Centuries of Sound - pre-jazz-era recorded music

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Thought this didn't really belong on the DJ mixes thread, so here it is in its own thread.


Centuries of Sound is a monthly mix of music and other audio from a single year - starting with the first sound recordings around 1860 and working slowly towards the present. So far I've completed these years-


I can only find the slightest of references to anything included here on ILX, and for good reason - very little that has survived from this time is really listenable, and the popular American music of the time is deeply problematic, to say the least. Still, there is a reasonable amount of at least interesting stuff out there, and I'm enjoying researching this stuff a great deal, even if it has turned into a life-encompassing project.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 3 July 2017 20:53 (five months ago) Permalink

An inspired project indeed!

Ned Raggett, Monday, 3 July 2017 21:01 (five months ago) Permalink

I need to follow this, will be a fascinating journey. George W Johnson (1891) is an interesting character not least that he apparently recorded each wax cylinder (25-50,000!) individually. Tim Brooks' book 'Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919' has quite a big section about him.

Dan Worsley, Monday, 3 July 2017 21:13 (five months ago) Permalink

Ha, just noticed you've linked to that book in the sidebar. Co-sign on Greg Milner's 'Perfecting Sound Forever' too.

Dan Worsley, Monday, 3 July 2017 21:22 (five months ago) Permalink

didn't realize richard jose was recording as early as 1892! i enjoy his last recording, an electrical recording of one of his early hits made in 1930. i have such a rough time with most recordings before about 1924 or so, though! the portable action keyring player analogy is right on. so little of value from these years was recorded, so little of that is preserved. just your occasional recording by joseph taylor, or polk miller, or europe's society orchestra.

The Saga of Rodney Stooksbury (rushomancy), Tuesday, 4 July 2017 02:48 (five months ago) Permalink

This is awesome. Great project.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 4 July 2017 03:00 (five months ago) Permalink

Thanks for the encouragement, all. Rushomancy - I had never heard of Richard Jose before this project, there are a lot of tenors to be dealing with in the early 1900s so quite possibly that's it for him. I agree of course that there is a lot of rubbish to get through in this era, but (as I'm doing everything a year ahead of schedule) I'm currently listening to 1906, and have to report that there is a wealth of great stuff already - Vess L Ossman, Bohumir Kryl, Bert Williams, Arthur Pryor, plus all manner of wonderful Russian discs. There is a big uptick in quality around 1897 and I'm still finding more than enough for each year (though I am working through over a thousand mp3s per year now and am going to have to come up with new strategies soon)

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 4 July 2017 22:09 (five months ago) Permalink

Oh wow, I'll be looking into this for sure.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Tuesday, 4 July 2017 22:32 (five months ago) Permalink

oh, vess ossman totally holds up great today (when he's not being racist). that's the thing there - damn near everything that got recorded back then was racist! jesus, poor bert williams; shit back then was fucked. bohumir kryl i hadn't heard, but man, people just went totally bonkers for the cornet back then, didn't they?

The Saga of Rodney Stooksbury (rushomancy), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 00:29 (five months ago) Permalink

Oh christ, yes, the racism everywhere is terrible, and applies on so many levels, major hurdle to get over, this is why there's still no Arthur Collins compilation out there, even though he was clearly the biggest star of the time. And yes, lots of cornet, also lots of xylophone and banjo, but very little piano recorded in the ragtime era. OTOH there are Russian, French & other recordings at this point, and much of this doesn't apply.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 06:06 (five months ago) Permalink

Fantastic project, Camaraderie, will be following this closely!

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 09:15 (five months ago) Permalink

Ooh, this looks great - I'd been slowly working through a bunch of Canary Records comps plus Jonathan Bogart's Just One Song More project (1900-1930).

etc, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 10:37 (five months ago) Permalink

this is great stuff, i think i mentioned on the dj mix thread

Shat Parp (dog latin), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 10:38 (five months ago) Permalink

this is awesome!

niels, Friday, 7 July 2017 10:35 (five months ago) Permalink

And the attention ramps up


Ned Raggett, Friday, 7 July 2017 16:50 (five months ago) Permalink

great project, excited to follow along ...

tylerw, Friday, 7 July 2017 17:31 (five months ago) Permalink

And the attention ramps up


― Ned Raggett, Friday, July 7, 2017 5:50 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yes, thanks influencers of ILM! Must keep it up now (I would have anyway, but good to know someone's actually listening to it, none of my friends / family / colleagues are remotely interested, best I've got it "tell me when you reach the 20s")

Re: Alessandro Moreschi, yes, I like him (not many do) and will be including at least one recording at some point. One of his cylinders also has the first ever recording of a pope.

