Days of Wine and Roses,part 1
I'm just kidding about the wine; Roses are the subject of this
month's issue. Over the years, in just about every western country, roses or
the rose has been a recurring theme in popular music. Perhaps it is because
the rose is considered the ultimate floral expression of intense love or emotion.
Or, perhaps it is also because of the sexual connotation and symbolism of the
female that roses seem to carry. I'll leave the explanation of that to the psychiatrists
in the audience. Regardless, no one can deny the attraction of the rose as a
subject for popular songs.
Songs about roses abound, there are literally thousands of them
that have been produced over the last century. The theme is one that many collectors
focus on and some people have amassed huge collections of rose related songs.
We will bring you only a few, most of which have been rarely heard over the
last hundred years till now. As I create the music for our features each month,
I am always amazed at the wonderful discoveries I make on hearing these long
neglected songs. We have some of those rediscovered songs for you this month
and hope you enjoy all of them.
This month, we are adding a new "In Search Of" article
about music printing to our archives for you to learn a little more about
the history of printing music and a little about the lithographic process that
has produced so many of the beautiful sheet music covers we feature..
Me A Rose
Music by: Charles Shisler
Lyrics by: Shisler
Cover artist: A. Barbelle
The cover on this sheet is one of the most artistic and
beautiful Barbelle covers I have seen. Though Barbelle produced hundreds
of covers, few of them reached the level of detail, natural beauty and
realism as this one. The music is a beautiful ballad in waltz time, as
most of the romantic songs were back then. In fact, many of the songs
this month are waltzes or have a waltz section. This one is quite beautiful.
So too are the words highly romantic. Be sure you have the scorch
player to fully enjoy the song and the lyrics.
The man on the cover, Sam Ash was not the Sam Ash who founded
the Sam Ash music stores,. Nor is he the Sam Ash who is an inductee of
the Michigan Motor Sports Hall Of Fame. He was however, a popular performer
of vaudeville, recording and radio. A very popular tenor, Ash recorded
many songs of the era including, When You See Another Sweetie Hanging
Around, Eyes (That Say I Love You), Broken Blossoms
and When You Look In The Heart Of A Rose (included in this feature).
Charles Shisler (1886 - 1952 ) is one of the many composers
who have faded away with time. In fact, this month all but a precious
few of the composers and lyricists are virtually unknown today. We do
know that he wrote a number of songs and continued to publish well into
the 1940's with songs such as Lolita (1943) and Love Is A Melody
(1949). Beyond that, we know little else
this beautiful work now (SCORCH format)
listen to MIDI version
For You A Rose
Music by: Gus Edwards
Lyrics by: Will D. Cobb
Cover artist: Harrison Fisher
The artwork for this work is signed by the artist and dated 1910. It
apparently was used for some other purpose, perhaps another song and then
recycled for this song. A close look shows what appears to be a "cut
and paste" job on the artwork, you can see that fairly clearly along
the edges of the image, even in this smaller image. Of course it is a
lovely image and reuse of artwork in music was a relatively common practice.
Certainly, the art fits the title nicely. The music here is in 4/4 time
and is a bit less romantic than the waltz style but it is still a fine
Gus Edwards (1879 - 1945) Was born in Hohensalza, Germany and at the
age of eight his family brought him to America. Considered by some to
be the most important songwriter to come out of vaudeville, as a boy he
worked as a tobacco stripper at an uncle's cigar store. Gus used to sneak
into theaters and somehow made friends with several vaudelville performers,
anong them, Lottie Gibson who used the boy as a boy stooge in her act.
Blessed with a fine voice, Edwards soon was performing in an act, "The
Newsboy Quartet". During this period, Edwards met and received coaching
from some of the most prominent performers of the time including George
Cohan, Emma Carus and Imogene Comer. With Cohan's encouragement, Edwards
began writing songs and his first song was All I Want Is My Black Baby
Back in 1898 and performed as a part of the Newsboy act. Edwards did
not know how to read or write music so had to enlist someone else to notate
the melody for him. During the Spanish American war, Edwards was entertaining
troops bound for Cuba and met Will D. Cobb, at the time a department store
salesman who wrote songs as a hobby. The two hit it off and decided to
work together writing songs. From that collaboration came a long list
of hit songs including this featured song and Goodbye, Little Girl,
Goodbye in 1904. Edwards worked with other composers and with each,
wrote other hits. Among his greatest hits are In My Merry Oldsmobile
(see our February,
2001 feature), By The Light Of The Silvery Moon in 1909 and
Tammany in 1905. Edwards continued to stay involved in vaudeville
till it finally died out in the late 30's. He retired in 1938 and lived
to see his life story made into a movie, Star Maker (1939), starring
Bing Crosby. Edwards died in Los Angeles in 1945.
