2018

Centuries of Sound is a monthly mix of original recordings from a single year. If you want higher bitrate downloads, a bonus podcast with discussion of the recordings, extra bonus mixes and much more, please support me on Patreon for just $5 per month, and keep the project ad-free.

 

2018

MP3 download | Apple | Mixcloud | Spotify | Castbox | Stitcher | Radiopublic | RSS

 

 

Blood on her hands… …I’m not that nice… …there’s one viewer you care about… …it’s not that serious… …what’s your deal, man?… …I use my white woman’s voice… …you can’t dance around it… …no sweat, no tears… …enemy of the people… …don’t think we can be friends… …shut the hell up… …let me cloak my wrist… …but it’s good to know… …is there a single soul out there listening?… …people have all sorts of ideas… …you have the cheek to call us savages… …barbies on the kid and they flex with the gang… …I guess we proved you wrong… …I never voted for you… …never or now… …claire said you were brutal… …we have lots of history… …never again… …I’m doing it because I feel sorry for you… …one-sided news stories plaguing our country… …it’s just unbelievable… …cut off some friends, where they go… …this system is insane… …I don’t have any feelings… …I’m a flawed human being… …spread my wings in these noxious skies… …you have created this monster… …I don’t think you’re thinking anything… …laurel… …I guess neither one of us… …this a celly, that’s a tool… …a life without despair is a life without hope… …I felt like I didn’t know her… …does the president believe he is above the law?… …the company I keep is not corporate enough… …ain’t no surprises in the repertoire… …the memory of making love… …fuck trump… …it seemed so odd though, how they so cocky… …why are you scared of me?… …history will judge us… …this meeting of two dictators… …it’s not your property… …what you reap is what you sow… …it’s like this mad riddle… …you don’t need to be scared… …do not mention that you think that you are jesus christ… …let it be the day the pain stop… …this is a good conversation… …I know no one will save me… …I’ll try not to sound too awful, but… …I don’t care what I’ve been told… …I don’t see any reason why it would be… …fuck it, I did my time… …the self-inflicted wounds of your own imagined democratic choices… …eager and unashamed… …I just wanna fly… …truth isn’t truth… …to the bottom of a made up ocean… …only a fool folds a winning hand… …blind are the brokers and the unskilled workers… …that is all, that is all, there is nothing else… …his weight was heavy… …I wanna smell you, even from far away… …double agents atcha door… …a hit dog will holler… …I’m a breath of drop and the sea nears me… …it’s dull as hell… …when two worlds collide, two things happen… …no one is leaving, now this is your home… …only thing on my mind was death… …the internet looked at him and said yes… …it’s called transparency… …if you miss it, that’s that… …I know it’s hard to be an optimist when you trust least the ones who claim to have the answers.

Tracklist – Just the music

0:00:20 Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury – Excerpt from “Annihilation” OST
0:00:51 Mount Eerie – Distortion
0:01:07 MGMT – When You Die
0:02:02 Ravyn Lenae – Sticky
0:03:58 Grace Vonderkuhn – Worry
0:05:54 Anna von Hausswolff – The Truth, the Glow, the Fall
0:07:27 Tune-Yards – Colonizer
0:09:07 Spice – Tik Tak
0:10:41 Hoodboi – Glide feat. Tkay Maidza
0:13:13 Nilufer Yanya – Thanks 4 Nothing
0:15:29 Leif – Number 13
0:17:14 JPEGMAFIA – 1539 N. Calvert
0:18:47 Kero Kero Bonito – Only Acting
0:22:50 E Ruscha V – Who Are You
0:24:03 ionnalee – Blazing
0:24:52 Simmy ft. Sun-EL Musician – Ubala
0:26:51 Peach – Silky
0:29:40 700 Bliss – Cosmic Slop
0:31:05 Stormzy – Brit Awards Performance
0:31:34 Loski – Cool Kid
0:33:41 Andrew W.K. – Music Is Worth Living For
0:36:20 Jon Hopkins – Emerald Rush
0:40:05 Natalie Prass – Short Court Style
0:42:16 Doja Cat – Go To Town
0:44:46 Novelist – Stop Killing the Mandem
0:45:50 Peggy Gou – It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)
0:47:21 Bicep – Opal (Four Tet Remix)
0:49:31 Grouper – Parking Lot
0:52:00 Sarah Davachi – Hours in the Evening
0:53:08 Hammock – Build a Castle (Reinterpretation)
0:55:32 Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Solarised Sound
0:58:01 Tyler, The Creator – OKRA
0:59:42 Jimothy Lacoste – Subway System
1:02:08 Gila – 106 Slipper
1:03:09 Jean Grae & Quelle Chris – Peacock
1:04:33 Henry Kaiser – Spoonful
1:04:50 Sons of Kemet – My Queen Is Ada Eastman
1:08:23 Cazzu – Chapiadora
1:10:31 Kali Uchis – In My Dreams
1:12:00 Autechre – All End
1:14:40 KAREN MEAT – Overdwelled
1:17:13 Donato Dozzy – Cleo
1:19:16 Róisín Murphy – All My Dreams
1:21:17 DJ Koze – Pick Up
1:22:45 Valee – Womp Womp (feat. Jeremih)
1:24:16 Childish Gambino – This Is America (Video Version)
1:26:35 Joy O, Ben Vince – Transition 2
1:28:04 Simian Mobile Disco – Defender (feat. The Deep Throat Choir)
1:29:33 Laura Jean – Girls On The TV
1:33:56 MEUTE – You & Me (Flume Remix)
1:37:33 Pusha T – If You Know You Know
1:39:22 Daphne & Celeste – BB
1:43:14 Melody’s Echo Chamber – Quand Les Larmes D’un Ange Font Danser La Neige
1:46:30 Lizzo – Boys
1:48:31 YOTA ft. MF DOOM – Drop the Bomb
1:50:05 Colin Stetson – Steve
1:51:34 Low – Fly
1:55:54 Hilary Woods – Sever
1:57:42 BLACKPINK – DDU-DU DDU-DU
1:59:30 DeJ Loaf feat. Leon Bridges – Liberated
2:01:56 Sophie – Immaterial
2:03:31 Koelsch & Tiga – HAL
2:06:19 Ella Mai – Boo’d Up
2:08:43 Emily Harrison – I’d like to thank the Academy (Tips on getting Prozac from your GP)
2:09:12 Mr Twin Sister – Jaipur
2:12:13 Denzel Curry – Black Balloons
2:14:31 Charli XCX – Focus
2:17:00 Mitski – Nobody
2:19:23 Moses Sumney – Rank & File
2:20:55 Yves Tumor – Noid
2:23:00 Daniel Avery – Quick Eternity (Four Tet Remix)
2:24:11 Daveed Diggs – Blindspotting – End Rap Scene
2:26:11 CHVRCHES – Out of My Head (feat. Wednesday Campanella)
2:28:55 Christine and the Queens – 5 Dollars
2:30:47 Kink – Perth (Dusky Remix)
2:31:35 Mac Miller – What’s the Use (feat. Thundercat)
2:35:00 Diana Gordon – Wolverine
2:36:16 Oh Sees – Sentient Oona
2:40:25 mewithoutYou – Julia (or, ‘Holy to the LORD’ on the Bells of Horses)
2:42:29 Louis Cole – When You’re Ugly
2:44:21 Paul Woolford feat. Kim English – Hang Up Your Hang Ups (The Only One) (CamelPhat Remix)
2:45:35 Szun Waves – Temple
2:47:30 Thom Yorke – Unmade
2:50:00 Tim Hecker – This Life
2:50:59 Suede – Roadkill
2:52:45 Illingsworth – Greens
2:53:50 Miljon – What Does It Take
2:55:50 Julia Holter – I Shall Love 2
3:00:02 Shackleton – Wakefulness & Obsession
3:02:01 Bruce – What
3:03:35 Low – Tempest
3:05:46 AdriAnne Lenker – Symbol
3:07:54 Sigrid – Sucker Punch
3:10:23 Lafawndah – Joseph
3:11:22 Marie Davidson – Work It
3:13:52 Lando Chill – Peso (feat. Quelle Chris & REY)
3:15:26 Toro y Moi – Freelance
3:17:16 Sam Wilkes – Tonight feat. Sam Gendel, Louis Cole & Brian Green
3:20:47 Daughters – Long Road No Turns
3:23:31 Neneh Cherry – Natural Skin Deep
3:25:07 Lone – Pulsar
3:26:20 Makaya McCraven – Mantra
3:27:47 Kelly Moran – Radian
3:29:07 Octo Octa – Beam Me Up (To The Goddess Mix)
3:30:57 The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Merrie Land
3:34:08 Zuli – Nari (feat. Abyusif, Mado $am, Abanob, R-Rhyme)
3:35:20 Earl Sweatshirt – Nowhere2go
3:36:37 Jonathan Personne – Comme Personne
3:38:18 The 1975 – Love It If We Made It
3:41:53 Holly Herndon & Jlin (feat. Spawn) – Godmother
3:43:10 Beta Librae – Problem Solving Program
3:45:10 Lubomyr Melnyk – Barcarolle
3:47:50 Andrew Bird – Bloodless

