This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
Based on the response I received for the music of 1910, I've decided to do another early year. Again, this is not only music from 1914, but music that was recorded in that year.
I hope you like it – I'm a bit doubtful but I was somewhat overruled on the previous column.
I remember the song Aba Daba Honeymoon from the fifties sung by Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter. I didn't know at the time that this wasn't the first time this song had made the hit parades.
The song was written by Arthur Fields and Walter Donovan in 1914 and was first recorded by ARTHUR COLLINS and BYRON HARLAN.
They were referred to by fellow recording artist Billy Murray as "The Half Ton Duo" as they were rather challenged in the weight department. That's not obvious in the picture. Anyway, here's their version of the song.
One hundred years on we have forgotten what it was like in the early days of driving. BILLY MURRAY explains it all to us.
Back then they didn't just jump in the car and tootle over to Auntie Elsie's place. No, most likely there would have been at least one stop on the way, perhaps more. Billy tells it better than I can withHe'd Have To Get Out and Get Under (To Fix Up His Automobile).
ADA JONES recorded with quite a few people over the years, most notably Len Spencer and Billy Murray (who got a gig just above).
Apparently she only recorded one song with BILLY WATKINS and it's this one, By the Beautiful Sea. You will probably know this song. Sorry, there doesn't seem to be a picture of Billy.
GEORGE MACFARLANE was from Canada and began his career performing in Gilbert and Sullivan and musicals in Montreal.
He then went to New York and where he was quite a success in musical comedies. He also appeared in films, both musical and in straight roles. Alas, his career was cut short when he was hit by a car and killed.
George performs Can't You Hear Me Calling, Caroline?
ARTHUR FIELDS started performing young, singing in minstrel shows and vaudeville.
He then started writing songs – he's responsible for Aba Daba Honeymoon (up above). He also recorded songs, both his own and those of others. This one is in the latter category; Irving Berlin is responsible for writing Along Came Ruth.
HENRY BURR, ALBERT CAMPBELL and WILL OAKLAND join together to give us I'm on My Way to Mandalay.
Will was a countertenor and sang the high parts, often the female role in songs (several with Billy Murray who seems to have recorded with everyone). Henry was a recording fool; he made more records than just about anyone in history – more than 12,000 are known.
He appeared often with the Peerless Quartet who included Will and Albert among its members at various times. As well as that group, Henry and Albert were a successful duo. The three of them got together for this song.
NORA BAYES was already a success in vaudeville when she was still in her teens, touring everywhere from California to New York.
She was a good friend of George M Cohan and premiered many of his songs. Nora married songwriter Jack Norworth, and again she was the first with his songs.
What we have today wasn't by either of those, however. It's The Good Ship Mary Ann written by Grace Le Boy and Gus Kahn.
THE PEERLESS QUARTET was easily the most successful group in the early days of the 20th century.
They recorded under several different names but this is the one where they had the most success. They were the first to record many songs that became famous and quite a few are still performed today.
I don't know if this is one of those, While They Were Dancing Around. The song was written by Joseph McCarthy and James Monaco.
Besides making records of popular music of the day, CHARLES HARRISON also recorded opera and similar concert songs.
He later was a successful performer on Broadway. His record of Peg o' My Heart was number 1 on the charts for a rather amazing 14 weeks. I guess there wasn't quite the competition then than there is today, but it's still a good effort, and you can only beat what was on offer at the time.
ELIZABETH SPENCER and VERNON ARCHIBALD were associated with the Metropolitan Quartet.
Charles Harrison was as well, so they probably knew each other. That's about all I know about Liz and Vern except they made quite a few records together. This is one of those from 1914, In the Valley of the Moon, written by Jeff Branen.