddie Lang, was an Italian-American jazz musician. I find Venuti and Lang’s records unbelievable because they sound just like the Hot Club De France a decade later.

Johnny Hamp’s Kentucky Serenaders were a jazz band active since the precious decade, but only making inroads into recording at this point. They were from Pennsylvania rather than Kentucky, apparently the name is taken from their performances “My Old Kentucky Home.” This is the first of two tracks featuring the sound of tap dancing, the second being from a young Fred Astaire, here performing with his (then equally famous) sister Adele. At this point both were famous for stage performances – with the start of sound film the following year Fred would audition for Paramount, and be turned down as “unsuitable for films.”

Another Jelly-Roll Morton recording, The Chant, features a brilliant performance from Kid Orly on trombone – it’s a rare cover version for Morton, and was written by Mel Stitzel of white jazz group The New Orleans Rhythm Kings.

“Heebie Jeebies” is a landmark track for Louis Armstrong, featuring a famous scat singing section. A legend says that Louis dropped his lyric sheet and improvised the vocal solo, thereby inventing scat singing, a claim disproved immediately by the existence of recorded scat singing at least 15 years prior – however the record was still very influential in the development of vocal jazz.

We have a long-awaited trip to Latin America with Cuban Son band Sexteto Occidente, a short-lived group, but one whose records and members would go on to define the genre. From Argentina we have already heard early tangos, but here we have a couple of pieces from the earlier Argentinian folk music tradition – one from Rafael Iriarte and Rosendo Pesoa, and another from Alfredo Pelaia.

The NuGrape Twins were a bizarre gospel duo from Georgia who decided not to sing about God but to voluntarily make an advertising jingle for a regional soft drink, also called NuGrape, and which is still available there today. Their story is a bit too much to go into here, but can be found in a lot more detail here – – http://nadiaberenstein.com/blog/2015/4/3/got-plenty-imitation-but-theres-none-like-mine-heavenly-nugrape

Back to the jazz, then, we have the Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra, a radio jazz band from Kansas City, a superb piece from multi-instrumentalist Art Landry’s jazz band, and a fourth appearance from Louis Armstrong, here again guesting with Erskine Tate’s Vendome Orchestra on “Static Strut”

Back over to Europe, we have a novelty jazz piece from the other big UK band leader, Bert Firman (by no coincidence the regional musical director for Zonophone Records), and something a bit more substantial from Romanian violin virtuoso Grigoraș Ionică Dinicu, a breathtakingly beautiful piece called Ciocârlia, composed by his grandfather Angheluș Dinicu

Cortot, Thibaud and Casals were already three of the most celebrated and widely-recorded classical musicians in the world, and all in their mid-40s already, but it wasn’t until 1926 that new technology allowed them to live up to their potential as recording artists. Here their playing is at once light and suffused with great depth.

More jazz then, from trombonist Brad Gowans, an early release from future superstar band leader Fletcher Henderson, and a rare lead recording from George McClennon, adoptive son of Bert Williams and virtuoso novelty clarinet player, probably a holdover from the last age but here sounding right up to date.

“In the Pines” AKA “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” is one of those American murder ballads with an unknown, presumably ancient lineage – it had been around at least fifty years before this, perhaps its first definitive recording, by Dock Walsh. Another link to the old folk tradition of the rural USA is provided by Uncle Bunt Stevens, whose style apparently reflects music played prior to the American Civil War.

A couple of European superstars are next – Maurice Chevalier, a big stage and screen name in France already, and from Spain, Pablo Casals, perhaps the greatest cellist of all time – I can’t help think the mournful style of this recording anticipates somehow his exile from his home country under Franco.

And finally, Paul Robeson, one of the defining performers of his age, here putting absolutely everything into a performance of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

Anyone still with me? Well done, it’s been quite the journey this time, thank you for listening.

