DIME STORE HOT DANCE, Recorded in New York 1927-1930
Jazz Oracle (Canada), BDW 8023, released 2001
DIME STORE HOT DANCE TRACK LISTING
1 –Billy James’ Dance Orchestra I Wonder How You’re Spending Your Evenings Now?
2 –Al Lynch And His Orchestra Who Says They Don’t Care?
3 –Billy James’ Dance Orchestra I Wanna Go Back To Indiana
4 –Billy James’ Dance Orchestra They Don’t Come Better Than Betty
5 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra Georgia Lullaby
6 –Willie Creager & His Orchestra Crying Blues
7 –Willie Creager & His Orchestra Cat’s Kittens
8 –Willie Creager & His Orchestra It’s In The Morning
9 –Billy James’ Dance Orchestra Long Lost Daddy
10 –Billy James’ Dance Orchestra Pa‘s Old Hat
11 –Tom Gott And His Rose Room Orchestra Get Yourself A Sweetie And Kiss Your Troubles Away
12 –Billy James’ Dance Orchestra I’ve Got The San Francisco Blues
13 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra Where Has Mammy Gone?
14 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra Loving You
15 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra That’s My Idea
16 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra In My Wedding Gown
17 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra It’s Not A Secret Any More
18 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra You Know Better Than That
19 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra Yearning
20 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra When The Moon Shines Down On Sunshine And Me
21 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra Hockey
22 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra We’ll Be Married In June
23 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra In Harlem‘s Araby
24 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra Just A Lone Hill Billy
25 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra Are You Blue?
26 –Adrian Schubert’s Dance Orchestra Syncopated Jamboree
PATHE & CAMEO JAZZBANDS 1924-1928
Timeless Historical (Holland) CBC 1-091, released in 2007
PATHE & CAMEO JAZZBANDS TRACK LISTING
1 I Wonder What’s Become Of Sally, by Lido Venice Dance Orchestra
2 San, by Lido Venice Dance Orchestra
3 Bring Back Those Rock-A-Bye Baby Days, by Harl Smith and His Orchestra
4 When My Sugar Walks Down The Street, by Hotel Biltmore Orchestra
5 Sweet Georgia Brown, by The Texas Ten
6 Charleston, by The Texas Ten
7 Milenberg Joys, by Seven Missing Links
8 Angry, by Seven Missing Links
9 Milenberg Joys, by Seven Missing Links
10 Cheatin’ On Me, by Bill Wirges and His Orchestra
11 Shake That Thing, by Bill Wirges and His Orchestra
12 Two Ton Tessie, by Mickey Guy’s Hottentots
13 Rhythm Rag, by Mickey Guy’s Hottentots
14 She’s A Cornfed Indiana Girl, by Mal Hallett and His Orchestra
15 Sadie Green (The Vamp Of New Orleans), by Ole Olsen and His Orchestra
16 Take Your Time, by Ole Olsen and His Orchestra
17 Snag It, by Ole Olsen and His Orchestra
18 San, by Alabama Red Peppers
19 Red Head Blues, by Alabama Red Peppers
20 The Drag, by Alabama Red Peppers
21 The New Twister, by Alabama Red Peppers
22 Riverboat Shuffle, by Alabama Red Peppers
23 Eccentric, by Alabama Red Peppers
24 Spanish Dream, by The Lumberjacks
25 Black Beauty, by The Lumberjacks
26 Traffic Jam, by Joe Ward’s Swanee Club Orchestra
27 Scorchin’, by Joe Ward’s Swanee Club Orchestra
The 1920’s were an amazing decade in terms of the arts and entertainment, especially in film and music. The silent cinema was at its height as an art form, every small town had a theater of some kind with an incredible variety of product available, from the largest Hollywood productions to the most threadbare Z-grade westerns shot for a few thousand dollars, and all kinds of shorts. Masters like F. W. Murnau, Paul Leni, Sergei Eisenstein, and many others were doing visionary and original things with the artform of silent cinema….until sound came along, the slate was wiped clean, and to some extent things were started all over again at square one circa 1929 with sound films. In music, not only was it the height of the so-called Jazz Age, but dance establishments (despite prohibition) of all kinds thrived and recorded music was also at its height–there were major labels, budget labels, independent labels, and specialized labels. And in 1929, 200 million records were sold. However, in 1932, only 6 million were sold (!!!!!). Yes, from 200 million to 6 million. Many labels went under at that time, or were bought up for pennies on the dollar and incorporated into recording “groups.” Record collectors know that the pressings of specialized music were so small in 1932 and 1933, that records from that period are much rarer than things from the late 20’s (in the same sense that there are many lost films from 1928, as sound was going out, such as Harry Langdon’s HEART TROUBLE, because these films were considered instantly disposable and were not preserved, whereas earlier silent films went into re-release, new prints were struck, etc.). You can read an excellent overview of the early years of the recording industry here: https://medium.com/@Vinylmint/history-of-the-record-industry-1920-1950s-6d491d7cb606
The two albums under review here are not new–they’ve been around for a decade or more, and I’ve been enjoying them since their release. What they contain could be considered on some level the flotsam and jetsam of the 20’s recording industry, but flotsam and jetsam of great value and integrity (btw, there is actually a difference between flotsam and jetsam in maritime jargon: flotsam is debris not intentionally thrown overboard, while jetsam is debris which was intentionally thrown overboard–I am using the term in its broader more generic sense, the one landlubbers use). The best art of an era rarely gets its due in its day—-of course, it does SOMETIMES, but often it is discarded as of no permanent value after its initial and limited exposure. Who put the film DETOUR on their critics’ Best of 1946 List at the time? It was considered a disposable piece of hard-boiled product from a low-rent studio which, they said, just churned out threadbare programmers. Similarly, the music on these two albums was not lionized at the time–it was PRODUCT, and low-budget product at that. A lot of it was released under pseudonyms, and the studio musicians who played on these sides might not have ever seen a copy of the actual record after they cashed the check for the session. Indeed, they might not have known what name the record ever came out under!
