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Early Years
     

The Early Years

by Al Jolson
 
In 2006, Collectables Records released a modest 12-rack sampler of Al Jolson's early recorded works, some of which predate the First World War. Unlike his incessantly reissued comeback recordings from the '40s, these historic performances are gilded with the magical ambience of the acoustic recording studio, the mysterious presence of anonymous and long-gone backing

Overview

In 2006, Collectables Records released a modest 12-rack sampler of Al Jolson's early recorded works, some of which predate the First World War. Unlike his incessantly reissued comeback recordings from the '40s, these historic performances are gilded with the magical ambience of the acoustic recording studio, the mysterious presence of anonymous and long-gone backing instrumentalists, and a repertoire that was essentially new rather than lifted out of mothballs and conspicuously trundled out to feed a latter-day nostalgia market. The younger Jolson was full of unusual humor and a theatrical edginess that was quite different from the shrill antics that would characterize his later persona. These fascinating cultural artifacts are rooted in minstrelsy, vaudeville, and early Tin Pan Alley. The playlist includes British music hall comedian Billy Merson's "The Spaniard That Blighted My Life"; Arthur Schwartz's "Yellow Jacket Girl" (which contains the line "I eat chop suey for you"); and George M. Cohan's "That Haunting Melody" during which Jolson engages in some tidy scat singing. "That Lovin' Traumerei" is built around the well-known theme from Robert Schumann's "Kinderszenen," and a profoundly humorous send-up of Arthur J. Lamb's "Asleep in the Deep" (by far the strangest and one of the most memorable recordings Jolson ever made) contains the warning: "Many brave cops fall asleep on their feet, so beware!" "Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts for Soldiers" combines WWI patriotism with the challenge of the tongue-twister, which seems harmless enough until Jolson invites an audience member to try it out alone, then jeers at him when he messes it up. This disc is an exact reissue of a handy budget-line Olympic LP that came out in 1973, and of Snap Your Fingers, its first CD reissue, which appeared in a flashy "flapper" edition presented by the Columbia River Entertainment Group in 2000. Jolson's early recordings have been reissued in more comprehensive editions by a number of labels, including Stash, Acrobat, Pearl, and Naxos Nostalgia.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/05/2006
Label:
Collectables
UPC:
0090431084823
catalogNumber:
848

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jolson   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

George M. Cohan   Composer
Joe Goodwin   Composer
Arthur J. Lamb   Composer
Arthur Schwartz   Composer
Harry Von Tilzer   Composer
Edgar Leslie   Composer
William Jerome   Composer
James V. Monaco   Composer
Edward Madden   Composer
Ren G. May   Composer
Aubrey Stauffer   Composer
Rida Johnson Young   Composer
Maurice Abrahams   Composer
Billy Merson   Composer
Jean Schwartz   Composer
George W. Meyer   Composer
R.P. Weston   Composer
Joseph McCarthy   Composer
Herman E. Darewski   Composer

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