Tracks

0:00:22 The Savoy Orpheans – Radio Christmas 1926 (Excerpt 1)
0:00:40 King Oliver And His Dixie Syncopators – Deep Henderson
0:03:44 Edward B. Craft – The Voice from the Screen (Excerpt 1)
0:03:56 Gustav Holst with London Symphony Orchestra – Mars from The Planets
0:07:04 Birmingham Jubilee Singers – He Took My Sins Away
0:08:16 Rev. J. M. Gates – Death’s Black Train Is Coming
0:09:56 Jelly-Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers – Dead Man Blues
0:10:12 Jelly-Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers – Doctor Jazz
0:13:33 Al Jolson – April Showers (Intro)
0:13:38 Irving Kaufman – Masculine Women! Feminine Men!
0:15:17 Ethel Waters – Make Me A Pallet On The Floor
0:16:51 Rev. S.J. ‘Steamboat Bill’ Worell – The Prodigal Son
0:19:51 Duke Ellington and his Kentucky Club Orchestra – East St Louis Toodle-Oo
0:22:30 Banat Chemama, Malouf, Leila Sfez, Fritna Damon, Habbiba Msika, Louisia Tounsia… – Habibi Ghab (Leila Sfez)
0:22:51 Danae & Panos Visvardis – Aishe
0:25:45 Ibrahim Özgür – Son nefez
0:27:54 Compagnia Columbia – Il Funerale di Rodolfo Valentino (Excerpt 1)
0:28:17 Carl T. Sprague – O Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie (The Dying Cowboy)
0:29:45 Uncle Dave Macon – The Bible’s True
0:31:08 Edward B. Craft – The Voice from the Screen (Excerpt 2)
0:31:15 Abe Lyman – Shake That Thing
0:34:12 Erskine Tate’s Vendome Orchestra – Stomp Off, Let’s Go
0:36:00 Dixieland Jug Blowers – House Rent Rag
0:38:02 Ben Bernie & His Hotel Rooswelt Orchestra – Hello! Swanee, Hello
0:39:59 Lill’s Hot Shots – Drop That Sack
0:41:34 Rev. J.M. Gates – Death Might Be Your Santa Claus (Excerpt 1)
0:42:31 Arizona Dranes – It’s All Right Now
0:44:26 Rev. J.M. Gates – Death Might Be Your Santa Claus (Excerpt 2)
0:45:14 Taskiana Four – Creep Along, Moses
0:47:04 Rev. J.C. Burnett – The Downfall of Nebuchadnezzar
0:48:11 The Savoy Havana Band – Turkish Towel
0:49:43 Farid & Asmahan – Ishak ya boulboul
0:51:36 Toula Amvrazi – Sultana
0:54:17 Morteza Ney-Davud – ‘Oshshaq, Bayat Esfahan (Homayun) (Excerpt 1)
0:54:43 Said El Kurdi – Kassem Miro
0:56:20 Morteza Ney-Davud – ‘Oshshaq, Bayat Esfahan (Homayun) (Excerpt 2)
0:56:46 Sally Hamlin and Myrtle C. Eaver – The Sugar-Plum Tree (Excerpt 1)
0:56:55 Fritz Kreisler & Berlin State Opera Orchestra – Mendelssohn Violin Concerto e-moll Op.64
0:58:48 Sally Hamlin and Myrtle C. Eaver – The Sugar-Plum Tree (Excerpt 2)
0:59:05 Charles Penrose – The Laughing Policeman
1:01:28 George Formby – I Was A Willing Young Lad
1:01:40 Billy Jones & Ernest Hare – What? No Women!
1:03:05 Sol Hoʻopiʻi’s Novelty Trio – Farewell Blues
1:04:31 Nick Lucas – Bye Bye Blackbird
1:06:00 Chris Bouchillon – Hannah
1:07:32 Sam McGee – The Franklin Blues
1:08:58 Vernon Dalhart – Ain’t-Ya Comin’ Out To-Night?
1:10:57 Gene Austin – Ya Gotta Know How To Love
1:13:31 Joe Venuti – Stringin’ The Blues (1) (+ Eddie Lang)
1:15:58 Johnny Hamp’s Kentucky Serenaders – Black Bottom
1:18:33 Fred Astaire – Half Of It Dearie Blues (+ Adele Astaire & George Gershwin)
1:21:18 Jelly-Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers – Sidewalk Blues
1:21:33 Jelly-Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers – The Chant
1:23:43 Louis Armstrong And His Hot Five – Heebie Jeebies
1:25:51 King Oliver’s Jazz Band – Wa Wa Wa
1:27:28 Sexteto Occidente – Miguel, Los Hombres No Lloran
1:30:16 Iriarte and Pesoa – Libertad
1:31:35 Alfredo Pelaia – Chinita
1:32:58 Dick Henderson – Introduction
1:33:00 NuGrape Twins – I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape
1:35:44 Bessie Smith – Jazzbo Brown From Memphis Town
1:37:32 Dick Henderson – “She has the advantage of me…”
1:37:37 Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra – Brainstorm
1:40:24 Art Landry and His Orchestra – Slippery Elm
1:41:27 Erskine Tate’s Vendome Orchestra – Static Strut
1:43:32 Bert Firman & His Band – You Got ‘ Em
1:44:55 Stanley Roper – Impressions Of London (Excerpt)
1:45:12 Grigoraș Dinicu – Ciocârlia
1:47:54 Cortot, Thibaud and Cassals – Schubert Trio No. 1 in B Flat – Op. 99 1st Movement
1:49:10 The Revelers – Blue Room
1:51:06 Gowan’s Rhapsody Makers – I’ll Fly To Hawaii
1:52:01 The Fletcher Henderson Orchestra – Stampede
1:54:33 George Mcclennon’s Jazz Devils – While You’re Sneaking Out
1:56:48 Joe Candullo and His Everglades Orchestra – Brown Sugar
1:59:51 Dock Walsh – In The Pines
2:01:24 Uncle Bunt Stephens – Candy Girl
2:02:08 Maurice Chevalier – Moi Je Fais Mes Coups En Dessous
2:04:08 Pablo Casals – Saint- Saens – Le Cygne (The Swan)
2:06:11 Compagnia Columbia – Il Funerale di Rodolfo Valentino (Excerpt 2)
2:06:38 Paul Robeson – Swing Low Sweet Chariot
2:08:43 The Savoy Orpheans – Radio Christmas 1926 (Excerpt 2)

