1912: "Waitin' on the Levee"
Various Artists

Various Artists: 1912: "Waitin' on the Levee"

24 hits from 1912, the year that the unsinkable Titanic went down and Teddy Roosevelt launched his Bull Moose Party. Big songs by Billy Murray and the American Quartet, Heidelberg Quintet, Ada Jones, Bob Roberts doing "Ragtime Cowboy Joe," a very young Al Jolson singing "That Haunting Melody" and "Ragging the Baby to Sleep," Collins and Harlan, Harry Lauder, and more. Deluxe, full-color 24-page booklet features detailed notes on the songs, an historical essay, and rare graphics. List price: $16.99

OVERVIEW

  • Catalogue number: ARCH 9003
  • UPC: 656605923826
  • Original release date: April 4, 2001
  • Running length: 66:56 / 24 tracks
  • Notes & packaging: Includes a 24-page full-color booklet
  • Tracks recorded: 1911-1912
  • Contains racially derogatory language
  • In Archeophone's Phonographic Yearbook series
Tracks and Sound SamplesProduct DescriptionPackage DealsMore by these Artists
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Tracklist
1. Down by the Old Mill Stream Harry Macdonough and Chorus 1911
2. Oh, You Beautiful Doll American Quartet 1911
3. Snap Your Fingers Al Jolson 1912
4. I’m Going Back to Dixie Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan 1911
5. I Love You Truly Elsie Baker 1912
6. Be My Little Baby Bumble Bee Ada Jones and Billy Murray 1912
7. Red Pepper: A Spicy Rag Fred Van Eps 1911
8. Moonlight Bay American Quartet 1911
9. When I Was Twenty-One and You Were Sweet Sixteen Albert Campbell and Henry Burr 1912
10. Whispering Hope Alma Gluck and Louise Homer 1912
11. The Ragtime Violin American Quartet 1911
12. It’s a Long Lane that Has No Turning Columbia Quartet 1911
13. Roamin’ in the Gloamin’ Harry Lauder 1911
14. Love Is Mine Enrico Caruso 1911
15. That Haunting Melody Al Jolson 1911
16. I’m Afraid, Pretty Maid, I’m Afraid Ada Jones and Walter Van Brunt 1912
17. Waiting for the Robert E. Lee Heidelberg Quintet 1912
18. In the Land of Harmony and Stop Stop Stop (medley) Guido Deiro 1912
19. Ring Ting-a-Ling Ada Jones 1912
20. If You Talk in Your Sleep, Don’t Mention My Name Billy Murray 1911
21. Ragging the Baby to Sleep Al Jolson 1912
22. Take Me Back to the Garden of Love Charles W. Harrison and Columbia Quartet 1912
23. Ragtime Cowboy Joe Bob Roberts 1912
24. Everybody Two-Step American Quartet 1912

Ragtime was in a full-swing comeback in 1912. Tunesmiths like Irving Berlin rode the craze and churned out hit after hit. Now, whether Berlin’s “The Ragtime Violin” or Gilbert and Muir’s “Ragging the Baby to Sleep” were true ragtime is for musicologists to debate, but the public grabbed on to these songs as the real thing, much as audiences nearly 50 years later would consume rock and roll records in substitution for black rhythm and blues.

Jolson and Murray break out

Al Jolson’s first recordings for Victor were hits in 1912. He was a new Broadway sensation, starring in La Belle Paree and performing “That Haunting Melody.” Billy Murray, meanwhile, was in the process of becoming a recording superstar. The always popular Murray was featured on records as a solo singer (the risque “If You Talk in Your Sleep, Don’t Mention My Name”), in duets with Ada Jones (“Be My Little Baby Bumble Bee”), as the leader of the American Quartet (“Oh, You Beautiful Doll,” “Moonlight Bay,” “Everybody Two-Step”), and as a member of the Heidelberg Quintet (“Waiting for the Robert E. Lee”). So prominent was Murray that Columbia Records hired the young Murray sound-alike Walter Van Brunt to work with Ada Jones on duets such as “I’m Afraid, Pretty Maid, I’m Afraid,” since Murray was under exclusive contract to Victor and Edison.

Classical popularity

Opera stars Enrico Caruso and Alma Gluck with Louise Homer thanked their faithful American audiences who, over the years, purchased all those expensive Victor Red Seal records, by giving them English-language recordings to feast upon. Caruso’s “Love Is Mine” and Gluck and Homer’s “Whispering Hope” are more serious than the rags of 1912, but they were smashes all the same. And, while not high-brow, the Scot Harry Lauder found Americans eager to hear his brogue-inflected musings on “Roamin’ in the Gloamin’,” a release in Victor’s 12-inch purple-label specialty series.

Widely representative

Archeophone’s “1912” CD has many of the biggest names of the acoustic era. In addition to Jolson, Murray, Caruso, Lauder, and the American Quartet, you’ll find Collins and Harlan (“I’m Going Back to Dixie”), Campbell and Burr (“When I Was Twenty-One and You Were Sweet Sixteen”), Bob Roberts (“Ragtime Cowboy Joe”), Fred Van Eps (“Red Pepper: A Spicy Rag”), Guido Deiro (“In the Land of Harmony and Stop Stop Stop”), and Ada Jones (doing the charmingly silly “Ring, Ting-a-Ling”).

Music during a time of international tragedy

The sinking of the Titanic was not simply an American problem; lives from both sides of the Atlantic were lost, and debate continues today over how class status affected who lived and who died. The color booklet accompanying this compact disc contains an essay that attempts to make sense of the time that encompassed both the fateful voyage of the Titanic and the re-emergence of ragtime. Also detailed is one of the most exciting presidential campaigns of American history, when former president Teddy Roosevelt challenged his one-time friend, the Republican incumbent William Howard Taft, before becoming the Bull Moose candidate. The result was a split vote that allowed Democrat Woodrow Wilson to sneak a narrow popular victory.

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