Hear this lovely rose
song (scorch format)
listen to MIDI version
Rose That Made Me Happy Is The Rose That Made Me Sad
Music by: Charles H. Pace
Lyrics by: Pace
Cover artist: Unknown
Here we have a tender ballad, in waltz time with a beautiful but sad
sentiment. In the words of this song we also see the common practice of
making the rose a symbol for a woman, in this case a particular one who
loved and then left this poor fella. If you don't have the scorch player,
what are you waiting for? You are missing the best MIDI presentation possible
on the web, as well as your ability to sing along with the song by reading
the lyrics as it plays. Go to the Sibelius
site now and get it! The cover of this work is rather nondescript
and simple and is unsigned as well. The music though is certainly more
than nondescript and is another one of those discoveries I make almost
Charles Henry Pace was born in Atlanta on August 4, 1886 and died in
Pittsburgh on December 16, 1963. In 1925 he formed the Pace Jubilee Singers,
an early conservative gospel group which recorded songs by Pace, Tindley,
and others for Victor and Brunswick. Pace moved to Pittsburgh in 1936
and shortly afterwards organized the Pace Gospel choral Union, a 25-member
ensemble that was enlarged to as many as 300 singers for special celebrations;
its repertory consisted of gospel songs and spirituals. Pace also founded
two highly successful music publishing houses n Pittsburgh - the Old Ship
of Zion Music Company (1936-51) and Charles H. Pace Music Publishers (1952-63)
- from which he published most of his 104 sacred compositions and arrangements
and 26 secular songs. Pace's gospel songs, the best known of which are
Bread of Heaven, Hide My Soul, and Nobody but you, Lord,
are in the style of Tindley's songs, with a verse-chorus structure, memorable
melodies, and simple, effective harmonies.
Listen to this fine
work (scorch format only)
Listen to MIDI version
You Look In The Heart Of A Rose
Music by: Florence Methven
Lyrics by: Marian Gillespie
Cover artist: Rose
When it comes to "discoveries" each month, this one is my pick
of the month. As I listened to this song for the first time, I couldn't
help wondering why it has not lasted as one of the classics? Deeply expressive
and pianistic above the average for popular songs, I find it to be a real
musical treasure. Of course, my taste may be much different than yours
so perhaps you don't find it as wonderful as I do. Even if I overstate
its value, you have to admit, it is charming..
Florence Methven is listed in "Lissauers" (see our resources
page for details) as "Methuen"(the listing is incorrect)
, and this is the only song attributed to her in that reference work.
The work is stated to be "The Melody Ballad Hit of The Better
Ole" which I assume is a stage work. In searching other sources,
I did find one other work by her, Little Lights of Home, date
unknown. This song was a very popular one and one of the biggest hits
of 1918. It was recorded a number of times.
Hear this rediscovered
Listen to MIDI version
The Heart Of A Rose
Music by: George De Carme
Lyrics by: none, J.W. Walsh
Cover artist: La Pointe Eng. Co., Phila.
The connection between the heart and a rose was made with the prior song
and we can see here, that it was made several years earlier. The song
starts off in common time with an introduction that leads to a tender
waltz that tells the story of what can be found in the heart of a rose,
get your Scorch player to fully enjoy it.
I could find little about the composer or lyricist. This one song appears
to be De Carme's only published song.
this great 1912 song (scorch)
Listen to MIDI version
Music by: Frederic Knight Logan
Lyrics by: J.R. Shannon
Cover artist: A. Brunner
Of course, not all roses are red, there are yellow ones, pink ones, orange
ones, but are there, were there blue roses? From the title of this song,
there was at least one. Musically, this is one of the more interesting
songs this month. The liberal use of pedal and especially the frequent,
almost annoying use of tremolo at certain notes makes for a unique work.
The song is a lovely waltz with lyrics about a cold blue bird seeking
midwinter happiness in a blue rose supposedly somewhere in the south.
Of course, there is more to it and clearly the lyrics are a poetic expression
about love found and love lost.
Frederic Knight Logan (1871 - 1928) also wrote the famous Missouri
Waltz, (1916, actual title Hush-A-Bye Ma Baby) and a popular
song titled Pale Moon in 1920. The Missouri waltz figured prominently
in the 1939 movie, The Story Of Vernon And Irene Castle, starring
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. As well, president Harry Truman was responsible
for a revival of the tune as he played it frequently and it became his
theme song. Born in Oskaloosa, Iowa in 1871, Logan was a prominent pianist
and conductor as well as composer. His musical studies were mostly with
private tutors and he was also a music director for a number of theater
companies. Logan died in 1928. The Missouri Waltzbecame the state
song under an act adopted by the General Assembly on June 30, 1949.
Listen to this 1917
rose song (scorch format only)
Listen to MIDI version
WAIT! There's more Rose Song masterpieces to
see and hear. The second part of this issue features more rare and different
More Rose Music and Covers in this month's issue, go
to part B.
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