1925 in Art

Tamara de Lempicka – Autoportrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti)

Tamara de Lempicka – Autoportrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti)

Joan Miró – The Birth of the World

Joan Miró – The Birth of the World

Charles Sheeler – Still Life

Charles Sheeler – Still Life

Otto Dix – Portrait of the Dancer Anita Berber

Otto Dix – Portrait of the Dancer Anita Berber

Paul Klee - Fish Magic

Paul Klee – Fish Magic

Wassily Kandinsky – Yellow-Red-Blue

Wassily Kandinsky – Yellow-Red-Blue

George Adomeit - Down to the Harbor

George Adomeit – Down to the Harbor

Lyonel Feininger – Barfüßerkirche in Erfurt I

Lyonel Feininger – Barfüßerkirche in Erfurt I

Arthur Dove – The Critic

Arthur Dove – The Critic

George Grosz – Portrait of the Writer Max Herrmann-Neisse

George Grosz – Portrait of the Writer Max Herrmann-Neisse

The Bath 1925 by Pierre Bonnard 1867-1947

Pierre Bonnard – The Bath

Salvador Dalí - Young Woman at a Window

Salvador Dalí – Young Woman at a Window

Hilda Rix Nicholas – Les fleurs dédaignées

Hilda Rix Nicholas – Les fleurs dédaignées

Lovis Corinth – Ecce Homo

Lovis Corinth – Ecce Homo

1925 in Film

battleshippotempkin

Strike (Stachka)