Tracklist – Everything

0:00:16 “Annihilation” Ending Scene
0:00:20 New Year Times Square
0:00:37 Interview with Peter Kirkham
0:00:51 Mount Eerie – Distortion
0:01:07 MGMT – When You Die
0:01:47 Jake Tapper – cuts off Trump adviser
0:02:02 Ravyn Lenae – Sticky
0:03:46 Oprah Winfrey – Golden Globes speech
0:03:58 Grace Vonderkuhn – Worry
0:05:36 The Commuter – “Fuck You” Scene
0:05:54 Anna von Hausswolff – The Truth, the Glow, the Fall
0:07:22 Teacher gets arrested at Vermilion Parish School
0:07:27 Tune-Yards – Colonizer
0:08:59 Harvey Weinstein attacked at Scottsdale Restaurant
0:09:07 Spice – Tik Tak
0:10:23 TV Host on “Shithole Countries”
0:10:41 Hoodboi – Glide feat. Tkay Maidza
0:12:57 Jeff Flake – Trump battered and abused the truth
0:13:13 Nilufer Yanya – Thanks 4 Nothing
0:15:17 Piers Morgan clashes with Ash Sarkar
0:15:29 Leif – Number 13
0:16:53 Ex-GOP chair – shut the hell up
0:17:14 JPEGMAFIA – 1539 N. Calvert
0:18:43 John Humphrys
0:18:47 Kero Kero Bonito – Only Acting
0:22:03 Scene from “Loveless”
0:22:50 E Ruscha V – Who Are You
0:23:54 The Onion – Reviews Fifty Shades Freed
0:24:03 ionnalee – Blazing
0:24:41 Black Panther – End Credits Scenes
0:24:52 Simmy ft. Sun-EL Musician – Ubala
0:26:45 Emma Gonzalez – A student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
0:26:51 Peach – Silky
0:29:15 Andrew Neil on Jeremy Corbyn Accusations
0:29:40 700 Bliss – Cosmic Slop
0:31:05 Stormzy – Brit Awards Performance
0:31:34 Loski – Cool Kid
0:33:26 Andrew W.K. – In Your Darkest Moments
0:33:41 Andrew W.K. – Music Is Worth Living For
0:36:02 OC college condemns faculty member
0:36:20 Jon Hopkins – Emerald Rush
0:39:48 Scene from “Claire’s Camera”
0:40:05 Natalie Prass – Short Court Style
0:41:52 The Onion – Parody ad from “A Very Fatal Murder”
0:42:16 Doja Cat – Go To Town
0:44:43 You Were Never Really Here – Clip – Senator
0:44:46 Novelist – Stop Killing the Mandem
0:45:45 “Annihilation” Ending Scene
0:45:50 Peggy Gou – It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)
0:47:13 The square – Tourette syndrome scene
0:47:21 Bicep – Opal (Four Tet Remix)
0:49:03 Cambridge Analytica secret recording
0:49:31 Grouper – Parking Lot
0:51:00 Emma Gonzalez – March for Our Lives speech
0:52:00 Sarah Davachi – Hours in the Evening
0:53:08 Hammock – Build a Castle (Reinterpretation)
0:54:58 Isle Of Dogs – Fetch It scene
0:55:32 Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Solarised Sound
0:56:31 Sinclairs script for stations
0:57:40 RWW News – We Have Been Dominated By Homosexuals
0:58:01 Tyler, The Creator – OKRA
0:59:35 Happy As Lazzaro
0:59:42 Jimothy Lacoste – Subway System
1:01:49 Clip from “Thoroughbreds”
1:02:08 Gila – 106 Slipper
1:02:50 James Comey Interview
1:03:09 Jean Grae & Quelle Chris – Peacock
1:04:33 Henry Kaiser – Spoonful
1:04:50 Sons of Kemet – My Queen Is Ada Eastman
1:08:10 Scene from “The Rider”
1:08:23 Cazzu – Chapiadora
1:09:54 Michelle Wolf – White House Correspondents Dinner
1:10:31 Kali Uchis – In My Dreams
1:11:19 Crap students in Cambridge
1:12:00 Autechre – All End
1:13:42 TMZ staffer vs Kanye West
1:14:40 KAREN MEAT – Overdwelled
1:17:03 Clip from “Dead Souls”
1:17:13 Donato Dozzy – Cleo
1:19:07 Yanny v Laurel
1:19:16 Róisín Murphy – All My Dreams
1:21:17 DJ Koze – Pick Up
1:22:45 Valee – Womp Womp (feat. Jeremih)
1:24:16 Childish Gambino – This Is America (Video Version)
1:26:09 First Reformed Clip 1
1:26:35 Joy O, Ben Vince – Transition 2
1:27:41 First Reformed Clip 2
1:28:04 Simian Mobile Disco – Defender (feat. The Deep Throat Choir)
1:29:33 Laura Jean – Girls On The TV
1:33:45 Clip from “Burning”
1:33:56 MEUTE – You & Me (Flume Remix)
1:37:01 Peter Alexander refuses to give in to Sarah Sanders
1:37:33 Pusha T – If You Know You Know
1:39:06 Clip from “McQueen”
1:39:22 Daphne & Celeste – BB
1:43:03 Clip from “Shoplifters”
1:43:14 Melody’s Echo Chamber – Quand Les Larmes D’un Ange Font Danser La Neige
1:46:30 Lizzo – Boys
1:48:26 Robert De Niro says F – — Trump at Tony Awards
1:48:31 YOTA ft. MF DOOM – Drop the Bomb
1:50:01 Clip from “Hereditary”
1:50:05 Colin Stetson – Steve
1:51:23 Audio Of Screaming Children Shows Effect Of Donald Trump Policy
1:51:34 Low – Fly
1:55:33 Geraldo Rivera and Hannity – Erupt Over Border Policy
1:55:54 Hilary Woods – Sever
1:57:25 Fox News Host Calls Trump-Kim Summit a Meeting of Two Dictators
1:57:42 BLACKPINK – DDU-DU DDU-DU
1:59:20 Alison calls the cops
1:59:30 DeJ Loaf feat. Leon Bridges – Liberated
2:01:21 Danny Dyer on Brexit
2:01:56 Sophie – Immaterial
2:03:19 Interview with former ICEgov spokesperson James Schwab interrupted by a surprise visit from government agents
2:03:31 Koelsch & Tiga – HAL
2:06:06 Clip from “Leave No Trace”
2:06:19 Ella Mai – Boo’d Up
2:08:43 Emily Harrison – I’d like to thank the Academy (Tips on getting Prozac from your GP)
2:09:12 Mr Twin Sister – Jaipur
2:11:54 Clip from “Sorry To Bother You”
2:12:13 Denzel Curry – Black Balloons
2:14:24 Eighth Grade – Truth or Dare Scene
2:14:31 Charli XCX – Focus
2:16:45 Eighth Grade – Conversation Scene
2:17:00 Mitski – Nobody
2:19:11 C-SPAN thanks Russia for interfering in our elections
2:19:23 Moses Sumney – Rank & File
2:20:42 Trump Putin Press Conference clip 1
2:20:55 Yves Tumor – Noid
2:22:42 Trump Putin Press Conference clip 2
2:23:00 Daniel Avery – Quick Eternity (Four Tet Remix)
2:24:11 Daveed Diggs – Blindspotting – End Rap Scene
2:26:11 CHVRCHES – Out of My Head (feat. Wednesday Campanella)
2:28:20 Stewart Lee on Social Media (Content Provider)
2:28:55 Christine and the Queens – 5 Dollars
2:30:42 Reckless London driver threatens to run over cyclists
2:30:47 Kink – Perth (Dusky Remix)
2:31:35 Mac Miller – What’s the Use (feat. Thundercat)
2:34:39 Clip from “Madeline’s Madeline”
2:35:00 Diana Gordon – Wolverine
2:36:14 Clip from “Minding the Gap”
2:36:16 Oh Sees – Sentient Oona
2:40:06 Rudy Giuliani Declares Truth Isn’t Truth
2:40:25 mewithoutYou – Julia (or, ‘Holy to the LORD’ on the Bells of Horses)
2:42:00 Clip from BlacKkKlansman
2:42:29 Louis Cole – When You’re Ugly
2:44:16 Clip from “Support The Girls”
2:44:21 Paul Woolford feat. Kim English – Hang Up Your Hang Ups (The Only One) (CamelPhat Remix)
2:45:21 Brexit Central editor Jonathan Isaby being dismantled by a former trade negotiator
2:45:35 Szun Waves – Temple
2:47:04 Crazy Rich Asians – Mahjong With Auntie Eleanor
2:47:30 Thom Yorke – Unmade
2:49:29 Chinese vlogger records her own arrest
2:50:00 Tim Hecker – This Life
2:50:48 Trouble in Beijing
2:50:59 Suede – Roadkill
2:52:30 Ash is Purest White betting scene
2:52:45 Illingsworth – Greens
2:53:35 Scene from Green Book
2:53:50 Miljon – What Does It Take
2:55:50 Julia Holter – I Shall Love 2
2:59:45 Hurricane approaching
3:00:02 Shackleton – Wakefulness & Obsession
3:01:53 Clip from “Mandy”
3:02:01 Bruce – What
3:03:27 Highlights from Senate hearings with Kavanaugh and Ford
3:03:35 Low – Tempest
3:05:46 AdriAnne Lenker – Symbol
3:07:44 Scene from “Monrovia Indiana”
3:07:54 Sigrid – Sucker Punch
3:10:13 Clip from “First Man”
3:10:23 Lafawndah – Joseph
3:11:14 Jennifer Holdsworth
3:11:22 Marie Davidson – Work It
3:13:37 Clip from “Can You Ever Forgive Me”
3:13:52 Lando Chill – Peso (feat. Quelle Chris & REY)
3:15:19 Clip from “mid90s”
3:15:26 Toro y Moi – Freelance
3:17:10 Ryanair Racist
3:17:16 Sam Wilkes – Tonight feat. Sam Gendel, Louis Cole & Brian Green
3:20:20 A hit dog will holler
3:20:47 Daughters – Long Road No Turns
3:22:53 Riot Scene from “Roma”
3:23:31 Neneh Cherry – Natural Skin Deep
3:24:53 Clip from “Museo”
3:25:07 Lone – Pulsar
3:26:08 Jordan Peterson on his all-beef diet
3:26:20 Makaya McCraven – Mantra
3:27:37 Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Intro to Surly Joe song
3:27:47 Kelly Moran – Radian
3:28:25 Clip from “Bros: After The Screaming Stops”
3:29:07 Octo Octa – Beam Me Up (To The Goddess Mix)
3:30:19 Leave Voter Breaks Into Tears As He Apologises For Backing Brexit
3:30:57 The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Merrie Land
3:33:55 JRM You Haven’t Got A Clue
3:34:08 Zuli – Nari (feat. Abyusif, Mado $am, Abanob, R-Rhyme)
3:35:06 Widows Movie Clip – I Know Why
3:35:20 Earl Sweatshirt – Nowhere2go
3:36:20 Hunting scene from The Favourite
3:36:37 Jonathan Personne – Comme Personne
3:38:04 Clip from “The Wild Pear Tree”
3:38:18 The 1975 – Love It If We Made It
3:41:08 The 1975 – The Man Who Married A Robot
3:41:53 Holly Herndon & Jlin (feat. Spawn) – Godmother
3:42:27 Trump threatens shutdown in heated meeting with top Democrats
3:43:10 Beta Librae – Problem Solving Program
3:44:58 Clip from “Free Solo”
3:45:10 Lubomyr Melnyk – Barcarolle
3:47:47 Clip from “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
3:47:50 Andrew Bird – Bloodless
3:50:52 Deedee Megadoodoo – Local News Fails Again

