Archive for September, 2013

W.C. Handy

Posted in Interviews and Articles, The History of Jazz and Blues Recordings with tags , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

W. C. Handy


(From Wikipedia)
W. C. Handy

In July 1941, by Carl Van Vechten
Background information
Birth name William Christopher Handy
Also known as The Father of Blues
Born November 16, 1873
FlorenceAlabama, U.S.
Origin MemphisTennessee, U.S.
Died March 28, 1958 (aged 84)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres BluesJazz
Occupations Composer, songwriter, musician,bandleader, author
Instruments Pianocornettrumpetguitar,vocals
Years active 1893–1948

William Christopher Handy (November 16, 1873 – March 28, 1958) was a blues composer and musician. He was widely known as the “Father of the Blues”.

Handy remains among the most influential of American songwriters. Though he was one of many musicians who played the distinctively American form of music known as the blues, he is credited with giving it its contemporary form. While Handy was not the first to publish music in the blues form, he took the blues from a regional music style with a limited audience to one of the dominant national forces in American music.

Handy was an educated musician who used folk material in his compositions. He was scrupulous in documenting the sources of his works, which frequently combined stylistic influences from several performers.


Early life


English: W. C. Handy, age 19. Photo courtesy o...

English: W. C. Handy, age 19. Photo courtesy of University of North Alabama, Collier Library. Photographer unknown. Русский: Уильям Кристофер Хэнди в возрасте 19 лет (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


W.C. Handy at age 19

Handy was born in Florence, Alabama. His father was thepastor of a small church in Guntersville, another small town in northeast central Alabama. Handy wrote in his 1941 autobiographyFather of the Blues, that he was born in the log cabin built by his grandfather William Wise Handy, who became an African Methodist Episcopal(AME) minister after emancipation. The log cabin of Handy’s birth has been saved and preserved in downtown Florence.

Growing up he apprenticed in carpentryshoemaking andplastering.

Handy was a deeply religious man, whose influences in his musical style were found in the church music he sang and played as a youth, and in the natural world. He later cited the sounds of nature, such as “whippoorwills, bats and hoot owls and their outlandish noises”, the sounds of Cypress Creek washing on the fringes of the woodland, and “the music of every songbird and all the symphonies of their unpremeditated art” as inspiration.

Handy’s father believed that musical instruments were tools of the devil. Without his parents’ permission, Handy bought his first guitar, which he had seen in a local shop window and secretly saved for by picking berries, nuts and making lye soap. Upon seeing the guitar, his father asked him, “What possessed you to bring a sinful thing like that into our Christian home?” Ordering Handy to “Take it back where it came from”, his father quickly enrolled him in organ lessons. Handy’s days as an organ student were short lived, and he moved on to learn the cornet. Handy joined a local band as a teenager, but he kept this fact a secret from his parents. He purchased a cornet from a fellow band member and spent every free minute practicing it.

Musical development

He worked on a “shovel brigade” at the McNabb furnace, and described the music made by the workers as they beat shovels, altering the tone while thrusting and withdrawing the metal part against the iron buggies to pass the time while waiting for the overfilled furnace to digest its ore. “With a dozen men participating, the effect was sometimes remarkable…It was better to us than the music of a martial drum corps, and our rhythms were far more complicated.” He wrote, “Southern Negroes sang about everything…They accompany themselves on anything from which they can extract a musical sound or rhythmical effect…” He would later reflect that, “In this way, and from these materials, they set the mood for what we now call blues”

In September 1892, Handy traveled to Birmingham to take a teaching exam, which he passed easily, and gained a teaching job in the city. Learning that it paid poorly, he quit the position and found industrial work at a pipe works plant in nearby Bessemer.

During his off-time, he organized a small string orchestra and taught musicians how to read notes. Later, Handy organized the Lauzetta Quartet. When the group read about the upcoming World’s Fair in Chicago, they decided to attend. To pay their way, group members performed at odd jobs along the way. They arrived in Chicago only to learn that the World’s Fair had been postponed for a year. Next they headed to St. Louis but found working conditions very bad.

After the quartet disbanded, Handy went to Evansville, Indiana, where he helped introduce the blues. He played cornet in the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. In Evansville, Handy joined a successful band that performed throughout the neighboring cities and states. His musical endeavors were varied: he sang first tenor in a minstrel show, worked as a band director, choral director, cornetist andtrumpeter.