The Gold Rush

Feu Mathias Pascal (The Late Mathias Pascal)

The Whirlpool of Fate (La Fille de l’eau)

Phantom of the Opera

The Battleship Potemkin

The Freshman

The Big Parade

Orochi

Miss Flying Feet

Red Heels (Das Spielzeug von Paris)

Seven Chances

The Lost World

Ben-Hur

Quo Vadis

The Merry Widow

Little Annie Rooney

Glomdalsbruden

Go West

Isn’t Life Terrible

Prem Sanyas (Die Leuchte Asiens | The Light of Asia)

The Blackguard

Don Q, Son of Zorro

Chess Fever (Shakhmatnaya goryachka)

Le fantôme du Moulin-Rouge (The Phantom of the Moulin-Rouge)

El Húsar de la muerte (Hussar of the Dead)

Lady Windermere’s Fan

The Eagle

Tumbleweeds

Paris Qui Dort

Visages d’enfants (Faces of Children)

The Tailor from Torzhok (Zakroyshchik iz Torzhka)

Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life

Variety (Variete) (Jealousy)

The Unholy Three

Wizard of Oz

Curses!

A Woman of the World

Joyless Street (Die freudlose Gasse)

Centuries of Sound on Cambridge 105 Radio – Episode 24 (1916)

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Time: 8pm BST, Saturday 20th June 2020
Place: Cambridge 105 Radio

This time James Errington is joined by John Ashlin to explore the music of 1916. While Europe lies devastated in the midst of the darkest year of the first world war, America is hotting up, with the birth of jazz and blues music imminent, while the old world of Vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley is struggling to adapt.

You can listen to the show on 105fm in Cambridge, on DAB digital nationwide, on the Cambridge 105 website here, or on any good radio apps.

But as you’ve already missed it, here is a mixcloud stream, so you can listen at your leisure. Enjoy!

Radio Podcast #1 – 1853 to 1885

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For the inaugural Centuries of Sound radio podcast I’m joined by Sean Spencer (not pictured) as I delve into the first 35 years of sound recording, including lines drawn in soot with feathers, a wasp trapped in a bottle, a talking clock, three versions of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and the first (accidentally) recorded swearword.

1925: The Symphony

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Another exclusive mix of classical and orchestral music for Patreon backers.

0:00:00 Dziga Vertov – Radio Ear – Radio Pravda (Excerpt 1)
0:00:22 American Concert Orchestra – Extracts from the ballet- suite Scherazada, part 1
0:05:01 San Francisco Symphony Orchestra – Wagner Parsifal Prelude
0:18:32 Hindemith Kleine Kammermusik – Leipzig Gewandhaus Wind Quintet
0:31:31 Marcelle Meyer – Trois Mouvements Perpétuels
0:35:37 Wilhelm Kempff – Beethoven Piano Sonata No.23 Op.57
0:55:47 Fritz Kreisler & London Symphony Orchestra – Mozart Violin Concerto No 4 (1rst mvt)
1:04:51 Dziga Vertov – Radio Ear – Radio Pravda (Excerpt 2)

All backers are now able to get bonus mixes – so sign up for $1 per month for access – or $5 or more for full access to all mixes. – Sign up here for instant access, or just click through if you are already a backer.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/38016196

Elsewhere in 1925

January 3 – Benito Mussolini makes a pivotal speech in the Italian Chamber of Deputies. Historians now trace this speech to the beginning of Mussolini's dictatorship.

January 3 – Benito Mussolini makes a pivotal speech in the Italian Chamber of Deputies. Historians now trace this speech to the beginning of Mussolini’s dictatorship.

January 27–February 1 – The 1925 serum run to Nome (the ''Great Race of Mercy'') relays diphtheria antitoxin by dog sled across the U.S. territory of Alaska, to combat an epidemic.

January 27–February 1 – The 1925 serum run to Nome (the “Great Race of Mercy”) relays diphtheria antitoxin by dog sled across the U.S. territory of Alaska, to combat an epidemic.