1920

Centuries of Sound is a monthly mix of original recordings from a single year. If you want higher bitrate downloads, a bonus podcast with discussion of the recordings, extra bonus mixes and much more, please support me on Patreon for just $5 per month, and keep the project ad-free.

1920 large

MP3 download | Apple | Mixcloud | Spotify | Castbox | Stitcher | Radiopublic | RSS

 

 

It’s the 1920s, prohibition has kicked in, jazz bands are playing Chicago speakeasys, this is the year the revolutions around the world are matched by a revolution in music, but hold on – wasn’t this all done a few years ago? Are we not already firmly in the jazz age? Well, yes and no. 1917-1919 is an era of its own, a mini preview jazz age if you like, bands playing as raucously as they can with as many novelty sound effects as they can feasibly cram in there, often with very enjoyable results, but something usually considered essential has been missing – the flavour we usually call “the blues” or later “soul.”

The story of the blues as popularly understood involves pre-Civil-War slave chants and proto-gospel singing gradually mutating into a formalised style of guitar music played by poor blind black men in the Mississipi Delta. While some parts of this are in some ways accurate, as an origin story it is not only incorrect, but erases the women who should, if anything, be at the very centre of the story. So, let’s try to redress that, a bit.

To start at the beginning, the roots of the blues do indeed seem to lie with the songs of the slaves, but as far as documented history is concerned, the more important immediate antecedent is the music of the stages of black vaudeville in the southeast USA in the first two decades of the century. This was black pop music, undocumented by the upper-middle-class businessmen of New York, who would rather travel around the world than go down to Georgia. Much of the music played in these places was written and published elsewhere, including in New Orleans and Tin Pan Alley in New York. The idea of putting the word ‘blues’ in the title of a song dates back to at least 1908, with Antonio Maggio’s ‘I Got The Blues’ – but the craze for naming your song “The [something] Blues” doesn’t seem to exactly indicate a shift in the music being played. Many of these songs, like “Memphis Blues” and “Dallas Blues” were ragtime pieces – others were simply pop songs – but it wasn’t until songs like W.C. Handy’s “St Louis Blues” and “Yellow Dog Blues” began to be repurposed as jazz numbers that the association with this new wave of music became fixed.

The “blues” which appears apparently fully-formed in this mix is from a different, but connected strand. The earliest signs of this are perhaps in 1902, when Ma Rainey “The Mother of the Blues” wrote her first song about a woman having lost her man. Her performances on the “tent show circuit” inspired a host of copycats, and by the 1910s even Tin Pan Alley writers were putting together similar numbers, for white women singers to perform in character. Many were inspired to start similar acts, including Mamie Smith, a young singer who performed at clubs in Harlem.

As the initial wave of dixieland jazz crested and began to recede, W. C. Handy found himself to be one of the country’s most in-demand songwriters, and in a position to lobby record companies to record music for the new generation of black consumers who owned phonographs. Mamie Smith was the first to be recorded. On August 10th 1920 (her second session) she was was joined by a group of musicians quickly christened the “Jazz Hounds” and performed a Perry Bradford song titled “Crazy Blues”

Mamie-Smith-And-Her-Jazz-Hounds

It’s hard to overstate what an impact this recording had. No longer was the sound of black America constrained by the expectations of the white upper-middle-class recording market. The record sold over 75,000 copies within a month, and its label Okeh Records realised there was a huge market out there for what it termed “race records.” Initially these were largely copycat pieces from similar singers, but it would only be a few years until this meant Louis Armstrong, Clarence Williams, Lonnie Johnson and King Oliver. The copycat pieces weren’t at all bad either, as there was quite the stock of talent out there for those asking for a blues singer with a jazz backing band. As well as Mamie there would soon be recordings from Bessie Smith, Lucille Bogan, Sara Martin, Victoria Spivey and Ma Rainey – this is an era now known for “classic female blues” – a genre which certainly deserves to have a less pedantic name.

Crazy Blues, then; a genuine watershed moment, and a genuinely brilliant record.

