1922

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.

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In a moment I will press the ‘publish’ button on this post, the RSS feed will be updated, the show will be updated on different podcast apps, and people all over the world will be able to hear this mix. It’s a bit glib to say we take all of this for granted, that’s what the progress of technology is all about, after all, but still, imagine someone in 1922 in the place you live – most of this music would be completely inaccessible to them. They might be rich enough to own a phonograph, but the chances they would have something like this collection of new sounds is astronomically small. If I’m making a soundtrack of what people are hearing around the world then this still isn’t really it.

But things are still changing at an increasing speed (aren’t they always?) For one, radio is finally taking off, a good 25 years after its initial “invention” (putting scare quotes around that because it’s such a minefield I don’t know where to even begin.) Strangely enough there were effectively audio broadcasts as far back as the 1890s, with music and speech transmitted down phone lines, but these never took off as a mass medium. The best claim to being the first real radio station is perhaps 2XG in New York, which was using a vacuum-tube transmitter to make news and entertainment broadcasts (gramophone records) on a regular schedule as early as 1915, and even broadcast the result of the 1916 presidential election. This was, naturally, over a small area of the city, probably picked up by a small number of hobbyists, and disappeared from the airwaves as the USA became involved in the First World War. By 1922, though, a wide range of stations had sprung up around the USA, the Marconi company opened 2MT and 2LO in London and CFCF in Montreal, and music stations were broadcasting in Paris and Buenos Aires. What tantilising recordings do we have from this? The answer is, apparently none whatsoever, not even the merest scrap, nothing substantial for another five years. Nobody thought to put a recording gramophone in front of a radio receiver. They did, however, record radio parodies on disc, and that’s something at least.

This is a music-based show, so I shouldn’t neglect developments in this area. The majority of this mix is concerned with a massive expansion of classical female blues, with a knock-on explosion of resurgent jazz, but we’ll have plenty of time to discuss this next time. More interesting perhaps are two simply transcendent recordings from Alexander Campbell “Eck” Robertson. Robertson was born in Arkansas, grew up in Texas, and began learning the fiddle from the age of five. He spent 18 years working as a jobbing musician at medicine shows, a piano tuner, an accompaniment for silent movies and at country fiddling contests. At a reunion of confederate soldiers in 1922 he met 74-year old fiddler Henry C. Gilliland, and the two of them decided to audition for the Victor Talking Machine Company. The resulting records made no great waves at the time, but in a historical context they are just astonishing, not simply country music five years before it supposedly started to be recorded, but such perfect sounds that they seem to be a door to an unknowable world of regional music prior to the invention of electrical recording.

This is also the “stride piano” mix – not such a wild departure as it represents the natural bridge from ragtime piano to jazz piano, but a music which thankfully has its pioneers reasonably-well represented. James P. Johnson and Fats Waller both appear here, on their own and accompanying the blues singers. If we want to take away one single picture from this year, it would again be these people playing somewhere in a smoky speakeasy. That wouldn’t be a fair representation, of course, but really, what is?
Tracks

