This is the early masthead from Parlor Songs that appeared with the Dec. '97 issue.
A Blast From The Past; Part 3
December 1997, Third Issue Updated.
Oh! You Circus Day
Back in '97 I said, "This is one of my favorites from the collection. This song was introduced in 1912 in Lew Field's "Hanky Panky" Not only is the music upbeat and the kind of song that just gets "stuck in your head", but the lyrics are absolutely some of the funniest I have seen. Here is perhaps the funniest line, "and the monkeys we will pestercate", nonsense but fun." At that time, we were still more or less struggling to provide the best possible listening experience so gave a try at providing a "sing along" option and created a somewhat cumbersome sing along page. We said at that time; "As a special treat this month, when you play this song, you will also get to see the full lyrics, so sing along." Thank goodness that Sibelius later came to our rescue with the perfect software to produce a real time sing along feature!
The song is truly a delight. With a wonderfully festive melody and those cute lyrics, how can one not love it? A nice introduction of the chorus melody leads to a vamp section and then the verse, a very nice melody in its own right. It has that turn of the century charm that so many songs of the period had. The chorus is a great melody to and at one point when "talking" of a Salome dancing the bass line has an interesting drum like beat. You gotta love this one!
Edith Maida Lessing is credited with a few other works besides Oh! You Circus Day. Perhaps her most lasting song was Just as the Ship Went Down, a 1912 an emotion laden tribute piece to the Titanic's lost souls. Also in 1912 she published Goin' to the Country Fair and When Crazy Joe Did The Alligator Slide (music by Dennison Cook). In 1915, she wrote the lyrics to The Jitney Bus with music by Roy Ingraham. Her dates and biographical information seems to be well hidden.
Jimmie V. Monaco (1885 - 1945) Born in Genoa Italy, (some sources list Fornia as his birthplace.) Monaco came to the U.S. (Chicago) in 1891 with his parents. Wikipedia states the family emigrated to Albany, New York when Jimmy was six. He worked as a ragtime player in Chicago before moving to New York in 1910. Monaco's first successful song Oh, You Circus Day was featured in the 1912 Broadway revue Hanky Panky. Further success came with "Row, Row, Row" (lyrics by William Jerome) in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1912. Perhaps his best remembered song is You Made Me Love You (lyrics by Joseph McCarthy) introduced by Al Jolson in 1913 and famously performed by Judy Garland with revised lyrics as Dear Mr. Gable in 1937.
Monaco worked with a number of lyricists before moving to Hollywood where
he teamed with lyricist Johnny Burke to produce songs for several Bing
Crosby films. Four of Monaco's songs received Academy Award nominations
for Best Song: Only Forever (lyrics by Johnny Burke) from the 1940
film Rhythm on the River, We Mustn't Say Goodbye (lyrics by Al
Dubin) from the 1943 film Stage Door Canteen, I'm Making Believe
(lyrics by Mack Gordon) from the 1944 film Sweet and Lowdown and
Hear this funny novelty song. (Scorch plug-in version)
Girl of Mine
In our original issue I said; " This is one of those gorgeous colorful
covers from the glory days of sheet music. The colors and realism of the
painting are striking. The artist, Rolf Armstrong is one of the most highly
regarded cover artists from the period yet sadly, we have only seven known
works by him. Listening to the music brings images of those gentler, kinder
days." The cover of this work rivals another of our early featured
songs, Dear Heart
featured in October
of '97. The cover artist, Rolf Armstrong (1899 - 1960) was best known
as a "pinup" artist whose works reached their peak popularity
in the 40's. His works are regarded by many as the definitive pinup art
in America. They are absolutely stunning and this early work of his clearly
illustrates his tremendous talent. For an excellent look at his biography
and some of his later art, see The
Pinup files website article on Armstrong.
The music is rather dated, that is it can easily be identified as an early 20th century work. In fact, for 1917 it is a bit more grounded in the 1900-10 period as far as style and harmony. With a sweet melody for both the verse and chorus and loving lyrics, it is a wonderful love ballad from the period.