Tracks

0:00:17 Mamie Smith & Her Jazz Hounds – Crazy Blues
0:03:44 Yerkes’ Happy Six – Shake Your Little Shoulder
0:06:33 Lucille Hegamin – Jazz Me Blues
0:08:58 Paul Whiteman – Wang Wang Blues
0:12:15 Marion Harris – I Ain’t Got Nobody
0:14:28 George Gershwin – Swanee
0:16:03 Al Jolson – Swanee
0:18:37 All-Star Trio – Swanee
0:19:33 Louisiana Five – Clarinet Squawk
0:22:19 Wilbur Sweatman’s Original Jazz Band – Think of Me Little Daddy
0:23:46 Arthur Collins – Old Man Jazz
0:25:55 George Hamilton Green Novelty Orchestra – Oriental Stars
0:28:04 Ada Jones and Steve Porter – Backyard Conversation Between Mrs. Reilly and Mrs. Finnegan (Excerpt 1)
0:28:16 Noble Sissle – Great Camp Meetin’ Day
0:30:54 Rudy Wiedoeft + Orchestra – Saxema
0:33:28 Milo Rega’s Dance Orchestra – Young Man’s Fancy
0:36:33 Plantation Jazz Orchestra – Murder
0:39:04 Aleister Crowley- The Call Of The First And Second Aethyr (Excerpt 1)
0:39:23 Marika Papagika – O Marcos Botsaris
0:40:33 Mozmar Caire Orchestra – Raks Baladi Hag Ibrahim (Country Dance)
0:43:24 Original Dixieland Jazz Band – Soudan
0:46:26 Aleister Crowley- The Call Of The First And Second Aethyr (Excerpt 2)
0:46:55 Zeki Duygulu – Karciar Taksim
0:48:00 Abe Schwartz – National Hora Pt.2
0:50:27 Joseph Shlisky – Omar Rabi Elozor
0:53:29 Kandel’s Orchestra – A Freilachs von Der Chuppe (A Happy Dance from the Wedding Ceremony)
0:55:34 Mishka Ziganoff – Odessa Bulgar
0:56:50 Columbia Saxophone Sextette – Crocodile
1:00:08 Calvin Coolidge – Gov Coolidge for Vice President
1:00:21 Art Hickman – Love Nest
1:01:49 Mamie Smith – Don’t Care Blues
1:04:46 Yerkes’ Novelty Five – Bo La Bo
1:06:22 Raderman’s Jazz Orchestra – Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me
1:08:32 Ted Lewis – When My Baby Smiles At Me
1:10:09 Harry Raderman’s Jazz Orchestra – Peacock Walk
1:12:52 Warren G Harding – Speech
1:13:10 Bert Williams – When The Moon Shines on The Moonshine
1:15:46 Max Fells’ Della Robbia Orchestra – La Veeda
1:18:20 Orquesta Felipe Valdes – Bombo Camara
1:19:37 Ben Hokea – Honolulu March
1:22:11 Hawaiian Trio – Hawaiian Twilight
1:24:51 All-Star Trio – Oh! By Jingo!
1:26:47 Yerkes’ Blue Bird Orchestra – Scandal Walk
1:29:39 Louisiana Five – Weeping Willow Blues
1:31:44 George Gershwin – Singing The Blues
1:33:28 Leopold Stokowski & The Philadelphia Orchestra – Beethoven Symphony no 8 in F Movement 2
1:36:33 Will Fyffe – I Belong To Glasgow
1:40:29 Carl Fenton – On Miami Shore (+ Rudy Wiedoeft)
1:42:16 Ada Jones and Steve Porter – Backyard Conversation Between Mrs. Reilly and Mrs. Finnegan (Excerpt 2)

2017 – The Clean Version

Yaroslav Shuraev - Aniva lighthouse, Sakhalin, Russia

MP3 download | Apple | Mixcloud | Spotify | Castbox | Stitcher | Radiopublic | RSS

The original version of 2017 came out very sweary indeed, and I promised to immediately upload a clean version, suitable for listening with children, with all the swears removed. Ten months later, here it finally is.

Tracklist

Godspeed You Black Emperor! – Undoing a Luciferian Towers 0:00:00
Charlotte Gainsbourg – Deadly Valentine (Soulwax Remix) 0:01:16
Jeff Beal – House of Cards S05E03 Closing Titles 0:04:00
Danny Brown – Ain’t it Funny 0:05:27
Zimpel-Ziolek – Wrens 0:06:28
Superorganism – Something for Your M.I.N.D. 0:09:08
Big Shaq – Man’s Not Hot 0:10:57
Todd Terje – Jungelknugen (Four Tet Remix) 0:13:15
Kendrick Lamar – FEEL. 0:15:31
Blanck Mass – Hive Mind 0:18:57
Trio Da Kali & Kronos Quartet – Lila Bambo 0:21:50
The Horrors – Something To Remember Me By 0:25:13
Self Esteem – Your Wife 0:27:16
Roger Robinson – Welcome to Dog Heart City 0:29:11
Caroline Spence – Softball 0:31:16
Leif – July V 0:34:20
Cardi B – Bodak Yellow 0:37:49
Avelino (feat. Stormzy & Skepta) – Energy 0:39:05
Orbital – Copenhagen 0:40:26
Strobes – OK Please 0:42:25
Tom Zanetti featuring Sadie Ama – You Want Me 0:44:20
Justin Adams ft. Anneli Drecker – Wassoulou 0:45:34
Denzel Curry, Lil Ugly Mane – Zeltron 6 Billion 0:47:18
CCFX – The One to Wait 0:48:50
Kero Kero Bonito – Rock & Roll Star 0:52:20
Yaeji – Raingurl 0:55:15
Nite Jewel – 2 Good 2 Be True 0:58:01
Colin Stetson – Spindrift 0:59:48
Vince Staples – Crabs in a Bucket 1:01:40
Tove Lo – Disco Tits 1:03:32
Special Request – Stairfoot Lane Bunker (Minor Science Remix) 1:05:22
Baxter Dury – Porcelain 1:08:03
Antwood – Disable Ad Blocker / Sublingual 1:09:30
Chino Amobi – Eigengrau (Children of Hell II) 1:11:06
Hammock – When The Body Breaks 1:12:17
James Holden & The Animal Spirits – Thunder Moon Gathering 1:14:22
The Jungle Giants – Bad Dream 1:16:31
Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular 1:18:08
Grace Mitchell – Now 1:20:15
Lindstrøm – Tensions 1:21:30
The Seven Fields of Aphelion – Drift (Losing Light) 1:22:57
Young Fathers – Only God Knows 1:23:30
Bjork – Arisen My Senses 1:25:53
clipping. – The Deep 1:28:23
Kelly Lee Owens – Anxi 1:30:22
Photay – Off-Piste 1:32:22
Lost Souls of Saturn vs. Mashrou’ Leila – Bint El Khandaq 1:34:43
Alessandro Cortini – Vincere 1:36:36
Nilüfer Yanya – Baby Luv 1:39:07
Kesha ft. The Dap-Kings Horns – Woman 1:41:42
KIASMOS – Blurred 1:44:03
Oliver – Chemicals (feat. MNDR) 1:46:27
Lingua Ignota – Woe to All (On the Day of My Wrath) 1:48:09
Jlin – Kyanite 1:49:32
Migos – T-Shirt 1:51:16
Ghostpoet – Freakshow 1:53:44
Meridian Brothers – Yo Soy Tu Padre, Yo Te Fabrique 1:55:33
Lanark Artefax – Touch Absence 1:57:49
Aldous Harding – Imagining My Man 2:01:06
Moses Sumney – Doomed 2:04:11
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Who I Am And Why I Am Where I Am 2:05:59
Lorde – Green Light 2:07:49
Visible Cloaks – Screen 2:10:18
Ibibio Sound Machine – Give Me a Reason 2:11:45
Mondo Grosso – Labyrinth 2:13:50
Bing & Ruth – Starwood Choker 2:15:55
Brian Eno & Kevin Shields – Only Once Away My Son 2:17:53
Rapsody feat. Lance Skiiiwalker – Power 2:20:00
Susanne Sundf›r – The Sound of War 2:23:13
SZA – Supermodel 2:25:57
Sinkane – U’Huh 2:27:55
Bicep – Glue 2:29:46
Leif Vollebekk – Elegy 2:33:36
Tornado Wallace – Voices 2:36:45
Ryuichi Sakamoto – Life, Life 2:39:27
Pippa Murphy – Small Consolation 2:40:35

1919

Centuries of Sound is a monthly mix of original recordings from a single year. If you want higher bitrate downloads, a bonus podcast with discussion of the recordings, extra bonus mixes and much more, please support me on Patreon for just $5 per month, and keep the project ad-free.

1919 heading

MP3 download | Apple | Mixcloud | Spotify | Castbox | Stitcher | Radiopublic | RSS

When we last heard from band leader James Reece Europe in 1914, he was taking his all-black orchestra to Carnegie Hall and accompanying Irene and Vernon Castle as they performed the foxtrot to high society. Of course, since 1914, a lot has changed. Jazz has swept ratime – even the hottest varieties of it – from the scene, and America has been to war in Europe. It might be natural to assume that the first of these is more important to Jim’s career, but not so.

As the USA entered the war in 1917, Jim joined his friend Noble Sissle in enlisting in the still segregated US Army, and were assigned to the legendary 269th Infantary Regiment, otherwise known as the “Harlem Hellfighters” – the first black unit sent to France. On arrival they were assigned to the French army out of fear that white American soldiers would refuse to fight alongside them, and a racist pamphlet titled “Secret Information Concerning Black American Troops” was distributed to their new commanding officers. For the most part, the French treated the 269th as they would any other regiment – the country was in such dire straits that any manpower was welcome – and given the chance to show their worth, the “Hellfighters” earned their nickname in a series of famous battles, with Private Henry Johnson, a former New York railway porter, becoming the first American to win the Croix de Guerre.