At age 23, Handy became band master of Mahara’s Colored Minstrels. In their three-year tour, they traveled to Chicago, throughoutTexas and Oklahoma, through TennesseeGeorgia and Florida, and on to Cuba. Handy earned a salary of $6 per week. Returning from Cuba, the band traveled north through Alabama, and stopped to perform in Huntsville. Weary of life on the road, he and his wife Elizabeth decided to stay with relatives in his nearby hometown of Florence.

Marriage and family

In 1896 while performing at a barbecue in Henderson, Kentucky, Handy met Elizabeth Price. They married shortly afterward on July 19, 1896. She had Lucille, the first of their six children, on June 29, 1900 after they had settled in Florence, Alabama, his hometown. Henderson’s W.C. Handy Music Bar B Q and Blues Festival is held annually in June. There is also a 10 day, 200 event W.C. Handy Music Festival in Handy’s hometown of Florence, Alabama annually the last week of July.

Teaching music


W.C. Handy, ca. 1900, Director of the Alabama Agriculture & Mechanical College Band

Around that time, William Hooper Councill, President of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes (AAMC) (today named Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University) in Normal, Alabama, recruited Handy to teach music at the college. Handy became a faculty member in September 1900 and taught through much of 1902.

His enthusiasm for the distinctive style of uniquely American music, then often considered inferior to European classical music, was part of his development. He was disheartened to discover that the college emphasized teaching European music considered to be “classical”. Handy felt he was underpaid and could make more money touring with a minstrel group.

Studying the blues

In 1902 Handy traveled throughout Mississippi, where he listened to the various black popular musical styles. The state was mostly rural, and music was part of the culture, especially of the Mississippi Delta cotton plantation areas. Musicians usually played the guitarbanjo and to a much lesser extent, the piano. Handy’s remarkable memory enabled him to recall and transcribe the music heard in his travels.

After a dispute with AAMC President Councill, Handy resigned his teaching position to rejoin the Mahara Minstrels and tour theMidwest and Pacific Northwest. In 1903 he became the director of a black band organized by the Knights of Pythias, located inClarksdale, Mississippi. Handy and his family lived there for six years. In 1903 while waiting for a train in Tutwiler in the Mississippi Delta, Handy had the following experience:

“A lean loose-jointed Negro had commenced plunking a guitar beside me while I slept… As he played, he pressed a knife on the strings of the guitar in a manner popularized by Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars….The singer repeated the line three times, accompanying himself on the guitar with the weirdest music I had ever heard.”

About 1905 while playing a dance in Cleveland, Mississippi, Handy was given a note asking for “our native music”. He played an old-time Southern melody, but was asked if a local colored band could play a few numbers. Three young men with a battered guitar, mandolin, and a worn-out bass took the stage.

“They struck up one of those over and over strains that seem to have no beginning and certainly no ending at all. The strumming attained a disturbing monotony, but on and on it went, a kind of stuff associated with [sugar] cane rows and levee camps. Thump-thump-thump went their feet on the floor. It was not really annoying or unpleasant. Perhaps “haunting” is the better word.”

Handy noted square dancing by Mississippi blacks with “one of their own calling the figures, and crooning all of his calls in the key of G.” He remembered this when deciding on the key for “St Louis Blues”.

“It was the memory of that old gent who called figures for the Kentucky breakdown—the one who everlastingly pitched his tones in the key of G and moaned the calls like a presiding elder preaching at a revival meeting. Ah, there was my key – I’d do the song in G.”

In describing “blind singers and footloose bards” around Clarksdale, Handy wrote, “[S]urrounded by crowds of country folks, they would pour their hearts out in song … They earned their living by selling their own songs – “ballets,” as they called them—and I’m ready to say in their behalf that seldom did their creations lack imagination.”

Transition: popularity, fame and business

In 1909 Handy and his band moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where they started playing at clubs on Beale Street. The genesis of his “Memphis Blues” was as a campaign tune written for Edward Crump, a successful Memphis mayoral candidate in 1909 (and future“boss”). Handy later rewrote the tune and changed its name from “Mr. Crump” to “Memphis Blues.”


Handy’s first popular success, “Memphis Blues”. Recorded by Victor Military Band, July 15, 1914.

The 1912 publication of his “Memphis Blues” sheet music introduced his style of 12-bar blues; it was credited as the inspiration for the foxtrot dance step by Vernon and Irene Castle, a New York–based dance team. Some consider it to be the first blues song. Handy sold the rights to the song for US$100. By 1914, when Handy was 40, he had established his musical style, his popularity increased significantly, and he composed prolifically.

