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A Birth of Jazz

A YouTube History of Music

Early Jazz 3

Ragtime - Song - Hollywood

Group & Last Name Index to Full History:


Tracks are listed in chronological order by year, then alphabetically.

Listings do not reflect proper order by month or day: later oft precedes earlier.

Not on this page? See history tree below.



Gene Austin

Josephine Baker    John Bieling    Brox Sisters    Chick Bullock    Henry Burr
Albert Campbell    Eddie Cantor    Lillie Delk Christian    Arthur Collins    Russ Columbo    Ida Cox    Bing Crosby
Marlene Dietrich    William F Denny    SH Dudley
Ruth Etting
Gracie Fields
George Gaskin
Annette Hanshaw    Byron Harlan    Marion Harris    Charles Harrison    Alberta Hunter
George Johnson    Al Jolson    Ada Jones    Richard Jose
Gertrude Lawrence    Virginia Liston    Frank Luther
Harry Macdonough    Red McKenzie    Johnny Mercer    Emmett Miller    Helen Morgan    Lee Morse    Billy Murray    JW Myers
Will Oakland
The Peerless Quartet    Steve Porter
Dick Robertson
Whispering Jack Smith    Len Spencer    Aileen Stanley    Elise Stevenson
Eva Taylor    Hociel Thomas    Three X Sisters    Sophie Tucker
Rudy Vallée
Elisabeth Welch    Mae West    Midge Williams
Florenz Ziegfeld


Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye



Featured on this page loosely in order of first recording if not record release (as possible).

Names are alphabetical, not chronological, per year:


1888 Len Spencer

William F Denny    George Gaskin    George Johnson

1892 John Bieling    Richard Jose    JW Myers
1893 Ada Jones
1896 SH Dudley
1897 Albert Campbell    Arthur Collins    Billy Murray    Steve Porter
1898 Harry Macdonough
1899 Byron Harlan
1902 Henry Burr
1906 Elise Stevenson
1907 The Peerless Quartet    Florenz Ziegfeld
1908 Will Oakland
1910 Sophie Tucker
1911 Charles Harrison    Al Jolson
1916 Marion Harris
1917 Eddie Cantor
1918 Gertrude Lawrence
1920 Aileen Stanley
1921 Alberta Hunter    Rudy Vallée
1922 Brox Sisters    Eva Taylor
1923 Ida Cox
1924 Gene Austin    Virginia Liston    Red McKenzie    Emmett Miller    Lee Morse
1925 Lillie Delk Christian (Hociel Thomas)    Whispering Jack Smith
1926 Josephine Baker    Bing Crosby    Ruth Etting    Annette Hanshaw
1927 Frank Luther    Helen Morgan
1928 Russ Columbo    Marlene Dietrich    Gracie Fields    Dick Robertson    Elisabeth Welch
1930 Chick Bullock
1932 Johnny Mercer    Three X Sisters
1933 Mae West
1934 Midge Williams


1922   Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye


  This page concerns largely ragtime and early jazz musicians who were mainly vocalists. Singers who were also bandleaders will be found in Early Jazz 1. Vocalists whose expertise was a particular instrument such as piano will be found in Early Jazz 3. Mixed with ragtime on this page will also be found other material representative of early phonograph recordings – such as ballads, comedy and minstrels – by early recording vocalists not especially associated with ragtime (no Caruso, though a few on this page did study opera). The very first song recorded, incidentally, was also the first recorded sound, made on April 9, 1860, by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, who invented the phonoautograph some 17 years before Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1878. The recording is a verse from 'Au Clair de la Lune', sung by a woman. Not a few of the early recordings on this page sound nigh as bad, as a little of the prehistory of ragtime is traced, much of it emanating of the Irish ballad.



"Jazz" (or jass) was a sexual term. Both Webster's and the Oxford Dictionary of Music estimate its origin as of 1913. It's beginnings are of two main branches (musically speaking): the one arises out of ragtime in New Orleans, with strong Creole and black influence. The other heralds largely from Chicago, also a transformation of ragtime, before moving onward to Harlem, St. Louis, Kansas City, etc.. New Orleans is generally considered the heart of jazz, where many musicians began their careers before merging with the Chicago limb. (This is true of the blues and boogie woogie as well, the Mississippi Delta the deep home of the blues, musicians often migrating to Chicago to join the blues scene there. Boogie woogie, the southern equivalent of ragtime, originated in eastern Texas, likely Marshall, about forty miles from Shreveport, Louisiana.) Though New York City was the third major hub of jazz, it is Hollywood that wielded the greater influence on the public due to film. (The importance of film to any of the American musical genres be here emphasized. It is Hollywood where country becomes country western. It is Hollywood where jazz (classical as well) gets popularized. It is Hollywood that emphasizes dance in early rock & roll. Of all the major American musical genres perhaps the blues most eluded the influence of Hollywood.)


  Born in 1867 in Washington D.C., Len Spencer's first recording was an 1888 advertisement for the Edison phonograph. Albeit Spencer was a ragtime vocalist several of the entries below are more representative of early recording then ragtime itself. Spencer died on December 15, 1916, in New York City. As a comedian, Spencer is more representative of early recording than ragtime.

Len Spencer   1888

   Edison Phonograph Promotion

Len Spencer   1899

   Hello! Ma Baby

Len Spencer   1902

   Arkansaw Traveler

   The 23rd Psalm/The Lord's Prayer


Len Spencer   1903

   Levee Scene

   Making the Fiddle Talk

Len Spencer   1906

   Louis And Lena At Luna Park

      With Ada Jones

   A Barnyard Serenade

      With Alf Holt

   Peaches And Cream

      With Ada Jones

Len Spencer   1907

   Broncho Bob and His Little Cheyenne

      With Ada Jones

Len Spencer   1908

   Muggsys Dream

      With Ada Jones

Len Spencer   1909

   Husking Bee Dance

   Sweet Peggy Magee

      With Ada Jones

Len Spencer   1910

   Return Of The Arkansas Traveler

      With Ada Jones

Len Spencer   1914

   Si Perkins Barn Dance

      With Ada Jones


Birth of Jazz: Len Spencer

Len Spencer

Source: Pop Music History

  Thought to have been born in Boston in 1860, tenor William F Denny's first recordings for the New England Phonograph Company were recorded in 1890, issued in 1891. Denny had gotten his start in music doing vaudeville. His last recording was 'You'll Have to Get Off and Walk', issued in July 1907. Denny was still traveling the vaudeville circuit when he died in in Seattle on October 2, 1908, of atherosclerosis.

William F Denny   1897

   The Change Will Do You Good

William F Denny   1899

   A Change Will Do You Goo

   And the Parrot Said

   How'd You Like to Be the Iceman?

William F Denny   1903

   Any Rags?

   I'm the Man Who Makes the Money in the Mint

William F Denny   1904

   Meet Me In St. Louis

William F Denny   1906


William F Denny   1907

   You'll Have To Get Off and Walk


Birth of Jazz: William Denny

William F Denny

Birth of Jazz: George Gaskin

George Gaskin

Source: Discogs

Born in 1863 in Belfast, George Gaskin first recorded in 1891 for Thomas Edison's North American Phonograph Company. Gaskin's first recordings for North American were made one day (June 2) after George Johnson's (June 1), below, for the same. (These histories are alphabetical by year. Johnson's initial recordings predate Gaskin's that year.)

George Gaskin   1891

   Drill Ye Tarriers Drill

George Gaskin   1893

   After the Ball

George Gaskin   1895

   The Black Knights Templar

   I Don't Want to Play In Your Yard

   My Old Kentucky Home

   Sidewalks of New York

George Gaskin   1896


   She May Have Seen Better Days

George Gaskin   1898

   On the Banks of the Wabash

   She Was Bred In Old Kentucky

George Gaskin   1899

   America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)

George Gaskin   1903

   The Bassoon

   The Whipoorwill Song




Born in 1846 in Virginia, George W. Johnson was a minstrel and vaudeville singer believed to be the first black to record. Johnson was performing in Manhattan when he was offered twenty cents per two minutes of recording by Charles Marshall of the New York Phonograph Company and Victor Emerson of the New Jersey Phonograph Company. Among the first of those recordings was 'The Whistling Coon' followed by 'The Laughing Song', both of which became the best selling recordings in the United States at the time. But Johnson's popularity began to wane upon the turn of the century. He ceased recording and took employment as an office doorman. He was 67 years old upon his death in 1914, with small clue to what his little seeds would lead. The 1891 recordings below were for the New Jersey Phonograph Company. He began recording for Thomas Edison's North American Phonograph Company later the same year.

George Johnson   1891

   The Laughing Song

   The Whistling Coon

George Johnson   1898

   The Laughing Song


Birth of Jazz: George Johnson

George Johnson

Source: Library of Congress


  Born in 1869 in New York City, tenor John Bieling sang with various vocal groups while working in a stained glass factory. Rarely recording solo (none found either), Bieling first recorded in 1892 with the Manhansett Quartet, other members of which were George Gaskin, Joe Riley and Walter Snow. In 1898 he formed the Edison Male Quartet to record for Thomas Edison's phonograph company. That group would be renamed the Haydn Quartet in order to record for other companies as well. Bieling began singing with Billy Murray's American Quartet in 1909. He began featuring in the Heidelberg Quintet in 1911. In 1913 he gave up singing due to damaged (overworked) vocal chords and began to work in sales for Victor Records. Bieling later sold Victrola phonographs. Retiring from that in 1926, he died in Hempstead, Long Island, in 1948. Because Bieling rarely recorded solo the index below is more a list of early vocal recording groups and major vocalists whom he accompanied than of Bieling. At least one recording below may be beyond repair.

John Bieling   1892

   Sally in Our Alley

      With the Manhansett Quartet

John Bieling   1895

   Annie Laurie

      With the Manhansett Quartet

John Bieling   1902

   Sweet Genevieve

      With Steve Porter

John Bieling   1903

   I'll Wed You In The Golden Summer Time

      With Harry Macdonough

   I'm Wearing My Heart Away For You

      With Harry Macdonough

   Somebody's Waiting 'Neath Southern Skies

      With Harry Macdonough

John Bieling   1904

   The Little Rustic Cottage By The Stream

      With Harry Macdonough

John Bieling   1906

   Saved by Grace

      With Harry Macdonough

John Bieling   1908

   In the Sweet Bye and Bye

      With the Haydn Quartet

John Bieling   1911

   That Fellow With The Cello Rag

      With the American Quartet

John Bieling   1912

   That College Rag

      With the American Quartet

   I Want To Love You While The Music's Playing

      With the Heidelberg Quintet

John Bieling   1913

   On The Banks Of The Wabash

      With the American Quartet

   Dear Old Girl

      With the Haydn Quartet

   Mobile Minstrels

      With Billy Murray


Birth of Jazz: John Bieling

John Bieling

Source: Library of Congress

  Born in Cornwall, England, in 1862, Richard Jose immigrated to Nevada and began singing professionally in 1881 with Thatcher's Minstrels. He first recorded in 1892 ('The Blind Boy', below), then seems to disappear from the cylinder until 1903 when he began recording for the Victor Talking Machine Company. Jose was more a minstrel than ragtime singer. His last releases for Victor were in 1906. In 1915 Jose appeared in the silent film, 'Silver Threads Among the Gold', which songs he lip synced from the wings of Madison Square Gardens, marking the Gardens' first use as a theater. Jose continued with theatre until 1919, presenting the pastoral play, 'Silver Threads', on tour. Jose eventually took employment with the state of California, rising to Real Estate Commissioner in the thirties. He died in 1941 in San Francisco.

