Radio Podcast – Halloween Special #1 (1902-1926)

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

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Halloween Between The Wars – Original Recordings 1927-1938

This mix is also available as a compilation for Patreon supporters here and at Bandcamp here. I make Centuries of Sound on my own in whatever scraps of time I can find. Please help me find more scraps by supporting the project (and get a load of extra content too!)

When we think of the great depression of the 1930s, the images which may spring to mind – The Grapes of Wrath, the dustbowl songs of Woody Guthrie – are generally from the 1940s. Popular entertainment of the thirties leaned not on realism, but on escapism. This is the golden age, not only of Hollywood musicals, Fred Astaire & Ginger Rodgers, Busby Berkley routines and screwball comedy, but also of horror movies. So who better to guide us into this mix of Halloween music than Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula from 1931, released the same year as Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and James Whale’s Frankenstein, and a year before the first appearance of The Mummy. Aside from the film clips, we naturally have plenty of novelty recordings, original sound effect records, hot jazz, and to close a suite of particularly morbid blues records.

Track listing

00:00 Bela Lugosi – Clip from Dracula (1931)
00:02 Gennett Sound Effects – Rainfall and Thunder (1936)
(Clip from Frankenstein – 1931)
00:44 Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski – Toccata and Fugue in D minor (1927)
01:26 Artie Shaw And His Orchestra – Nightmare (1938)
(Clip from Dracula – 1931)
04:20 Borrah Minnevitch – The Ghost Walk (1933)
06:40 Manny Gould and Ben Harrison – Scrappy’s Ghost Story (1935)
07:51 Five Jones Boys – Mr Ghost Goes To Town (1936)
10:43 Putney Dandridge – Skeleton In The Closet (1936)
(Clip from Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf)
13:19 Prairie Ramblers – Ghost in the Graveyard (1938)
(HMV Weather Effects – Wind – 1935)
15:59 New Mayfair Dance Orchestra – The Haunted House (1931)
(Clip from The Shadow – Circle of Death – 1937)
19:32 Raymond Scott – War Dance For Wooden Indians (1937)
(Clip from The Mummy – 1932)
21:59 Truett & George – Ghost Dance (1927)
(Clip from Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – 1931)
(Clip from Mediale Musik – The Speech Of Ancient Egypt, 18th Dynasty – 1938)
24:55 Washboard Rhythm Kings – Call Of The Freaks (1931)
(Clip from Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – 1931)
27:50 Victor Arden, Phil Ohman, & their Orchestra – Dancing the Devil Away (1930)
(Clip from Reverend Johnny Blakey – Warming By The Devil’s Fire – 1928)
31:07 Fletcher Henderson – Hotter Than ‘ell (1934)
(Clip from Island of Lost Souls – 1932)
34:01 Rev. A.W. Nix – Black Diamond Express to Hell (1927)
34:41 Cab Calloway – The Nightmare (1931)
(Clip from Murders in the Zoo – 1933)
(Clip from Tomatoes Another Day – 1930)
37:27 Henry Hall BBC Dance Orchestra – Here Comes The Bogey Man (1932)
(Clip from The Old Dark House – 1932)
40:39 Bertha Idaho – Graveyard Love (1928)
(Clip from Vampyr – 1932)
44:02 Skip James – Devil Got My Woman (1931)
(Clip from Bride of Frankenstein – 1935)
47:08 Victoria Spivey – Blood Thirsty Blues (1928)
(Clip from Gennett Sound Effects – Night Noises – 1936)
(Clip from The Shadow – Circle of Death – 1937)
50:30 Josh White – Blood Red River (1933)
(Clip from The Old Dark House – 1932)
53:46 Joe Mccoy – Evil Devil Woman Blues (1934)
(HMV Weather Effects – Wind – 1935)
(Clip from The Shadow – Circle of Death – 1937)
56:59 Walter Page – Blue Devil Blues (1930)
(Clip from Gennett Sound Effects – Rainfall and Thunder – 1936)
(Clip from King Kong – 1933)

Hallowe’en Dance: Original Recordings 1902-1926

Beginning Halloween Week at Centuries of Sound, here’s a mix of Halloween-themed music and spoken word recordings from the pre-electrical era.