0:00:20 Joe Hayman – Cohen Listens in on the Radio
0:00:27 Frederic Lamond – Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5 ‘Emperor’
0:02:10 Monroe Silver – Cohen on the Radio
0:02:23 Edith Wilson – Rules And Regulations ‘signed Razor Jim’
0:05:33 Joe Hayman – Cohen Buys a Wireless Set
0:05:39 Ladd’s Black Aces – Virginia Blues
0:08:30 Sophie Tucker – High Brown Blues
0:11:36 Prof. Charles H. Collins – Victor Records for Health Exercises
0:11:59 Frank Guarente’s Georgians – Chicago
0:14:35 Sara Martin & Fats Waller – T Ain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do
0:17:24 James P. Johnson – Carolina Shout
0:20:04 Eva Taylor – Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home
0:22:58 Fats Waller – Birmingham Blues
0:25:54 The Virginians – Blue
0:27:41 Johnny Dunn’s Original Jazz Hounds – Four O’Clock Blues
0:30:45 Mamie Smith – New Orleans
0:33:42 Ethel C. Olson – The Larson Kids Go Bathing (Excerpt 1)
0:33:59 Henry C. Gilliland And A. C. (Eck) Robertson – Arkansaw Traveler
0:36:53 Eck Robertson – Sally Gooden
0:39:57 Ethel C. Olson – The Larson Kids Go Bathing (Excerpt 2)
0:40:15 Rudy Wiedoeft – Saxema
0:41:44 New Orleans Rhythm Kings – Bugle Call Blues
0:44:03 Carl Fenton – Kitten On The Keys
0:46:24 Zez Confrey – Coaxing the Piano
0:49:03 Gilbert Girard – Santa Claus Tells of Mother Goose Land (Excerpt 1)
0:49:15 Original Memphis Five – Strutting At The Strutters Ball
0:52:13 Conchita Piquer – El Florero
0:55:13 La Argentinita – Una Vida De Mujer
0:55:30 Salgado do Carmo & Eugenio Cibelli – Fado popular
0:58:36 Agustín Barrios – Minueto
0:59:26 Robert Trucksess – Flow gently sweet afton & Bonnie, sweet Bessie
1:00:51 Gilbert Girard – Santa Claus Tells of Mother Goose Land (Excerpt 2)
1:01:08 Original Dixieland Jazz Band – Bow Wow Blues
1:04:21 Edith Wilson and Johnny Dunn’s Original Jazz Hounds – Old Time Blues
1:06:07 Alberta Hunter – Down Hearted Blues
1:09:07 Ethel Waters – ‘Frisco Jazz Band Blues
1:12:32 Ed Gallaher & Al Shean – Mr Gallagher And Mr Shean
1:14:53 Anna Hoffman and Jacob Jacobs – Chana Pesel furht in an Automobile (Excerpt 1)
1:15:15 Anton Günther – Wu de Wälder haamlich rauschen
1:16:52 Anna Hoffman and Jacob Jacobs – Chana Pesel furht in an Automobile (Excerpt 2)
1:17:15 W. C. Handy’s Memphis Blues Band – St. Louis Blues
1:18:41 Lucille Hegamin – He May Be Your Man But He Comes To See Me Sometimes
1:20:41 The Cotton Pickers – Hot Lips
1:23:04 The Original Memphis Five – Ji-Ji-Boo
1:25:01 Carl Fenton + Rudy Wiedoeft – Georgia
1:26:47 Ethel Waters’ Jazz Masters – Tiger Rag
1:29:53 Guy Maiere and Lee Pattison – Espana Rhapsody
1:32:40 The Original Sacred Harp Choir – The Christian Warfare 179
1:33:32 Shimizu Itoko – Yasugi Bushi
1:35:18 Marika Papagika – Olympos Ke Kisavos
1:37:57 Monroe Silver – Cohen Becomes a Citizen
1:38:00 Harry Kandel’s Orchestra – Kiever Bulgar
1:40:33 Semen Kirsanov Reads Velimir Khlebnikov – Not To Panel!
1:40:59 Naftule Brandwein – Kallarash
1:44:08 Georgel – La Garçonne
1:45:13 Maurice Chevalier – Pas Pour Moi
1:47:40 Okeh Laughing Record – Okeh Laughing Record
1:50:29 Amelita Galli-Curci – Rimsky-Korsakov- Sadko – Song Of India

1921

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“The parties were bigger. The pace was faster, the shows were broader, the buildings were higher, the morals were looser, the liquor was cheaper.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

If you could chose any era to live in, the decades between 1910 and 1950 would probably not be the most immediately appealing. Aside from two world wars, a great depression, and the worst pandemic in history, the era was marked by civil unrest, often for good cause, but whose benefits would not be felt until the dust settled many years later. However, in the middle of this maelstrom, we have a period of peace and prosperity, a boomtime for the creative arts, in short “the twenties” – a decade which is shorthand for a cornucopia of culture in the way “the thirties” and “the forties” absolutely aren’t. “Golden times” like these are usually best treated with a pinch of salt – most people tend to be to some degree nostalgic about their youth, particularly writers – but perhaps this time we can take it a little more seriously. The shift which seems to have happened in this time seems if anything like the half-century was saving up its changes and released them all at once while the sun was shining and it wasn’t otherwise occupied.

The dawning of universal suffrage surely had a role here. Even more so, the population of the world shaking itself loose from the incredible suffering of the 1910s. But perhaps the greatest part was played by a series of innovations – some of them technological (as we will get to in a few years) and some the unintended consequences of an ill-thought-out law – prohibition.

From January 17th, 1920, when the Volstead Act went into effect, the USA saw a nationwide ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages. The sheer logistics of such a thing in a country with such a tradition of alcohol consumption when anyone with minimal expertise could make their own, well, it didn’t make any sense and it still doesn’t. Organised crime immediately began to take over the alcohol business, and consumption shifted from the old bars and hotels to speakeasies. The managers of these places had no stock in the entertainment establishment, and no interest in going through the process of booking well-known vaudeville acts, who probably wouldn’t want to be seen there anyway.

Instead, they hired jazz bands. Touring / recording groups from around the country had residencies in clubs in Chicago and New York where they could practice and innovate every night in front of an audience. The nascent genre, which had been coasting for a few years after its initial explosion, suddenly got a new lease of life. The likes of Armstrong, Ellington and Fats Waller developed their sound in front of sometimes multi-racial audiences. The often regressive instinct of proprietors to be “respectable” had dissipated – what role could censorship ever play in a place whose entire existence was already illegal, and paid for with bribes?