Richard Jose   1892

   The Blind Boy

Richard Jose   1904

   Belle Brandon

   With All Her Faults I Love Her Still

   Abide With Me

   Dear Old Girl

   Dear Old Songs

   Glory to God

   Silver Threads Among The Gold

   Time and Tide

   When I'm Away From You Dear

   Your Mother Wants You Home, Boy

Richard Jose   1905

   The Angel At The Window

   Ben Bolt

   I Can Not Sing The Old Songs

   Rock of Ages

   Since Nellie Went Away

   We've Been Chums For Fifty Years

Richard Jose   1930

   When You and I Were Young, Maggie


Birth of Jazz: Richard Jose

Richard Jose

Photo: Nevada Historical Society

Source: o-n-e

Birth of Jazz: JW Myers

JW Myers

Source: Last FM

Balladeer JW Myers (John Myers) is believed to have been born in Wales and immigrated to the United States at age twelve (circa 1876). As Myers is listed in an 1892 New Jersey Phonograph Company catalogue as an already "popular baritone" there is speculation he may have recorded earlier than 1892. If so, no documentation of such is yet found. In 1895 Myers joined a traveling opera company, then founded the Globe Talking Machine Company, a brief-existing cylinder recording enterprise. In 1909 he invested in the U.S. Everlasting Cylinder Company (did no recordings for them), then disappeared from history so thoroughly that his last recordings for Columbia aren't known (circa 1913). That he died or returned to Wales are the most likely. Beware: some very scratchy tracks below:

JW Myers   1898

   Star Light, Star Bright

   Sweet Savannah

JW Myers   1901

   A Son of the Desert Am I

   Brown October Ale

   Hello, Central! Give Me Heaven

   The Holy City

   In The Shade Of The Palm

JW Myers   1902

   I Stood On The Bridge At Midnight

   On a Sunday Afternoon

   The Red White and Blue

JW Myers   1903

   Come Take a Trip in My Airship

   In the City of Sighs and Tears

   The Message of the Violets

   When We Were Boys

JW Myers   1904

   Always In the Way

   I'm Wearing My Heart Away For You

   Just Before The Battle Mother

JW Myers   1905

   You're Just The Girl I'm Looking For

JW Myers   1907

   The Bowery Grenadiers

   Night Time

JW Myers   1908

   Nearer My God to Thee

JW Myers   1911

   Reed Bird Harmony



Among the earliest recordings of ragtime we have come across were produced via brown wax cylinders by the Edison Recording Company. The vocalist is Ada Jones, believed to have first recorded via cylinder with the North American Phonograph Company in 1893. (Those songs, 'Sweet Marie' and 'The Volunteer Organist', are unfound.) Born in 1873 in Lancashire, England, Jones was six when her family brought her to Philadelphia, seven when she began performing, albeit as an epileptic that was a trick to handle. Jones wouldn't live to experience the heyday of latter ragtime and early jazz in the Roaring Twenties, as she died in 1922, only 35 years old.

Ada Jones   1906

   The Moon Has It's Eyes On You

Ada Jones   1907

   Don't Get Married Any More, Ma

       1906 recording unfound

   If The Man In The Moon Were A Coon

   Little Black Lamb

   Whistle It

       With Bill Murray & Frank C Stanley

Ada Jones   1908

   Oh! You Coon

   Sailing In My Balloon

Ada Jones   1909

   Arab Love Song

   Isn't Love A Grand Old Thing

       With Bill Murray


       With Bill Murray

   I Can't Say You're The Only One

       With Bill Murray

   My Pony Boy

   Oh You Kid

       With Bill Murray

   Shine On Harvest Moon

       With Bill Murray

Ada Jones   1910

   Come Along My Mandy

       With Bill Murray

   Oh, You Candy Kid

       With Bill Murray

Ada Jones   1911

   All Alone

       With Bill Murray

   Come Josephine In My Flying Machine

       With Bill Murray

Ada Jones   1912

   By the Light of the Silvery Moon

   Lingering Love

       With Bill Murray

   Ring Ting-A-Ling

   Row! Row! Row!

Ada Jones   1913

   Come And Kiss Your Little Baby

       With Bill Murray

   Out On the Old Front Porch

       With Bill Murray

Ada Jones   1914

   By the Beautiful Sea

       With Bill Murray

   Kiss Me Honey Kiss Me

Ada Jones   1915

       With Bill Murray

   Mrs Sippi Youre A Grand Old Girl

   My Little Girl

      With Will C Robbins

Ada Jones   1922

   On a Little Side Street

       With Billy Jones

   When Frances Dances With Me

       With Billy Jones


Birth of Jazz: Ada Jones

Ada Jones

Source: Heebie Jeebies

  Born Samuel Holland Rous in 1874 in Greencastle, Indiana, baritone SH Dudley is thought to have started recording in 1896, the year he became an original member of the Edison Quartet. Dudley had dropped out of school at thirteen to support his father who had been a teacher but been struck deaf. His first professional employment was with a traveling light opera (comic opera) outfit in the latter eighties that toured as far south as Mexico and South America. Dudley oft performed "coon" (: black) songs typical of minstrel shows in the eighties and nineties, but beginning to fall out of favor as racially derogatory around 1910 until their final disappearance in the twenties. Dudley also recorded as Frank Kernell. In 1919 he retired from the music industry to France with his wife. Returning to the States shortly before World War II, he died in Los Angeles in 1947, his wife the next day.

SH Dudley   1899

   I'd Like It

   Military Mollie

SH Dudley   1900

   Dear Little Girly Girly

   The Man Behind The Gun

SH Dudley   1901

   The Blow Almost Killed Father

   Oh! Oh! Miss Phoebe

   Sweet Annie Moore

      With Harry Macdonough

   The Tale of the Kangaroo

SH Dudley   1903

   In the Starlight

      With Harry Macdonough

SH Dudley   1904

   Meet Me In St. Louis

   My Gasoline Automobile

      As Frank Kernell

   The Whistling Bowery Boy

SH Dudley   1905

   Girl Wanted

   Give My Regards To Broadway

      As Frank Kernell


Birth of Jazz: SH Dudley

SH Dudley

Birth of Jazz: Albert Campbell

Albert Campbell

Source: Dave Whitaker

Born in 1872 in Brooklyn, Albert Campbell was a member of the vaudeville team, the Diamond Comedy Four, with Steve Porter as a teenager. His first recordings are said to be for Berliner in 1897 (nothing at YouTube before 1898 and no documentation on the internet until 1899). Campbell was a member of the Columbia Male Quartet, which was renamed the Peerless Quartet in 1907. Other members were tenor Henry Burr, baritone Arthur Collins and bass John Meyer. Between 1911 and 1925 Campbell and Henry Burr proved a lucrative recording duo. Upon the disbanding of the Peerless Quartet in 1925 Campbell formed a duo with Frank Kaufman. He died in New York in 1947.

Albert Campbell   1898


   The Girl I Loved in Sunny Tennessee

Albert Campbell   1899

   She Was Bred in Old Kentucky

Albert Campbell   1902

   I've a Longing in my Heart for You, Louise

   The Miller's Daughter

Albert Campbell   1906

   I Like Your Way

Albert Campbell   1907


Albert Campbell   1908

   School Days

Albert Campbell   1912

   That Mysterious Rag

      With Albert Collins

   When I Was Twenty-One

      With Henry Burr

Albert Campbell   1913

   Sailing Down the Chesapeake Bay

      With Henry Burr

Albert Campbell   1914

   1915 San Francisco

      With Henry Burr

   I'm on My Way to Mandalay

      With Henry Burr & Will Oakland

Albert Campbell   1918

   After You've Gone

      With Henry Burr



Birth of Jazz: Arthur Collins

Arthur Collins

Source: Journal of Life

Born in 1864 in Philadelphia, baritone Arthur Collins first began recording in 1897 for the Edison label. He had spent fifteen years trying to make some progress with various touring companies when in 1895 he largely gave up to study bookkeeping. Until Edison Records decided he had talent. From that point onward Collins became among the most successful of early recording artists. In 1901 he fromed a duo with tenor Joe Natus. The pair also sang in a group for Edison Records called the Big Four Quartet, which is how Collins met his next partner, Byron Harlan, with whom he sang throughout the rest of his career. Unlike some of the other early musicians on this page, Collins fairly personified ragtime. Collins died in Tice, Florida in 1933.

Arthur Collins   1897

   My Josephine

Arthur Collins   1898

   Happy Days in Dixie

   Zizzy Ze Zum Zum

Arthur Collins   1899


Arthur Collins   1900

   Mandy Lee

Arthur Collins   1901

   My Tiger Lily

Arthur Collins   1902

   Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home?

   Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill

Arthur Collins   1904

   The Goo Goo Men

Arthur Collins   1905

   The Preacher and the Bear

Arthur Collins   1906

   Everybody Have a Good Old Time

   Moving Day

Arthur Collins   1907

   Come On and Kiss Yo' Baby

      With Byron Harlan

   I Got To See De Minstrel Show

   The Ragtime Goblin Man

Arthur Collins   1908

   I Just Can't Keep My Feet Still

Arthur Collins   1909

   Temptation Rag

Arthur Collins   1910

   Put Your Arms Around Me Honey

Arthur Collins   1911

   Steamboat Bill

Arthur Collins   1912

   Alexander's Ragtime Band

      With Byron Harlan

   In Ragtime Land

Arthur Collins   1914

   The Aba Daba Honeymoon

      With Byron Harlan

   California and You

      With Henry Burr

   Pull for the Shore

      With the Peerless Quartet

Arthur Collins   1917

   Musical Sam from Alabama

      With the Peerless Quartet

Arthur Collins   1919

   I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles

      With Henry Burr



Birth of Jazz: Billy Murray

Billy Murray

Source: Soundtrack to My Day

Born in 1877 in Philadelphia, Billy Murray was raised since age five in Denver before taking off with a traveling vaudeville troupe in 1893. He also performed in minstrel shows before first recording in 1897 for one Peter Bacigalupi with a phonograph company in San Francisco. Those cylinders aren't thought to have survived. He made more recordings in 1903 in New York and New Jersey. Murray then teamed with Ada Jones for recordings in 1906. He made his last recordings in 1943 with comedian Monroe Silver, retiring from the music profession the next year. He died of heart attack in 1954 in New York. More Billy Murray under Ada Jones on this page.

Billy Murray   1903

   Alic Busby, Don't Go Away


   If You Like Lil For Fair

   It Takes The Irish To Beat The Dutch


   Tessie (You are the Only, Only, Only)

   There's a Little Street In Heaven

   Under the Anheuser Bush

   Up In a Cocoanut Tree

Billy Murray   1904

   Dan Dan Dan-u-el

   Meet Me In St Louis Louis

Billy Murray   1905

   Give My Regards to Broadway

   Hiram Green, Good-bye

Billy Murray   1906

   You're a Grand Old Flag

Billy Murray   1908


Billy Murray   1909

   A Good Old Dollar Bill

   Foolish Questions

   I Wish I Had a Girl

   I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now

   Play that Barber Shop Chord

   Shine On Harvest Moon

      With Ada Jones

Billy Murray   1910

   By the Light of the Silvery Moon

   Sweet Italian Love

Billy Murray   1911

   Oh You Beautiful Doll

Billy Murray   1912

   Alexander's Bagpipe Band

   The Eskimo Rag

   Tennessee Moon

   The Wedding Glide

Billy Murray   1913

   Moonlight Bay


      With Ada Jones

Billy Murray   1914

   It's a Long Way to Tipperary

   Poor Pauline

Billy Murray   1916

   Hello, Hawaii, How Are You?

   Pretty Baby

Billy Murray   1918



Billy Murray   1920

   Dardanella Blues

Billy Murray   1921

   Pucker Up and Whistle

Billy Murray   1925

   Don't Bring Lulu

   I Like Pie, I Like Cake


  Born in 1864 in New York, baritone Steve Porter began recording in 1897 for the Berliner and Columbia labels. Those were 'Mamie Reilly', 'Where Is My Boy Tonight?' and 'Yield Not To Temptation'. He had begin his career in vaudeville in eighties with the Diamond Comedy Four, other members of which were Albert Campbell, Billy Jones and Jim Reynard. He was also a member of the Columbia Male Quartet, which became the Peerless Quartet in 1907. In 1909 he joined Billy Murray's American Quartet, with which he remained until 1919. In 1916 Porter founded the Port-O-Phone Corporation, manufacturing hearing aids. Porter died in 1946. Several tracks below are less representative of ragtime than early recording, as Porter was a comedian as well as a vocalist.

