Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

"Document Edison 1100 Series "

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Vaughn De Leath - Dancing The Devil Away (1920-1929)

Genre: 1920s Popular
Informative booklet notes by Gillian Atkinson.

Vaughn De Leath CDs Vaughn De Leath, although forgotten today, was a household name in the 1920s. Born in Mt. Pulaski, IL, in 1884, she joined the showbiz world in 1921, singing over the WJZ radio station in Chicago. Her success in the pioneering days of Radio broadcast was probably down to her ability to accompany herself on banjo, ukulele, guitar and piano and also to her enduring strength, being able to entertain for hours in the days when there was an excess of air time. By 1923 she was the first woman executive to run a radio station, WJZ and a small network of low power stations. In 1925 she went back to full time performing. She had begun her recording career in 1920 and throughout the decade she recorded for just about every record label. In 1928 not only was she the featured guest of Voice of Firestone Radio Hour’s first programme but she also appeared on experimental television broadcasts. By this time she had become known as “The First Lady of Radio” and although she successfully sued another singer who had used this moniker, she recorded her last side for Crown records in 1931 and then disappeared into obscurity, dying 12 years later in Buffalo, New York. The extraordinary breadth of her repertoire and flexible style can be heard by the on this CD.

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Country Music Pioneers On Edison (1922-1929)

Country Music Pioneers on Edison Records (1922-1929)

Various Artist
Genres: Vintage Country / Old Timey
16 page, illustrated, informative, booklet notes by Lawrence Tedder

Almost since the time that recording sound became a reality, record companies both large and small continually sought out new idioms of entertainment to keep ahead of their competitors. For some unknown reason, however, country music recording was continually overlooked - citing it more as a folk tradition, than an actual vehicle for profit. Continued...

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Jazz and Blues On Edison Volume 1 (1920-1929)

Various Artsts.
Genres: Blues, Classic Blues, Jazz.

16 page, informative, illustrated booklet notes by Lawrence Tedder.

For those of you who believe that there is little jazz or blues on the Edison label will be pleasantly surprised by this CD. Thomas Edison�s dislike of Jazz and Dance Music was well known. He was once quoted as saying: I always play Jazz records backwards, they sound better that way. Despite his personal views, Jazz Bands and Dance Orchestras were issued on his label, many recording for no other company, and on this CD we give you the best of the best. So we must consider ourselves fortunate that Edison saw fit to put his personal views aside, and record these groups� efforts for future generations to listen to and enjoy. Continued...

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The Golden Gate Orchestra - Crazy Words, Crazy Tune (1925 - 1929)

Genres: Jazz, Dance Band.
Informative booklet notes by Gillian George

In this, the fourth release of the Edison/Document series, the popular American music of the late 1920's is represented here to good effect by The Golden Gate Orchestra. The Golden Gate Orchestra however were to all intents and purposes a pseudonym for the well-established California Ramblers.
The history of the California Ramblers and their ever changing line up is well documented elsewhere, however, the liner notes to "The California Ramblers 1925-1928" (Timeless Records) by Hans Eekhoff are recommended. Continued...

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Vernon Dalhart Puttin' On The Style

In 2007, the Document historical reissue label gave the world what appears to have been the first Vernon Dalhart collection on compact disc using noise reduction technology to minimize the hissing, crackling, and wheezing associated with time-worn gramophone recordings. Anyone accustomed to hearing Dalhart's hoary old pressings played back on 78 rpm turntables will rejoice at the relative clarity achieved by the producers of this important release. 

In 1914, while cast as Ralph Rackstraw in Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, he made his first test pressings for Thomas Alva Edison's exclusive record label. Document's survey of the Edison catalog covers a time period extending from December 22, 1916 to July 17, 1929, and includes four of this singer's first electrically recorded Edisons. Legend has it Dalhart performed an audition for Edison himself; the elderly inventor was apparently impressed by the singer's knack for concise enunciation. Continued...

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The Piccadilly Players - Feelin' Good (1927-1929)

Genres: Jazz, Dance Band
Booklet notes by Gary Atkinson

During the 1920s and 30s recording companies found themselves catering for the record buying public’s insatiable demand for dance music. It was the jazz era and the music had become popular to a wide audience, transcending race and class.

The workhorse used to satisfy this demand was the record label house bands. Among the many that were created for the labels were The New York Syncopaters and Ted Wallace & His Campus Boys, both recording for Columbia. The Jazzpators and The High Society Seven represented Grey Gull and among Victor’s in house bands was Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra.

Edison’s house band was the Piccadilly Players. The band was led by Melville Morris who had become a part of Paul Whiteman’s office staff in 1923, his post being the booking agent for all the bands spotted and subsequently managed by Whiteman.

