“Lindbergh (The Eagle of the USA) / “Lucky Lindy” – Jack Kaufman 1927


“Lindbergh (The Eagle Of The USA)”
Jack Kaufman, vocal
May 25, 1927 (Harmony 418 H mx 144219)
Lindbergh (The Eagle Of The USA)

“Lucky Lindy”
Jack Kaufman, vocal
May 25, 1927 (Harmony 418 H mx 144218)
Lucky Lindy


When Charles Lindbergh made his pioneering transatlantic flight on May 20 – 21, 1927 the popular reaction was immediate and enormous:  Lindbergh became an overnight national hero on a scale that is without equal today.   Tin Pan Alley composers and music publishers lost no time in coming up with songs to commemorate the occasion – songs the record labels were eager to quickly record.   What I find remarkable is just how quickly:  these Jack Kaufman recordings were made just four days after Lindbergh touched down in Paris.

The artist best remembered for performing these songs was Vernon Dalhart.   On May 23, Dalhart was in the Victor Talking Machine Co. studios to record “Lindbergh (The Eagle of the USA).”  The very next day he was recording it and “Lucky Lindy” for Columbia.  He didn’t get around to recording the songs for Edison until May 27.  Plus he managed to find time to also record them for Perfect and Gennett as well.

The recordings featured here were also issued on the Diva and Velvet Tone labels which, like Harmony, were Columbia’s budget priced subsidiary labels.

Unfortunately, even though Columbia had converted to electrical recording in 1925, it continued to use its outdated acoustical (pre-microphone) recording equipment for the budget labels until 1929.   By doing so Columbia was able to avoid having to pay royalties to Western Electric which held the patents to the electrical recording process that both it and Victor used.


Posted in 1920s, 1920s Popular Music, Acoustic Recordings, American Recordings | 1 Comment

“Music Of The Spheres” Berlin Philharmonic 1938


“Sphärenklänge (Music of the Spheres)” Part 1
Alois Melichar and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
March 14, 1938 (Polydor 15200 A mx 829 gs 1)
Sphärenklänge Part 1

“Sphärenklänge (Music of the Spheres)” Part 2
Alois Melichar and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
March 14, 1938 (Polydor 15200 A mx 830 gs 1)
Sphärenklänge Part 2


Here is the Berlin Philharmonic playing a famous waltz by Austrian composer Josef Strauss.  Strauss composed the piece for an 1868 medical association ball held in Vienna’s Sofiensaal.

Alois Melichar was a prolific conductor in classical music recording sessions for several major German and Austrian orchestras during the 1920s and 1930s.   I am not sure if he had any formal association with the Berlin Philharmonic beyond the many recording sessions he led.

Unfortunately, this recording was made during a low point in the Philharmonic’s history.  When the National Socialists came to power in 1933 the 51 year old orchestra was in the midst of severe financial difficulties and agreed to become a government funded organization.  As there usually is when one accepts government funding, there were strings attached – and, in this instance, those strings were pulled by Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.  As was also the case in the Soviet Union, the Nazis used the arts as a means of conferring upon their brutal regime a civilized veneer of culture, respectability and prestige in the eyes of both subjects at home and foreigners.  While only a very small percentage of the Philharmonic’s musicians chose to become members of the Nazi Party, they were required to perform for Party rallies, Hitler Youth functions and for Hitler’s birthday celebrations.  In return, they became the highest paid musicians in Germany with a number of special privileges.  Even during the desperate closing months of World War II, the orchestra continued to perform outside the bombed out ruins of its concert hall and its members were exempt from military service.

For an interesting article on how the Philharmonic was used by the Nazis for propaganda purposes – and by the American occupiers immediately after the war as part of their denazification efforts – follow this link.

The article mentions controversy around Wilhelm Furtwängler who had led the Philharmonic since 1922.  Furtwängler was one of the world’s most famous conductors of his time.   Despite the fact that he openly despised the Nazi regime, he was condemned by many for his refusal to leave Germany and thus enabling the Nazis to exploit his fame as a means of conferring prestige on Nazi Germany.  At this link is a Wikipedia article that is more sympathetic towards Furtwängler and describes his efforts to assist Jewish artists and details several occasions when he openly slighted and/or confronted both Hitler and Goebbels in person.  What I find interesting about the Wikipedia article is how Hitler and Goebbels – who held near absolute power and were certainly not known for their tolerance towards dissent – were so desperate to keep Furtwängler from leaving Germany that they were willing to overlook his open hostility and attempted to accommodate him.