Steve Porter   1899

   A Picture No Artist Can Paint

Steve Porter   1902

   An Armful of Kittens and a Cat

Steve Porter   1908

   Flanagans New Years Call

   The Laughing Spectator

Steve Porter   1909

   An Irish-Dutch Argument

   Policeman O'Reilly On Duty

Steve Porter   1910

   Down On The Mississippi

   Irish Wit

Steve Porter   1912

   Ragtime Violin

      With the American Quartet

Steve Porter   1913

   Two Jolly Sailors

Steve Porter   1914

   All Aboard For Dixieland

Steve Porter   1915

   The Ragtime Dream

      With the American Quartet

   The Trial Of Joshua Brown

      With Ada Jones & Harlan Knight

Steve Porter   1918

   Farmyard Medley

      With the American Quartet

   Long Boy

Steve Porter   1919

   Police Courtroom Scene


Birth of Jazz: George Gaskin

Steve Porter

Source: Discogs

  Born John Scantlebury Macdonald in 1871 in Hamilton, Ontario, balladeer Harry Macdonough first recorded in 1898 for the Michigan Electric Company of Detroit. In 1899 he joined the Edison Male Quartet, which would become the Haydn Quartet. Macdonough retired from performing and recording as of 1920 to become a manager at Victor Talking Machine Company, switching to Columbia in 1925, working as a studio director until his death in 1931. Macdonough is less an example of ragtime than early recording for phonograph.

Harry Macdonough   1901

   Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

   Goodbye Dolly Gray

   When You Were Sweet Sixteen

Harry Macdonough   1902

   Camp Meeting Jubilee

   In The Good Old Summer Time

   Mandy Lee

   The Mansion of Aching Hearts

   My Beautiful Irish Maid

Harry Macdonough   1903

   The Maid of Timbuctoo

   My Cosy Corner Girl

Harry Macdonough   1904

   Good-bye, My Lady Love

Harry Macdonough   1905

   Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

   After They Gather the Hay

   I Can't Tell Why I Love You But I Do

Harry Macdonough   1906

   When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder

Harry Macdonough   1907

   Molly Darling

   My Wild Irish Rose

Harry Macdonough   1908

   I Lost My Heart When I Saw Your Eyes

   Shine On, Harvest Moon

      With Elise Stevenson

Harry Macdonough   1911

   Down By the Old Mill Stream

Harry Macdonough   1912

   When I Was Twenty One

Harry Macdonough   1916

   The Girl On the Magazine


Birth of Jazz: Harry McDonough

Harry Macdonough

Source: Wikipedia

Birth of Jazz: Byron Harlan

Byron Harlan

Source: Centennial Countdown

Born in Kansas in 1861, balladeer Byron Harlan is thought to have made his first recording in 1899: 'Please, Mr. Conductor, Don't Put Me Off The Train'. It would appear that next to nothing is known about Harlan other than the recordings he made, both solo and with Arthur Collins. He died in 1936.

Byron Harlan   1891

   Please, Mr. Conductor, Don't Put Me Off The Train

Byron Harlan   1901

   Hello Central, Give Me Heaven

Byron Harlan   1903

   In The Village by the Sea

Byron Harlan   1905

   Bunker Hill


Byron Harlan   1906

   Captain Baby Bunting

   Keep On The Sunny Side

Byron Harlan   1907


      With Frank Stanley

   'Neath the Old Cherry Tree, Sweet Marie

Byron Harlan   1908

   Always Me

Byron Harlan   1910

   Can't You See

   Soldier in Blue


  Born Harry Haley McClaskey in 1882 in New Brunswick, Canada, Henry Burr recorded under a long list of aliases as well: Irving Gillette, Henry Gillette, Alfred Alexander, Robert Rice, Carl Ely, Harry Barr, Frank Knapp, Al King and Shamus McClaskey. Burr made more than 12,000 recordings during his career. Burr had begun singing in public at age five. At thirteen he performed with an ensemble called the Artillery Band. He was performing at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC in 1901 when he was discovered by opera baritone Giuseppe Campanari, who encouraged him to move to New York and pursue vocal training. Which he did, before making his first recordings for Columbia in 1902 (nothing at YouTube for that year). In 1904 Burr began recording for Edison Records as Irving Gillette, then Victor in 1905. He joined the Columbia Male Quartet in 1906, which would become the Peerless Quartet in 1907. (The Columbia Male Quartet had begun recording in the nineties, but nothing at YouTube.) The Peerless Quartet is thought to be the most profitable ensemble of the period, making hundreds of recordings. Various versions of the group were formed until its final dismantling in 1928. The group's first recordings are thought to be for Zon-o-phone in 1907 (unfound). The Peerless Quartet began recording en force in February of 1908 for Victor, their first four: 'Women!', 'Moonlight On the Lake', 'The New Parson at Darktown Church' and 'Rah! Rah! Rah!'. Among Burr's major partners in the music business was Albert Campbell, with whom he recorded duets between 1911 and 1925. Burr's first radio broadcast was from Denver in 1920, using a wood bowl rigged with an inverted telephone transmitter for a microphone. In 1928 he founded Henry Burr, Inc. and began producing radio programs. In 1935 Burr started performing for WLS Chicago 'National Barn Dance', where he stayed the next five years. Burr died in Chicago on April 6, 1941. Most of the tracks below from 1908 onward are likely With the Peerless Quartet, though some are not listed as such without greater certainty.

Henry Burr   1903

   The Holy City

Henry Burr   1904

   Blue Bell


Henry Burr   1905

   Face to Face

   The Girl from the USA

      As Irving Gillette

   In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree

   Oh Promise Me

      As Irving Gillette

   Stand Up For Jesus

Henry Burr   1906

   'Neath The Spreading Chestnut Tree

Henry Burr   1908

   Lead, Kindly Light

      With the Peerless Quartet

   My Old Kentucky Home

      With the Peerless Quartet

   Rah! Rah! Rah!

      With the Peerless Quartet

Henry Burr   1909

   Let's Go Back To Baby Days

      With the Peerless Quartet

   When You And I Were Young, Maggie

Henry Burr   1911

   Let Me Call You Sweetheart

      With the Peerless Quartet

Henry Burr   1913

   My Little Persian Rose

      With the Peerless Quartet


      With the Peerless Quartet

Henry Burr   1914

   Back To The Carolina You Love

      With the Peerless Quartet

   The Song That Stole My Heart Away

   Way Down On Tampa Bay

      With the Peerless Quartet

Henry Burr   1915

   I Didn't Raise My Boy to be a Soldier

      With the Peerless Quartet

Henry Burr   1916

   M-O-T-H-E-R (A Word That Means the World to Me)

   On Honolulu Bay

      With the Peerless Quartet

Henry Burr   1917

   Over There

      With the Peerless Quartet

Henry Burr   1919

   Beautiful Ohio

Henry Burr   1922

   Faded Love Letters

   My Buddy

   Time After Time

Henry Burr   1925

   After the Ball

      With the Nat Shilkret International Novelty Orchestra

Henry Burr   1926


   I Found a Million Dollar Baby

   With the Nat Shilkret International Novelty Orchestra


   The Prisoner's Sweetheart

Henry Burr   1927

   Are You Lonely Tonight


Birth of Jazz: Henry Burr

Henry Burr

Photo: Ryan Barna Collection

Source: Phono Nostalgia

Birth of Jazz: Elise Stevenson

Elise Stevenson

Source: Tim Gracyk

Born Eliza Stevens in Liverpool in 1878, Elise Stevenson immigrated to America to become a member of the Lyric Quartet with Harry Macdonough, Frank Stanley and Corrine Morgan. She later joined the Trinity Choir. Rarely appearing solo (none found either), Stevenson is thought to have first recorded fourteen tracks in 1906 for Victor (none found). She also recorded as Elise or Elsie Wood. Her last recordings were in 1911, also for Victor, after which she retired to raise her family. Stevenson died in 1967 in Laguna Beach, California.

Elise Stevenson   1907

   I'll Wait for You, Little Girlie

      With SH Dudley & Harry Macdonough

   The Linger Longer Girl

      With Frank Stanley

   I Love You So

      With Harry Macdonough

Elise Stevenson   1908

   Piccolo from a Waltz Dream

      With Harry Macdonough

Elise Stevenson   1909

   All I Want is One Loving Smile From You

      With Frank Stanley


      With Henry Burr & Frank Stanley

   That Would Be Lovely

      With Frank Stanley

   Shine On Harvest Moon

      With Harry Macdonough & Miss Walton

   Won't You Be My Playmate

      With Henry Burr & Frank Stanley

Elise Stevenson   1910

   Two Giddy Goats from the Bells of Brittany

      With Frank Stanley

Elise Stevenson   1911

   When You're In Town

      With Henry Burr



Birth of Jazz: Florenz Ziegfeld

Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.

Photo: St. Martin's Press

Source: Like Success

Born in 1867 in Chicago, Florenz Ziegfeld was a Broadway producer rather than a musician. But he belongs in this history as the producer of the Broadway extravaganza, the Ziegfeld Follies. The Ziegfeld Follies began as an annual presentation of top vaudeville acts in 1907. Being the bright notion of Ziegfeld's wife at the time, Anna Held, inspiration for the Follies was the Folies Bergère, a variety show first presented in Paris in 1869, and yet to this day, featuring comedy, operettas, gymnastics and music. The Follies were presented through 1931, as Ziegfeld died of pleurisy in 1932. However, they were followed by the radio program, 'The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air' from 1932 to '36. Later editions of the Follies were held in 1943, 1956 (in Boston) and 1957. The top several entries below, without dates, are slide shows of Ziegfeld Follies female performers, the majority of photographs taken by Alfred Cheney Johnston. (The musical accompaniment on most is irrelevant to this page. But the montages themselves are highly pertinent, and so nicely done that it would be a crime to know of them and not index them here.) As to the music of the Ziegfeld Follies, the earliest recordings found are from 1913.

Ziegfeld Follies   Slide Shows

   The Beauties of the Ziegfeld Follies

   Jazz Age Beauties

   Tribute to Dorothy Eaton

   A Tribute to the Women of the Ziegfeld Follies

   Ziegfeld Follies Glamour Girls

   Ziegfeld Girls

   Ziegfeld Showgirls Revisited

   Vintage Ziegfeld Girl Slideshow

Ziegfeld Follies   1913

   Hello, Honey

      Vocal: Elizabeth Brice

   Just You and I and the Moon

      Vocal: Jose Collins

Ziegfeld Follies   1917

   Gems From Ziegfeld Follies

      Victor Light Opera Company

   The Modern Maiden's Prayer

      Vocal: Eddy Cantor

   That's The Kind Of A Baby For Me

      Vocal: Eddy Cantor

Ziegfeld Follies   1918

   When I Hear a Syncopated Tune

      Soprano: Bernadette Boerckel

Ziegfeld Follies   1921

   Second Hand Rose

      Vocal: Fanny Brice

Ziegfeld Follies   1923

   Sweet Alice

      Vocal: Frank Crumit

Ziegfeld Follies   1926


Ziegfeld Follies   1927


      Vocals: Franklyn Baur & Brox Sisters

Ziegfeld Follies   1929

   Ladies of the Dance/The Flippity Flop

      Vocals: Marjorie Babe & Howard Conrad



Birth of Jazz: Will Oakland

Will Oakland

Source: Second Hand Songs

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1880, Will Oakland began his music career as a minstrel singer in 1905 upon discharge from the Army. His first recordings were for Edison Records in 1908. Upon joining the American Quartet in 1912 that group's name was change to the Heidelberg Quintet. The Heidelberg Quintet made its last recording in November 1914, upon which Oakland continued to make solo recordings until 1926. He died thirty years later in 1956.