Thanks for the link to Just One Song More, shamefully wasn't aware of that.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 8 July 2017 18:41 (five months ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

New entry up - 1893


Unique Quartette – Mamma’s Black Baby Boy
Louis Vasnier – Adam And Eve And De Winter Apple (Excerpt)
23rd Regiment Band Of New York – A.O.O.S. March
John York Atlee – Anvil Chorus
George J. Gaskin – After The Ball
Issler’s Orchestra – On The Midway
Ada Jones – Sweet Marie
Unknown – Brown Wax Home Recording Of Speech In Afrikaans
Sergei Taneyev And Leo Conus – Leo Conus- Suite For Piano Four-Hands
Russell Hunting – Casey At The Bat
United States Marine Band – The Kiss Waltz
Arthur Houston – Flute Solo
Edward M. Favor – The Commodore Song
George H. Diamond – When Summer Comes Again
John York Atlee – Why Should I Keep From Whistling?

I'm currently editing 1895 and listening to 1907, so if anyone has any suggestions for those years, they would be welcome.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 7 August 2017 05:37 (four months ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

1894 is up! There is an actual song you might know near the start, and a lot of very nice piano stuff in the middle, some very nice cornet playing near the end... I mean, still not the easiest of listening but getting better.


Words on the blog, tracklist here:

Spencer, Wiliams And Quinn’s Imperial Minstrels – Minstrel First Part
Issler’s Orchestra – Electric Light Quadrille
Edward M. Favor – Daisy Bell
James Mooney – Arapaho No. 73. Ghost Dance
Unknown – Personal Message from a Grandfather to his Grandchildren (excerpt 1)
Standard Quartet – Keep Movin’
Harvard Clock Tower – Chimes
Unknown – Personal Message from a Grandfather to his Grandchildren (excerpt 2)
Jules Conus – Chopin-Sarasate- Nocturne In E-Flat, Op. 9, No. 2
Anton Arensky – Le Ruisseau Dans La Forêt In G, No. 15 From 24 Morceaux Charactéristiques, Op. 36
Lavrentii Donskoi – Rubinstein- O Pechal I Toska From Nero
Vladimir Wilschaw – Godard- En Courant In G-Flat, No. 1 From 6 Morceaux, Op. 53
Joseph Sawyer – Birthday Speech, October 22 1894
Anton Arensky, Jan Hrímalý And Anatoly Brandukov – Arensky- Piano Trio No. 1 In D Minor, Op. 32- Second Movement – Scherzo- Allegro Molto
Maria Ivanovna Gutheil – Rubinstein- Sail
Russell Hunting – The Old Man And Jim
Jules Levy – The Last Rose Of Summer
John MacColl – Campbells Are Coming
Brilliant Quartette – Blind Tom
James Mooney – Caddo No. 2. Ghost Dance
Dan Kelly – Paddy’s Wedding
Sousa’s Band – The Crack Regiment
U.S. Marine Band – The Enthusiast Polka
23rd Regiment Band – New York Herald
U.S. Marine Band – The Directorate March
Charles Asbury – Haul The Woodpile Down
Bison City Quartet – Mill Medley

I was thinking of making downloadable packs of mp3s for each year, would people be interested in those?

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 4 September 2017 20:35 (three months ago) Permalink

i would for certain

bob lefse (rushomancy), Monday, 4 September 2017 20:52 (three months ago) Permalink

Ok, let's give it a try then.


mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 4 September 2017 21:13 (three months ago) Permalink

Ok if I do that directly? These recordings are all well out of copyright.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 4 September 2017 21:14 (three months ago) Permalink

^^ I for one would much prefer that to a mix, that would be awesome

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 5 September 2017 08:47 (three months ago) Permalink

Follow the Mediafire link, Le Bateau Ivre.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 5 September 2017 09:38 (three months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

1895 is here.