This isn’t to say that all of this has yet seeped through the cracks into recorded media. While (inspired by the success of “Crazy Blues”) Okeh were releasing their series of “race records,” they were still exclusively operating out of New York, and their competitor Paramount Records would not start releasing this sort of recording until the following year. The rest of the music industry was still firmly stuck in the 1900s, releasing the sort of sentimental ballads and d-grade operetta they had been since they’d formed, likely the same singers and the same management too. Occasionally they would put something out by a dance band, and occasionally they would strike gold, but such things do not seem to be generally part of the business plan.

So as far as the mix is concerned, we are still operating on the margins, but the margins are expanding, cracks are forming, soon this wonderful infection is going to be irresistible in its spread.

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Tracks

0:00:17 Harry E. Humphrey – Santa Claus hides in your phonograph (Excerpt 1)
0:00:32 American Symphony Orchestra – Ride of the Valkyries
0:01:30 Harry E. Humphrey – Santa Claus hides in your phonograph (Excerpt 2)
0:01:41 Zez Confrey – Kitten On The Keys
0:04:42 Shelton Brooks & Co. – Darktown Court Room
0:04:50 The Jazz Hounds – Royal Garden Blues
0:07:47 Mamie Smith & Her Jazz Hounds – ‘U’ Need Some Lovin’ Blues
0:10:40 Justine Roberts – The Shop Girl (Excerpt 1)
0:10:50 Ladd’s Black Aces – Aunt Hagar’s Children’s Blues
0:14:01 Justine Roberts – The Shop Girl (Excerpt 2)
0:14:11 Lucille Hegamin – Wabash Blues
0:17:24 John Riley – Casey Departing to Congress
0:17:29 Fletcher Henderson – There Ain’t No Nothin’
0:20:39 Isham Jones – Wabash Blues
0:23:37 Yerkes’ Happy Six – Yokohama Lullaby
0:25:32 Carl Fenton with Rudy Wiedoeft – Biminy Bay
0:28:45 Sergei Esenin – Confessions Of A Hooligan (Excerpt 1)
0:29:16 Luigi Russolo – Serenata
0:31:14 Sergei Esenin – Confessions Of A Hooligan (Excerpt 2)
0:31:30 Jacob Gegna – A Tfileh fun Mendel Beilis
0:34:58 Claudia Muzio – Sei Forse L’angelo Fedele
0:37:42 Bucca-Perez Co. – Nofriu al Telefono
0:37:52 Agustín Barrios – Tarantella
0:40:10 Achilleas Poulos – Kamomatou
0:42:06 Bucca-Perez Co. – Nofriu Buscevicu
0:42:18 Doumoua Ellaini – Aicha
0:43:13 Grupo Pixinguinha – Domingo Eu Vou Lá
0:45:14 Grupo Do Moringa – No Rancho
0:47:41 Warren G. Harding – Opening of Limitation of Armaments Conference
0:47:55 Michael Coleman – Bag of Spuds
0:48:44 Ford Hanford – My Old Kentucky Home
0:49:20 Kandel’s Orchestra – Kandel’s Bulgar
0:51:21 Marcus Garvey – Objects of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (Excerpt 1)
0:51:36 Eubie Blake – Sounds Of Africa
0:53:07 Marcus Garvey – Objects of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (Excerpt 2)
0:53:32 Rudy Wiedoeft’s Californians – Jabberwocky
0:56:45 Gene Rodimichs Orchestra – Home Again Blues
0:58:45 Edgar A. Guest – Wait Till Your Pa Comes Home
0:59:26 Al Weston & Irene Young – At The Circus
1:01:34 Maurice Chevalier – Je N’ Ose Pas
1:04:10 Bert Williams – Unexpectedly
1:05:41 William Cahill – Dinnie Donohue on Prohibition
1:05:55 Sam Moore and Horace Davis – Laughing Rag
1:08:26 Empire Vaudeville Co. – Down At Finnegan’s
1:08:36 Ethel Waters’ Jazz Masters – Bugle Blues (introducing Old Miss Blues)
1:11:11 Original Dixieland Jazz Band – St Louis Blues
1:14:23 Lanin’s Southern Serenaders – Shake It & Break It
1:17:19 Fletcher Henderson – Unknown Blues
1:18:46 Paul Whiteman – Humming
1:21:11 Green Brothers – Moonbeams
1:23:51 Newport Society Orchestra – Yoo Hoo
1:25:43 Benson Orchestra Of Chicago – Ain’t We Got Fun
1:28:49 Brown and Terry Jazzola Boys – Saxophone Blues
1:30:45 James P Johnson – Keep Off The Grass
1:33:02 Sissle’s Sizzling Syncopators – Low Down Blues
1:35:34 Justine Roberts – The Shop Girl (Excerpt 3)
1:35:44 Mamie Smith – Lovin’ Sam From Alabam’
1:38:19 Harry E. Humphrey – Santa Claus hides in your phonograph (Excerpt 3)

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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