Harold B. Freeman, the songwriter who brought us this excellent work has fared less well than the music. I've been unable to find very little information about him in my references or on the web. However, we do know of some other works in addition to The Land Of Make Believe (Scorch format) by him, all of which also have fabulous covers. Among them are; Girl of Mine (MIDI) (1919), Just a Girl Like You (MIDI) (1919), Day Dreams of You (1928), It's a Long Way From Berlin to Broadway (1917) and Virginia Moonlight (1920). Freeman formed his own publishing house probably in 1919. The title Girl Of Mine was published by A.J. Stasny yet all other 1919 works and those beyond were published by Freeman's house. Given Freeman's reasonably large output and the fact that he had a major publishing house, I find it quite odd that little else is said about him in numerous books about Tin Pan Alley.
Enjoy this wonderful old love song (Scorch plug-in required)
Little Puff of Smoke Good Night
Back in '97 when we first published this song we said: "For all you Chicago White Sox fans, here is an historical work written by "Doc" White who was a Chicago pitcher at that time. The cover art is reflective of the popular "blackface" music from that period but at least here, the art shows a sensitive side. Doc White (1879 - 1969) pitched for Chicago for several years and pitched against cross-town rival Chicago Cubs in the 1906 World Series (the sox won). Doc wrote at least three other songs with his co-writer Lardner who was a sportswriter in Chicago during that period too."
As such, this is a pretty unique and fairly rare work. I've sent a number of emails to the Chicago newspapers asking for information about Lardner and/or White but never did receive any answers. I'm sure they are more interested in today's Bears scores than some 1910 pair of songwriters. However, Wikipedia did have a basic biography of White, seen below and there is a terrific site about Lardner maintained by Scott Topping at S.W. Michigan (see below)
The song is a languid lullaby, nice but not particularly inspiring. The music is somewhat repetitive in that White seemed to use only a couple of motifs. Despite that it is an effective lullaby and comforting to listen to.
Guy Harris "Doc" White (April 9, 1879 - February 19, 1969) was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. He played for two teams, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago White Sox, during his career which lasted from 1901 to 1913. Born in Washington, D.C., "Doc" White was a graduate of a dental school in Georgetown which explains the "Doc" nickname. He led the league in ERA in 1906 with 1.52 and wins in 1907 with 27. White died at age 89 in Silver Spring, Maryland, just 8 months after witnessing Don Drysdale surpass his record of 45 consecutive scoreless innings on June 4, 1968. (From Wikipedia)
R. (Ring) W. Lardner (1885 - 1933) an incredibly versatile and talented man of letters, was an author, composer, poet and playwright as well as writer of the lyrics for Little Puff of Smoke Good Night. In 1916 he published a book, Gullible's Travels (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1917, 1925) and was a Sports Writer in Chicago for a time. Lardner actually wrote several other books and short stories as well as lyrics for at least 20 other songs. Among his other song titles are; I Wonder What My Stomach Thinks of Me (1910), Gee! Its A Wonderful Game (1911, music by "Doc" White), Lydia Pynkham (1913), Teddy Youre A Bear (1916), No Place Like Home (1917, for which he also wrote the music), Prohibition Blues (1919), June Moon (1929) and If I Were You, Love (Id Jump Right in the Lake) (1930). Lardner died in 1933 of a heart attack. For very much more about this fascinating man, visit the "Lardnermania" site which details his life and works.
The remaining pieces featured in this update were included in the Gallery for December 1997 and had no information included, all that was presented was the cover image and a midi file. Most of the gallery music had nothing to do with the theme of the feature so the following songs are an eclectic mix of unrelated themes.
While Beautiful Ohio was written with Ballard MacDonald, Earl (Robert King) struck out on her (his) own with this fabulous song. In yet another state oriented ballad, Earl has given us another very beautiful melody and lyrics. The cover of this work is also well worth lingering over. The art is excellent and though unfortunately unsigned, it is a higher level work of art than some of the other covers of the period.
Like Beautiful Ohio, this work is a waltz but in many respects much more classical and expressive, if that is at all possible. The introduction is almost operatic in style and with an emphatic vamp we come to the verse, marked tranquillo e dolce. Lasting only 16 measures, it has a feel much different from the chorus. The chorus is a dreamy waltz melody that reflects the title. Though the chorus repeats, the second time adds a second voice marked as Obligato ad libitum to make for a nice duet. Rather than marking it using repeat signs, the "repeat" is actually through composed to add the second voice. You can clearly see this if you play the Scorch version rather than the midi. If you don't already have the Scorch plug-in, be sure to get it. Just click on the "Scorch" version link below and a window will open allowing you to go get the plug-in. It's quick and easy and well worth the few minutes it takes.
