1906: When Things Was Lookin' Bright

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
One great benefit of digital audio technology is the increased availability of historic recordings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2009, as part of their wondrous Phonographic Yearbook series, Archeophone came through with When Things Was Lookin Bright, a 27-track anthology of records that were popular during the year 1906. The playlist paints an accurate picture of the newly created recording industry, the emerging audience for phonograph records, and the popular culture within which these developments were taking place. It is revealing that "Wait 'Til the Sun Shines Nellie" is sung by two different artists, as is "Love Me and the World is Mine," for ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
One great benefit of digital audio technology is the increased availability of historic recordings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2009, as part of their wondrous Phonographic Yearbook series, Archeophone came through with When Things Was Lookin Bright, a 27-track anthology of records that were popular during the year 1906. The playlist paints an accurate picture of the newly created recording industry, the emerging audience for phonograph records, and the popular culture within which these developments were taking place. It is revealing that "Wait 'Til the Sun Shines Nellie" is sung by two different artists, as is "Love Me and the World is Mine," for these are wholesome and sentimental airs that clearly appealed to a broad segment of the population. Henry Burr 1882-1941 cashed in on the public's appetite for this sort of thing by churning out a steady stream of softly sung sweet nothings with titles like "Good Night, Little Girl, Good Night." Harry Tally 1866-1939, then famous for his participation in the 1903 stage production of The Wizard of Oz, seems to have scored a minor hit with the quaint "Why Don't You Try?," and archetypal tenor Enrico Caruso 1873-1921, whose early recordings virtually spearheaded the establishment of the lateral record as a marketable commodity, is represented here in duet with Antonio Scotti in "Solenne in Quest'Ora," the impassioned duet from Giuseppe Verdi's verismo masterwork Forza del Destino. Opera was hugely important to the early recording industry, and the fact that only one example is included here detracts ever so slightly from the accuracy of the time capsule's span of genres. Most of these recordings fall into the comedic or novelty category. New York stage veteran Edward M. Favor 1856-1936 belts out "Fol the Rol Lol"; Ada Jones 1873-1922, whose delivery was only slightly less staid than that of her contemporary Nora Bayes, sings "Waiting at the Church" and "Just a Little Rocking Chair and You," as well as "Peaches and Cream" in duet with comedian Len Spencer 1867-1914. "The Linger Longer Girl" is carefully described by Elise Stevenson and Frank C. Stanley, and Bob Roberts tosses off "He Walked Right In, Turned Around and Walked Right Out Again," an unremarkable tune that would resurface decades later when dance bands dredged the old-time repertoire for novelty material. Vaudevillians Byron Harlan 1861-1936 and Arthur Collins 1864-1933 were successful both individually and as the team of Collins & Harlan. In 1906, ethnic stereotyping was a standard crowd-pleasing technique, and this tendency lent a rather nasty flavor to some of their recordings. If Collins' "Bill Simmons" seems mildly offensive with its references to a "lazy coon," be thankful that you're not hearing them both sing "Bake Dat Chicken Pie," which is one of the most racist recordings of the entire 20th century. Happily, "The Leader of the German Band" is a genuinely funny performance, with lyrics sung in a faux-Thuringian dialect similar to that used by Groucho Marx's uncle Al Shean of Gallagher & Shean, and gloriously silly instrumental passages by a riotously out-of-tune band playing "Yankee Doodle" as loud as humanly possible. The only African American artist on