Tag Archives: vintage

Recording of the Month – Barcarolle from Tales of Hoffman (1912)

Lucy Isabelle Marsh

Lucy Isabelle Marsh

Barcarolle from The Tales of Hoffman (Jacques Offenbach).
Performed by Lucy Isabelle Marsh & Marguerite Dunlap.
Victor 60096. Recorded in 1912.

Lucy Isabelle Marsh Society on Facebook.


Published: October 4, 2011

Voices of Christmas Past

I released VOCP 10 years ago and each year as we get closer to the Christmas holidays I get overwhelmed with requests for it. The disc is out of print and I have no copies left so I’ve uploaded the files for all to enjoy. Just scroll past the liner notes to get to the music player.

From the original liner notes: 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 Christmas – the birth of the Christ child, the Christmas tree, the opening of gifts and even sleigh rides. Any well dressed sleigh ride featured those cheery sounding bells attached to the horse’s harness. In fact one of the most beloved Christmas songs ever, “Jingle Bells” celebrates this sound and the spirit of a country sleigh ride. On October 30, 1889 banjoist Will Lyle made history by recording “Jingle Bells”, the very first Christmas record. Although no known copies of this record survive one of the earliest vocal examples of “Jingle Bells” does survive on an Edison brown wax cylinder entitled, “Sleigh Ride Party”. It was made a decade later and was reissued for the first time on this CD (now out of print). This collection of carols, songs and monologues from the original vintage recordings capture the essence of the Christmas spirit as it was in the opening two decades of the 20th Century. So gather up the family, wind up the phonograph and take a trip back in time to the early 1900’s and celebrate the holidays with the “Voices of Christmas Past”.

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

1. Santa Claus Hides in the Phonograph (Ernest Hare, recorded 1922)
2. On A Christmas Morning (Prince’s Orchestra, recorded 1911)
3. Sleigh Ride Party / Jingle Bells (Edison Male Quartette, recorded 1898)
4. Messiah – And the Glory of the Lord (Victor Mixed Chorus, recorded 1915)
5. Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Henry Burr, recorded 1907)
6. Silent Night, Hallowed Night (Haydn Quartet, recorded 1905)
7. Christmas Time at Pumpkin’ Center (Cal Stewart, recorded 1905)
8. Christmas Hymns (Francis J. Lapitino, recorded 1917)
9. When the Christmas Chimes Are Ringing (Lewis James, recorded 1922)
10. The Star of Bethlehem (Harry MacDonough, recorded 1909)
11. Come and Spend Christmas With Me (Byron G. Harlan, recorded 1909)
12. Christmas Morning at Clancey’s (Steve Porter, recorded 1922)
13. Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem (Trinity Choir, Recorded 1916)
14. Adeste Fideles (John McCormack and William Reitz, recorded 1915)
15. Night Before Christmas (Ernest Hare, recorded 1920)
16. Nutcracker Ballet: Chinese Dance/Dance of the Mirilitons (Victor Herbert’s Orchestra, recorded 1913)
17. On A Good Old Time Sleigh Ride (Peerless Quartet, recorded 1913)
18. Angels from the Realms of Glory (Trinity Choir, recorded 1916)
19. While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night / Christians Awake (Trinity Quartet, recorded 1921)
20. Uncle Josh Plays Santa Claus (Cal Stewart, recorded 1907)
21. Christmas in Camp (Anonymous, recorded ca. 1917)
22. Noel (Holy Night) (Venetian Trio, recorded 1916)
23. Auld Lang Syne (Navada Van der Veer, recorded 1921)


Published: December 2, 2008

The Jazz Singer (1927) DVD Review (Three-Disc Box set)

Jazz_Singer_JolsonWarner Home Video is leading the way in film restoration and preservation. Their latest effort brings you the special edition box set of Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer (1927) in stunning visual and audio quality.

Although often regarded as the first talking picture, which it is not, it is the first sound film to make such an impact with film audiences that it ushered in the sound era literally overnight! The Jazz singer is really a silent film with a synchronized music score and synchronized sound sequences featuring Jolson performing some of his signature songs. As the film transitions from silence to sound you see and hear why they called Jolson the “World’s Greatest Entertainer”. He is simply hypnotizing and he certainly knows how to handle the new sound technology that ended so many silent actors’ careers. The story comes off as dull and sappy but it’s worth watching for Jolson’s performances and also for its importance in film history.

Also on this disc are some Jolson short subjects including the recently recovered “Plantation Act”, Jolson’s first sound film. The digital restoration work is first rate with picture elements looking as if they were shot yesterday. The remastered soundtrack restored from the best surviving Vitaphone discs sounds excellent and is free of any distracting noise.

Disc 2 contains the documentary “The Dawn of Sound: How movies learned to talk”. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the coming of sound films and the technical obstacles that stood in the way. Also included on this disc and not to be missed are two surviving excerpts from the second ever all-talking film shot in Technicolor, “Gold Diggers of Broadway” from 1929. For some reason the first clip “Tip Toe through the Tulips” is missing from my copy and in its place appears a ballet sequence beautifully shot in two-colour Technicolor, probably from the missing 1930 film “Rouge Song”. I still would like to see Tulips and hope that Warner makes available a disc with the missing number.

What excites me most about this set is the treasure trove of restored Vitaphone shorts on disc three. Here you’ll see (and hear) familiar names like Burns & Allen but you’ll also see forgotten vaudevillians in what may be the only surviving examples of their work! These shorts seen here for the first time since their original release have also received extensive restoration work and they look and sound great.

If you like early sound films this is a must have for your DVD collection!


Published: January 1, 2008