February 21 – The cover date of the very first issue of The New Yorker.

February 21 – The cover date of the very first issue of The New Yorker.

March 4 - Calvin Coolidge is sworn in for a full term as President of the United States, in the first inauguration to be broadcast on radio.

March 4 – Calvin Coolidge is sworn in for a full term as President of the United States, in the first inauguration to be broadcast on radio.

March 18 – The Tri-State Tornado, the deadliest in U.S. history, rampages through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, killing 695 people and injuring 2,027

March 18 – The Tri-State Tornado, the deadliest in U.S. history, rampages through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, killing 695 people and injuring 2,027

April – The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes opens in Paris, giving a name to the Art Deco style.

April – The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes opens in Paris, giving a name to the Art Deco style.

April 10 – F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes The Great Gatsby

April 10 – F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes The Great Gatsby

April 20 – Iranian forces of Rezā Shāh occupies Ahvaz and arrests Sheikh Khaz'al.

April 20 – Iranian forces of Rezā Shāh occupies Ahvaz and arrests Sheikh Khaz’al.

April 28 – Presenting the budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill announces Britain's return to the gold standard.

April 28 – Presenting the budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill announces Britain’s return to the gold standard.

Scopes

May 5 – Dayton, Tennessee, biology teacher John T. Scopes is arrested for teaching Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

June 13 – Charles Francis Jenkins achieves the first synchronized transmission of pictures and sound, using 48 lines and a mechanical system in ''the first public demonstration of radiovision''

June 13 – Charles Francis Jenkins achieves the first synchronized transmission of pictures and sound, using 48 lines and a mechanical system in ”the first public demonstration of radiovision”

July 18 – Adolf Hitler publishes Volume 1 of his personal manifesto Mein Kampf.

July 18 – Adolf Hitler publishes Volume 1 of his personal manifesto Mein Kampf.

July 21 - In Dayton, Tennessee, high school biology teacher John T. Scopes is found guilty of teaching evolution in class and fined $100.

July 21 – In Dayton, Tennessee, high school biology teacher John T. Scopes is found guilty of teaching evolution in class and fined $100.

August 8 – The Ku Klux Klan demonstrates its popularity by holding a parade with an estimated 30,000-35,000 marchers in Washington DC.

August 8 – The Ku Klux Klan demonstrates its popularity by holding a parade with an estimated 30,000-35,000 marchers in Washington DC.

October 1 – Mount Rushmore National Memorial is dedicated in South Dakota.

October 1 – Mount Rushmore National Memorial is dedicated in South Dakota.

October 2 – In London, John Logie Baird successfully transmits the first television pictures with a greyscale image.

October 2 – In London, John Logie Baird successfully transmits the first television pictures with a greyscale image.

Locarno, Gustav Stresemann, Chamberlain, Briand

October 5–16 – The Locarno Treaties are negotiated.

November 14 - The first Surrealist art exhibition opens in Paris.

November 14 – The first Surrealist art exhibition opens in Paris.

November 26 – Prajadhipok (Rama VII) is crowned as King of Siam.

November 26 – Prajadhipok (Rama VII) is crowned as King of Siam.

November 28 – The weekly country music-variety radio program Grand Ole Opry is first broadcast on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee, as the ''WSM Barn Dance''.

November 28 – The weekly country music-variety radio program Grand Ole Opry is first broadcast on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee, as the ”WSM Barn Dance”.

1925

At Centuries of Sound I am making mixes for every year from 1953 to the present day. Download full mixes, bonus materials and more for just $5 per month at patreon.com/centuriesofsound. Thanks for listening.

Kurt_Schwitters_by_Lissitzky_(1925)

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Have you see the videos of people hearing for the first time? Seen that look on their faces? Well that’s you, today. We have reached 1925, the year the microphone replaced the recording horn and the sideways electrical impulse replaced the hill-and-dale physical analog. The tinniness has gone, low and high sounds are reproducible, and no longer are we trapped in the narrow boundaries of reproducible sound. In theory, all audible sound can now be captured.