this collection is the great Bert Williams 1875-1922, one of the very few black entertainers able to make records in 1906. Williams is well-represented by "Nobody" and "Let It Alone." The Hayden Quartet was one of the era's most highly regarded vocal harmony groups. In addition to examples of this unit backing Corrine Morgan who sings "How'd You Like to Spoon with Me?" and Harry MacDonough, they are heard with their chief exponent Billy Murray, who sings "Waltz Me Around Again Willie." Murray's subsequent success as a solo act is represented by "Everybody Works But Father," "The Grand Old Rag," and the wild west novelty "Cheyenne." With his stirring performance of the "Buffalo Rag," master banjoist Vess L. Ossman 1868-1923 provides one of this album's two instrumentals. The only other track without vocals is "On the Road to Dublin," played by the highly popular Arthur Pryor Band, which provided stiff competition for John Philip Sousa.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/14/2009
  • Label: Archeophone Records
  • UPC: 778632901476
  • Catalog Number: 9013
  • Sales rank: 207,306

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Everybody Works But Father - Bill Murray (3:04)
  2. 2 Waiting at the Church - Ada Jones (2:28)
  3. 3 Love Me and the World Is Mine - Henry Burr (2:35)
  4. 4 Fol the Rol Lol - Edward M. Favor (2:33)
  5. 5 Nobody - Bert Williams (2:55)
  6. 6 Forza del Destino - Solenne in Quest' Ora - Antonio Scotti (4:11)
  7. 7 Wait 'Till the Sun Shines, Nellie - Byron Harlan (2:55)
  8. 8 Why Don't You Try? - Harry Tally (2:50)
  9. 9 He Walked Right in, Turned Around and He Walked Right out Again @@Bob Roberts (2:39)
  10. 10 How'd You Like to Spoon with Me? - Haydn Quartet (2:05)
  11. 11 Buffalo Rag - Vess L. Ossman (2:12)
  12. 12 Bill Simmons - Arthur Collins (2:59)
  13. 13 Just a Little Rocking Chair and You - Ada Jones (2:07)
  14. 14 Cheyenne - Billy Murray (2:48)
  15. 15 The Good Old U.S.A. - Byron Harlan (2:01)
  16. 16 Good Night, Little Girl, Good Night - Henry Burr (2:43)
  17. 17 Let It Alone - Bert Williams (2:41)
  18. 18 Peaches and Cream - Len Spencer (2:49)
  19. 19 So Long, Mary! @@Corinne Morgan (2:56)
  20. 20 Love Me and the World Is Mine - Albert Campbell (2:39)
  21. 21 On the Rocky Road to Dublin - Arthur Pryor's Band (2:10)
  22. 22 The Linger Longer Girl - Frank C. Stanley (2:41)
  23. 23 The Leader of the German Band @@Collins (2:51)
  24. 24 Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie - Harry Tally (2:50)
  25. 25 Waltz Me Around Again Willie - Billy Murray (3:10)
  26. 26 Will You Love Me in December as You Do in May - Harry Macdonough (2:48)
  27. 27 The Grand Old Rag - Billy Murray (2:47)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Bert Williams Baritone (Vocal)
Henry Burr Tenor (Vocal), Soloist
Albert Campbell Tenor Saxophone, Tenor (Vocal)
Arthur Collins Baritone, Baritone (Vocal), Soloist
Byron Harlan Tenor (Vocal)
Harry Macdonough Tenor Saxophone, Tenor (Vocal)
Vess L. Ossman Banjo, Soloist
Billy Murray Tenor (Vocal)
Harry Tally Tenor Saxophone, Tenor (Vocal)
Billy Murray Quartet Tenor Saxophone
Technical Credits
Giuseppe Verdi Composer
George M. Cohan Composer
Jerome Kern Composer
Arthur J. Lamb Composer
Andrew B. Sterling Composer
Harry Von Tilzer Composer
J.J. Walker Composer
Bert Williams Composer
Ed Rose Composer
Alex Rogers Composer, Author
Tim Brooks Source Material, Contribution
Edward Laska Composer
Fred W. Leigh Composer
Edward Madden Composer
Ren Shields Composer
Percy Wenrich Composer
Tom Turpin Composer
Will D. Cobb Composer
Harry Williams Composer
Meagan Hennessey Producer, Song Notes
Todd Becker Contribution
Theodore Morse Composer
David Giovannoni Contribution
Tally Composer
Pryor Composer
Ossman Composer
Macdonough Composer
Jones Composer
Williams Composer
Harlan Composer
Burr Composer
Edward Laska Composer
Favor Composer
Henry E. Pether Composer
Morgan Composer
Murray Composer
Roberts Composer
Caruso Composer
Collins Composer
Stanley Composer
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