Posted in 1930s, Classical, Electrical Recordings, German Recordings | Leave a comment

Desi Arnaz And His Orchestra – 1946



“I’ll Never Love Again”
Desi Arnaz And His Orchestra; Elsa Miranda, vocal
August 2, 1946 (RCA Victor 20-2020-A)
I’ll Never Love Again

“Tia Juana”
Desi Arnaz And His Orchestra
July 26, 1946 (RCA Victor 20-2020-B)
Tia Juana


Desi Arnaz is still famous as Lucille Ball’s husband both in real life and on their landmark 1950s television comedy I Love Lucy.  But before his career in television Arnaz was already well-known as a successful Latin bandleader.

Puerto Rican vocalist Elsa Miranda performed in the United States and Argentina and is best remembered for her promotional appearances in the role of Miss Chiquita Banana.

This is not a record I would normally go out of my way to pick up – my collecting interest is primarily in the pre-World War II decades.  But I came cross it recently at a second hand bookstore and, since it cost less than a dollar and I was feeling adventurous, I went ahead and got it and a stack of other assorted 1940s material.

I think “I’ll Never Love Again” is a nice song.  But I can’t say that “Tia Juana” does much for me. Perhaps your mileage will vary.

Posted in 1940s, 1940s Popular Music, American Recordings, Electrical Recordings | Leave a comment

Gypsy Band Recordings From Budapest – 1909



“Kaszino Dal”
Orchestra (Béla Berkes Gypsy Orchestra)
1909 (Columbia E975 mx 13178)
Kaszino Dal

“Dollar Királyno”
Hungarian Gypsy Orchestra (Béla Berkes Gypsy Orchestra)
1909 (Columbia E975 mx 13177)
Dollar Királyno


Here are two selections recorded in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire that managed to find their way to the United States for issue in Columbia’s ethnic catalog.

Columbia maintained an extensive catalog of recordings aimed at a variety of niche ethnic markets within the US.   Much of this consisted of material recorded by Columbia’s overseas subsidiaries as well as other record companies in various parts of the world.

Finding information about these recordings was a bit of a challenge in that neither side of the record provides artist credit.  Furthermore, the composer credit on the “Kaszino Dal” side is listed simply as “Hollander.”   There were a number of composers in that period named “Hollander” and, as it turns out, it was only an Anglicization of the actual composer’s name.

Through a lot of searching through German and Hungarian websites (thanks Google Translate!) I was able to confirm that the band on both of these is Béla Berkes Gypsy Orchestra (though he was more frequently credited and referred to as Berkes Béla due to the Hungarian practice of placing the family name prior to one’s personal name).

Violinist Béla Berkes Jr. was one of the most prominent gypsy musicians of his day and held the title of “Official Dance Musician of the Court of the Emperor and King.”  In the years prior to World War I gypsy bands were a commonplace fixture in Budapest restaurants and coffee houses. Reflecting the scope of the era’s popular tastes, Berkes’ band performed tunes from a diverse background ranging from folk songs to light classical to operetta and even ragtime.

Both of the songs here are tunes from the Viennese and German musical stage and were well known throughout Europe.

“Dollar Királyno” is a tune from Austrian composer Leo Fall’s 1907 operetta Die Dollarprinzessin (The Dollar Princess).  The operetta is Fall’s best remembered work.

It was my familiarity with the music from The Dollar Princess that motivated me to put in a bid on this record.  But, when I listened to it, “Kaszino Dal” was the side that I enjoyed best.  After a lot of digging around online I eventually learned that “Kaszino Dal” (“Kasino Lied” /”Casino Song”) is from composer Victor Hollaender’s 1906 musical revue Der Teufel lacht dazu! (The Devil Laughs).

Hollaender (who was the father of the better remembered composer Frederick Hollaender) is regarded as one of the founders of German cabaret. After spending the 1890s abroad as a conductor in Milwaukee and Chicago and as music director for the Barnum & Bailey Circus during its 1896 visit to London, Hollaender was hired as a composer for Berlin’s Metropol-Theater which staged annual, often satirical musical revues.  Because Hollaender was Jewish, when the National Socialists came to power in 1933 his works were outlawed.  He died in exile in the United States in 1940.