“Electrical recording had manifold consequences that affected a range of musical, engineering and business developments” – Susan Schmidt Horning – Capturing Sound

Of course, it’s not really all like that. For a start, at least half of these recordings are still made on old analogue equipment. Even the electrical recordings are still, let’s say, experimental. Sound engineers, some with decades in the business, had to re-learn the very fundamentals of how recording worked, and instead of hanging things across the room to resonate the sound were now having to shift to muffling and dampening. Nobody seems to have yet realised that you can get right up close to the microphone and make quiet things loud. But they will.

“The development of electrical recording made it possible to reproduce a much larger spectrum of sound; pianists, drummers and bassists could finally be heard without undue modulation. Nevertheless, the microphone had its own quirks, and may have also affected jazz performance.” Mark Katz – Capturing Sound

On this website, I make sound collages. These are not a new invention. Here we are in 1925, and pioneering Soviet film-maker Dziga Vertov is putting together audio with remarkable dexterity, in the form of “sound poems,” and “verbal montage structures.” – though his most famous film, Man With A Movie camera, produced at the dawn of the sound film era, is entirely silent.

“I had an idea about the need to enlarge our ability for organized hearing. Not limiting this ability to the boundaries of usual music. I decided to include the entire audible world into the concept of ‘Hearing.’” – Dziga Vertov

The dance known as the ‘Juba’ was originally brought by slaves from the Kongo to Charleston, South Carolina. In 1923 it was adapted for a stage play called Runnin’ Wild, with music by (black) stride piano king James P Johnson. The song, and the dance, were called “The Charleston,” known popularly for being danced by lines of (white) flappers in whitewashed recreations of this still-turbulent decade.

“The sound was somehow harsher, with a brightness that almost sounded like the radio. “The Edison has some air and detail, a little bit more roundness,” Devecka said. “The victor is a little bit more like cardboard cutouts. It’s like a photograph that doesn’t have quite the right contrast range.” …The Victor’s sound was impressive, but there was something ultimately more pleasant about the Edison sound” – Greg Milner – Perfecting Sound Forever

The expanded audio range of electrical recording is not its only benefit. The microphone, even in bulky early varieties, was much more portable than the recording horn. Suddenly it was possible to travel anywhere in the world and record – and let’s not forget the poorer parts of the USA, full of local folk and roots music, all untouched and ready. We are just a little too early to get the full force of this explosion, but can’t you feel it already?