Handy wrote about using folk songs:

“The primitive southern Negro, as he sang, was sure to bear down on the third and seventh tone of the scale, slurring between major and minor. Whether in the cotton field of the Delta or on the Levee up St. Louis way, it was always the same. Till then, however, I had never heard this slur used by a more sophisticated Negro, or by any white man. I tried to convey this effect… by introducing flat thirds and sevenths (now called blue notes) into my song, although its prevailing key was major…, and I carried this device into my melody as well… This was a distinct departure, but as it turned out, it touched the spot.”

W. C. Handy with his 1918 Memphis Orchestra: Handy is center rear, holding trumpet.

“The three-line structure I employed in my lyric was suggested by a song I heard Phil Jones sing in Evansville … While I took the three-line stanza as a model for my lyric, I found its repetition too monotonous … Consequently I adopted the style of making a statement, repeating the statement in the second line, and then telling in the third line why the statement was made.”

Regarding the “three-chord basic harmonic structure” of the blues, Handy wrote the “(tonic, subdominant, dominant seventh) was that already used by Negro roustabouts, honky-tonkpiano players, wanderers and others of the underprivileged but undaunted class”. He noted,

“In the folk blues the singer fills up occasional gaps with words like ‘Oh, lawdy’ or ‘Oh, baby’ and the like. This meant that in writing a melody to be sung in the blues manner one would have to provide gaps or waits.”

Writing about the first time “St Louis Blues” was played (1914), Handy said,

“The one-step and other dances had been done to the tempo of Memphis Blues … When St Louis Blues was written the tango was in vogue. I tricked the dancers by arranging a tango introduction, breaking abruptly into a low-down blues. My eyes swept the floor anxiously, then suddenly I saw lightning strike. The dancers seemed electrified. Something within them came suddenly to life. An instinct that wanted so much to live, to fling its arms to spread joy, took them by the heels.”

His published musical works were groundbreaking because of his ethnicity, and he was among the first blacks to achieve economic success because of publishing. In 1912, Handy met Harry H. Pace at the Solvent Savings Bank in Memphis. Pace was valedictorian of his graduating class at Atlanta University and student of W. E. B. Du Bois. By the time of their meeting, Pace had already demonstrated a strong understanding of business. He earned his reputation by recreating failing businesses. Handy liked him, and Pace later became manager of Pace and Handy Sheet Music.

W.C. Handy Place in YonkersNY

While in New York City, Handy wrote:

“I was under the impression that these Negro musicians would jump at the chance to patronize one of their own publishers. They didn’t… The Negro musicians simply played the hits of the day…They followed the parade. Many white bands and orchestra leaders, on the other hand, were on the alert for novelties. They were therefore the ones most ready to introduce our numbers.” But, “Negro vaudeville artists…wanted songs that would not conflict with white acts on the bill. The result was that these performers became our most effective pluggers.”

In 1917, he and his publishing business moved to New York City, where he had offices in the Gaiety Theatre office building in Times Square. By the end of that year, his most successful songs: “Memphis Blues”, “Beale Street Blues“, and “Saint Louis Blues“, had been published. That year the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, a white New Orleans jazz ensemble, had recorded the first jazz record, introducing the style to a wide segment of the American public. Handy initially had little fondness for this new “jazz”, but bands dove into his repertoire with enthusiasm, making many of them jazz standards.

Handy encouraged performers such as Al Bernard, “a young white man” with a “soft Southern accent” who “could sing all my Blues”. Handy sent Bernard to Thomas Edison to be recorded, which resulted in “an impressive series of successes for the young artist, successes in which we proudly shared.” Handy also published the original “Shake Rattle and Roll” and “Saxophone Blues”, both written by Bernard. “Two young white ladies from Selma, Alabama (Madelyn Sheppard and Annelu Burns) contributed the songs “Pickaninny Rose” and “O Saroo”, with the music published by Handy’s company. These numbers, plus our blues, gave us a reputation as publishers of Negro music.” 


“Ole Miss Rag”, a ragtime composed by W. C. Handy and recorded by Handy’s Orchestra of Memphis in 1917 in New York.

Expecting to make only “another hundred or so” on a third recording of his “Yellow Dog Blues” (originally titled “Yellow Dog Rag”, Handy signed a deal with the Victor company. The Joe Smith recording of this song in 1919 became the best-selling recording of Handy’s music to date.

