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Posted December 19, 2000
This is the only book ever published to cover recording pioneers, or singers/musicians who, before 1925, made records (78s/cylinders) of 'popular' music! The book's long opening essay summarizes the history of the early recording industry (rare sources were used--trade journals like TALKING MACHINE WORLD, memos from the Edison, Victor, Zon-O-Phone, U-S Everlasting, and Columbia record companies, etc.). Next are DETAILED encyclopedic articles organized alphabetically: 100 artists with separate entries in the book include the American Quartet, Billy Murray, Ada Jones, Cal Stewart (Uncle Josh), Nat Wills, Steve Porter, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (other 'jass' bands of 1917 covered, too), Paul Whiteman, George J. Gaskin, Carl Fenton, Sam Ash, Aileen Stanley, Henry Burr, the Peerless Quartet, Arthur Collins, Byron G. Harlan, the duo Collins and Harlan (separate entry--new info!), S. H. Dudley, Al Bernard, Edward M. Favor, Rudy Wiedoeft, Sousa, Walter B. Rogers, Vess L. Ossman, Sam Lanin, Bert Williams, Frisco Jazz Band, Olive Kline, J. W. Myers, Ben Selvin, the Green Brothers, Marion Harris, Haydn Quartet, Arthur Fields, Irving Kaufman, Will F. Denny, Frank C. Stanley, Nat Shilkret, James Reese Europe (Jim Europe), Victor Military Band, Victor Light Opera Company, Werrenrath, Shannon Four (Revelers), Richard Jose...many more! Rare info here from many descendants of the artists, from old letters sent to Jim Walsh (some never published by Walsh), from rare primary sources like birth & death certificates, from archives! This is the ONLY book that covers artists who, from the 1890s to the mid-1920s, made records of music that was 'popular' in nature, as opposed to records of operatic arias, symphonic works, or concert pieces. Today we call this period the industry's acoustic era. A pre-electric method for recording was used, with musicians performing into a horn, not a microphone. This encyclopedia covers American artists who recorded Tin Pan Alley numbers, Broadway show tunes, ragtime, 'coon' songs, novelty numbers, quartet arrangements, parlor ballads, early jazz (sometimes called 'jass'), blues, dance music, hymns, and early country. This book makes a distinction between stage personalities who happened to make some recordings--when they found time in their busy schedules--and artists who made their living largely by recording regularly, perhaps finding a little time on the side for theatrical performances, vaudeville, or concert recitals. Few stars of the stage made records regularly. Exceptions are Bert Williams, Nora Bayes, and Al Jolson, but even their output is minuscule compared with that of Henry Burr, Harry Macdonough, Lewis James, Vernon Dalhart, Irving Kaufman, and others who, for a long time, earned a living by recording. Over 100 of these kinds of artists covered in detail, with info available nowhere else!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.