Mixcloud / mp3 download / unmixed mp3 pack are all at the bottom of the blog post


Vess L. Ossman – Cocoanut Dance
Russell Hunting – Casey As A Hotel Clerk
Baldwin’s Cadet Band Of Boston – The Liberty Bell
Edward M Favor – My Best Gal’s A New Yorker
Oriole Quartette – Brother Michael, Won’t You Hand Down That Rope
Sousa’s Band – Yazoo Dance
Issler’s Orchestra – Dixie
Aristide Bruant – Le Chat Noir
Holding’s Military Band – Overture Semiramide
Dan W. Quinn – Streets Of Cairo
Charles P. Lowe – Carnival Of Venice
Jean Moeremans – Carnival Of Venice
Unique Quartet – Who Broke The Lock?
Dickson – Dickson Experimental Sound Film
Leo Tolstoy – Spoken Word [14 February 1895, Russia]
Paul Pabst – Chopin-Pabst- Waltz In D-Flat, Op. 64, No. 1, “minute”
Josef Hofmann – Anton Rubinstein- Contredanse B, No. 3 From Le Bal, Op. 14
Paul Pabst – Tchaikovsky-Pabst- Paraphrase On Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66
Eugene Danton – Vive La Canadienne
David B. Dana – Evening Star
Baldwin’s Cadet Band Of Boston – Overture, Poet And Peasant
George W. Johnson – Listen To The Mocking Bird
Arthur B. Adamini – Caramba
Foh’s 23rd Regiment Band Of New York – The Melon Patch Schottische
George J. Gaskin – Sidewalks Of New York
Miss Alice Raymond – Love Me Little Love Me Long
Holding’s Military Band – Overture Semiramide
Issler’s Orchestra – Kentucky Jubilee Singers
Dan W. Quinn – Married Life
Sousa’s Band – Stars And Stripes Forever

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 2 October 2017 07:02 (two months ago) Permalink

Just put up mp3 packs for previous years


Editing 1896, bit of a mediocre year tbh, better coming up in 1897 though. Currently listening to 1908, have to abandon my driftnet approach soon as have hit the magic "2000 tracks to listen to" mark, and there isn't really time in the month, especially with these 4 minute discs, but looking forward to putting all the weird Russian pre-revolution stuff out there. So, if anyone has any suggestions for 1909-1920 they would be very welcome indeed.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 8 October 2017 20:36 (two months ago) Permalink

well, there's Before the Revolution: a 1909 recording expedition in the Caucasus and Central Asia by The Gramophone Company. probably already on your radar.

bob lefse (rushomancy), Sunday, 8 October 2017 20:53 (two months ago) Permalink

oh, and this is good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JFPzJaG2pg

bob lefse (rushomancy), Sunday, 8 October 2017 20:54 (two months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I have Before the Revolution, we'll see if it gets lost in amongst all the other Russian stuff. That Royal Marimba Band song is lovely though, have filed it away in 1915.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 8 October 2017 21:46 (two months ago) Permalink

Editing 1896, bit of a mediocre year tbh

Such an ILM comment, I love it :-) The hot new sound at that time was car engines, IIRC.

This is an incredible project! Thanks for putting it all together.

sbahnhof, Friday, 20 October 2017 04:31 (one month ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

1896 is up! Bit of a duff year, as said, but have tried to balance it out with a rambling, slightly pretentious essay on noise.

https://centuriesofsound.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/1896/ <-- Mixcloud / MP3 Pack / etc. are on the blog page, at the top.