Listen to this classic Alabama piece (Scorch plug-in)
Dance of the Demon
Our Gallery that month also included this "Grand galop de concert," a piano solo piece that is challenging and rather lengthy. At six pages and some repeats, it can be a challenge for all but the most advanced players. The cover certainly depicts a rather demonish scene, probably the gates of hell but the music is different. Expecting the work to be somewhat dark and scary I've found that it is actually a rather bright piece that contains little if any foreboding. It is almost spritely and would make just as good a dance for sprites, elves and fairies as demons. Now that's my opinion, you may differ.
A short Allego introduction of triplets leads to a short Presto and then the main theme marked Tempo di Galop. The galop begins with a 16 bar repeated section that has a long descending group of 16th notes followed by a short interlude, then another scale. The piece continues on with lots of octaves and sections of bright 16th notes with an embedded melody. At measure 96 we come to a con fuoco section with marcato bass that is perhaps the only "darker" portion of the piece. The theme is repeated in bariolage. We then come home to the original theme and coda.
Eduard Holst may be the Denmark born (b. 1843 Copenhagen.- d. 1899 New York, NY) playwright who also managed to find time to compose. According to accounts of the time, he was a very versatile man who was an actor, dancer, dance master, playwright and composer. His compositions include songs and piano solo works though a catalog has proven elusive. We have three of his works in our collection, Bloom & Blossom, (scorch format) a Waltz (1887) and Autumn Leaf, a Polka for Children also from 1887 and a part of a six work series for children titled Shower of Melodies published by White Smith Music in Boston. His other work we have is a far cry from a child's work and is in fact a complex and fantastic work titled Dance of The Demon (MIDI) in 1888. Among his other works are Marine Band March and Battle of Manila (1898). Holst also composed a comic opera, Our Flats and a comedy, Hot Water. Though we can only find a few of his works listed in various sources, he was quite prolific and a 1908 biography states he produced over two thousand works.
Listen to this great old piano concert piece( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)
Lyrics (There are no lyrics for this piece)
Black Hawk Waltz
Of all the works we've published over the years, none other has generated the interest or sales of reproductions that this most famous 19th century waltz has. We continually receive requests for copies or just letters from people telling us how meaningful the work was to them, their parents or grandparents. Apparently, the song was wildly popular for many years and we've found publication of this work that extends well into the 20th century. Not only was it popular just to listen to but countless piano teachers apparently used it as an important teaching piece. I wonder now why we never have till now produced it in Scorch format with at least some history.
Based on the story of the famed Chief Black Hawk (17671838) and the Black Hawk war of 1832. That war by the way was the only military combat experience of Abraham Lincoln. The war was precipitated by the US seeking room for expansion set out to evict the Sac and Fox tribes from Illinois. After several years of skirmishes, Black Hawk and 400 warriors took a stand. The last battle of the war took place on the Bad Axe River, where Black Hawk was attacked by troops and a Sioux war party. Trapped, he displayed a white flag, but this was ignored and almost all of his band, including women and children, were wiped out. Black Hawk himself escaped, surrendered to the Winnebago, was turned over for imprisonment, and was released in 1833 to return to the pitiful remnant of his tribe and his family in Iowa. Lorado Taft's colossal statue (1911) near Oregon, Ill., has come to be known as the Black Hawk Monument. After the war Black Hawk became a folk hero. Walsh wrote this piece no doubt in honor of him.
Mary E. Walsh has fared much less well than both Black Hawk and her fabulous
waltz. Little if anything can be found about her life and works.