In the first two decades of the 20th century, Hollander’s music was well known and he was among the more popular German composers of the day.  Today his works are largely forgotten.   You can read an interesting article exploring some possible reasons why his works were never significantly rediscovered in the decades following World War II at this link,

Both of these selections were recorded in Budapest in 1909 (one source suggests 1908).  I was able to determine that this recording of “Kaszino Dal” was issued in Germany on the Decappo label (Decappo D-8135) while “Dollar Királyno” was issued in Hungary on the Diadal label (Diadal D560 mx 53034).  Both  give artist credit to Béla Berkes’s band.  These recordings were most likely issued in additional countries as well – probably on labels operated by or associated with the German Lindström company.

The matrix numbers on my Columbia copy are 13177 / 13178. Columbia reserved matrix numbers between 12500 and 13499 for Austro-Hungarian material and most records you find with such matrix numbers were recorded either in Vienna or Budapest.  Through the matrix number I was able to cross reference and determine that,  prior to being issued on its ethic series, Columbia also issued “Dollar Királyno” in the United States in 1909 on its mainstream popular series under catalog number A-780. That issue credits the band as “Columbia Band.”  The flip side is “Valse Mauve” which also has an Austro-Hungarian matrix and is credited to “Gypsy Band” – which I suspect is most likely another Béla Berkes recording.

The pairing here for the Columbia ethic catalog (Columbia E975) was not issued until 1912.  The record must have been successful enough to justify at least one additional pressing as the artwork on the label indicates that my copy was pressed sometime around 1918.

One happy outcome of my research on this record was the discovery of a streaming online archive that has a treasure trove of early 20th century Hungarian recordings.  The website is in Hungarian but if you scroll across the drop down menu at the top you can pretty much make out the site navigation – you can navigate by labels, performers, composers, genres and years.   Such an archive is especially great for people such as myself in the United States where European recordings are often difficult to come by and the cost of importing them is high.


Posted in 1900s, Acoustic Recordings, Operetta, Other Foreign Recordings, Salon Music | 3 Comments

William G. McAdoo, Former Secretary of the Treasury – 1919


“Revise Taxes”
William G McAdoo (Former Secretary of the Treasury)
1919 (Nation’s Forum 2 mx 49706)
Revise Taxes

“National Emblem March”
Prince’s Band
July 8, 1916 (Nation’s Forum 2 mx 48858)
National Emblem March


Nation’s Forum was a label issued between 1918 and 1920 that featured recordings by prominent American political leaders of the period.   At the time such records were a bit of a novelty given that, in an era prior to the advent of radio and talking pictures, few American had ever heard the voices of their presidents or other prominent public figures.  Today the records are an interesting time capsule of the hotly debated issues of the time – and, in some cases, the only recordings that were ever made of the speakers.

William G McAdoo was Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of the Treasurey from the time of Wilson’s inauguration in 1913 through December 1918.  During his time in office he married the President’s daughter, Mary Randolph Wilson.

McAdoo himself ran for president in 1920 but, because of his staunch support for Prohibition,  lost the Democratic nomination to James M. Cox.  He ran again in 1924 and entered the Democratic convention as the front runner.  But McAdoo’s refusal to denounce an endorsement by the Ku Klux Klan resulted in a deadlocked convention between him and New York Governor Al Smith who was Catholic.  The convention eventually nominated a compromise candidate, John W. Davis.

Ostensibly the subject of McAdoo’s talk on this recording is to take issue with the Republican majority in Congress for not lowering taxes in the aftermath of World War I.  But, if you listen carefully, the real point he was trying to make was to argue for Senate passage of the United States joining the League of Nations.

The flip sides of Nation’s Forum records featured recordings of patriotic music which consisted of material that had previously been issued on Columbia records.  While Nation’s Forum was an independent organization, the records were pressed under contract and distributed by Columbia.  This recording of “National Emblem March” by Prince’s Orchestra from July 8, 1916 was originally issued on Columbia A-5848.  The march was composed in 1902 by Edwin Eugene Bagley and was first published in 1906.

