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 (three months ago) Permalink

An inspired project indeed!

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

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

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

Fantastic project, Camaraderie, will be following this closely!

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

this is awesome!

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

And the attention ramps up


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

great project, excited to follow along ...

tylerw, Friday, 7 July 2017 17:31 (three 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 (three 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 (two 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 (one month ago) Permalink

i would for certain

bob lefse (rushomancy), Monday, 4 September 2017 20:52 (one month ago) Permalink

Ok, let's give it a try then.


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

Follow the Mediafire link, Le Bateau Ivre.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 5 September 2017 09:38 (one month 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 weeks 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 (one week 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 (one week ago) Permalink

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

bob lefse (rushomancy), Sunday, 8 October 2017 20:54 (one week 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 (one week ago) Permalink

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