The “budget labels” of the 1920’s offered product at a much lower price than the usual 75 cents or more the full-priced labels charged. Some offered discs for 50 cents, others went as low as three-for-a-dollar. Of course, the quality of the pressing was sometimes lower, a lot lower, and sometimes there were other factors–for instance, Columbia’s “Harmony” budget-label continued using acoustic recording equipment long after electric recording became the industry standard. Most jazz fans know the “Broadway Bellhops” sides on which Bix Beiderbecke played, which were acoustic sessions on Harmony. Pathe, for instance, had a budget subsidiary called Perfect….Paramount had a chain-store subsidiary called Broadway, which was sold through Montgomery Wards and the Wards catalog. Cameo offered its product, and the product on its subsidiary labels, for 50 cents each.
The Pathe & Cameo Jazzbands album should be of great interest to fans of 1920’s jazz. Compiler Hans Eckhoff scoured the hundreds of records on these labels for the small number that were 1) hot jazz or hot dance with a large jazz content and 2) by lesser-known artists not available elsewhere (for instance, things by Fletcher Henderson were not included). What you’ve got is a solid 27-track compilation of little-known 20’s jazz which includes well-known numbers such as Milenberg Joys, The Charleston, Sweet Georgia Brown, Sadie Green (The Vamp From New Orleans), Riverboat Shuffle, and San….as well as those uniquely 20’s novelty numbers such as She’s A Cornfed Indiana Gal. These are sides by musicians who knew their Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong and who probably anxiously awaited the latest Red Nichols and Miff Mole sides. The notes are superb, both about the history of the labels (and of the cut-price recording business in general) and of the artists, and the sound restoration is great without any of the annoying filters sometimes used which take the highs and lows off the music and make it sound like you are listening through a blanket or which bring in annoying digital “screeching.” Timeless usually does a first-rate job reissuing 20’s and 30’s jazz, and this fine collection of rarities is no exception.
The Dime Store Hot Dance album will be of interest to a more specialized audience, but it too is an important collection of hot dance material from the 1920’s, and it is done with the usual amazing attention to quality one expects from the Canadian “Jazz Oracle” label. Unfortunately, the label seems to be on hiatus the last few years….its last release was a exhaustive 3-disc set of Sam Wooding’s complete recordings, including super-obscure European sides in multiple versions. The sides on this album were transferred by the Dean of 78 transfers, the late great John R. T. Davies. If you think about it, with a 78 rpm record travelling so much faster than a 45 or especially a 33, there is so much more sound-information within the grooves of a 78 for each second of music, and Mr. Davies believed that with finding the right stylus for each record, and taking the time to extract EVERY frequency out of those grooves without artificial computer programs, one could get a wide frequency range and a deep rich sound which was 100% natural.
The tracks on Dime Store Hot Dance were at the time considered throwaway B-sides, quickly recorded to fill a disc which had a marketable A-side. And they had hot jazz solos, which is what makes them precious today. They may have been hidden under a bewildering array of pseudonyms on the record labels, but included great jazz players such as Tommy Gott (on so many fine Harry Reser records, where he also sang), Andy Sannella, Arthur Schutt, Don Murray, Larry Abbott, Tony Parenti, Manny Klein, Tommy Dorsey, and Jimmy Dorsey. Now, I should state that a number of these are corny novelty numbers, and many feature the stilted, nasal vocals found on many 20’s pop records (Irving Kaufman is one some of these songs, as well as people in a similar vein)–two records actually feature a male singing a lyric intended for a female vocalist. Remember, it was the song that sold back then, not the singer, so in a way, it mattered not a bit that a male was singing a song about wearing a wedding gown and waiting for his/her man. I suppose it also indicated the lack of interest the labels had in these B-sides. They were filler, throwaways aimed at a budget Dime Store market….a cut-rate product with a pre-sold audience because of the A-side. Thankfully, because a quick arrangement and improvised solos could be done in not much time and at not much expense, we have these precious swinging 20’s jazz-flavored Hot Dance records.
Both albums are highly recommended and full of deep cuts from the some of the least-known records of the 1920’s.
If you want to jump into the deep end of the Jazz Age pool, you can even do it with these spontaneous-sounding and fresh performances. You can ever read some lesser-known F. Scott Fitzgerald short story while listening and get the full immersion into the culture….have fun!