Will Oakland   1904

   Sun of My Soul

Will Oakland   1908

   Silver Threads Among The Gold

   When You and I Were Young, Maggie

Will Oakland   1910

   Only a Pansy Blossom

Will Oakland   1912

   Say Au Revoir But Not Good-bye

Will Oakland   1913

   The Curse of an Aching Heart


Will Oakland   1914

   Just for Tonight

      With Billy Murray

Will Oakland   1915

   When It's Moonlight in Mayo



Born Sonya Kalish in (now) Ukraine in 1887, Sophie Tucker (also known as the Last Of The Red Hot Mamas) is among the first musicians to commercially record. Her first release, 'The Lovin' Rag', was in 1910, followed by 'My Husband's In the City' (unfound) and 'That Lovin' Two-Step Man'. An infant when her family brought her to Hartford, Connecticut, Tucker first began performing for income in her family's restaurant, singing for tips. In 1903 she eloped with a beer wagon driver named Louis Tuck, hence her name when she later changed it. Returning home to marry Tuck in 1906, she gave birth to a son, separated from Tuck, left her child with her family, then headed for NYC where she sang in cafes to send money back home. Tucker began playing vaudeville in 1907. She sang in black face as well, largely to draw attention away from her large frame, until she lost her makeup kit on tour and was permitted to perform without it. In 1908 Tucker started performing burlesque. In 1909 she performed in that year's edition of the Ziegfeld Follies. (The Ziegfeld Follies were elaborate vaudeville reviews created by Florenz Ziegfeld.) In 1921 she began her partnership with pianist and composer Ted Shapiro that would keep throughout her career. In 1926 she toured England, performing for King George V and Queen Mary at the London Palladium. Her first film appearance occurred in 1929 in the movie, 'Honky Tonk'. Tucker had her own radio program for a couple of years beginning in 1938, 'The Roi Tan Program with Sophie Tucker', broadcasted by CBS. She performed actively until her death of lung cancer in 1966.

Sophie Tucker   1910

   Reuben Rag

   That Lovin' Rag

   That Lovin' Two-Step Man

Sophie Tucker   1911

   Some Of These Days

Sophie Tucker   1912

   Knock Wood

Sophie Tucker   1926

   Some Of These Days

Sophie Tucker   1927

   Blue River

   I Ain't Got Nobody

      With Miff Mole

Sophie Tucker   1928

   I Know That My Baby Is Cheatin' On Me

   The Man I Love

Sophie Tucker   1929

   Moanin' Low

Sophie Tucker   1930

   No One But The Right Man Can Do Me Wrong

Sophie Tucker   1937

   The Lady Is a Tramp

Sophie Tucker   1947

   Life Begins At Forty


Birth of Jazz: Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker

Source: The Bowery Boys

Birth of Jazz: Charles Harrison

Charles Harrison

Source: DAHR

Born in 1878, Charles Harrison studied voice in New York City before making his debut recording, with Beulah Young (his wife), for the Columbia Phonograph Company in 1911: 'Where Love Is King' (unfound). Harrison issued two more releases with Beulah young in 1912, also unfound: 'Wedding Trip' and 'Little Boy Blue'. His first solo recording followed the same year: 'Take Me Back to the Garden of Love'. In addition to solo work, Harrison sang with the Columbia Stellar Quartet, the American Singers, the Revelers and the Eveready Mixed Quartet, the last for the 'Eveready Hour' radio program. Harrison began appearing on Broadway in 1930. Harrison was 75 years of age when he made his last recordings in 1954, an album titled 'Charles Harrison Sings Again' (unfound). He died in 1965. Tracks below are alphabetical by year.

Charles Harrison   1912


      With Elisabeth Spencer

   Take Me Back to the Garden of Love

Charles Harrison   1913

   A Little Love, A Little Kiss

   Peg O' My Heart

   When You And I Were Young Maggie

Charles Harrison   1916

   Ireland Must be Heaven

Charles Harrison   1918

   I'm Always Chasing Rainbows

Charles Harrison   1920


   I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time

Charles Harrison   1921

   Peggy O'Neil


  Born in 1896 in Indiana, Marion Harris began singing vaudeville and theaters in Chicago about age 18. Her big  professional break arrived quickly, as she was soon invited to New York City to sing in Irving Berlin's 'Stop! Look! Listen!'. Harris was twenty years old when she first recorded ragtime in 1916. She moved from the Victor label to Columbia in 1920, then Brunswick in 1922. Harris performed largely in theatres in NYC as well as vaudeville. (A vaudeville show consisted of acts by a string of performers.) She appeared on radio for the first time in 1931 with NBC, as well as toured London that year. It is Harris' distinction to be the first musician to sell a million records. Harris died in NYC in 1944 for the unforgivable sin of smoking in bed, she only 48 years old.

Marion Harris   1916

   Don't Leave Me Daddy

   I Ain't Got Nobody

   I'm Gonna Make Hay While The Sun Shines

   Paradise Blues

   When Alexander Takes His Ragtime Band To France

Marion Harris   1917

   Everybody's Crazy Bout The Doggone Blues

Marion Harris   1918

   After You've Gone

Marion Harris   1919

   A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Marion Harris   1920

   Everybody But Me

   I'm a Jazz Vampire

   Never Let No One Man Worry Your Mind

   St. Louis Blues

Marion Harris   1921

   Beale Street Blues

   Grieving For You

   I'm Nobody's Baby

   Look For the Silver Lining

Marion Harris   1922

   Melinda Brown

Marion Harris   1923

   Waitin' For the Evening Mail

   Who's Sorry Now

Marion Harris   1924

   It Had to Be You


Marion Harris   1925

   Tea for Two

Marion Harris   1927

   Did You Mean It?

   The Man I Love

Marion Harris   1929

   Afraid Of You


Marion Harris   1930

   Blue Again

   I'm Funny That Way


   Nobody's Using It Now

Marion Harris   1931

   My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes


Birth of Jazz: Marion Harris

Marion Harris

Source: Jazz Age 1920s

  The earliest recordings known by Gertrude Lawrence were in 1918 ('I Have Lost My Heart in Maoriland', 'Winnie the Window Cleaner' and a duet with Walter Williams, 'I've Been Waiting for Someone Like You', none found). Not strictly a jazz singer per se, Lawrence is an early example of jazz expanding into the popular genre largely via theatre. Born in London in 1898, Lawrence was age ten (1908) when she began her music career, getting a job in the chorus at the Brixton Theatre in London to augment her family's poor income. She was the first British performer to star in a musical on Broadway in 1926 (Gershwin's 'Oh, Kay!'). Though largely a stage actress and dancer in both England and the United States, Lawrence appeared in nine films (her first 'The Battle of Paris' in 1929). In 1945 Lawrence published her autobiography, 'A Star Danced', and is said to be the first to tour the nation to publicize a book. In 1951 Lawrence began starring in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'The King and I' with Yul Brynner on Broadway. She began missing performances, however, due to poor health, collapsed after a Saturday matinee show, and died of cancer in August of 1952.

Gertrude Lawrence   1926


      Broadway musical: 'Oh, Kay!'

      Composition: George Gershwin

   Someone to Watch Over Me

Gertrude Lawrence   1927

   Someone to Watch Over Me

Gertrude Lawrence   1929

   They All Fall In Love

      Composition: Cole Porter

Gertrude Lawrence   1932

   Someday I'll Find You

   Someone To Watch Over Me

Gertrude Lawrence   1933

   The Physician

      Stage musical: 'Nymph Errant'

Gertrude Lawrence   1935

   Has Anybody Seen Our Ship

      With Noel Coward

Gertrude Lawrence   1941

   The Saga Of Jenny

      Broadway musical: 'Lady In The Dark'


Birth of Jazz: Gertrude Lawrence

Gertrude Lawrence

Source: Peoples

Birth of Jazz: Aileen Stanley

Aileen Stanley

Source: Vintage Recordings

Born Maude Elsie Aileen Muggeridgeon in 1897 in Chicago, Aileen Stanley began her musical career in cabarets, also doing vaudeville. She first recorded in 1920. In 1932 she began performing on radio, the 'Parade of the States' show by NBC. In 1935 Stanley began recording for HMV in London for the next couple years. Upon returning to the States, she largely retired from the music industry and opened a vocal training studio in New York City until 1960, when she made her home in Hollywood, dying there in 1962.

Aileen Stanley   1920

   Broadway Blues

   My Little Bimbo On the Bamboo Isle

Aileen Stanley   1921

   All By Myself

Aileen Stanley   1922

   All Over Nothing At All

      With Bill Murray

Aileen Stanley   1924

   It Had to Be You

      With Bill Murray

Aileen Stanley   1925

   When My Sugar Walks Down the Street

      With Gene Austin

Aileen Stanley   1926

   I Love My Baby (My Baby Loves Me)

   Whaddya Say We Get Together

      With Bill Murray

Aileen Stanley   1927

   Broken Hearted

   Under the Moon

      With Johnny Marvin

Aileen Stanley   1929

   I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)



Born in 1895 in Memphis, Alberta Hunter, beginning her career as a ballroom singer, then touring Europe in 1917, the same year she began appearing at the Dreamland in Chicago for the next five years. Among Hunter's first releases were 'How Long Daddy, How Long' and 'Bring Back the Joys' from a couple sessions thought be have been in May 1921. She entertained troops during the World War II and the Korean conflict, then invented a high school diploma and studied to become a nurse. She was working at the Goldwater Memorial Hospital in NYC when she began recording again in 1961, to issue the album, 'Songs We Taught Your Mother'. Upon retiring from nursing in 1977 Hunter, now more than eighty years old, revived her music career. Her last studio album, 'Look for the Silver Lining', was released in 1983, she dying the following year. Hunter was a lesbian, her marriage to Willard Townsend in 1919 a brief one, as she had already met her life companion, Lottie Tyler, in Chicago at the Panama Café a couple years earlier.

Alberta Hunter   1921

   Bring Back the Joys

   How Long Daddy, How Long

Alberta Hunter   1927


Alberta Hunter   1935

   You Can't Tell the Difference

Alberta Hunter   1978

   Handy Man


Birth of Jazz: Alberta Hunter

Alberta Hunter

Source: Britannica

Birth of Jazz: Brox Sisters

Brox Sisters

Source: Wikimedia Commons
The Brox Sisters were a female harmony trio consisting of Bobbe (b 1902), Lorayne (b 1901) and Patricia Brock (b 1904), "Brox" their stage name. Though each was born in the United States they were raised in Edmonton, Canada. They began entertaining on the Vaudeville circuit in the 1910s, moving to Broadway productions in the early twenties, film in the latter upon moving to Los Angeles. The Brox Sisters issued their first discs in 1922 for Brunswick: 'Away Down South', 'Kicky-Koo', 'School House Blues' and 'Some Sunny Day'. While recording for Brunswick the Sisters also released vinyl with Victor, beginning in 1924 on that label with 'Lazy' and 'Cover Me Up'. DAHR has them with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in 1930 on 'A Bench in the Park'. Wikipedia has them making a reunion radio broadcast in 1939, though Honking Duck has them recording even later in the fifties, issuing ten tracks on Bell with Bruce Adams. The Sisters are since deceased, Patricia in '88, Lorayne in '93 and Bobbe in '99.

Brox Sisters   1922

   Some Sunny Day

Brox Sisters   1923

   Learn to Do the Strut

Brox Sisters   1924

   Do I?