Imperial Minstrels – The Old Log Cabin
George W. Johnson – The Laughing Song
William McKinlley – Speech to Republican Convention
Vess L. Ossman – The Stars and Stripes Forever
George Graham – Talk on Money
Columbia Orchestra – Virginia Skedaddle
W.O. Beckenbaugh – Sale of Toys, Dolls and So Forth on Christmas Eve Night
Steve Clemens – Darkys Patrol
Cal Stewart – Uncle Josh’s Trip to Coney Island (Excerpt 1)
Brand’s Concert Band – Chimes of Normandy
Cal Stewart – Uncle Josh’s Trip to Coney Island (Excerpt 2)
Empire State Concert Band – Belle of New York March
Bill Nye – On Tripe
William Paris Chambers – The Seraph
Josef Hofmann – Wagner-Brassin- Magic Fire Music From Die Walküre
John Terrell – a Few Words in Regard to Drinking
Gilmore’s Band – Grand March From Tannhauser
Russell Hunting – Casey at the Telephone (Excerpt 1)
Dan W. Quinn – Still His Whiskers Grew
Russell Hunting – Casey at the Telephone (Excerpt 2)
Edison Concert Band – Ouverture to ‘Der Tambour Der Garde’
Russell Hunting – I Wonder Why
United States Marine Band – the Directorate March
Len Spencer – Sale of Pawnbroker’s Goods (‘by Harry Spencer’)
Peerless Orchestra – Yankee Doodle Dandy Lancers
Sousa’s Band – The Darkie’s Temptation
George Graham – Street Fakir
Dorothy Hoyle – La Cinquantaine

I've also rewritten the 'about' page and optimistically put a suggestion form up there.

Listening to 1909 now, when I'm done with that I'll have a go at 2017.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 6 November 2017 22:13 (one month ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

1897 is here, incorporating a fair bit from "Actionable Offenses: Indecent Phonograph Recordings from the 1890s" - making this perhaps the only NSFW mix I'll make pre-20s.

Mixcloud, mp3 pack, download, RSS here - https://centuriesofsound.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/1897/

Tracks =

Students at Cornell University – New Years Day Party
Sousa’s Band (Trombone – Arthur Pryor) – Blue Bells of Scotland
Believed to Be Russell Hunting – Did He Charge Too Much
Vess L. Ossman – Old Folks at Home
Harry Heath – Speech With Church Chimes
Al Sweet – L’elegante [Élégante Polka]
Cal Stewart – Uncle Josh on a Bicycle
Edison Brass Quartet – Come Where Lilies Bloom
‘Willy Fathand of New York City’ [Believed to Be Russell Hunting] – Sim Hadley on a Racket
Edison Concert Band – El Capitan March
‘Manly Tempest’ [Unknown Performer, Possibly Russell Hunting] – the Rascal Detector
The Columbia Orchestra – Sea Flower Polka
Len Spencer & Vess Ossman – Hot Time in the Old Town
N. R. Wood – Morning on the Farm
Edison Male Quartette – Annie Laurie
Drum Corps – Spirit of ’76
Garde Republicaine – Marche Des Petit Pierot
‘Charley Smith of Kankakee’ [Believed to Be Russell Hunting] – Out of Order
Fraulein Vioni Eidner – Der Vogelhandler, Act I- Die Nachtigall
Robert Green Ingersroll – On Hope
Cousins & De Moss – Poor Mourner
Harry Heath – Speech
Arthur Pryor – the Palms
Frank S. Mazziotta – Sleighride
‘Manly Tempest’ [Unknown Performer, Possibly Russell Hunting] – Gimlet’s Soliloquy
George Schweinfest – Bob White Polka
Russell Hunting – Casey’s Political Speech
Peerless Orchestra – My Babe From Boston
‘Charley Smith of New York City’ [Believed to Be Russell Hunting] – Reilly as a Policeman
George J Gaskin – Best in the House is None Too Good for Reilly
Charles P. Lowe – Leonora Waltz
The Columbia Orchestra – I Thought I Was a Winner, Or, I Don’t Know, You Ain’t So Warm
Billy Golden – Listen to the Mocking Bird
Thompson River Indians – Dance Song of Thompson River Indians
Joseph Norrito – Original Schottische
Sousa’s Band – Stars and Stripes Forever

Best thing on here = Arthur Pryor, on three tracks.

I'm now working on 2017, need suggestions of speech clips, overwhelmed with music already.

Please let me know if you have any comments.

Mr Snrub - I don't have that track, can you please send it to me?

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 4 December 2017 18:08 (one week ago) Permalink

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