Six Overlooked Recordings 1927-1931

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Life Magazine cover July 1, 1926


“Just Blues”
Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra
(Brunswick 80037 B mx E 36456)           April 10, 1931


“The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise”
Ted Lewis And His Band
(Columbia 2246 D mx 150460)       April 14, 1930


“Time Alone Will Tell”
Layton And Johnstone; piano and vocal
(UK Columbia DB 654 mx CA 12039)    October 1931


“One More Time”
Roy Carroll & His Sands Point Orchestra; Dick Robertson, vocal
(Velvet Tone 2402 V mx 351025)    May 28, 1931


“Like You”
The Columbians; Franklyn Baur, vocal
(Columbia 968 D mx 143990)   April 19, 1927


“Dear Eyes That Haunt Me”
The Columbians; Lewis James, vocal
(Columbia 968 D mx 143991)         April 19, 1927


Because I can transfer recordings to my hard drive much faster than I am able to do the subsequent cleanup/audio restoration work on them, it is common for me to have, at any given time,  a large backlog of transfers awaiting restoration.

I recently went through an archived copy of an old hard drive and found dozens of recordings from my personal collection that I transferred several years ago but never restored. When I upgraded to a larger hard drive, the particular folder they were in was somehow overlooked when I transferred my work-in-progress to the new drive.  Once I backed up the old drive as an archive, the folder and the recordings in it fell off my radar.

Here are six recordings from that overlooked folder that I thought were very nice.  These and a number of others were recently added to Radio Dismuke’s playlist.   The remainder are now visible in my backlog for me to select from when I get opportunities to do audio restoration.

A few notes about the recordings:

Fletcher Henderson’s recording of “Just Blues” was originally issued on Melotone  (Melotone 12239), a budget-priced subsidiary label of Brunswick, under the pseudonym of the Connie’s Inn Orchestra.   At the time, Henderson’s primary recording affiliation was with Columbia. Thus, all recordings issued under his name were on that label.  But, as was common with recording contracts in those days, he remained free to record for other labels so long as they were not issued under his name.

Unlike a lot of recording pseudonyms, Connie’s Inn Orchestra had a basis, in fact, as Henderson’s orchestra became the house band of Harlem’s famous Connie’s Inn nightclub in late 1930.  One of the perks of that engagement was live network radio broadcasts from the club over CBS.  Thus the public was already aware that the house band at Connie’s Inn was Henderson’s.

My copy is from a 1944 Brunswick 78 rpm.  By that time, Decca had purchased the Brunswick trademark, which the label’s previous owner stopped using in 1940, as well as Brunswick’s pre-December 1931 catalog.  Decca revived Brunswick as a reissue label which made available many excellent 1920s and early 1930s jazz recordings that were long out of print and had become rare.

Given that Connie’s Inn closed in 1934 and that there was no longer a need to issue the recording under a pseudonym,  the artist credit on my copy is Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra.

Records on the 1940s Brunswick 8000 series made by Decca can often be picked up inexpensively and are usually worth getting. They aren’t as collectible as the original recordings. But if one collects records primarily to listen to them, they can be a great bargain as many of the originals can be difficult and expensive to acquire in nice condition.

“The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise,” composed by Ernest Seitz and first published in 1919, was already an “oldie” when Ted Lewis recorded it in 1930.  Isham Jones had the best-selling early 1920s recording of the song.  It also enjoyed a highly successful 1951 revival by Les Paul and Mary Ford.  The song was also included in the 1944 Tennessee Williams play The Glass Menagerie.

Turner Layton and Clarence Johnstone were an American vocal and piano duo that moved to England in 1924, where they soon achieved enormous success and became one of the top-selling British recording artists of the era.   They were among a number of American black artists who found success in the less racially unfriendly climate that existed in the UK and Europe.

The song “Time Alone Will Tell” was written by American composer Archie Gottler and Horatio Nicholls, a pen name for the British music publisher Lawrence Wright.  While recordings of the song were made by several artists in the UK,  I was not able to quickly find mention of any American recordings of it.

Roy Carroll & His Sands Point Orchestra and The Columbians were pseudonyms for Columbia’s in-house band led by Ben Selvin.

My copy of  “One More Time” is on the Velvet Tone label, but the recording was also simultaneously issued on Columbia’s other bargain-priced labels, Harmony and Clarion, which were sold through different retail outlets.  A dubbed recording was also issued on the OKeh label, also owned by Columbia, under the pseudonym of Buddy Campbell and His Orchestra.  OKeh had previously been allowed to operate and make recordings independently from its parent.  However, due to the impact of the Depression on record sales, to cut costs, OKeh increasingly started issuing Columbia recordings under different pseudonyms.  To better obscure this fact, rather than make pressings from the original masters, which would have revealed the Columbia matrix numbers,  OKeh dubbed the recordings so that they could be pressed from masters that showed matrix numbers consistent with OKeh’s numbering scheme.

“Dear Eyes That Haunt Me” and “Like You” are both Emmerich Kálmán compositions from his Die Zirkusprinzessin, which opened in Vienna in 1926 and made its way to the New York stage in 1927 as The Circus Princess.   The lyrics on both recordings from Harry B. Smith’s adaption for the New York production.


If you enjoy these recordings help us spread the word that this wonderful, forgotten music exists by sharing this page with your friends.
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