   Red Hot Mama

Brox Sisters   1925

   Kentucky's Way of Saying Good Morning


Brox Sisters   1930

   A Bench in the Park

      With Paul Whiteman

   Crying for the Carolines


   Hang On to Me/Just You Just Me


Brox Sisters   1930

   Falling in Love Again



  Born Irene Joy Gibbons in 1895 in St. Louis, Eva Taylor, the Dixie Nightingale, made her debut recording in September 1922 with Black Swan Records in NYC: 'New Moon'. She had married pianist Clarence Williams the previous year. Taylor also recorded as Irene Gibbons. In addition to recording, Taylor also performed on Broadway and radio, having her own show, 'Cavalcade', in 1929 with NBC. She largely retired from the music industry in the forties, but resumed upon the death of her husband, Williams, in 1965. Taylor died herself in 1977 in New York. All videos below for year 1975 are Taylor live in Copenhagen at age eighty.

Eva Taylor   1922

   New Moon

Eva Taylor   1923

   Barefoot Blues

   Do It Again Long Time Papa

  Jazzin' Babies' Blues

   That Da Da Strain

      As Irene Gibbons with Clarence Williams

   Jeannine I Dream Of Lilac Time

      As Irene Gibbons with Clarence Williams

Eva Taylor   1928

   Chloe (Song of the Swamp)

   Im Busy And You Cant Come In

      With King Oliver

Eva Taylor   1975

   I Found a New Baby

   Living High

   Mandy Make Up Your Mind

   Santa Claus Blues

   Sister Kate


Birth of Jazz: Eva Taylor

Eva Taylor

Source: Black Kudos


Born Ida Prather in Toccoa, Georgia in 1896, Ida Cox began recording blues for Paramount Records in 1923. Born to sharecroppers, Cox left home at age fourteen to travel with White and Clark's Black & Tan Minstrels. In addition to singing she also performed comedy. Her name was changed to Cox upon marrying Adler Cox in 1916, who would shortly afterward be killed during World War I. It was 1920 when she began working with Jelly Roll Morton at the 81 Theatre in Atlanta. Since Bessie Smith was already "Queen of the Blues" Cox was billed as the "Uncrowned Queen of the Blues" when she began recording for Paramount in 1923. In 1929 she and her husband, Jesse Crump, put together a tent show called 'Raisin' Cain' which enjoyed great popularity for a decade, during which time she was billed as the "Sepia Mae West". In 1945 Cox suffered a stroke during a show which forced her into retirement. Retreating to a quiet life in Knoxville, Tennessee, she did, however, make one last record release in 1961, an album titled 'Blues For Rampart Street'. Cox died in 1967 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Earlier blues recordings by Cox can be found in A Birth of the Blues 2.

Ida Cox   1939

   One Hour Mama

Ida Cox   1940

   I Can't Quit That Man


Birth of Jazz: Ida Cox

Ida Cox

Source: Jonathan Bogart


Birth of Modern Jazz: Gene Austin

Gene Austin

Source: Gene Austin

Among the earliest of crooners was Gene Austin. Born in 1900 in Gainesville, Texas, Austin ran away from home to Houston at age fifteen, where he was hired as a vaudeville singer. At age seventeen he joined the Army, serving both for General Pershing in his unsuccessful hunt after Pancho Villa and in Europe during World War I. In 1919 Austin began singing in Baltimore taverns. His first issued recording, 'A Thousand Miles From Here', was n April of 1924 for Vocalion in NYC, he at piano as well. Among compositions to which Austin contributed was 'When My Sugar Walks Down the Street', recorded in January of 1925 with Aileen Stanley in NYC. Austin was greatly popular on radio before his first film appearances, thought to have occurred in 1934. He died in 1972 in Palm Springs, California.

Gene Austin   1924

   A Thousand Miles From Here

Gene Austin   1925

   Sweet Child I'm Wild About You

   Yes Sir, That's My Baby

   What a Life

   When My Sugar Walks Down the Street

      With Aileen Stanley

Gene Austin   1926

   Bye Bye Blackbird

Gene Austin   1927

   My Blue Heaven

   My Melancholy Baby

   Sweetheart Of Sigma Chi

   Tonight You Belong To Me

Gene Austin   1928

   Girl Of My Dreams

   St. Louis Blues

   She's Funny That Way

   Sonny Boy

Gene Austin   1930

   You're Driving Me Crazy

Gene Austin   1931

   Love Letters In the Sand

Gene Austin   1932

   After You've Gone



Birth of Jazz: Virginia Liston

Virginia Liston

Source: Past Blues

Born in 1890 in St. Louis, Missouri, Virginia Liston's life remains largely unknown. She began performing professionally about 1912, several years before forming a vaudeville duo with her husband, Samuel Gray, in 1920. That duo was called Liston and Liston, with which Liston released her first issues from a session on September 18, 1923 in NYC for Okeh: 'Bed Time Blues' and 'You Thought I Was Blind'. Those were with pianist, Clarence Williams. Liston's was a very brief career, her last recordings in 1926, three years before her retirement from the music industry. She died in June of 1932 in St. Louis, causes unknown.

Virgina Liston   1923

   Bed Time Blues

     Liston's 1st issue

   You Thought I Was Blind

     Liston's 2nd issue

Virgina Liston   1925

   I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle

   I Ain't Got Nobody, Nobody Cares For Me

   I'm Sick of Fattening Frogs for Snakes

Virgina Liston   1926

   Evil Minded Blues

   I'm Gonna Get Me A Man That's All

   Rolls Royce Papa



Birth of Jazz: Red McKenzie

Red McKenzie

Photo: William P. Gottlieb

Source: Wikipedia

Born in 1899 in St. Louis, Missouri, vocalist Red McKenzie also played the comb (with paper, preferably newspaper, a couple examples below: 'From Monday On' and 'Dark Town Strutter's Ball') and kazoo. He first recorded in 1924 in Chicago with Gene Rodemich (unfound) as part of a trio consisting of Jack Bland (banjo) and Dick Slevin (kazoo). That trio soon became the Mound City Blue Blowers, their first two releases 'Arkansas Blues' and 'Blue Blues' in 1924 on Brunswick. McKenzie became frontman for Eddie Condon's Chicagoans in 1928. He didn't begin singing until 1931, pairing up with Condon again from 1944 to '47. Liking his alcohol beyond good measure, McKenzie died of liver cirrhosis in 1948 in New York City.

Red McKenzie   1924

   Arkansas Blues

Red McKenzie   1928

   From Monday On


Red McKenzie   1929

      Film   With the Mound City Blue Blowers

   I Ain't Got Nobody

      Film   With the Mound City Blue Blowers & Ethel Parkins

   Let Me Call You Sweetheart

      Film   With the Mound City Blue Blowers

   My Gal Sal

Red McKenzie   1931

   Dark Town Strutter's Ball


   Georgia On My Mind

      With the Celestial Beings

Red McKenzie   1932

   I'll Follow You

      With Paul Whiteman

   Three on a Match

      With Paul Whiteman

Red McKenzie   1936

   I Can Pull a Rabbit Out of My Hat

      With the Rhythm Kings


  Born in 1900 in Macon, Georgia, Emmett Miller was a blackface minstrel show performer before first recording, for Okeh Records, in 1924. Tom Lord's discography lists him recording 'Anytime' on October 25 and 'The Pickaninnies' Paradise' on November 7. (Miller recorded another issued version of 'Anytime' in August of 1928 as well, that with 'St. Louis Blues'. A third version was recorded in September of 1936.) Miller next recorded for Okeh in Ashville, North Carolina, in September, 1925: 'You're Just the Girl for Me', 'Big Bad Bill Is Sweet William Now', 'Lovesick Blues' and '(Until I Left Chicago) I Never Had the Blues'. His backup band, the Georgia Crackers, would be with Miller on his next tracks in June, 1928, in NYC: 'God's River Blues', 'I Ain't Got Nobody', 'Lovesick Blues' and 'Lion Tamer'. More titles in NYC followed into 1929.     Miller's Georgia Crackers had at times employed Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa and Eddie Lang. His complete discography is thought to consist of only 39 singles, his last in 1936. He died back in his birthplace, Macon, in 1962.

Emmett Miller   1924

   Pickaninnies' Paradise

Emmett Miller   1925

   Lovesick Blues

Emmett Miller   1928

   Lovesick Blues

Emmett Miller   1929

   Big Bad Bill is Sweet William Now

   Sweet Mama

Emmett Miller   1936


   I Ain't Got Nobody


Birth of Jazz: Emmett Miller

Emmett Miller

Source: Flickriver


Born Lena Corinne Taylor in 1897, guitarist Lee Morse got her professional start in West Coast vaudeville at age twenty-three. Four years later she would release her first recordings with her band, the Blue Grass Boys, for Pathé Records. In 1935 she opened her own club in Texas, then headed for Rochester, New York, when it burned down in 1939. Married thrice, Morse died unexpectedly in 1954.

Lee Morse   1924

   Everybody Loves My Baby

   Mailman Blues

Lee Morse   1925

   Could I? I Certainly Could!

   I Like Pie I Like Cake

   Old Fashioned Romance

Lee Morse   1926

   Lonely Nights

Lee Morse   1927

   I've Looked All Over (For a Boy Like You)

   Mollie Make Up Your Mind

   Side By Side

   What Do I Care What Somebody Said

Lee Morse   1930

   Blue Turning Grey Over You

   I Still Get a Thrill

   Just a Little While

   Nobody Cares If I'm Blue

Lee Morse   1931

   If I Can't Have You

   I'm an Unemployed Sweetheart

   I've Got Five Dollars

   Love Letters In the Sand

Lee Morse   1932

   Something In the Night


Birth of Jazz: Lee Morse

Lee Morse

Source: Planet Barberella

  Born in 1904 in Houston, pianist Hociel Thomas made her first blues recordings for the Gennett label in 1925. In 1926 she began recording as Lillie Delk Christian. Her aunt was Sippie Wallace. Her father was the pianist, George Thomas. Her uncle was Hersal Thomas. The Great Depression put an end to Christian's earlier career, which she later revived upon moving to California, recording with trumpeter Mutt Carey in 1946, also working with Kid Ory in 1948 in San Francisco. That year or the next she was acquitted of a manslaughter charge upon killing one of her sisters during an argument. She died in 1952 of heart failure. Blues and earlier recordings by Christian in Blues 2.

Lillie Delk Christian   1927

   Ain't She Sweet

   Sweet Georgia Brown

Lillie Delk Christian   1928

   Sweethearts On Parade

      Trumpet: Louis Armstrong

   Was It A Dream?

      Trumpet: Louis Armstrong


Birth of Jazz: Hociel Thomas

Lillie Delk Christian

Source: Red Hot Jazz

  Born in Bronx in 1898, Whispering Jack Smith began his career in 1915 singing in a quartet in a theater in the Bronx. He served the cause during World War I, after which he plugged music for the Irving Berlin Music Publishing Company shortly before obtaining employment as a pianist at a radio station. When a scheduled singer didn't arrive Smith filled his spot, and was soon releasing his first recordings, for Victor (1925). Smith made his way to England in 1927, performed in Germany the next year, then landed in Hollywood in 1930. He died in 1950 in New York City of heart attack. It is said that Smith's soft style was the result of poison gas during the War, preventing Smith from singing at greater throttle. But it's contested that Smith could well belt out a tune, thus that his intimate speaking approach was a matter of chosen technique.

Whispering Jack Smith   1925

   Are You Sorry?

   Feelin' Kind o' Blue

   I Care For Her and She Cares For Me

   I'm Knee Deep In Daisies

   Loud Speakin' Papa

   Some Other Bird Whistled a Tune

Whispering Jack Smith   1926

   Baby Face

   Gimme a Little Kiss, Will Ya, Huh?

   If I Didn't Know Your Husband

   Poor Papa (He's Got Nothin' At All)


   Pretty Little Baby

   When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin'

Whispering Jack Smith   1927

   Blue Skies

   I've Never Seen a Straight Banana

   Me and My Shadow

   My Blue Heaven

   Oo! Golly Ain't She Cute?