Europe and Sissle were not directly involved in combat, however – they were instead quickly enlisted in the regimental band, and as director Europe found the freshest talent available. As well as Sissle (later a major songwriter) the band featured Herb Flemming (later to play with Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Tommy Dorsey) and Russell Smith (a lead trumpet player in the big band ers). Not only had the new sounds of jazz not been heard in Europe before, they were also still a novelty to the American troops, and within a year the band had travelled over 2000 miles throughout France, sowing the seeds of jazz in French, American and even British audiences. For all three audiences their sound seems to have been a complete revelation. One journalist wrote;

“the sound might be called liquefied harmony. It runs and ripples, then has a sort of choking sensation; next it takes on the musical color of Niagara Falls at a distance, and subsides to a trout brook nearby. The brassiness of the horn is changed, and there is sort of throbbing, nasal effect, half moan, half hallelujah.”

The tour continued for months after the end of the war, and the group only returned to the USA in February 1919. As their ship arrived they were perhaps surprised to find more than a million people had lined the streets of New York in order to see their victory parade. On seeing the reception they received, Europe was reported to say

“I have come from France more firmly convinced than ever that Negros should write Negro music. We have our own racial feeling and if we try to copy whites we will make bad copies … We won France by playing music which was ours and not a pale imitation of others, and if we are to develop in America we must develop along our own lines.”

The next month he took his band to the studio to make their first recordings in half a decade – a collection of self-penned numbers and new jazz standards which would give the first hints of what they were capable of. Noble Sissle featured on vocal for several pieces.

On the night of May 9th, 1919, Europe performed for the final time, in a concert in Boston’s Mechanics Hall. Feeling ill with a heavy cold, he grew frustrated with the behavior of two of his drummers, and in the intermission he went to the wings to reprimand them. One drummer, Herbert Wright, did not take to being lectured in this way, and in a fit of anger lunged for Europe’s neck with a pen knife. The wound seemed to be only superficial, nevertheless Europe told the band to continue without him and went to the hospital, reassuring everyone that “I’ll get along alright.” The bleeding, however, could not be stopped, and he died hours later, at the age of 39.

Lieutenant James Reece Europe was buried in Arlington National Cemetary in Washingon. The funeral march, the first public memorial for a black person in New York, followed part of the same route followed by the victory parade three months before. Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake completed the tour, before sending the band their seperate ways to change the sound of American music forever.

Tracks

0:00:17 Edison Records – Fanfare
0:00:36 Original Dixieland Jazz Band – Ostrich Walk
0:03:48 Lieut. Jim Europe’s 369th U. S. Infantry “Hell Fighters” Band – Memphis Blues
0:06:19 Joseph C Smith’s Orchestra – Yellow Dog Blues
0:08:44 Al Bernard – Hesitation Blues
0:12:20 Bert Williams – Elder Eatmore’s Sermon On Generosity
0:12:48 Bert Williams – Everybody Wants A Key To My Cellar
0:15:38 Vernon Dalhart – The Alcoholic Blues
0:17:17 Esther Walker – Sahara We’ll Soon Be Dry Like You
0:20:31 Marika Papagika – Hrissaido
0:23:23 Maria Smyrnea – The Grass Widow
0:24:44 Marika Papagika – Kremete I Kapota
0:28:35 Boston Symphony Orchestra – Lohengrin Prelude Act 3
0:30:02 Amilita Galli-Curci – Traviata Sempre Libera
0:32:17 Florence Cole-Talbert – Villanelle
0:34:28 R. Nathaniel Dett – Barcarolle
0:37:11 Edward H. S. Boatner – Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
0:39:43 George Gershwin – Whispering
0:42:50 Art Hickman’s Orchestra – Rose Room
0:46:08 Yerkes’ Happy Six – Karavan
0:48:15 Milo Rega’s Dance Orchestra – Peggy
0:51:17 Rudy Wiedoeft’s Master Saxophone Sextet – Saxophobia
0:53:48 Columbia Saxophone Sextette – Chong (He Come From Hong Kong)
0:55:35 Thomas Edison – Mr. Edison’s Christmas Greetings
0:55:49 Patrick J. Touhey – Drowsy Maggie
0:56:56 Ada Jones and Len Spencer – How Sandy Proposed
0:57:04 Irving Kaufmann – You’d Be Surprised
0:58:30 Waldorf Astoria Dance Orchestra – Taxi
1:00:24 Jean Louis Pisuisse – Ma Femme Et Ma Pipe
1:01:53 Maurice Chevalier – On The Level You’re A Little Devil
1:03:14 George Hamilton Green Novelty Orchestra – Moonlight Waltz
1:06:45 Paul Biese and his Novelty Orchestra – Mystery!
1:08:11 Ford Dabney’s Band – Camp Meeting Blues
1:10:23 Original Dixieland Jazz Band – Tiger Rag
1:13:29 Orquesta De Antonio Romeu – Donde Andaba Anoche!
1:15:14 Carmen Flores – Evaristo Agachaté Que Te Han Visto
1:16:19 Orquesta Felix Gonzalez – Carmelina
1:17:49 Blanquita Suárez – La Cigarrera
1:19:23 Toots Paka’s Hawaiians – Pua O’ Hula
1:21:29 Harry T. Burleigh – Go Down Moses
1:22:19 Anatoli Lunacharsky – On People’s Education (Excerpt 1)
1:22:28 Abe Schwartz and his Orchestra – Bessarabia Hangi
1:24:27 Anatoli Lunacharsky – On People’s Education (Excerpt 2)
1:24:38 Pinchos Jassinowsky – K’dusho (Na’artizkho)
1:25:07 Sergei Rachmaninoff – Prelude In C Sharp Minor
1:27:20 Clarence Cameron White – Lament
1:28:55 Master Thomas Criddle – That Old Fashioned Mother of Mine
1:31:56 Edward Avis and Howard R Garis – Bird Calls with Story Part 2
1:32:19 George Formby Sr – One Of The Boys
1:35:03 Henry Burr – I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
1:37:49 Louisiana Five – Virginia Blues
1:39:40 Wilbur C. Sweatman’s Original Jazz Band – Kansas City Blues
1:42:44 Lieut. Jim Europe’s 369th U. S. Infantry “Hell Fighters” Band – That Moaning Trombone

1918

Centuries of Sound is a monthly mix of original recordings from a single year. If you want higher bitrate downloads, a bonus podcast with discussion of the recordings, extra bonus mixes and much more, please support me on Patreon for just $5 per month, and keep the project ad-free.

1918 Wide

MP3 download | Apple | Mixcloud | Spotify | Castbox | Stitcher | Radiopublic | RSS

One of the most jarring contrasts between imagined past and time as uncovered by these mixes is the feel of the First World War years. There are two very good reasons for this. Firstly, it shouldn’t be forgotten that our impressions of the wartime years, having dropped out of living memory, are based on a limited number of sources, most of which are second or third-hand reinterpretations. Even the most relevant cultural artifacts – written accounts of the war, contemporary films, photographs – do not contain any record of the sounds of the time, and even the best documentaries seem to focus on the images and either create their own audio or use recorded accounts from years later.

Secondly, and probably more importantly, we shouldn’t forget that the lens these mixes view the decade through are a very narrow one indeed. I cannot present recordings of the war because, to put it plainly, there are none. The last thing anyone, even a war journalist, was thinking of doing was taking a recording gramophone out into the trenches. In any case, the recording industry was still located mainly within New York, with a small number of people controlling what was put out. We don’t even have a decent view of the rest of the USA, let alone the rest of the world. European recordings are at this point few and far between.

Having made my excuses, this mix nevertheless probably presents the closest thing to an original-source First World War soundscape that has ever existed. The entrance of the USA into the war in 1917 may not have resulted in any actual recordings of the war, but at least it meant many more recordings about the war – and even if these were filtered through the cynical filter of the entertainment business, they still provide much more of a flavour of the times than anything else we’ve had so far. Naturally we have some more of the patriotic anthems intended to act as much as propaganda than as entertainment, including a wartime update of ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ from Marion Harris and a jingoistic song from Al Jolson. These aren’t all we have though – there is a very measured speech from Theodore Roosevelt, wartime soundscapes from Henry Burr, and humourous wartime songs from Arthur Fields.

Fields is new to us, but he had been in the entertainment business for decades. touring in minstrel shows, writing songs and working in a trio with Jack and Irving Kaufman. His wartime songs, though still patriotic, look at the mundanity and inconvenience of wartime life through the eyes of the average soldier – a smart move, as they would be arriving back from Europe just about now. Arthur Fields would continue to record right into the next world war.