Tracklist

0:00:25 Dziga Vertov – Radio Ear – Radio Pravda (Excerpt 1)
0:00:38 Joseph Cherniavsky & Yiddish American Jazz Band – Chasene Niginim
0:03:41 Victor – Victor constant note record No 21 (Excerpt 1)
0:03:42 American Concert Orchestra – Extracts from the ballet- suite Scherazada
0:06:07 John Henry & Blossom – My Wireless Set
0:06:17 Clarence Williams’ Blue Five – Cake Walking Babies from Home
0:09:10 Dziga Vertov – Radio Ear – Radio Pravda (Excerpt 2)
0:09:26 Fred Longshaw – Chili Pepper
0:11:11 Gus Visser – Gus Visser and His Singing Duck
0:11:15 Sam Manning – Sly Mongoose
0:13:17 Original Cast – The Green Archer Silent Serial Promotional Record (Excerpt 1)
0:13:19 Paul Whiteman – Charleston (take 8)
0:14:59 James P. Johnson – Charleston (South Carolina)
0:16:46 Benson Orchestra Of Chicago – Riverboat Shuffle
0:18:10 Dziga Vertov – Radio Ear – Radio Pravda (Excerpt 3)
0:18:28 Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra – T N T
0:21:15 Original Cast – The Green Archer Silent Serial Promotional Record (Excerpt 2)
0:21:19 Clara Smith – Shipwrecked Blues
0:24:29 Bessie Smith – My Man Blues (Spoken word section)
0:24:57 Bessie Smith – He’s Gone Blues
0:27:50 Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five – My Heart
0:30:12 Phil Baker’s Bad Boys – How Can You Look So Good (Spoken intro)
0:30:56 Duke Ellington’s Washingtonians – I’m Gonna Hang Around My Sugar
0:33:55 Charlie Poole – Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down Blues
0:36:44 Frank Ferera – The Farmer’s Dream
0:38:15 Dziga Vertov – Radio Ear – Radio Pravda (Excerpt 4)
0:38:33 Sexteto Habanero – Loma De Belen
0:41:34 Shelton Brooks & Company – The Spiritualist
0:41:46 Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra – Kater Street Rag
0:44:16 Uncle Dave Macon – Old Dan Tucker
0:47:16 Billy Mayerl – Jazzaristrix
0:49:04 Victor – Victor constant note record No 21 (Excerpt 2)
0:49:05 Wilhelm Kempff – Beethoven Piano Sonata No.23 Op.57
0:51:29 Revelers – Oh Miss Hannah
0:53:46 Dziga Vertov – Radio Ear – Radio Pravda (Excerpt 5)
0:54:02 Leipzig Gewandhaus Wind Quintet – Hindemith Kleine Kammermusik
0:56:00 Osip Mandelshtam – Gypsy Girl (Excerpt 1)
0:56:16 Harry Kandel’s Orchestra – Di Terkishe Khasene
0:59:25 Rita Ambadsi – Hanumakia
1:02:40 Cheikh Amin Hasanayn – Surah Al-Haaqqa, Pt. 1
1:02:51 Dahi Ben Walid – Soubhanak Allah
1:04:26 Ghulam Haider – Sindhi Song- I Play Music In The Bazaar
1:04:33 Golden Gate Orchestra – Red Hot Henry Brown
1:05:42 Dora Carr – Cow-Cow Blues
1:08:29 Hersel Thomas – Suitcase Blues
1:10:08 Billy Jones & Ernest Hare – Why Aren’t Yez Eatin’ More Oranges (Excerpt 1)
1:10:47 Billy Jones & Ernest Hare – As A Porcupine Pines For It’s Pork
1:12:21 Billy Jones & Ernest Hare – Why Aren’t Yez Eatin’ More Oranges (Excerpt 2)
1:12:33 Al Jolson – I’m Sitting On Top Of The World
1:14:27 Roy Smeck – Laughing Rag
1:15:49 Carl Sprague – When the Work’s All Done This Fall
1:18:41 Bix & His Rhythm Jugglers – Davenport Blues
1:21:25 Osip Mandelshtam – Gypsy Girl (Excerpt 2)
1:21:34 Kandel’s Orchestra – A Laibediga Honga (A Lively Honga)
1:23:33 Dziga Vertov – Radio Ear – Radio Pravda (Excerpt 6)
1:24:16 Tamara Tsereteli – Dorogoi Dlinnoyu
1:25:38 Gertrude Lawrence – Poor Little Rich Girl
1:28:30 Marcelle Meyer – Trois Mouvements Perpétuels
1:32:38 Art Gillham – Hesitation Blues
1:34:35 Ethel Waters – Sweet Man
1:37:26 Josephine Baker – I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight
1:38:45 Roger Wolfe Kahn and his Hotel Biltmore Orchestra – Bam Bam Bamy Shore
1:40:37 Irving Kaufman – Yes Sir, That’s My Baby
1:41:57 Calvin P. Dixon – Who Is Your God? Part I (Excerpt 1)
1:42:14 Fiddlin’ John Carson & Moonshine Kate – Welcome To The Travelers Home No-2
1:43:23 Calvin P. Dixon – Who Is Your God? Part I (Excerpt 2)
1:43:52 The Blue Ridge Duo (Gene Austin and George Reneau) – Lonesome Road Blues
1:45:39 Percy Glascoe – Steaming Blues
1:46:55 Ben Bernie and His Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra – Sweet Georgia Brown
1:48:16 Fletcher Henderson & His Orchesta – Carolina Stomp
1:51:24 Tercato Yoyo – El Cangrejito
1:52:52 Orquesta Típica F. Canaro con canto – Besos de Miel
1:54:01 Fritz Kreisler & London Symphony Orchestra – Mozart Violin Concerto No 4 (1st mvt)
1:56:06 Joseph Cherniavsky’s Yiddish American Jazz Band – Kale Bazetzns (Seating Of The Bride)
1:58:31 Josie Miles – Mad Mama’s Blues
2:01:22 Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five – Put It Where I Can Get It
2:04:04 The Original Jazz Hounds – 1620 to 1865 Uncle Ephs Dream
2:05:45 Oliver Naylor’s Orchestra – Slowin’ Down Blues
2:08:01 Sippie Wallace – Baby, I Can’t Use You No More
2:10:57 Shelton Brooks & Company – Work Don’t Bother Me
2:11:09 San Francisco Symphony Orchestra – Wagner: Parsifal Prelude
2:15:40 Paul Robeson – Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen
2:18:14 Maggie Jones – Suicide Blues
2:19:34 Dziga Vertov – Radio Ear – Radio Pravda (Excerpt 7)