Whispering Jack Smith   1928

   Crazy Rhythm

   I Kiss Your Hand, Madame


   The Song I Love


Whispering Jack Smith   1930

   Eleven Thirty Saturday Night

   A Slave to Love

Whispering Jack Smith   1931

   Little Girl

   Pardon Me, Pretty Baby

Whispering Jack Smith   1940

   I Wish You Were Jealous Of Me


Birth of Jazz: Whispering Jack Smith

Whispering Jack Smith

Source: Jazz Age Music

Birth of Modern Jazz: Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker

Source: Waldina

Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis in 1906, dancer Josephine Baker began her career at age fifteen, dancing on street corners. That led to vaudeville, then Broadway revues, then blackface comedy until an opportunity to travel to Paris arrived in 1925 to perform in La Revue Nègre. Her main claim to fame being an erotic dancer, oft performing nigh naked, she is thought to begun her recording career in Paris in October of 1926, performing as L'Étoile Noire des Folies Bergères, a cabaret where she danced. Those titles for Odeon were 'Who?', 'That Certain Feeling', 'Dinah', 'Sleepy Time Gal', 'I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight', 'Bam Bam Bamy Shore' and 'I Want You to Yodel'. Among titles issued from sessions the next month were two on which she performed ukulele: 'You are the only One for Me' and 'Feeling Kind of Blue'. Baker's first appearance in films was in 1927: 'Siren of the Tropics'. (She wasn't a Hollywood star, her films made in France.) Her first return to America in 1935, for the Ziegfeld Follies, was unsuccessful. Returning to Paris in 1937, Baker married and became a French citizen. During World War II she gathered information for French intelligence, she having access as a popular entertainer to high brass at cafés and embassies where she performed. Able to move about France and internationally without suspicion, some of her confidences would be delivered to England in invisible ink on sheet music. Others Baker would pin beneath her underwear, she able, as a celebrity, to elude strip searches. Later during the war she entertained troops in North Africa, as well as King Farouk in Cairo, Egypt. In 1951 Baker's second tour to America was considerably more popular than her first, until an argument with newspaper columnist, Walter Winchell, by twists and turns found her work visa revoked, her engagements cancelled and she back in France. Though based in Paris, Baker was energetic in the civil rights movement in America. She had been denied reservations at 36 hotels, for being black, upon her second visit to the States in 1951, to which her response was refusing to perform at segregated nightclubs. The NAACP awarded her with lifetime membership that year. In 1966 Baker performed for Castro in Havana, then in 1968 she toured Yugoslavia. Finally, in 1973 she opened to a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, where she sang a rendition of Bob Dylan's 'The Times They Are a Changing', to another standing ovation. Baker died two years later in France of cerebral hemorrhage. Her closest friend in the American entertainment industry had been actress, Grace Kelly.

Josephine Baker   1926


Josephine Baker   1927

   Blue Skies

   Bye Bye Blackbird

Josephine Baker   1929

   My Fate Is In Your Hands

Josephine Baker   1968

   Hello Dolly

      Film: 'Hello Dolly'

Josephine Baker   1973

   The Times They Are a Changing



Born in Tacoma, Washington, in 1903, singer Bing Crosby began his recording career in October 1926 in Los Angeles with Al Rinker and the Don Clark Orchestra, an issue that had been technically botched by a too slow recording speed: 'I've Got the Girl'. Crosby had first performed on radio (KHQ in Spokane) in high school, as a member of the Musicaladers, a school band he had joined in 1923. In 1925 he formed a duo with Al Rinker. Rinker was brother to Mildred Bailey who referred them to Paul Whiteman. The pair's debut performance was at the Tivoli Theatre in Chicago in 1926. Whiteman made the duo a trio called the Rhythm Boys with the addition of Barry Harris. Crosby is thought to have appeared in his first film in 1930: 'The King of Jazz'. Racking up 79 films during his career, using tickets sold as a measure Crosby would appear to be America's third favorite actor, following Clark Gable behind John Wayne. His highest grossing film was 'White Christmas' in 1954, worth thirty million that year. In 1931 Crosby opted for a solo career, his debut in radio with CBS. By the end of 1931 ten of his releases had made it to the top fifty for that year. In 1941 Crosby brought Irving Berlin's 'White Christmas' to radio audiences on Christmas Day (recorded, a copy of which belongs to the Crosby estate). Officially recorded October 22, 1942, 'White Christmas' stayed No. 1 on the charts for eleven weeks and remains the best-selling song of all time, having sold over 100,000,000 copies. During World War II Crosby entertained troops in Europe. Also important in the forties was Crosby's partnership with the Andrew Sisters, issuing 47 songs with them on Decca. In 1950 Crosby produced 'The Fireside Theater' for television. He would later become head of Bing Crosby Productions, producing such as the 'Ben Casey', then 'Hogan's Heroes', television series in the sixties. Crosby's business interests were television stations, thoroughbred racing and breeding, and part ownership of the Pittsburgh Pirates. His last concert in America was given in August of 1977. His last television appearance was in September that year, on which he sang a couple duets with David Bowie. In October of '77 Crosby gave his final concert, at the Brighton Centre in London. Crosby's favorite sport was golf, at which he was an accomplished contender and often played with Bob Hope. It was on the evening of October 13, 1977, at La Moraleja Golf Course near Madrid that Crosby suffered a heart attack after a game and died, his last words, "That was a great game of golf, fellas." More Bing Crosby under the Andrew Sisters in Swing Song.

Bing Crosby   1926

   I've Got The Girl

      With Al Rinker & the Don Clark Orchestra

Bing Crosby   1927

   Five Step

      Paul Whiteman Orchestra

   I'm Coming Virginia

      Paul Whiteman Orchestra

   It Won't Be Long Now

      Paul Whiteman Orchestra

   Mary (What Are You Waiting For)

      Paul Whiteman Orchestra

   Missouri Waltz

      Paul Whiteman Orchestra

   My Blue Heaven

      Paul Whiteman Orchestra

   Muddy Water

      Paul Whiteman Orchestra

   Side By Side

      Paul Whiteman Orchestra

Bing Crosby   1928

   Makin' Whoopee

      Paul Whiteman Orchestra

Bing Crosby   1929

   Deep Purple

      Violin: Matty Malneck

Bing Crosby   1931

   Brother Can You Spare a Dime

   Just a Gigolo

Bing Crosby   1932

   Lawd, You Made the Night Too Long

      Don Redman Orchestra & the Boswell Sisters


      Anson Weeks Orchestra

   Waltzing In a Dream

      Anson Weeks Orchestra

Bing Crosby   1935

   Singing Moonburn

      Piano: Joe Sullivan

Bing Crosby   1936

   I'm an Old Cowhand


Bing Crosby   1942

   White Christmas

Bing Crosby   1944

   Don't Fence Me In

   Sleigh Ride

Bing Crosby   1962

   Winter Wonderland

Bing Crosby   1963


      Television performance   Duet with Caterina Valente


Birth of Jazz: Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby

Source: Pipes Magazine

Birth of Jazz: Ruth Etting

Ruth Etting

Source: Rankopedia

Born in David City, Nebraska, in 1896, singer Ruth Etting made her first recording in 1924 for Victor (unissued). She next gained a contract with Columbia Records in 1926. Etting could well be listed under Hollywood (lower on this page) but hers was a major radio and recording career. She also appeared in several Broadway productions. Etting had originally been an artist. It was while designing costumes for a show at Marigold Gardens in Chicago that she began singing and dancing there as a chorus girl. She soon became a featured vocalist and began performing for radio. After her initial recording sessions with Columbia she appeared in the 1927 edition of the Ziegfeld Follies, and again in 1931. In 1938 her pianist, Myrl Alderman, was shot by her estranged husband, Moe Snyder, starting something of a gunfight between Snyder, Etting and their daughter, Edith (Snyder's by previous marriage), attempting to protect Etting. Alderman and Etting married in Las Vegas in December that year during Snyder's trial. Her daughter, Edith, died the next year, only age 22, of heart disease. Alderman died in 1966, and Etting herself in 1978 in Colorado Springs.

Ruth Etting   1926

   Deed I Do

   Her Beaus Are Only Rainbows

   I Ain't Got Nobody

   Lonesome and Sorry


   Wanna Go Back Again Blues

   Wistful and Blue

Ruth Etting   1927

   I'm Nobody's Baby

   Shaking The Blues Away

Ruth Etting   1928

   My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now

Ruth Etting   1929

   I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)

   Love Me Or Leave Me

   More Than You Know

Ruth Etting   1930

   Body and Soul

   Dancing With Tears In My Eyes

   Exactly Like You

   If I Could Be With You

   Laughing at Life

   Ten Cents a Dance

Ruth Etting   1931

   All Of Me

   Out of Nowhere

   Shine On, Harvest Moon

Ruth Etting   1936

   It Had to Be You


  Born in New York in 1901 the earliest recording found for Annette Hanshaw is her real first recording, an audition medley for Pathé Records in 1926 in NYC, unissued. Hanshaw used a number of pseudonyms during her career, including Gay Ellis, Dot Dare, Patsy Young, Marion Lee, Janet Shaw, and Lelia Sandford. She starred on the 'Maxwell House Show Boat' radio show for a couple years starting in 1932, then appeared in her only film, 'Captain Henry's Radio Show' the next year. Hanshaw made her last recording in 1934 for Vocalion, before retiring from the music industry. She died of cancer in 1985 in Manhattan.

Annette Hanshaw   1926

   Calling Me Home

   Do, Do, Do

   Everything Is Made For Love

   Cherie, I Love You

   Falling In Love With You

   If You Can't Tell the World

   I'm All Alone In A Palace Of Stone

   Kiss Your Little Baby Goodnight


     Unissued test for Pathe Records

   My Baby Knows How

   That's Why I Love You

Annette Hanshaw   1927

   I Like What You Like

   Just Like a Butterfly

   Thinking of You

   What Do I Care

   Who's That Knocking At My Door

Annette Hanshaw   1928

   I Wanna Be Loved By You

      As Patsy Young

   Lonely Nights In Hawaii

   My Blackbirds Are My Bluebirds Now

Annette Hanshaw   1929

   Am I Blue

   Daddy Won't You Please Come Home

   If You Want the Rainbow

   In a Great Big Way

   I Think You'll Like It

      As Patsy Young

   I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling

   Lovable and Sweet

   Lover Come Back To Me

      Guitar: Eddie Lang

   Mean to Me

      Also released as Gay Ellis

   Moanin' Low

   The Right Kind Of Man

   True Blue Lou

   You Wouldn't Fool Me Would You?

      As Dot Dare

Annette Hanshaw   1930

   I Can't Give You Anything But Love

   I Faw' Down and Go Boom

      As Patsy Young

Annette Hanshaw   1932

   Love Me Tonight

   Under the Moon

   We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye


Birth of Jazz: Annette Hanshaw

Annette Hanshaw

Photo: Murray Kent Collection

Source: Archive Org

  Though Frank Luther was a pianist he was better known as a tenor vocalist. Born Frank Luther Crow on a Kansas farm in 1899, Luther cut his first vinyl in September of 1927 for Columbia: 'Broadway' and 'Manhattan Mary'. More tracks followed in 1928 with such as  am Lanin and his Famous Players, Vincent Lopez, and Ben Bernie and his Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra. Luther also recorded in 1928 as a country singer with Carson Robison, one example below. Luther had begun his career at age sixteen with the traveling quartet, the Meistersingers. In 1926 Luther went to New York City where he joined the DeReszke Singers to tour with humorist, Will Rogers. The next year he joined the Revelers which with he toured Great Britain. After his four year partnership with Carson Robison, starting in 1928, Luther formed the Luther Trio with baritone Leonard Stokes and wife Zora Layman. Albeit Luther was an important figure in early country western he was more famous for his recordings for children, commencing in 1933 (one example below from 1948). In 1936 he starred in 'High Hat', his only feature-length film. Having begun an Americana series for Decca in the latter thirties, Luther published 'Americans and Their Songs' in 1942 as something of a companion to albums featuring songs of the Civil War, early New York, old California, the Gay Nineties, Irish favorites and rare Christmas carols. He also issued a couple albums of Stephen Foster (1826-64) compositions. Luther composed and recorded actively up to the time of his death in New York City in 1980. More Luther and Robison in A Birth of Country 3.