Handy tried to interest black women singers in his music, but initially was unsuccessful. In 1920 Perry Bradford persuaded Mamie Smith to record two of his non-blues songs, published by Handy, accompanied by a white band: “That Thing Called Love” and “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down”. When Bradford’s “Crazy Blues” became a hit as recorded by Smith, African-American blues singers became increasingly popular. Handy found his business began to decrease because of the competition.

In 1920 Pace amicably dissolved his long-standing partnership with Handy, with whom he also collaborated as lyricist. As Handy wrote: “To add to my woes, my partner withdrew from the business. He disagreed with some of my business methods, but no harsh words were involved. He simply chose this time to sever connection with our firm in order that he might organize Pace Phonograph Company, issuing Black Swan Records and making a serious bid for the Negro market. . . . With Pace went a large number of our employees. . . . Still more confusion and anguish grew out of the fact that people did not generally know that I had no stake in the Black Swan Record Company.”

Although Handy’s partnership with Pace was dissolved, he continued to operate the publishing company as a family-owned business. He published works of other black composers as well as his own, which included more than 150 sacred compositions and folk song arrangements and about 60 blues compositions. In the 1920’s, he founded the Handy Record Company in New York City. Bessie Smith‘s January 14, 1925, Columbia Records recording of “Saint Louis Blues” with Louis Armstrong is considered by many to be one of the finest recordings of the 1920’s. So successful was Handy’s “Saint Louis Blues” that in 1929, he and director Kenneth W. Adams collaborated on a RCA motion picture project of the same name, which was to be shown before the main attraction. Handy suggested blues singer Bessie Smith have the starring role, since she had gained widespread popularity with that tune. The picture was shot in June and was shown in movie houses throughout the United States from 1929 to 1932.

In 1926 Handy authored and edited a work entitled Blues: An Anthology—Complete Words and Music of 53 Great Songs. It is probably the first work that attempted to record, analyze and describe the blues as an integral part of the U.S. South and the history of the United States.

The genre of the blues was a hallmark of American society and culture in the 1920s and 1930s. So great was its influence, and so much was it recognized as Handy’s hallmark, that author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in his novel The Great Gatsby that “All night the saxophones wailed the hopeless comment of the “Beale Street Blues” while a hundred pairs of golden and silver slippers shuffled the shining dust. At the gray tea hour there were always rooms that throbbed incessantly with this low, sweet fever, while fresh faces drifted here and there like rose petals blown by the sad horns around the floor.”

Later life

Following publication of his autobiography, Handy published a book on African-American musicians entitled Unsung Americans Sing(1944). He wrote a total of five books:

  1. Blues: An Anthology: Complete Words and Music of 53 Great Songs
  2. Book of Negro Spirituals
  3. Father of the Blues: An Autobiography
  4. Unsung Americans Sing
  5. Negro Authors and Composers of the United States

During this time, he lived on Strivers’ Row in Harlem. He became blind following an accidental fall from a subway platform in 1943. After the death of his first wife, he remarried in 1954, when he was eighty. His new bride was his secretary, the former Irma Louise Logan, whom he frequently said had become his eyes.

In 1955, Handy suffered a stroke, following which he began to use a wheelchair. More than eight hundred attended his 84th birthday party at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

The grave of W.C. Handy at Woodlawn Cemetery

On March 28, 1958 he died of bronchial pneumonia at Sydenham Hospital in New York City.[26] Over 25,000 people attended his funeral in Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. Over 150,000 people gathered in the streets near the church to pay their respects. He was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York.


Handy’s songs do not always follow the classic 12-bar pattern, often having 8- or 16-bar bridges between 12-bar verses.

