Songs of the Night: Dance Recordings, 1916-1925
Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra

Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra, Songs of the Night: Dance Recordings, 1916-1925
September 18, 2015 hennessey
Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra: Songs of the Night: Dance Recordings, 1916-1925

It took a violin virtuoso leading the band at an upscale New York hotel to turn the world of dance records upside down. Eschewing the cold, impersonal arrangements of military bands, Joseph C. Smith brought a warmth and intimacy to the soundtrack of the 1910s dance craze--always with taste and discipline. He reinvigorated the waltz, helped standardize the fox trot, incorporated vocal refrains, and introduced many future classics. For a brief moment, the night belonged to Maestro Smith. Featuring 47 tracks recorded between 1916 and 1925, these two CDs and 32-page booklet tell the story of Smith's career and the innovations he pioneered. Researcher Ryan Barna has uncovered new information on Smith's life and shares valuable insights into the bandleader's singular contributions during the rapidly-changing world of early-century dance music. Smith was the first bandleader to introduce vocal refrains on dance records, and you can hear old industry pros Harry Macdonough on songs such as "Smiles" and "Peggy" and Billy Murray on "Ching-a-Ling's Jazz Bazaar." Moreover, Smith provided a launching pad for many top musicians, who perform their solo specialties here, including trombonist Harry Raderman; xylophonists Teddy Brown and George Hamilton Green; pianists Hugo Frey, Harry Akst and William Bergé; and saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeft. Smith himself provides sometimes beautiful ("Missouri Waltz"), sometimes scorching violin work ("Sally") throughout the proceedings. List price: $27.99

OVERVIEW

  • Catalogue number: ARCH 6009
  • UPC: 778632907416
  • Original release date: September 11, 2015
  • Running length: 154:38 / 47 tracks / 2 CD set
  • Notes & packaging: Includes a 32-page full-color booklet
  • Tracks recorded: 1916-1925
  • In Archeophone's Jazz, Dance & Blues series
  • Awards: 58th GRAMMY Nominee, Best Album Notes
Tracks and Sound SamplesProduct DescriptionReviewsHonors & AwardsPackage DealsMore by this ArtistExplore Further
 Sample all tracks 
Tracklist: CD 1
1. Songs of the Night Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1916
2. Money Blues Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1916
3. I’ve a Shooting Box in Scotland Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1917
4. Havanola Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
5. Poor Butterfly Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
6. Allah’s Holiday Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
7. St. Elmo Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
8. Dance and Grow Thin Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
9. Missouri Waltz Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
10. Calicoco Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
11. When You Come Back Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
12. Smiles Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
13. Rose Room Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
14. Mary Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
15. Hindustan Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
16. Rockin’ the Boat Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
17. Head Over Heels Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1918
18. Mickey Joseph C. Smith Trio 1919
19. Dear Old Pal of Mine Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919
20. Somebody’s Sweetheart and Good Morning, Judge Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919
21. Rainy Day Blues Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919
22. Coo Coo Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919
23. The Vamp Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919

 

Tracklist: CD 2
1. Who Did It? Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919
2. Peggy Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919
3. Yellow Dog Blues Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919
4. Happy Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919
5. Lovely Summertime Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919
6. That Naughty Waltz Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919
7. Karavan Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1920
8. Ching-a-Ling’s Jazz Bazaar Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1920
9. Love Nest Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1920
10. Alice Blue Gown Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1920
11. Sally Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1921
12. I Lost My Heart to You Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1921
13. Why, Dear? Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1921
14. It’s You Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1921
15. Stealing Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1921
16. Three O’clock in the Morning Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1922
17. While Miami Dreams Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1922
18. Rose of Stamboul Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1922
19. Where Is the Man of My Dreams Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1922
20. Sweetheart of Sigma Chi Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1923
21. Stella Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1923
22. It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo! Joseph C. Smith and His Mount Royal Orchestra 1924
23. Driftwood Joseph C. Smith and His Mount Royal Orchestra 1924
24. I Like You Best of All Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1925

It took a violin virtuoso leading the band at an upscale New York hotel to turn the world of dance records upside down. Eschewing the cold, impersonal arrangements of military bands, Joseph C. Smith brought a warmth and intimacy to the soundtrack of the 1910s dance craze–always with taste and discipline. He reinvigorated the waltz, helped standardize the fox trot, incorporated vocal refrains, and introduced many future classics. For a brief moment, the night belonged to Maestro Smith.

A Thorough Retrospective

Featuring 47 tracks recorded between 1916 and 1925, these two CDs and 32-page booklet tell the story of Smith’s career and the innovations he pioneered. Researcher Ryan Barna has uncovered new information on Smith’s life and shares valuable insights into the bandleader’s singular contributions during the rapidly-changing world of early-century dance music. He made his name at the Plaza Hotel in New York, where Victor discovered him and then employed him to be their dance master. He recorded “Songs of the Night,” “Poor Butterfly,” “Allah’s Holiday” and the first Cole Porter tune ever waxed, “I’ve a Shooting Box in Scotland.” Initial public reaction to the new dance stylings presented by Smith seemed muted, so the company allowed him to go to Columbia, where he made two sides: “Calicoco” and “When You Come Back” (both included here). Then everything changed.