Meanwhile, Jazz has sort of taken a back seat, slightly. The explosion of 1917 was clearly unsustainable, especially as it consisted largely of a set of pros imitating the life out of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band without any real understanding of what they were starting. In 1918 jazz is still around, only the heat has been let out a little. Seasoned musicians are starting to return to what they know; the light dance music which had always paid their wages. This will be a theme for the next few years, jazz being swallowed up into the more rigid, un-blue world of professional dance bands.

The exception to this is from two bands – one of course the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, still going strong in 1918, though they would soon lose their original piano player to the Spanish flu. In even more of an imperial phase however are their erstwhile rivals, variously known as “The Novelty Orchestra” “The Celebrated Society Orchestra” and “Earl Fuller’s Combination Seven,” but captured here as “Earl Fuller’s Rector Novelty Orchestra.” Where the ODJB are raucous and comic, Earl Fuller’s band are anarchic in a more transgressive, darkly sexual way, and at times their music anticipates the dangerous speakeasy feeling of early Duke Ellington. It’s a welcome dash of colour in a musical world which is trending back to its default conservatism.

The jazz revolution is, on the whole, slowing down, becoming a little too safe, but there’s no need to worry – we will soon be in for quite the ride. If you thought 1917 was a massive shift then just wait – the decade between 1918 and 1928 sees more of a change in what we’ll hear than any other decade I can think of.  So I’m not sure anyone will particularly miss these sounds when we’ve moved on, but this is still a moment which deserves to be remembered.

Tracks

0:00:17 Charles Ross Taggart – Uncle Zed Buys a Graphophone (Excerpt 1)
0:00:30 Earl Fuller’s Rector Novelty Orchestra – Russian Rag
0:03:35 Charles Ross Taggart – Uncle Zed Buys a Graphophone (Excerpt 2)
0:04:12 Original Dixieland Jass Band – At the Jazz Band Ball
0:06:49 Wilbur Sweatman’s Original Jazz Band – Dallas Blues
0:09:56 Rector Novelty Orchestra – Singapore
0:13:16 Nora Bayes – Regretful Blues
0:14:50 J.J. Pershing – Address From France, April 1918
0:15:19 Arthur Fields – Yanks Started Yanking
0:16:19 Premier Quartet and Company – A Submarine Attack (Excerpt 1)
0:16:42 Al Jolson – Tell That To The Marines
0:18:06 Henry Burr & Peerless Quartet – Submarine Attack Somewhere At Sea (Excerpt 1)
0:18:20 Marion Harris – Goodbye Alexander
0:21:42 Henry Burr & Lt Gitz Rice – Life In A Trench In Belgium (Excerpt 1)
0:21:57 Arthur Collins – When Tony Goes Over The Top
0:23:26 Henry Burr & Lt Gitz Rice – Life In A Trench In Belgium (Excerpt 2)
0:23:56 Arthur Fields – Oh! How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning
0:26:35 Henry Burr & Peerless Quartet – Submarine Attack Somewhere At Sea (Excerpt 2)
0:27:03 Imperial Marimba Band – General Pershing March
0:27:33 Premier Quartet and Company – A Submarine Attack (Excerpt 2)
0:27:41 The Peerless Quartet – Au Revoir, But Not Goodbye Soldier Boy
0:29:50 Thomas Alva Edison – Let Us Not Forget – A Message to the American People (Excerpt 1)
0:30:20 Harry Lauder – Don’t Let Us Sing Anymore About War
0:32:24 Thomas Alva Edison – Let Us Not Forget – A Message to the American People (Excerpt 2
0:32:52 Courtland And Jeffries – Good-Bye-Ee
0:35:28 Metropolitan Military Band – Grand Peace Record
0:36:18 Honey Land Jazz Band – Steve
0:38:07 Monroe Silver – Cohen on his Honeymoon (Excerpt 1)
0:38:16 Wilbur Sweatman’s Original Jazz Band – Ev’rybody’s Crazy ‘Bout the Doggone Blues But I’m Happy
0:41:07 Monroe Silver – Cohen on his Honeymoon (Excerpt 2)
0:41:17 Joseph C Smith’s Orchestra – Rose Room
0:42:59 Eugene Jaudas Society Orchestra – Howdy One Step
0:44:42 Billy Murray – K-K-K Katy
0:47:25 Ethel C. Olson – A Norwegian Woman Using the Telephone
0:47:35 Bohumir Kryl – Where The River Shannon Flows
0:49:31 Marika Papagika – Smyrneiko Minore
0:52:13 Zabelle Panosian – Groung (Crane)
0:56:18 Amelita GalliCurci – Crepuscule
0:59:14 Roland Hayes – Arioso from ‘Pagliacci’ (‘Vesti la giubba’)
1:01:52 Theodore Roosevelt – Right Of The People To Rule (Excerpt 1)
1:02:32 Sexteto Habanero Godínez – Rosa, que linda eres
1:04:12 Pixinguinha – Os Oito Batutas
1:05:39 Fercor – La Commemorazione Di Cesare Battisti A Milano (Excerpt 1)
1:05:45 Orquesta De Enrique – El Biberon De Benitin
1:07:59 Yerkes’ Jazarimba Orchestra – Jazzie Addie
1:09:37 Theodore Roosevelt – Right Of The People To Rule (Excerpt 2)
1:09:50 Earl Fuller – Jazz De Luxe
1:13:52 Samuel Siegel & Marie Caveny – Ragtime Echoes
1:14:37 Pietro Frosini – New York Blues
1:16:16 Abe Schwartz Orchestra – Der Shtiller Bulgar
1:19:16 Harry Kandel’s Orchestra – Der Nicolaiver Bulgar
1:22:01 Eubie Blake Trio – Hungarian Rag
1:24:53 Bert Williams – Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting
1:27:32 Fercor – La Commemorazione Di Cesare Battisti A Milano (Excerpt 2)
1:27:55 Louisiana Five – Laughing Blues
1:30:35 Frisco Jazz Band – Johnson Jass Blues
1:34:47 Original Dixieland Jazz Band – Skeleton Jangle
1:37:39 Maude Powell – Poupee Valsante (Waltzing Doll)
1:39:44 Charles Harrison – I’m Always Chasing Rainbows

1917

1917 large

“The music is a matter of the ear and not of technique. None of us knows music. One carries the melody and others do what they please. Some play counter melodies, some play freak noises, and some just play. I can’t tell you how. You “got to feel” Jass. The time is syncopated. Jass I think means a jumble. We came from New Orleans by way of Chicago. In Chicago a professor told us it was “the untuneful harmony of rhythm.” I don’t know what that meant, but I guess he was right. Anyway that’s Jass.”

Eddie Edwards, trombonist in the Original Dixieland ‘Jass’ Band, who was perfectly able to read music.

“Arriving as it did just nine days after Congress voted to declare war, the sound of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band’s manic, energetic music would be forever linked in the American Psyche with the new atmosphere in the country”

E. Douglas Bomberger – Making Music American; 1917 and the Transformation of Culture

MP3 direct download | Itunes | Mixcloud | Feedburner (RSS)

In April 1889, around the time Robert Browning made the earliest existent recording of poetry, Nick LaRocca was born in New Orleans, the son of poor Italian immigrants. His childhood, youth and early adulthood span the history of Centuries of Sound so far – a few decades where we have seen vast shifts in the recording and consumption of sound, but which all seem still to be somehow ancient history from the vantage point of 2019. This is something Nick is about to change. How much credit Nick or his band, the Original Dixieland ‘Jass’ Band, should get for this is difficult to measure – his own description of the birth of jazz is not just racist, but self-evidently untrue – but whether they are viewed as innovators, opportunists or just a catalyst, the record they made on February 26th 1917 is that rare thing in life, an unambiguous dividing line between an old world and a new one.

Over these last twenty years there have been no such revolutions, only gradual movements. We first heard Ragtime emerge as a flavour to season marching band music, then in its ‘hot’ form as a (sometimes frenetic) syncopated dance music – but even at its greatest surge, it remained in essence a minority interest, as far as the music business was concerned. There was enough interest in the general public for the genre to incite a moral outrage, but apparently not enough to get record companies and musicians cashing in.

