Let’s get ready for the next baseball season with Ed Meeker’s version of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” This classic recording of a hundred-year-old song extolling the virtues of America’s pastime is a must-listen.
Mr. Meeker was an Engineer at Edison Records when he was asked to record this version of a song written by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer. Ironically neither of these gentlemen had ever been to a baseball game before writing this classic song. We have enhanced the sound quality of the original wax cylinder digitally with Michael Rosen’s assistance.
What an inspired performance! I found this original performance of this classic at publicdomainreview.org. The former song-plugger turned composer wrote this song in 1924, and it still resonates today. I especially enjoy this version, and am very glad to share it with you.
“You Are My Sunshine” is an example of country music’s large contribution to American music. This version shows off the song’s country roots. The tune was made popular by Jimmie Davis, who would later became governor of Lousiana. The song was written by a Paul Rice, but the songwriting was credited to the Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell, who purchased the song from Mr. Rice.
Wilf Carter, who performs this version, was a Canadian who often used the nickname of “Montana Slim.” Carter’s version evokes the deep melancholy in the song. The contrast between the cheery chorus (the most recognizable section), and the tone of the verses, make this version unique.
One curious part of this recording, the fluttery instrument that emerges during the first chorus, sounds like a direct reference point for a similar texture The Clash would employ on “Somebody Got Murdered,” several decades later.
In the American songbook, there are Standards and there are Standards. This would be a front cover of Standard Magazine. “All of Me” by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons was first recorded by singer Ruth Etting.
This was later recorded and performed by many others including Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and even Frank Sinatra. Mildred Bailey’s lilting vocal helped put this great song on the map, with this early recording by Paul Whiteman’s orchestra.
Here’s a lovely ode to Hawaii, performed by American popular music and early radio legend Cliff “Ukulele Ike” Edwards, accompanying his romantic vocal on, what else? Ukelele! It’s a beautiful song without a trace of irony, from a time when beautiful songs without a trace of irony were beautiful and not ironic. Jump in, the water’s nice! This is from a compilation called “Under The Ukele Moon” which you can find at archive.org, in time for your next Luau.
Annette Hanshaw’s sincere and unaffected vocal style was a natural fit for the jazz-influenced pop music which emerged in the 1920’s. Her recordings for the Pathé and Perfect Record labels, including an early version of “Body And Soul,” were hits in the Golden Age of Radio. Hanshaw left the spotlight in 1936, to settle down with her husband, Pathé executive Herman Rose. “Ain’t He Sweet” finds Annette Hanshaw’s charming and disarming voice accompanied by a single upright piano, in an up-tempo jaunt with echoes of ragtime and speakeasies.
The Paul Whiteman Orchestra famously pushed the boundaries of jazz by incorporating classical orchestration into big band arrangements. Whiteman commissioned and debuted George Gershwin’s groundbreaking “Rhapsody In Blue” in 1924, and his symphonic jazz style influenced many greats who followed – including Miles Davis, Gil Evans and later Winton Marsalis. Here’s an early recording by Paul Whiteman Orchestra – the classic horn player anthem, “Doo Wacka Doo.”