What I find amazing about this record is its $2 price tag.  According to this handy online calculator, $2 in 1919 was the equivalent of $27.65 in today’s currency.  For that sum record buyers got exactly what you hear here – a politician talking for four and a half minutes plus a recording by a military band that had already been issued elsewhere three years earlier.

You can learn more about Nation’s Forum records as well as listen to the label’s other issues at this link.


Posted in 1910s, Acoustic Recordings, American Recordings, Military Band, Spoken Word Recordings | Leave a comment

Gertrude Meller Performs Liszt & Moszkowski – 1922


“Paraphrase de Concert”
Gertrude Meller
1922 (Homochord HD 2027)
Paraphrase de Concert

“Grande Valse In E”
Gertrude Meller
1922 (Homochord HD 2027)
Grande Valse In E


Here is a piano solo record from England performed in a style that I really enjoy.

I have not been able to find much information about British pianist Gertrude Meller – she seems to be all but forgotten today.  I was able to find some online references to her performing around 1907 and also of her performing on radio over the BBC in the early 1920s.   There is a YouTube video featuring one of her other records which states in its description that she was a pupil of Francesco Berger.  But that video is the only source I could find for that piece of information.  She did make quite a few recordings for the British Homochord label – a 1925 Homochord catalog that I found in an online archive lists a total of 30 sides.

“Paraphrase de Concert” is Franz Liszt’s  1859 piano reduction of “Bella figlia dell’amore” from Act 3 of Giuseppe Verdi’s 1851 opera Rigoletto.

“Grande Valse In E” is the waltz from German-Jewish composer Moritz Moszkowski’s 1884 “Trois Morceaux” (Opus 34 No 1).

The Homochord label and its parent company, British Homophone, was the British affiliate of the Berlin based Homophon Company GmbH which issued the Homokord and Homocord labels in Germany.

If anybody has additional information about Gertrude Meller, I would be interested in knowing about it.

Posted in 1920s, British Recordings, Classical, Salon Music | 1 Comment

Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees – 1930


“St Louis Blues”
Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees
February 19, 1930 (Victor 22321-B)
St Louis Blues

“Stein Song (University of Maine)”
Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees
February 10, 1930 (Victor 22321-A)
Stein Song


Here are a couple of recordings I recently added to Radio Dismuke.

“St Louis Blues” is not a song that I would have expected to have been especially suited for Rudy Vallee’s nasal, somewhat aristocratic sounding voice.  But I think he does a surprisingly decent job with it here.

“Stein Song” was one of Vallee’s more famous recordings.  You can read an interesting article about its history at this link.

Observe in the label image the letter “O” appearing just above the dog’s head and the end of the horn on the phonograph.  That signifies that the record was pressed at Victor’s West Coast pressing plant in Oakland, California.

Posted in 1930s, 1930s Popular Music, American Recordings, Electrical Recordings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Merry Macs – 1940 & 1941



“By-U By-O (The Lou’siana Lullaby)”
The Merry Macs
September 12, 1941 (Decca 4023 B mx DLA 2760)
By U By O (The Lou’siana Lullaby)

“Rose O’Day”
The Merry Macs
September 12, 1941 (Decca 4023 A mx DLA 2761)
Rose O’Day

“Isn’t That Just Like Love”
The Merry Macs
October 30, 1940 (Decca 3483 A mx 68305)
Isn’t That Just Like Love

“Do You Know Why?”
The Merry Macs
October 30, 1940 (Decca 3483 A mx 68306)
Do You Know Why

The Merry Macs were a harmonic vocal group that was popular in the late ’30s and early ’40s – and whose recordings I, more often than not, tend to enjoy.

The songs “Isn’t That Just Like Love” and “Do You Know Why?” both come from the 1940 Paramount film Love Thy Neighbor in which The Merry Macs appeared along with Jack Benny, Fred Allen and Mary Martin.  The film was essentially a motion picture extension of the long-running Jack Benny-Fred Allen radio feud.  At the time The Merry Macs were regularly featured on Fred Allen’s CBS radio program.

I picked these records up recently in a second-hand book store.  They are not in the best of condition – though they still give an enjoyable performance.  There is, however, a bit of distortion in a few of the louder passages.