  • “Memphis Blues”, written 1909, published 1912. Although usually subtitled “Boss Crump”, it is a distinct song from Handy’s campaign satire, “Boss Crump don’t ‘low no easy riders around here”, which was based on the good-time song “Mamma Don’t Allow It.”
  • “Yellow Dog Blues” (1912), “Your easy rider’s gone where the Southern cross the Yellow Dog.” The reference is to the crossing at Moorhead, Mississippi, of the Southern Railway and the local Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad, called the Yellow Dog. By Handy’s telling locals assigned the words “Yellow Dog” to the letters Y.D.(for Yazoo Delta) on the freight trains that they saw.
  • Saint Louis Blues” (1914), “the jazzman’s Hamlet.”
  • “Loveless Love”, based in part on the classic, “Careless Love“. Possibly the first song to complain of modern synthetics, “with milkless milk and silkless silk, we’re growing used to soulless soul.”
  • “Aunt Hagar’s Blues”, the biblical Hagar, handmaiden to Abraham and Sarah, was considered the “mother” of the African Americans.
  • Beale Street Blues” (1916), written as a farewell to the old Beale Street of Memphis (actually called Beale Avenue until the song changed the name); but Beale Street did not go away and is considered the “home of the blues” to this day. B.B. King was known as the “Beale Street Blues Boy” and Elvis Presley watched and learned from Ike Turner there. In 2004 the tune was included as a track on the Memphis Jazz Box compilation as a tribute to Handy and his music.
  • “Long Gone John (From Bowling Green)”, tribute to a famous bank robber.
  • “Chantez-Les-Bas (Sing ‘Em Low)”, tribute to the Creole culture of New Orleans.
  • “Atlanta Blues”, includes the song known as “Make Me a Pallet on your Floor” as its chorus.
  • Ole Miss Rag” (1917), a ragtime composition, recorded by Handy’s Orchestra of Memphis.

Performances and honors

US Postage Stamp 1969

Awards, festivals and memorials

Bronze Statue of W.C. Handy in Handy Park, Beale StreetMemphis

The footstone of W.C. Handy inWoodlawn Cemetery

  • In 1979, New York City joined the list of institutions and municipalities to honor Handy by naming one block of West 52nd Street in Manhattan “W.C. Handy Place”.

Red Nichols – Feelin’ No Pain (1927)

Posted in 78's on Screen, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's, Recording Artists Who Appeared in Film with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Feelin’ No Pain
(Fud Livingston)
Performed by Red Nichols and His Five Pennies
August 15, 1927
Brunswick 3623

Red Nichols, Leo McConville, Mannie Klein (trumpet)/ Miff Mole (trombone)/ Pee Wee Russell (clarinet)/ Fud Livingston (tenor sax)/ Adrian Rollini (bass sax, goofus)/ Lennie Hayton (piano)/ Dick McDonough (guitar)/ Vic Berton (drums)

Red Nichols and Miff Mole became a fixture in New York’s jazz scene, recording frequently with a regular band that included Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Schutt and Vic Berton. On Brunswick, the band was christened Red Nichols and his Five Pennies, a name that stuck with Nichols throughout his recording career regardless of the actual number of musicians in the band. On Columbia the band was given a standard house band pseudonym The Charleston Chasers. On Columbia’s budget Harmony label the band was The Arkansas Travellers. On the Perfect label they were The Red Heads. On the OKeh label they were Miff Mole and his Little Molers. When they recorded for Edison or Victor they were Red and Miff’s Stompers.

Noble Sissle (Record Research 61 1964)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's, Recording Artists Who Appeared in Film with tags , , on September 26, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Fess Williams’ Royal Flush Orchestra-Variety Stomp

Posted in Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's on September 21, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Variety Stomp. recorded in New York on March 28th 1927.

Fess Williams (cl-as-v-arr-dir)
George Tempel (t)
Keneth Roane (t-arr)
David ‘Jelly’ James (tb)
Perry Smith (cl-ts)
Gene Mikell (cl-as-bar-bsx)
Henry ‘Hank’ Duncan (p)
Ollie Blackwell (bj)
Clinton Walker (bb)
Ralph Bedell (d)

The Complete Edison Lateral Record Catalog (Record Research 54 1963)

Posted in 78 RPM Label Discography, 78 RPM Record Development, Interviews and Articles with tags , on September 21, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Meet The Collector: Ken McPherson by Mike Daley (Courtesy APN)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, The Collector's Hunt for 78's with tags , , , , on September 19, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

 A few months ago, I was interviewed by a fellow member of the Canadian Antique Phonograph Society. Here, below, is the content from that interview.


201309-page-010 201309-page-011

Irving Mills and his Hotsy Totsy Gang – My Lit’l Honey And Me (Brunswick 4674 1929)

Posted in 78's on Screen, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's, The Sound of Jazz and Hot Dance 78's with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins


Irving Mills (Jan.16,1894 – April 21,1985) was a jazz music publisher, also known by the name of “Joe Primrose.”