1924 in art

Kazimir Malevich - Black Circle

Kazimir Malevich – Black Circle

Wassily Kandinsky – Contrasting Sounds

Wassily Kandinsky – Contrasting Sounds

Tarsila do Amaral – Estação de Ferro Central do Brasil

Tarsila do Amaral – Estação de Ferro Central do Brasil

Fernand Léger – Elément Mécanique

Fernand Léger – Elément Mécanique

Joan Miró - The Tilled Field

Joan Miró – The Tilled Field

Az új Ádám

Sándor Bortnyik – The New Adam

The Garden Enclosed 1924 by David Jones 1895-1974

David Jones – The Garden Enclosed

Lovis Corinth – Big self-portrait on the Walchensee

Lovis Corinth – Big self-portrait on the Walchensee

William Orpen – Self Portrait, Multiple Mirrors

William Orpen – Self Portrait, Multiple Mirrors

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Otto Dix – Portrait of the Art Dealer Johanna Ey

Foto digitale

Mario Sironi – L’allieva

Edwin Holgate – Portrait of Albert Henry Stewart Gillson

Edwin Holgate – Portrait of Albert Henry Stewart Gillson

A. Y. Jackson – In Jasper Park

A. Y. Jackson – In Jasper Park

Edward Hopper – New York Pavements

Edward Hopper – New York Pavements

Raymond Wintz – The Blue Door

Raymond Wintz – The Blue Door

1924 in Film

infilm

 

Die Nibelungen: Siegfried

Die Nibelungen: Kriemhilds Rache

Sherlock Jr.

Waxworks (Das Wachsfigurenkabinett)

The Navigator

The Iron Horse

Helena / Helena de Troya

The Thief of Bagdad

Entr’acte

The Grand Duke’s Finances (Die Finanzen des Großherzogs)

The Last Laugh (Der Letzte Mann)

Peter Pan

Michael

The Hands of Orlac

The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks (Neobychainye priklyucheniya mistera Vesta v strane bolshevikov)

Girl Shy

He Who Gets Slapped

Ballet Mécanique

Aelita Queen of Mars

The Saga Of Gösta Berlings

Au Secours! (Help)

L’Inhumaine (The Inhuman Woman)

Greed

The Marriage Circle

The City Without Jews (Die Stadt ohne Juden)

Hot Water

Symphonie diagonale

Beau Brummel

Dante’s Inferno

The Enchanted Cottage

Her Night of Romance

Monsieur Beaucaire

Forbidden Paradise

America