Posted in 1940s, 1940s Popular Music, American Recordings, Electrical Recordings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ted Daffan’s Texans – 1942


“Time Won’t Heal My Broken Heart”
Ted Daffan’s Texans; Leonard “Leon” Seago, vocal
February 20, 1942 (Okeh 6729 mx H 660)
Time Won’t Heal My Broken Heart

“You’re Breaking My Heart”
Ted Daffan’s Texans; unknown female vocalist
February 21, 1942 (Okeh 6729 mx H 667)
You’re Breaking My Heart


Here is a record I recently stumbled across and picked up.  Vintage country is a genre that I am not extremely familiar with – it is something that I enjoy exploring whenever I can pick records up at a reasonable price.   Some of it I really enjoy – and some of it is simply not to my taste.   This record definitely falls into the category of that which I enjoy.

Songwriter Ted Daffan was a pioneer in the use of electric steel guitar in country music – a melding of a childhood interest in electronics and a fondness for Hawaiian music.  In 1934 Daffan purchased his first amplifier and, with the encouragement of western swing pioneer Milton Brown, performed with various Texas bands for the remainder of the ’30s.

Ted Daffan’s Texans was formed in the Fort Worth/Dallas area in 1940.  The band’s first recording session was held April 25,  1940 in the recording studio located at the Burrus Mill grain elevator in Saginaw, Texas on the outskirts of Fort Worth.  Burrus Mill was the maker of Light Crust brand flour and heavily promoted itself on radio with its own country band The Light Crust Doughboys.  The studios were set up specifically for Light Crust radio broadcasts but were also used for recording sessions whenever the major record labels came to town to record regional talent.   A second recording session was held February 21 and 22,  1941 at the WBAP radio studios at the top of the Blackstone Hotel in Fort Worth.  Recordings from these sessions sold well enough to make the band one of the more successful wartime country groups.

Given that I enjoy this record, I will keep my eye out for records from the Fort Worth area sessions if, for no other reason, then their local history connection.

Both of the recordings here were from a session held February 20 and 21, 1942 at Columbia Records’ studios in Hollywood, California.  Unfortunately, the recording ledgers failed to capture the name of the female vocalist on “You’re Breaking My Heart” and I was unable to find any information about it online.  (If anyone has information about the vocalist, I would be interested in knowing).  While both of these sides were recorded in early 1942, for whatever reason, Columbia (which was the parent company of the Okeh label) decided not to issue them until sometime around January 1945.

I have recently acquired several interesting country 78 rpms and will feature some of them in future postings.

Posted in 1940s, Country/Western Swing, Electrical Recordings, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Selections From “Gasparone” – 1931

ElectrolaEH729-1small(click here for larger view of image)
ElectrolaEH729-2small(click here for larger view of image)


Potpourri Aus “Gasparone” Part 1
Marek Weber Und Sein Orchester
November 18, 1931  (Electrola EH 729 mx  62 948)
Potpourri Aus Gasparone

Potpourri Aus “Gasparone” Part 2
Marek Weber Und Sein Orchester
November 18, 1931 (Electrola EH 729 mx  62 949)
Potpourri Aus Gasparone Part 2


Here is a 1931 medley recording featuring an orchestral arrangement of selections from the Carl Millöcker operetta Gasparone.  The operetta debuted at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien on January 26 1884.  A film version of the operetta with a modernized storyline was made in 1937 starring Marika Rökk and Johannes Heesters.   As of this writing, the entire film can be seen on YouTube at this link.    A couple of brief musical excerpts from the film that I enjoy watching can be seen here and here.

Radio Dismuke listeners will be familiar with Marek Weber’s jazz oriented popular music and tango recordings that are regularly featured on the station.   I find it interesting how the popular German bandleaders of the era such as Weber, Otto Dobrindt, Barnabas von Geczy and others were as equally adept at performing classical and operetta as they were at popular music (although it has been said that Marek Weber personally disliked jazz).

I acquired my copy of this record still in its original paper record sleeve.   Since I now have a scanner that is able to reproduce oversized items, I thought I would include it.  Note the advertisement for the latest Electrola radio-phonograph combination.

Posted in 1930s, Electrical Recordings, German Recordings, Operetta, Salon Music, Uncategorized | Leave a comment