How to Waltz

“Missouri Waltz” was the last thing Smith did at Victor before defecting to Columbia. Sales skyrocketed, and Victor called him back for good. Other bands made waltz records, but not like this. Smith’s arrangements were intimate and romantic; his violin was the language of love. Smith would keep the waltz, his specialty, fresh and up-to-date–whether in a sustained mood of sadness, like with “That Naughty Waltz,” or by employing a remarkable hesitation beat, like with “Three O’clock in the Morning.” Smith’s proponents insisted that while fads would come and go, the waltz would always stay around, and nobody could play a waltz like Smith’s band.

Innovations

Smith was the first bandleader to introduce vocal refrains on dance records, and you can hear old industry pros Harry Macdonough on songs such as “Smiles” and “Peggy” and Billy Murray on “Ching-a-Ling’s Jazz Bazaar.” Moreover, Smith provided a launching pad for many top musicians, who perform their solo specialties here, including trombonist Harry Raderman; xylophonists Teddy Brown and George Hamilton Green; pianists Hugo Frey, Harry Akst and William Bergé; and saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeft. Smith himself provides sometimes beautiful (“Missouri Waltz”), sometimes scorching (“Sally”) violin work throughout the proceedings. And he also gives renditions of several of his own compositions, including “Coo Coo” and “Who Did It?”

Caught in the Middle

Despite giving Victor some powerful hits, such as the exotic-sounding “Hindustan,” the eerie “The Vamp,” the tender “Mickey” (with vocal by Henry Burr), and the all-time best-selling “Love Nest,” Smith found himself without a label by mid-1922. A victim of his own success, Smith became passé when other bandleaders no longer followed his lead but, rather, championed new innovations and left the Maestro behind. Brunswick gave Smith a chance, billing him as”The Man Who Made Dancing to the Phonograph Possible,” and Gershwin’s “Where Is the Man of My Dreams,” as well as “Sweetheart of Sigma Chi” and “Stella” represent his time with the upstart company. Smith ended his recording career with the Canadian branch of Victor in Montreal, where Smith and His Mount Royal Orchestra were engaged. “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo!” “Driftwood,” and “(I Like Pie, I Like Cake but) I Like You Best of All” show this final period to grreat advantage. Smith even provides his own vocal on “I Like You Best of All,” the last track he ever recorded.

Goodbye–Hello

Smith spent nearly another 20 years in the business, playing hotels and restaurants to appreciative dance-and-dinner patrons, before retiring to south Florida, where he passed away in 1965 at the age of 81. There remain a number of questions about Smith’s biography, so we’ll let the music speak for itself and perhaps tell a thing or two about the essence of the man.

A Long-Requested Release

For years, Smith’s fans have been clamoring for Archeophone to produce a set devoted to the Maestro, and here it is. With over two and a half hours of music (about a third of Smith’s complete output) and extensive notes by Ryan Barna, Songs of the Night is destined to be an early dance-band classic. The set is produced by the team of Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey, fresh off their Grammy-nominated work on Happy, the 1920 sides by Isham Jones’ Rainbo Orchestra. As on Happy, the restorations and remastering of Songs of the Night are top notch, revealing depth and clarity in the ancient grooves that most listeners have never heard.

GRAMMY Awards
  • GRAMMY Nominee, Best Album Notes, 2015

This release is included in the following packages.

Jazz, Dance, and Blues

Save 15% when you order all in-stock releases in our Jazz, Dance & Blues Series

All Things Archeophone

Save 20% on our entire catalogue

TRAILER

FROM OUR BLOG

Smith Arrives!

It’s new-release Friday and the beginning of Archeophone’s Fall Sale. Be sure to pick up your copy of our new double-CD set, Songs of the Night by Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra, and grab those other items you’ve been eyeing. Everything is at least ten percent off. For today’s blog, let’s celebrate by taking a good … Continue reading Smith Arrives!read full post →
posted: September 11, 2015

Songs of the Night Playlist and an Outtake

In our last installment, we gave you a taste of what is coming on our double-CD overview of the career of bandleader Joseph C. Smith and his Plaza Hotel outfit. Today we’re publishing the full playlist and giving you one of the songs that didn’t make the final cut. Smith made his first recordings on … Continue reading Songs of the Night Playlist and an Outtakeread full post →
posted: June 26, 2015

Introducing Joseph C. Smith

For you lovers of physical media, we want to tell you that our next CD, Dan W. Quinn’s Anthology: The King of Comic Singers, 1894-1917, will be released next Tuesday, June 16, 2015. It’s a beautiful digipak edition with a 52-page color booklet that will be offered at a discounted price for the first couple … Continue reading Introducing Joseph C. Smithread full post →
posted: June 12, 2015

Send this to a friend