Meanwhile in New Orleans, and (perhaps) down the length of the Mississippi River, jazz (or something not dissimilar to jazz) was already being played, perhaps as early as 1900. Not a single recording exists from this era, but later accounts have it that the sound began with cornet-player Buddy Bolden, whose hot ragtime band is often credited with introducing this mix of stomping dance music and bluesy swerves. It is unlikely that Bolden’s band truly sounded much like the records here – it’s better to view them as a vital missing link in the story. Bolden suffered an episode of acute alcoholic psychosis in 1907, and was admitted to the Louisiana State Insane Asylum with a diagnosis of schizophrenia – and there he would remain for the rest of his life. His successors largely remained within New Orleans until 1914, when a mixed-race group called The Creole Band began touring the vaudeville circuit. By 1916 Brown’s Dixieland Jass Band and Stein’s Dixieland Jass Band were active and performing in Chicago, and bandleader Bert Kelly claimed to have been playing Jazz in San Francisco as early as 1914. It was one thing to be playing new music on the circuit, though – for the genre to really break through this barrier it needed to be brought into the homes of the public, who in increasing numbers owned gramophones.

Among the clutch of New Orleans “Jass” bands playing Chicago in 1916 were Stein’s Dixie Jass Band, who had a residency at the Booster Club. They were spotted by Al Jolson, who found them another residency, this time at Reisenweber’s Café, a fashionable nightclub in New York. Taking their cue from other novelty vaudeville acts like Six Brown Brothers, they dropped Stein, rebranded themselves the “Original Dixieland ‘Jass’ Band”, and adopted a series of visual affectations and musical flourishes. This mix of influences, their vicinity to the recording business, and The Creole Band’s refusal to record anything lest it be stolen; this all led to a certain buzz, and it was a matter of weeks before they were in the Victor studio, on the twelth floor of 46 West 38th Street in Manhattan, making this momentous record.

Credit for this recording must be shared with the Victor engineers, led by Charles E. Sooy. Jazz had never been recorded before, and the hot ragtime records from earlier in the decade had just been a wall of (fairly exciting) noise, with individual sounds lost in the lack of a mix. Later recordings by the ODJB would also follow this unsatisfactory model, sounding muddy and muffled. Sooy understood the difficulties of getting their sound on record, and arranged the players at different distances from the horn, with drummer Tony Sbarbaro furthest away (25 feet back) and pianist Harry Ragas and clarinetist Larry Shields within five feet of the horn. That wasn’t all, though, as LaRocca later recalled:

“I asked them what all these wires were for, and one of the men told me it was to sop up the overtone that was coming back into the horn. The recording engineer at Victor had the patience of a saint. He played our music back until it sounded right.”

The resultant recording is, without hyperbole, an absolute revelation. Never before have we heard musicians cut loose with such wild abandon. There’s an almost palpable sense of the weight of the Victorian era being thrown off and joyfully discarded. LaRocca’s cornet, Shields’ clarinet and Edwards’s trombone twist and peacock around each-other, coming together from time to time, pausing for the horse impressions that give the song its title (it was originally Barnyard Blues) and then spinning back off into competing solos. Even over a century later, it feels like an exciting record, so it’s hard to imagine what it must have felt like to bring this record home and listen to it for the first time.

The fact that the first half of this mix is comprised of “jazz” songs shows what an impact the record had. The record industry was very much used to crazes (we are also at the peak of Hawaiian recordings) but this one was immediately different, both in terms of scale and of reach. Within months a host of other musicians were making “jass” or “jas” or “jazz” records – some were the real deal, some were obviously just jumping on the bandwagon, but all were operating within the expectations set by ‘Livery Stable Blues’ and its flip side ‘Dixieland Jass Band One-Step’.

This early form of jazz does not exactly correspond with the genre as it later developed or with the music being made in New Orleans by other perhaps less-opportunistic artists. On one hand it does consist of free-wheeling seemingly improvised solos over a twelve-bar blues, but on the other it is clearly in the lineage of what we might call “novelty ragtime” – obviously the animal noises are the main example of this, but there is a general air of raucous wackiness without the depth or weight of the blues behind it. Here are, after all, five white boys having a great time. This was the first public airing for jazz, and the slew of other records which came along later in the year take this as their blueprint.

Following the lead of Collins & Harlan in late 1916, this mix also features a few examples of Tinpan Alley songs which are *about* jazz rather than actually *being* jazz. These generally feature a description of a jazz band, superlatives to describe the spectacular wildness of each individual instrument, which inevitably make the singer want to dance – there is then quite often an instrumental section where the backing band demonstrate (with differing degrees of success) these jazz-style noises. It’s a cynical cash-in for sure, but not one unique to jazz – in the mid 1950s there will be plenty of songs along the same lines about rock & roll.

It’s perhaps unexpected that we have this almost-enforced party atmosphere when the nation is now involved in the first world war, but as far as the music industry is concerned all this meant was that they had to stop making recordings of “I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier” and switch to “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile” and “Over There”. The main influence the war would have on this new American music was to spread it – this is the start of jazz in France, and even trad jazz in England, which would always retain something of the spirit of this early form. It seems there was no inverse dampening of enthusiasm from the troubles of the old world.

The world is not America, however, and the horrors of the war do have a bearing on this mix. 1916 was the start of the Armenian genocide, and while singer Zabelle Panosian was already living in the USA, it doesn’t seem a stretch to imagine that the almost unbearable sadness in her 1917 recordings of traditional Armenian ballads was influenced by reports of her friends and family, many of whom would have been dead or missing. The first recording featured here, Mir Khor Babge Kerezman (“Our Father’s Deep Grave”) is one of the most profoundly beautiful things I’ve ever heard, and I would perhaps put it forward as the greatest work of art recorded in the acoustic era.

part one – jazz

0:00:07 Marie Cahill – Dallas Blues (Excerpt 1)
0:00:10 Original Dixieland ‘Jass’ Band – Livery Stable Blues
0:03:02 Earl Fuller’s Famous Jazz Band – Yah De Dah
0:06:24 Rudy Wiedoeft’s Frisco Jazz Band – Cute Little Wigglin’ Dance
0:08:14 Marion Harris – Everybody’s Crazy ‘Bout The Dog-gone Blues But I’m Happy
0:11:12 Eugene Jaudas Society Orchestra – Jass One Step
0:15:12 Marie Cahill – Dallas Blues (Excerpt 2)
0:17:51 Eubie Blake Trio – Jazzing Around
0:19:53 George Gershwin – Jaz-O-Mine
0:21:17 Gene Greene – Alexanders Got A Jazz Band Now
0:23:17 Memphis Pickaninny Band – Some Jazz Blues
0:26:05 Original Dixieland ‘Jass’ Band – Dixieland Jass Band One-Step
0:28:39 Collins & Harlan – Everybody’s Jazzin’ It
0:30:53 Six Brown Brothers – Smiles And Chuckles
0:32:03 Rudy Wiedoeft’s Frisco Jazz Band – Pozzo
0:33:52 Marion Harris – When I Hear That Jazz Band Play
0:36:23 Blake’s Jazzone Orchestra – The Jazz Dance
0:38:03 Wilbur Sweatman and his Jass Band – Joe Turner Blues
0:40:56 Irving Kaufman – Mr. Jazz Himself
0:42:50 Ciro’s Club Coon Orchestra – St Louis Blues
0:45:20 Handy’s Orchestra of Memphis – That Jazz Dance
0:46:45 Yerkes’ Jazzarimba Orchestra – That’s It

part two – not jazz

0:49:43 Zabelle Panosian – Mir Khor Babge Kerezman
0:52:48 Edouard Risler – Plays Beethoven
0:54:54 Charles Prince’s Band – Arrival Of The American Troops In France (Excerpt 1)
0:55:22 Edward Hamilton – Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile
0:56:55 James Watson Gerard – The German Peril
0:58:11 Billy Murray & American Quartet – Over There
1:00:55 Charles Prince’s Band – Arrival Of The American Troops In France (Excerpt 2)
1:01:06 Bert Williams – No Place Like Home
1:03:50 Opal Cooper – Beans, Beans, Beans
1:05:20 Sally Hamlin – Our Hired Girl (Excerpt 1)
1:05:31 Eva Gauthier – Alouette
1:07:44 Ford Hawaiians – Kawaihau Waltz
1:09:25 Helen Louise and Frank Ferera – Everybody Hula
1:10:56 Ford Hawaiians & Henry Kailimai – Kaena
1:11:50 Waikiki Hawaiian Orchestra – My Waikiki Mermaid
1:13:29 Louise, Ferrera, and Greenus – Malani Anu Ka Makani
1:14:59 Ford Hawaiians – Wiliwili Wai
1:15:58 Choro Carioca – Guará
1:17:40 German Hernandez Trio – Nosotros
1:20:55 Orquesta Tizol – El Valor
1:21:12 Pixinguinha – Rosa
1:24:14 Carlos Gardel – Mi Noche Triste
1:26:22 Eugenia Roca – El Fox De Las Campanas
1:28:22 Oberbayerische Bauernkapelle – D’ Buam Schneid
1:30:34 Victor Military Band – Kansas City Blues
1:33:42 Eddie Cantor – That’s The Kind Of Baby For Me
1:35:53 Van & Schenck – For Me And My Gal
1:37:25 Sally Hamlin – Our Hired Girl (Excerpt 2)
1:37:40 Harry C. Browne & Peerless Quartet – Carve Dat Possum
1:40:16 Fisk University Male Quartette – In the Great Gettin’ Up Mawnin’
1:42:17 David Arthur Smith and Corporal White – Cock o’ the North
1:43:15 Fred van Eps Trio – Razzberries
1:44:46 Felix Arndt – Marionette
1:46:59 Aleksandr Vertinskiy – V Goluboy Dalekoy Spalenke
1:49:37 Oriental Orchestra – Russian Scissors
1:51:59 Yiddisher Orchestra (Abe Schwartz’ Orchestra) – Beim Reben’s Sideh
1:55:29 Anna Hoffman – A Kind Un a Heym (A Homeless Child)
1:57:40 Amelita Galli Curci – Ah Non Credea Mirarti
2:00:47 Zabelle Panosian – Caroun (Spring)
2:04:05 Boston Symphony Orchestra – March Miniature