Frank Luther   1928

   Barnacle Bill The Sailor

      With Carson Robison

Frank Luther   1929

   Can This be Love

      With the Phil Ohman Orchestra

   Gotta Feelin' For You

     With the High Hatters

   It's You I Love

      With the Phil Ohman Orchestra

   What Would I Care

      With the High Hatters

Frank Luther   1930

   Bye Bye Sweetheart

      With the Elliot Jacoby Orchestra

   You've Got That Thing

      With Leo Reisman and his Casino Royal Orchestra

Frank Luther   1948

   The Gingerbread Boy


Birth of Jazz: Frank Luther

Frank Luther

Source: Hillybilly Hearthrobs


Birth of Jazz: Helen Morgan

Helen Morgan

Source: Jonathan Bogart

Born in 1900 in Danville, Illinois, Helen Morgan began her career as a hard drinking torch singer in Chicago speakeasies at about age twenty (1920), her style to lounge atop the piano while getting sauced. Her first recordings were renditions of songs taken from Gershwin's Broadway musical of the previous year, 'Oh, Kay!', in 1927, the same year she debuted in her first Broadway musical, 'Showboat'. By that time she had become so popular an entertainer that speakeasies were being named after her: The House of Morgan, Chez Helen Morgan, Helen Morgan's Summer House and Helen Morgan's 54th Street Club. That same year (1927) Morgan was arrested at the Chez Morgan for liquor law violations. The club, shut down, reopened as Helen Morgan's Summer House, after which she was arrested the following year a second time and stopped performing in speakeasies. (Both violations arrived to acquittals.) In 1929 Morgan began appearing in films: 'Applause' and 'Showboat'. (She also starred in the 1936 version of 'Showboat'.) In 1931 she appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies. Morgan died in 1941, of liver cirrhosis (heavy alcohol consumption over the years), collapsing on stage during a performance in Chicago.

Helen Morgan   1927


      From the Broadway musical 'Oh, Kay!'


      From the Broadway musical 'Oh, Kay!'

Helen Morgan   1929

   What Wouldn't I do For that Man

   Why Was I Born

Helen Morgan   1930

   Body and Soul

   It Can't Go On Like This

   Film with Jimmy Durante

Helen Morgan   1936


      From the film 'Showboat'



Birth of Jazz: Gracie Fields

Gracie Fields

Source: Echo Stains

Gracie Fields, born (1898) in Lancashire, England, was an actress and popular vocalist who did much by way of presenting jazz to the general public in Great Britain. She first recorded in 1928 (age 30) for HMV ('Because I Love You' and 'My Blue Heaven'). Fields began performing on stage in 1905. Her first professional appearance occurred five years later at the Rochdale Hippodrome in Lancashire. Thrust was added to her early career in 1923 upon marrying comedienne and impresario Archie Pitt, the pair beginning to do touring revues together. Fields' first film was 'Sally In Our Alley' in 1931. In 1933 she established the Gracie Fields Children's Home and Orphanage. After her divorce from Pitt in 1939 she donated the house in which they had lived (with Pitt's mistress) to a maternity hospital. In 1940 she and new husband, Italian film director Monty Banks, moved to Santa Monica, California, to avoid his getting inducted into the military. During World War II Fields entertained Allied troops. Returning to Great Britain after the war, Fields had her own BBC radio show in 1947: 'Our Gracie's Working Party'. She began singing at the London Palladium the next year. Upon the death of her husband, Banks, in 1950, Fields married a Romanian radio repairman, Boris Alperovic, two weeks later, then somewhat afterward established La Canzone Del Mare, a bathing and restaurant complex for the very rich on the Isle of Capri. In 1978 she opened the Gracie Fields Theatre in Lancashire. In January 1979 Fields made her last television appearance on 'The Merv Griffin Show', the same year she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She died in September that year of pneumonia. Scattered amidst the jazz below is some of Field's greater repertoire as a popular singer.

Gracie Fields   1928

   My Blue Heaven

Gracie Fields   1929

   Take a Good Look at Mine

Gracie Fields   1933

   Just One More Chance

   I'm Playing With Fire

Gracie Fields   1934

   You've Had A Busy Day

Gracie Fields   1936

   Someday My Prince Will Come

Gracie Fields   1937

   Goodnight My Love

Gracie Fields   1938

   A Foggy Day in London Town

      Composition: George Gershwin

   Whistle While You Work

Gracie Fields   1939

   Two Sleepy People

      With Tommy Fields

Gracie Fields   1940

   Little Curly Hair In A High Chair

   Woodpecker Song

Gracie Fields   1943

   Swing On Star

Gracie Fields   1945

   I'll Get By(As Long As I Have You)

Gracie Fields   1947

   Gypsy Lullaby

Gracie Fields   1948

   Forever And Ever

Gracie Fields   1951

   At The End Of The Day

   Getting To Know You

Gracie Fields   1961

   My Favourite Things/Do-Re-Me


  Born in Englewood, New Jersey in 1904, Elisabeth Welch began her professional career in New York City in 1922 at age 18. She was a theater singer until she first recorded in 1928 with Irving Mill's Hotsy Totsy Gang ('Digga Digga Do' and 'Doin' The New Lowdown'). She also married musician, Luke Smith, in 1928. He would die in 1936 and Welch would remain single, no children, the rest of her life. In 1929 she moved to Europe, beginning a life of traveling back and forth between Paris, New York City and London, the latter her preferred domicile. From 1934 to 1936 she had her own radio program, 'Soft Lights and Sweet Music', with the BBC. Her first television appearance was in 1936, for BBC as well. Welch remained in London during the Blitz and entertained troops. After the war she worked largely in theatre, radio and television. In 1980 she began to perform on Broadway again. Welch's last performance was for the television documentary, 'Black Divas', in 1996. She died in London July 15, 2003.

Elisabeth Welch   1928

   Diga Diga Do

   Doin' The New Lowdown

Elisabeth Welch   1934

   Lazy Lady

Elisabeth Welch   1935

   The Girl I Knew

Elisabeth Welch   1936

   River of Dreams

   Yesterday's Thrill

      Film: 'Soft Lights and Sweet Music'

Elisabeth Welch   1944

   Drums In My Heart

Elisabeth Welch   1979

   Stormy Weather


Birth of Jazz: Elisabeth Welch

Elisabeth Welch

Source: Music Timeline

  Many great musicians don't make this condensed history because there isn't enough to be found of them at YouTube. Most tracks by the Three X Sisters below are in such poor condition that it's nigh pointless to listen. But who have the software may be able to improve their sound. At first called the Hamilton Sisters and Fordyce, the Three X Sisters consisted of Jessie Fordyce, Violet Hamilton and Pearl Santos (Hamilton prior to marriage). They officially formed the trio in 1924 upon successfully performing with each other in 1923. All three were well-known theater performers for several years before forming a trio. They played vaudeville at first, but by 1927 they were popular enough for a European tour. They changed their name to the Three X Sisters in 1932 upon starting their radio career with CBS, the year they also first recorded ('The Clouds Roll By' with Eddie Duchan among their first sessions.) Though the Sisters focused on radio, they played the 1936 edition of the Ziegfeld Follies. They are thought to have last performed as a trio in 1941 with NBC.

Three X Sisters   1932

   The Clouds Will Soon Roll By

       With Eddy Duchin as the Hamilton Sisters and Fordyce

   What Would Happen to Me

   Where (I Wonder Where)

Three X Sisters   1933

   Shuffle Off To Buffalo

Three X Sisters   1937

   With Bing Crosby

   Old Clothes Song

   Sing and Be Happy

   Yours and Mine

Three X Sisters   1940

   You Can't Brush Me Off


Birth of Modern Jazz: Three X Sisters

Three X Sisters

Source: Wikipedia


Birth of Jazz: Midge Williams

Midge Williams

Photo: Bob Arnold Collection

Source: Stanford University

It is thought Midge Williams began her music career in 1927 at age twelve as one of a vocal quartette formed with her three brothers which sang at churches in the Berkeley-San Francisco area. It was with pianist Roger Seguire that Williams toured China and Japan, making her debut recordings in 1934 in Japan ('Dinah', below, and 'St. Louis Blues', unfound). In 1937 she formed her own band, the Jazz Jesters. Williams enjoyed a stellar career in the latter thirties, playing Harlem venues such as the Apollo Theater and the Savoy Ballroom in NYC with a number of top-name musicians. But her career largely ended in 1941 upon hospitalization in Detroit. She performed only once more, for radio with Chick Webb in 1946, before dying of tuberculosis at age 36 in 1952.

Midge Williams   1934


Midge Williams   1936

   Harlem On My Mind

   It Don't Mean a Thing/Mood Indigo

Midge Williams   1937

   I'm Getting Sentimental Over You

   Paradise Found

      With Miff Mole

Midge Williams   1938

   In Any Language

   Love Is Like Whiskey

     With the Jazz Jesters




Hollywood wasn't near the jazz hub that were New Orleans, Chicago and New York City. Yet, though jazz often got watered down in Hollywood to serve the more expansive purposes of entertainment via film, the influence of Hollywood on the American population, concerning nigh everything, includes early jazz.



Birth of Jazz: Al Jolson

Al Jolson

Source: Broadway World

Born Asa Yoelson in 1886 in (now) Lithuania, Al Jolson, an early burlesque, vaudeville, Broadway and Hollywood performer first recorded in 1911. Though Jolson wasn't strictly a jazz singer, something borderline to that notion, he was the star of the film 'The Jazz Singer' released in 1927, marking the transition of silent films to talkies. Some credit Jolson with opening the path amidst the American zeitgeist to black musicians, who were the prevalent force in not only blues and jazz, but a major portion of rock and roll as well. Jolson had been brought to Washington DC in 1894 with his family, his mother dying the next year, after which he and his brother, Hirsch, began busking the streets. In 1902 he began singing with the Walter L. Main Circus. In 1903 Jolson began doing burlesque, then formed a trio with Joe Palmer and his brother, Hirsch. Blackface followed in 1904 at Keeney's Theatre in Brooklyn. Unlike some performers, Jolson loved doing blackface. Not so ironically, Jolson was also an energetic defender of black performers and rights. (In the early twenties the Ku Klux Klan would at its height, consisting of about fifteen percent of the voting populace.) Jolson's first Broadway appearance was 'La Belle Paree' at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1911. He starred in his first talkie, 'The Plantation Act', in 1926, then the first feature-length talkie, 'The Jazz Singer' (Warner Bros.), in 1927. Jolson's first radio appearance was the following year (1928) on the 'Dodge Victory Hour'. In 1936 he starred in 'The Singing Kid' with Cab Calloway, insisting Calloway receive the same star treatment as himself. Columbia Pictures released the biopic, 'The Jolson Story', in 1942. As for television, Jolson called it "smell-evision" and never performed in that medium. He was, however, the first to perform for the USO (United Service Organizations, founded 1941) during World War II. While in the Pacific Jolson came down with malaria and had to have a lung removed. When he was told by the Secretary of Defense that there were no funds to send him to Korea during that conflict he paid for it himself. Less than a month after his return to the States he died of heart attack in San Francisco, October 23, 1950.