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Jazz And Blues On Edison Volume 2 (1917 - 1929)

Various artists.
Genres: Jazz, Dance Band, Classic Blues

Informative booklet notes by Lawrence Tedder

This collection begins with a recording made in the very first months in the history of Jazz recording! For those of you who believe that there is little jazz or blues on the Edison label this CD will, hopefully, come as a pleasant surprise. Thomas Edison’s dislike of Jazz and Dance Music was well known. He was quoted as saying: “I always play Jazz records backwards, they sound better that way.” Despite his personal views, recordings by some of the finest Jazz Bands and Dance Orchestras and Blues artists of the period were issued on his label, many recording exclusively for the Edison label.

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Harry Reser 'Trainin The Fingers' 1925 - 1929

Genres: Jazz, Ragtime, Popular
Informative booklet notes by Bryan Chalker

Banjo virtuoso Harry Reser's (1896-1965) recorded output was staggering and among the ensembles he was associated with included The Bostonians, the Campus Boys, Jimmy Johnston's Rebels, the Four Minstrels, the Seven Rag Pickers, the Victorian Syncopators, Earl Oliver's Jazz Babies, Bill Wirges' Orchestra, Tom Stacks and his Minute Men and the celebrated Cliquot Club Eskimos, which were heard weekly on NBC's radio network from 1925 until 1935. In addition to these, however, there were a truly bewildering array of pseudonyms and this compilation of Edison sides, spanning the years 1925 to 1929, must be viewed as a "taster" from the musical world that was Harry Reser and his banjo. Continued...


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B. A. Rolfe (1926-1929)

Genres: Jazz, Dance Band, Popular
Informative booklet notes by Joe Moore

At the end of 1923, at the age of 44, Benjamin Albert Rolfe joined Vincent Lopez's Hotel Pennsylvania Orchestra, and stayed with Lopez as a star cornet player until about April 1925, when he left to join National Attractions Inc, a ballroom circuit which included the Arcadia and Clover Gardens ballrooms in New York. Within twelve months he had taken a band of his own into the Palais D'Or, a Chinese Restaurant in New York, near Broadway and 48th Street. This was a popular New York eating house, opening at noon each day, with two performances of a revue each night at 7.00pm and 11.30pm, closing at around 2.00am. By 1927 Rolfe's contract at the Palais D'Or was for $2500 per week, plus a percentage of the profits above a certain figure. Considering that the Rolfe band was playing for dancers almost as soon as the Palais D'Or opened, and continued playing right up to closing time, it can be said they earned their money each week! Continued...

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Country Music Pioneers on Edison Records Volume 2 (1923 - 1929)

Various Artists
Genres: Vintage Country, Old Timey.

Extensive booklet note by Larry Tedder.

As with our two volume set, Jazz & Blues on Edison Records, there was such a treasure trove of Country Music Recordings left to us in the Unissued Thomas Edison Archive that one CD issue just couldn't contain it all. The recordings here cover the years 1923 through 1929, and are taken from both Diamond Disc and Lateral Cut Test Pressings. There are many original songs presented, and also some "cover" recordings of songs made famous by Jimmie Rodgers, such as Frankie Marvin performing Blue Yodel No. 1 and the vocal duo of Frank Luther and Carson Robison (under the pseudonym "The Jimson Brothers") with Waiting for a Train. This issue has been a long time in coming, and we do hope our efforts here have made it well worth the wait. Enjoy!!!

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Hawaiian Rainbow - Hawaiian Music on Edison Records (1916 - 1929)

Various artists.
Genres: Hawaiian, Hawaiian guitar, steel guitar, world music.

Informative booklet notes by Gillian Atkinson.

Hawaiian Rainbow is the latest CD in the Document ASA (American Sound Archives) series featuring previously unissued recordings produced by the Edison Company between the years of 1914-1929. Hawaiian music had been recorded as early as the 1890s but was not especially popular or influential until 1912 when Richard Walton Tully's Play Bird of Paradise hit the Broadway stage sparking an explosion of interest. Next came the appearance of Keoki Awai's Royal Hawaiian Quartette at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco. In late 1915 Victor began issuing Hawaiian discs on a monthly basis. By 1916 all companies, not least Edison, recorded Hawaiian or pseudo-Hawaiian numbers. An article titled "Hawaiian Music Universally Popular," included in the September 1916 issue of Edison Phonograph Monthly, asks, "Two years ago what did the public know about Hawaiian Music, Ukuleles, Hula Hula Dances? Since then Hawaiian music and American versions of it have taken the United States by storm...

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Mr. Edison's Christmas (1906 - 1927)

Genres: Christmas, Season holiday, Santa Claus, Edison Recordings, Christmas Carols, Christmas Monologues

Informative booklet notes by Larry Tedder.
Detailed discography.

Of all things Christmas, nothing is more traditional than the singing of carols and songs. Songs that capture in lyrics and in music the many traditions that we have at this joyous Season: the birth of the Christ child, the Christmas tree, the opening of gifts, sleigh rides, and holiday get-togethers with family and friends.

On October 30, 1889 banjoist Will Lyle made history by recording "Jingle Bells" – the very first Christmas record. Although no known copies of this recording survive, one of the earliest vocal examples of "Jingle Bells" does survive on an Edison brown wax cylinder entitled, "The Sleigh Ride Party". Continued...

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