1916

1916 large

MP3 direct download | Itunes | Mixcloud | Feedburner (RSS)

The story of recorded must prior to 1917 has been, on a personal level, a juggle with two opposing narratives. First there is of course the convoluted journey towards the explosion in jazz and blues of the late 1910s and 1920. Then there’s the other side, the world of music and musicians who had their own path and their own values. So far these two threads have been happy so sit peacefully side by side, occasionally intertwining, but always on their own terms. In 1916, though, there is an overwhelming feeling that something really big is coming. Perhaps its the war (covered here by a single track) with its mythical power to change attitudes, perhaps its the work of a number of talented individuals, perhaps the spread of the gramophone is making it necessary – but for whatever reason, the majority of music in this mix seems to be almost-but-not-quite jazz and blues.

A couple of exceptions to this, before we go digging in – the mix kicks off with one of a couple of very atmospheric klezmer cymbolom instrumentals (this is a genre which would not be so easily colonised by the new music), and features yet more of the Hawaiian craze which seems to have been a constant in the decade. The biggest revelation here may be from fiddler Don Richardson – his instrumental version of Arkansas Traveller (featured on here a couple of times before in its vaudeville form) is as far as I can tell indistinguishable from the “first country records” which would kick off the other musical explosion in about a decade’s time.

Blues has been around for a while at this point, though not so much as a genre as a mood, or perhaps even what we might call a meme now. The sheet music for “I Got the Blues” by New Orleans musician Antonio Maggio was published in 1908, and over the following decade a number of other songs started riffing on the idea, including some written in Tin Pan Alley and given to a new generation of female vaudeville singers, most notably Sophie Tucker. In this vein we have torch-song standard “I Ain’t Got Nobody” – here performed by Marion Harris, the music for which was written by a black songwriter, Spencer Williams – a pattern of visible white performers with black artists in the background which started as early as the 1890s and would continue until the start of the 1920s.

This naturally leads on to one of the accidental shifts this music has pushed into view. W.C. Handy’s compositions weren’t just called “blues” – they actually drew from his life as a black man in the south of the USA, the presumed source of the melodies and rhythms which easily delineate this music to the modern ear. The St Louis Blues was his breakthrough hit, but is here presented as an instrumental, and performed by a ragtime dance band who had started out performing military marches, led by Charles Adams Prince, a record company director and relative to two US presidents.

The appallingly titled “Nigger Blues” was, naturally, written by a white man, Lee “Lasses” White, a veteran of minstrel shows and “coon songs” who would go on to become a stock actor in early westerns. It would be nice to think that the racism of the turn of the century was dying off by this point, but this would be extremely wishful thinking. “Chinese Blues” was written by young George Gershwin, and is here represented by the composer himself (on a piano roll) and Sousa’s Band, of all people.

The most striking example of all this dissonance, however, is to be found on “That Funny Jas Band From Dixieland” performed by Arthur Collins and Byron G Harlan. Collins, now billed as “king of the ragtime singers”, has a long and very mixed history on this site, as is natural for a figure who looms as large as he does in pre-WW1 music. A good case could be made that “That Funny Jas Band” is the first jazz recording, but it’s a bit less embarrassing to call it “the first recording that mentions jazz” as it is, on the whole, the sort of embarrassing racist churned-out “coon song” which you’d instinctively want to sweep under the carpet – it even includes a painful bit of minstrel-show banter in the middle. For all that though, I don’t know what you can call the instrumental break at the end except jazz – it’s straight out of an Original Dixieland piece.

If we are going to award the birth of jazz to anyone in 1916, though, perhaps the best recipient would be the two acts that close the mix. We’ve heard “Down Home Rag” before, performed at a frantic pace by James Reece Europe and his ‘Society Orchestra’ – but here it is again, first performed by its composer Wilbur Sweatman, on course to become one of the founding fathers of jazz. Then we switch into a supercharged version played by The Versatile Four, associates of Europe who had branched out to form a more portable unit, able to tour the USA and Europe. They may be a smaller ensemble, but their glorious racket is more than enough to match Europe’s Society Orchestra. This really feels like the start of something.

Tracklist

0:00:00 Joseph Moskowitz – Doina
0:01:06 Gilbert Girard & Company – Daybreak at Calamity Farm (Part 1)
0:01:15 Eugene Jaudas National Promenade Band – Memphis Blues
0:04:36 R.H. Burnside – A New York Hippodrome Rehearsal
0:04:45 Arthur Collins – Hesitating Blues
0:06:15 Prince’s Orchestra – The Hesitating Blues
0:07:56 George O’Connor – Nigger Blues
0:10:27 Gladys Rice – Here Comes Tootsie
0:10:41 Marion Harris – I Ain’t Got Nobody
0:12:20 Elsie Baker & Billy Murray – Play A Simple Melody
0:13:17 Gilbert Girard & Company – Daybreak at Calamity Farm (Part 2)
0:13:42 Abe Schwartz – Sadigurer Chused’l
0:16:39 Aleksandr Vertinskiy – Malen’kiy Kreol’chik
0:19:20 Jeanne Feinberg – Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen
0:21:17 Enrico Caruso – Ah Tout Est Bien Fini (Le Cid)
0:23:54 Karl I of Austria – Speech, Feb 1916
0:24:05 Murray Johnson – Pack Up Your Troubles
0:26:47 Barney Bernard – Goldstein Goes in the Railroad Business
0:27:06 Kyria Koula – Tsifte Teli
0:29:07 Canhoto – Abismo De Rosas
0:30:18 Raquel Meller – Los Impertinentes Mágicos
0:32:55 Quinteto Borinquen – Diamante Negro
0:34:31 Pepita Ramos ‘La Goyita’ – La Modista Militar
0:36:44 Helen Louise & Frank Ferera – Hapa Haole Hula Girl
0:37:51 Rene Dietrich and Horace Wright – My Own Iona
0:40:18 Ciro’s Club Coon Orchestra – On The Shore at Le-Lei-Wei
0:42:51 Scott Joplin – Magnetic Rag
0:45:42 Avon Comedy Four – Ginberg’s Stump Speech
0:45:56 Six Brown Brothers – Walkin’ The Dog
0:48:12 Eugene Jaudas National Promenade Band – Walkin’ The Dog
0:51:30 Fred Van Eps – Raggin’ The Scale
0:54:08 George Gershwin – Chinese Blues
0:56:14 Sousa’s Band – Chinese Blues
0:57:40 Lou Chiha Frisco – Kangaroo Hop
0:59:29 George Formby Snr – The Grandfather’s Clock
1:02:14 Bert Williams – Never Mo’
1:04:48 Strassmeir Dachaur Bauernkapelle – Werdenfelser Trompeten Landler
1:07:41 Conway’s Band – Two-Key Rag
1:10:42 Prince’s Band – St. Louis Blues
1:13:24 Eugene Jaudas Society Orchestra – Step With Pep
1:15:26 W.G. Haenschen & T.T. Schiffer – Sunset Medley
1:17:14 Cunniah Naidu – Modi Instrumental- Ragam-Alapana In Thodi
1:19:02 Adeline Francis – The Mouse and the Thomas Cat
1:19:15 Don Richardson – Arkansas Traveller
1:22:00 F. J. Bacon – Massas in De Cold, Cold Ground
1:22:51 Charles Ross Taggart – Old Country Fiddler at the Telephone
1:23:12 Collins & Harlan – That Funny Jas Band From Dixieland
1:26:49 Wilbur Sweatman – Down Home Rag
1:28:10 The Versatile Four – Down Home Rag