This mix is also available in compilation format – to supporters on Patreon, and on the Centuries of Sound Bandcamp page

00:00 Aleister Crowley- The Call Of The First And Second Aethyr (Ca. 1920)
01:21 Original Dixieland Jazz Band – Skeleton Jangle (1918)
04:14 Bert Williams – Never Mo’ (1916)
06:52 Sodero’s Band – The Vampire. Dance Characteristic (1918)
10:24 Billy Murray – I’m Afraid to Come Home in the Dark (1908)
12:36 Len Spencer – The Transformation Scene From ”Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde” (1905)
14:46 Edith Wilson and Johnny Dunn Original Jazz Hounds – Evil Blues (1923)
18:04 Edison Concert Band – Skeleton Dance (1905)
20:17 Arthur Collins – The Goose-Bone Man (1905)
22:24 Unknown Artist – Brown Wax Home Recording of Comic Ghost Stories (Ca. 1910)
24:42 Six Brown Brothers – Ghost of the Saxophone (1917)
27:20 American Symphony Orchestra – Hallowe’en Dance (1909)
29:22 New Orleans Owls – The Nightmare (1926)
32:29 Victor Military Band – Spooky Spooks (1917)
35:12 Abdal Ali – Death Lament (1902)
39:00 Al Weston & Irene Young – At The Circus (1921)
42:24 Unknown Artist – Okeh Laughing Record (1922)

1940 Preview 2 – WWII Collage

At Centuries of Sound I am making mixes for every year of recorded sound. The download here is only for two sections of the mix. For the full 4-hour version please come to to stream, or 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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This section of the mix is a sound collage of original broadcasts and recordings from 1940. The spoken word sections largely concern the war, the music is mainly stereo recordings made by Leopold Stokowski for the Disney movie Fantasia. This is a departure from the largely music-centric format you may be used to, I hope it is of interest.

Centuries of Sound in 2021

Has it been a busy year for Centuries of Sound, or has it been a slow one? Well, a bit of both.

There have certainly been more visitors to the site:

Here are the most popular pages, interesting that one of them is just a link to another podcast, should probably do something about that.

…and the most popular downloads. Bear in mind that naturally episodes released at the start of the year will have more downloads (so 1937 is doing well, and 1933 not so well)

Due to work commitments there hasn’t been a lot of new content at CoS in the last year, just steady progress towards the present.

In 2022, on the other hand, there are a few new projects in the works. Here is the Centuries of Sound Bandcamp page, where I will be uploading compilations as well as a few other bits of music I’ve made myself –

Happy New Year!

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.

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)

The CoS Tapes #5 – Russian Records 1901-1908 #3 – Already The Evening Enfolds The Distant Fields

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.

Centuries of Sound Presents – Deep Magic: Christmas Recordings 1902-1924

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This compilation of Christmas recordings spans an era which includes the entirety of WW1 and the influenza pandemic of 1918/1919, but of course you wouldn’t guess it from the contents. The only reminder perhaps is the two different versions of “Silent Night”, which was famously sung by opposing sides in the trenches at Christmas 1914.

I’m presenting this in two formats – a mix, which is on my main feed at and as a compilation, which is only available to patrons. Join my patreon at and get a load of bonus content like this, as well as helping this site to survive in these very difficult times.

Here is the tracklist, the same for both versions.

00:00 Harry E. Humphrey – Santa Claus Hides In Your Phonograph
03:17 Choir Of The Royal Court Opera With Orchestra And Church Bells, Acc. Harmonium, Bells – Silent Night, Holy Night
06:07 Gilbert Girard – Santa Claus Tells of Mother Goose Land
07:43 Band – Christmas Memories
11:41 Nebe-Quartett – O Tannenbaum
13:31 Albert Whelan – Scrooge’s Awakening
15:44 Edison Concert Band – Bells Of Christmas
19:55 Thomas Edison – Mr. Edison’s Christmas Greetings
24:05 George Hamilton Green Novelty Orchestra – Moonlight Waltz
27:36 George Islon – Christmas Eve In The Old Homestead
30:06 Edison Mixed Quartet – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
33:07 Metropolitan Quartet – Christmas, Christmas, Blessed, Blessed Day
36:34 Bransby Williams – The Street Watchman’s Christmas
40:29 Edison Concert Band And The Edison Mixed Quartet – Ring Out The Bells For Christmas
44:40 Carol Singers – Joy To The World
47:06 Yolande Noble And Percy Clifton – Buying The Christmas Dinner
49:20 Robert Gayler – Christmas Eve- a Fantasie On Old German Christmas Carols
52:17 Manuel Romain – Christmas Time Seems Years And Years Away
54:14 Harry E. Humphrey – The Night Before Christmas
57:35 Elizabeth Spencer, Harry Anthony And James F. Harrison – Silent Night

Merry Christmas!

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