Mills was born to Jewish parents in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. He founded Mills Music with his brother Jack in 1919. Between 1919 and 1965, when they sold Mills Music, Inc., they built and became the largest independent music publisher in the world. He died in 1985 in Palm Springs, California.

Irving and Jack discovered a number of great songwriters, among them Sammy Fain, Harry Barris, Gene Austin, Hoagy Carmichael, Jimmy McHugh, and Dorothy Fields. He either discovered or greatly advanced the careers of Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ben Pollack, Jack Teagarden, Benny Goodman, Will Hudson, Raymond Scott and many others.

Although not a musician himself (he did sing, however), Irving decided to put together his own studio recording group. In Irving Mills and his Hotsy Totsy Gang he had for sidemen: Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Arnold Brillhardt, Arthur Schutt, and Manny Klein. Other variations of his bands featured Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Red Nichols (Irving gave Red Nichols the tag “and his Five Pennies.”)

One of his innovations was the “band within a band,” recording small groups (he started this in 1928 by arranging for members of Ben Pollack’s band to record hot small group sides for the various dime store labels, out of the main orchestra and printing “small orchestrations” transcribed off the record, so that non-professional musicians could see how great solos were constructed. This was later done by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and many other bands.

In late 1936, with involvement by Herbert Yates of the American Record Corporation, Irving started the Master and Variety labels, which for their short life span were distributed by ARC through their Brunswick and Vocalion label sales staff. From December, 1936, through about September, 1937, an amazing amount of records were issued on these labels. Master’s best selling artists were Duke Ellington, Raymond Scott, as well as Hudson-De Lange Orchestra, Casper Reardon and Adrian Rollini. Variety’s roster included Cab Calloway, Red Nichols, the small groups from Ellington’s band led by Barney Bigard, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart, and Johnny Hodges, as well as Noble Sissle, Frankie Newton, The Three Peppers, Chu Berry, Billy Kyle, and other major and minor jazz and pop performers around New York. In such a short time, an amazing amount of fine music was recorded for these labels.

By late 1937 a number of problems caused the collapse of these labels. The Brunswick and Vocalion sales staff had problems of their own, with competition from Victor and Decca, and it wasn’t easy to get this new venture off the ground. Mills tried to arrange for distribution overseas to get his music issued in Europe, but was unsuccessful. Also, it’s quite likely that these records simply weren’t selling as well as hoped for.

After the collapse of the labels, those titles that were still selling on Master were reissued on Brunswick and those still selling on Variety were reissued on Vocalion. Mills continued his M-100 recording series after the labels were taken over by ARC, and after cutting back recording to just the better selling artists, new recordings made from about January 1938 by Master were issued on Brunswick (later Columbia) and Vocalion (later the revived Okeh) until May 7, 1940.

Irving was recording all the time and became the head of the American Recording Company, which is now Columbia Records. Once radio blossomed Irving was singing at six radio stations seven days a week plugging Mills tunes. Jimmy McHugh, Sammy Fain, and Gene Austin took turns being his pianist.

He produced one picture, Stormy Weather, for Twentieth Century Fox in 1943, which starred jazz greats Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Zutty Singleton, and Fats Waller and the legendary dancers the Nicholas Brothers and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. He had a contract to do other movies but found it “too slow” so he continued finding, recording and plugging music.

Much has been made about Mills’ co-writing credit on a number of key Ellington compositions. The fact remains that those acts managed by Irving Mills got the best gigs and had the greatest opportunities in the recording studio.

Irving lived to be over 91 years old. His place in the history of jazz is founded primarily on his business skills rather than his singing and songwriting abilities, but it was his management skills and publishing empire that were central to the history and financial success of jazz. Because of his promotion of black entertainers a leading black newspaper referred to him as the Abraham Lincoln of music.

Irving Mills and his Hotsy Totsy Gang – My Lit’l Honey And Me (1929)

The Story of Louie Metcalf (Record Research 46 1962)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , , , , , on September 14, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Johnny Dunn’s Early Records/Vera Guilaroff (Record Research 76 1966)

Posted in Canadian Recording Artists of the 1920's, Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , , , , on September 10, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Columbia Grafonola and Graphophone from the T.Eaton Company Catalogue 1915-1916

Posted in Phonographs That Played 78 rpm records with tags , , , , , on September 8, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Canadian Antique Phonograph Society Meeting Sept. 15th

Posted in Phonograph and 78 RPM Record Clubs with tags , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins


Howard Cable Recollects: Memories of the Big Band Era

Sunday, September 15, at 1:00 pm



Centennial College, Progress Campus
Markham Road exit off Highway 401
Toronto, Ontario

Room: B1-16      Entrance: Door 9
Parking: Lots 4 and 5
Date & Time: Sunday 1:00-5:00 pm

The Canadian Antique Phonograph Society meets on a regular basis, currently eight times a year between September and June. CAPS meetings attract more than 50 members and guests. Arrive early to peruse the auction tables.