Al Jolson   1911

   That Haunting Melody

Al Jolson   1920



Al Jolson   1922

   Toot Toot Tootsie

Al Jolson   1927


      From the film 'The Jazz Singer'

Al Jolson   1929

   I'm in Seventh Heaven


   (Memories of) One Sweet Kiss

   Used to You

Al Jolson   1947

   Carolina In the Morning



Born Isidore Itskowitz in New York City in 1898, like Al Jolson, vaudeville entertainer and vocalist Eddie Cantor wasn't a jazz singer entire. Cantor began appearing on stage as a teenager. Among his first jobs was singing for tips as a waiter in Coney Island with Jimmy Durante at piano. He first appeared in vaudeville in 1907 at the Clinton Music Hall. In 1912 Cantor was doing blackface. He then formed a team with Al Lee that gained him a spot in the Ziegfeld Follies post-show, 'Midnight Frolic', in 1917. Cantor then joined the Ziegfeld Follies, with which succeeding editions he performed for the next decade. Cantor is known to have sang for radio as early as 1922, a medium in which he would work for more than three decades. He is thought to have appeared in his first film, his other major medium, in 1923, a Phonofilm short titled, 'A Few Moments With Eddie Cantor'. In 1938 Cantor created the March of Dimes campaign for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis via his own radio program. He and other entertainers encouraged audiences to send President Franklin Roosevelt, a polio victim, a dime, resulting in 2,600,000 dimes received in Washington. Cantor's last film was in 1948: 'If You Knew Susie'. He may be best known on television as one of the hosts for the 'Colgate Comedy Hour' from 1950 to 1954. Cantor published a minimum of eight books during his career, starting with 'Caught Short!' in 1929. He passed away in 1964 in Beverly Hills.

Eddie Cantor   1917

   The Modern Maiden's Prayer

   That's the Kind of a Baby for Me

Eddie Cantor   1920

   You'd Be Surprised

Eddie Cantor   1925

   If You Knew Susie Like I Know Susie

Eddie Cantor   1929

   Makin' Whoopee

Eddie Cantor   1930

   Makin' Whoopee

      Film: 'Whoopee!' (colorized)

Eddie Cantor   1932

   In the Moonlight


Birth of Jazz: Eddie Cantor

Eddie Cantor

Source: Travalanche


Birth of Jazz: Rudy Vallee

Rudy Vallée

Source: Song Facts

Born in 1902 in Island Pond, Vermont, though Rudy Vallée was a bandleader and sax player he was more famous as among the first jazz crooners. His first two songs ('A Dream' and 'Nola'), recorded in 1921, are unfound for this history. Vallée began adulthood by getting discharged from the Navy for being too young at fifteen years of age for military service. He returned to high school and played both clarinet and sax with various bands in New England, until ending up in London in 1924 to play with the Savoy Havana Band at the Savoy Hotel. Returning to the States a year or so later, Vallée acquired a degree in philosophy from Yale in 1927. Upon graduation he formed a band called the Connecticut Yankees. It was with that band that he started singing, began recording continuously, then got his start in radio the next year in 1928. The venues in which Vallée sang were often not equipped with microphones. As his was a soft style and voice that didn't carry he often sang through a megaphone. (Early sound transmitters had been invented for telephone in the previous century. Johann Philipp Reis had worked on his invention in Germany from 1854 to 1862. Then Alexander Graham Bell patented his telephone in 1876. The first patent for the microphone proper was awarded to Thomas Edison in 1877 for the carbon microphone, though David Edward Hughes is said to have invented it first in England as well as coined the term "microphone". The carbon microphone was the one used during the very first radio broadcast in 1910 [a performance at the New York Metropolitan Opera House].  Electromagnetic microphones were introduced in 1923 by Captain H. J. Round and Harry F. Olson, working independently.) Vallée began hosting the 'Fleischmann's Yeast Hour' radio program in 1929, also starring in his first feature film that year: 'The Vagabond Lover'. He appeared on Broadway from 1961 to 1964 in the musical, 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying', which was also his last feature film in 1967. Vallée also recorded his last album, 'Hi Ho Everybody', in 1967. He died of cancer in 1986 in Hollywood.

Rudy Vallée   1927

   The Whippenpoof Song

   You'll Do It Someday

Rudy Vallée   1929

   Deep Night

   Heigh Ho Everybody!

   If I Had You

   I'm Just a Vagabond

   Lover, Come Back To Me

   My Time Is Your Time

   The One In The World

Rudy Vallée   1930

   A Little Kiss Each Morning

   Maine Stein Song

   You're Driving Me Crazy

Rudy Vallée   1931

   Betty Co-Ed

   Brother Can You Spare a Dime

   Kitty From Kansas City

   Life Is Just a Bowl Of Cherries

   The Thrill Is Gone

Rudy Vallée   1932

   Let's Put Out the Lights and Go To Bed

Rudy Vallée   1933

   Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?

   Orchids In the Moonlight


  Born  Ruggiero Eugenio di Rodolpho Colombo in 1908 in Camden, New Jersey, actor and vocalist Russ Columbo played violin professionally at age thirteen. He quit high school at age seventeen to tour with bands and perform in nightclubs. His first recordings were made for Okeh Records in 1928 with the Gus Arnheim Orchestra. Columbo also first appeared on film in 1928 with Gus Arnheim, a short Vitaphone. He then ran a nightclub, the Club Pyramid, before securing a spot on radio in NYC with NBC. Columbo's last recordings were made in August of 1934, as on September 2nd he was accidentally shot in the head in Los Angeles by a friend, portrait photographer Lansing Brown, who was fiddling with a loaded antique pistol that Brown used as a desk ornament.

Russ Columbo   1928

   Back in Your Own Back Yard

   I Can't Do Without You

   The Wolf Song

      With Lupe Vélez

Russ Columbo   1931

   Goodnight Sweetheart

   Prisoner of Love

   Sweet and Lovely

   Where the Blue Of fhe Night Meets the Gold

Russ Columbo   1932

   Auf Wiederseh'n, My Dear

   Just Friends

   Street of Dreams

   You Call It Madness

   You're My Everything

Russ Columbo   1933

   More Than You Know/Time On My Hands

   My Love


   You Are My Past, Present and Future

      Film: 'Broadway Through a Keyhole'

      With Constance Cummings

   I Love You Pizzicato

      Film: 'Broadway Through a Keyhole'

      With Constance Cummings

Russ Columbo   1934

   Star Dust

   Too Beautiful For Words


Birth of Jazz: Russ Columbo

Russ Columbo

Source: Live Journal


Born in Schöneberg, Germany, sultry actress Marlene Dietrich began her career about age twenty-one, singing as a chorus girl in Berlin theatres. She would not only play roles in an impressive number of films, but she was a prolific recording artist as well. 'Wenn die Beste Freundin', below, is the first single she released in 1928, five years after her first film, 'Tragedy Of Love'. Like other musicians in this section, Hollywood would bring Dietrich into contact with jazz while at once limiting its singular pursuit. During World War II Dietrich sold more war bonds than any other entertainer, also performing for troops with the USO. After the war Dietrich began to concentrate on nightclub acts for the next couple decades. Dietrich was something famous for her appetite: said to be among her love affairs through the years were Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Erich Maria Remarque, Jean Gabin, Mercedes de Acosta, Yul Brynner, George Bernard Shaw, John F. Kennedy and John Wayne. Dietrich died of renal failure in 1992 in Paris.

Marlene Dietrich   1928

   Wenn die Beste Freundin

Marlene Dietrich   1930

   Nimm dich in Acht

   Falling In Love Again

      Film: 'The Blue Angel'

Marlene Dietrich   1939

   You Do Something To Me

   You Go To My Head

Marlene Dietrich   1948

   A Foreign Affair

      From the film 'A Foreign Affair'

Marlene Dietrich   1963

   Bitte Geh Nicht Fort

   Where Have All the Flowers Gone

      Live performance

Marlene Dietrich   1965

   Where Have All the Flowers Gone


Birth of Modern Jazz: Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich

Source: TVR


Birth of Jazz: Johnny Mercer

Johnny Mercer

Photo: William L. Gottlieb

Source: WBUR


Born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1909, songwriter and vocalist Johnny Mercer received his big break in 1932 upon winning a singing contest staged by bandleader Paul Whiteman, thus joining his orchestra. He also made his debut recording in 1932, with Frank Trumbauer's orchestra (unfound). He formed a songwriting partnership with Hoagy Carmichael during this early period as well. Along with Bing Crosby, Carmichael would be one of Mercer's most important musical associations. In 1935 Mercer moved to Hollywood and began composing for films. From that point onward he would become one of America's favorite lyricists, penning such as 'Jeepers Creepers', 'Blues In the Night', 'That Old Black Magic', 'One For My Baby', 'Come Rain Or Shine', 'Moon River' and 'Days of Wine and Roses'. Between 1946 and 1962 Mercer tallied four Academy Awards for Best Original Song in collaboration with Harry Warren, Hoagy Carmichael and Henry Mancini. Mercer died in 1976 in Bel Air, California, of brain tumor.

Johnny Mercer   1934

   Fare-Thee-Well To Harlem

      With Paul Whiteman

   Pardon My Southern Accent

      With Paul Whiteman & Peggy Healy

Johnny Mercer   1942

   Strip Polka

Johnny Mercer   1944

   G I Jive

Johnny Mercer   1945

   On The Atchison, Topeka, and The Santa Fe

Johnny Mercer   1946


      With the Pied Pipers

Johnny Mercer   1948

   My Happiness

      With the Pied Pipers



Born in Brooklyn in 1893, swing-era actress Mae West began her career at age fourteen doing vaudeville. (Vaudeville was a style of theatre presenting a series of unrelated acts. It was highly popular for about forty years until it died in the thirties.) Her first Broadway performance was in 1911 at age eighteen ('A La Broadway'). Mae early got into trouble with the law when she was charged with corrupting the morals of youth upon the 1918 performance of her first play, 'Sex', which she wrote, produced and directed. Her film debut, 'Night After Night', did not occur until 1932. In 1938 she managed to get banned from NBC radio for what the FCC considered to be "vulgar and indecent" speech. West appeared in her last film, 'Sextette', in 1978. She died in Los Angeles in 1980.

Mae West   1933

   Come Up and See Me Some Time

      From the film: 'I'm No Angel'

   I'm No Angel

      Film: 'I'm No Angel'

   They Call Me Sister Honky Tonk

      Film: 'I'm No Angel'

   Frankie and Johnny

      Film: 'She Done Him Wrong'

   A Guy What Takes His Time

      Film: 'She Done Him Wrong'

   I Wonder Where My Easy Rider's Gone

      Film: 'She Done Him Wrong'

Mae West   1940

   Willy Of the Valley

      Film: 'My Little Chickadee'


Birth of Swing Jazz: Mae West

Mae West

Source: OTR Cat



91 Years of 'Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye'

Anthem of the Roaring Twenties

Composition: Ted Fiorito & Dan Russo

Lyrics: Ernie Erdman & Gus Kahn

Bailey's Lucky Seven   1922

Benson Orchestra Of Chicago   1922

Al Jolson   1922

Billy Murray & Ed Smalle   1923

Hoosier Hot Shots   1936

Eddy Howard   1942

Mel Blanc   1949

Art Mooney   1949

Ted Fio Rito & Joy Lane   1950?

June Allyson & Van Johnson   1953

Pearl Bailey   1955

Sonny Rollins   1957

Eydie Gormé   1958

Ben Light   1958

Brenda Lee   1959

Buddy Rich & Max Roach   1959

The Doowackadoodlers   1962

Woody Herman   1966

Alex Welsh Band   1973?

The Diamond Dolls   1979

Tuxedo Junction   1979

Jerry Lee Lewis   1980

Tiny Tim   1993

Gregg Isett   2008

Gelber & Manning   2008

Bijou Orchestra   2009

Helen Burns   2009

Rob Bourassa   2011

Bill Edwards   2011

The Vandervates   2011

Short Grain   2012

Alexander's Rag Time Band   2013

Bob Tulip   2013




We proceed no further than Midge Williams and Mae West on this page. We will be adding more as such occur.




Early Blues 1: Guitar

Early Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 1: Guitar

Modern Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 3: Black Gospel Appendix


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