Each meeting begins with a presentation of about one hour in duration by one of our members or a specially-invited speaker on one aspect or another of recorded-sound history. This is followed by a 20-minute social period where members exchange information about records, machines and parts, survey the auction tables and any set price sale items, or view one of the displays that members often set up. Facilities are also available for screening short videos during the meeting.

Following this is an auction of a wide variety of sound machines, recordings and music-related ephemera. Admission is $5 per person which pays for the meeting room and the refreshments. Guests are welcomed at our meetings. To participate in the auction, however, you must be a member which costs $35.00 per year.

1926 Paramount Bulletin Found! (Record Research 71 1965)

Posted in 78 RPM Label Discography, Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's, The History of Jazz and Blues Recordings with tags , , , , , on September 7, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Lucille Hegamin’s Last Performance (Record Research 1970)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's, The History of Jazz and Blues Recordings with tags , , , on September 7, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

In The Days of Isham Jones (Record Research 68 1965)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , on September 6, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Tony Parenti Story: The New York Years 1928-1950 (Record Research 28 1960)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's, Recording Artists of the 1930's and 1940's, The History of Jazz and Blues Recordings with tags , , , , , , on September 5, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Gennett Bands and Gennett Record Research (Record Research 94 1968)

Posted in 78 RPM Label Discography, Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , on September 4, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Victoria Spivey and Joe “King” Oliver (Record Research 87 1967)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , , on September 4, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

The California Ramblers (Record Research 47 1962)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , on September 4, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

The Proper Way to Store Your 78 RPM Records

Posted in 78 RPM Care, My 78 RPM Collection with tags , on September 3, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

I take pride in my record collection of just over 3000 78’s, and as such made sure that they were properly kept in sleeves, and in an upright position, to prevent possible cracks. Here below, is a look at my record cabinets and how the records are stored. Picture Sunrise Record 003 Picture Sunrise Record 002

Louis Armstrong and Victoria Spivey (Record Research 48 1963)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , on September 3, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Sunrise 78 RPM Record Label from 1929

Posted in Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's, The Collector's Hunt for 78's with tags , , , on September 2, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Sunrise 78 RPM Record Label from 1929

This was one of the records I found this past Saturday, at an antique market in Paris, Ontario. According to what I could find in the American Dance Band discography by Brian Rust, this Vincent Lopez recording was done in 1929. I believe that the this Grey Gull label is rare, as they do not turn up as frequently as their other label’s.

The Canadian Victor 216000 Series-Estimating The Recording Dates by Jack Litchfield

Posted in 78 RPM Label Discography, Canadian Recording Artists of the 1920's, Interviews and Articles, Records in Canada with tags , , , , on September 2, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Mamie Smith-First Lady of the Blues (Record Research 1964)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's, The History of Jazz and Blues Recordings with tags , , on September 2, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Red Nichols and the Syncopating Five (Record Research 1962)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , on September 2, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Red Nichols Memorial and Sam Lanin Okeh Sessions (Record Research 1969)

Posted in Interviews and Articles, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins


Edison and the Diamond Disc Record (Record Research 20 1958)

Posted in 78 RPM Label Discography, Interviews and Articles with tags , on September 1, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Fabulous Fives:Original Dixieland Jazz Band Earl Fuller’s Famous Jazz Band Louisiana Five New Orleans Jazz Band Original Memphis Five Original Indiana Five

Posted in 78 RPM Label Discography, The History of Jazz and Blues Recordings with tags , , , , , on September 1, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

The Chicago Rhythm Kings-I’ve Found A New Baby 1928

Posted in 78's on Screen, Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , , , , , on September 1, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

“The Chicago Rhythm Kings”:
Muggsy Spanier, c / Frank Teschemacher, cl / Mezz Mezzrow, ts / Joe Sullivan, p / Eddie Condon bj, v / Jim Lannigan, bb / Gene Krupa, d / Red McKenzie, v.
Chicago, March 27, 1928.

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