Listen to this famous and popular old waltz (Scorch plug-in required)
Lyrics (There are no lyrics for this work)
My Rose of Waikiki
Over the years we've featured many Hawaiian works, especially in our two features about Hawaiian related songs, first in December of 1998 where we displayed this work again and said; "Surely Waikiki is the name and beach that for many people defines Hawaii. Pictures of Waikiki with Diamondhead in the background represent the beauty and attraction of the islands. This song, though not a memorable tune is another attempt to romanticize Hawaii through music. The cover is fascinating and is one of the more beautiful in the collection. Artistically it is a nice depiction of a serene tropical moonlit beach. Once again, I could not resist adding the steel guitar sound." We issued a second set of Hawaiian themed songs the following December of 1999. The cover of this work is one of the best
For this update we've again used steel guitar for the voice line and present it now in the Scorch format. The song really does capture the "Hawaiian" style and feel; much more so than many of the so called Hawaiian songs of the era. Most were so far from a true reflection of Hawaiian music as to be nearly criminal. Of course the music was largely based on stereotypes and misconceptions. However, the public cared not for most had never been to Hawaii and for them the stereotypes were reality. This is one of the better such songs.
Earl Burtnett (b. 1896, Harrisburg, IL
- d. 1936, Chicago) Perhaps best known as a popular band leader in the
20s and 30s, Burtnett also was a pianist in jazz bands, arranged music
for Art Hickman and wrote many very popular works, several of which are
well known today. Educated at Pennsylvania State College, he arranged
music for Art Hickman and his band till 1929 when he took over the band.
Their good ensemble sound assured them of play in some of the leading
ballrooms in the Midwest including the Drake Hotel in Chicago. His many
songs include; Canadian Capers (1915), Down Honolulu Way
(1916, ) Do You Ever Think Of Me? (1920), Leave Me With a Smile
(1921), Mandalay (1924) and 'Leven Thirty Saturday Night (1930).
Unfortunately, Burtnett's career was cut short by his untimely death at
only age 39.
Listen to this grand old Hawaiian tune (Scorch plug-in)
This is another oddity for us. We not only published just the cover and a MIDI of this great work in our '97 gallery but again in the December '98 gallery. Neither time did we include any other information. The cover on this piece is a terrific one by an unknown but talented artist. The fellows in the inset photo are "Hines and Fox," one of the many popular at the time but now unknown Vaudevillians of the era.
The song is a wonderful harmonious one with echoes of such great songs as Moonlight Bay or Shine On Harvest Moon. As with most songs of the era we hear an introduction of the chorus melody and a two measure vamp to get ready for the verse. The verse is short and sweet but it is the chorus where this piece hits it's stride. Using grace notes in echoing passages following each passage, it takes on a sublime and joyous nature that make you want to sing along with a smile. It is a great song that brings with it memories of days gone by and a touch of nostalgia.
Terry Sherman is credited with several songs from 1912 - 14 but none after or before. I've not found any biographical information. Among his published songs are: Pawnee Dear (1913), By The Old Wishing Well (1913), Harmony Bay (1914) and the Boogie Man Rag (1912), published in a rag and song version.
J. Brandon Walsh is another songwriter who has left us with a sunstantial number of published works but for whom little can be found about his life. Among his published songs are: Irish Tango (1914), Happy Days (1913), When It's Springtime In Virginia, (1913), Telephone For Me (1914), Forest Queen (1913), Harmony Bay (1914) and Teasin' (1922)
Listen to this sweet old song (Scorch plug-in required)
The Fate of the Titanic
We first featured this song of course in the '97 gallery but later resurrected it in 2001 for our issue on Boats, Ships and Songs of the Sea. In that issue we said: "Whenever we think of ships and the sea, thoughts of the Titanic cannot be far from mind. Several of the songs this month speak to the dangers of the sea (Des Seemanns Los, The Ship That Never Returned, We Were Shipmates, Jack and I) and of course those who go down to the sea in ships face the prospect of never returning home. This work is one of many songs written in 1912 to commemorate the loss of the Titanic. It is one of the rarer works as it was published by the author as publisher in Mendon, Ohio. Mendon is a small town in Northwestern Ohio near the Indiana border. Mendon boasts a population of 717 and covers a land area of less than a square kilometer.
The song carries a wonderful sentiment but I have to admit that musically I can see why it has not survived. Though the melody is a very pleasant one, the song suffers from the continued repetition of the short phrase and wears thin very soon. As an historical document, this song is an important part of the transportation category of sheet music. Obviously Mr. Rhoades was moved by the incident and wrote this touching song as a tribute to those who died. We offer you this piece in the same way, as a tribute to the sea and those who have risked and lost their lives. We began this month's feature with a song that saluted a ship that never returned, we end it with the same.
Delbert Rhoades was a longtime resident of Mendon, and was a piano tuner by trade. He also repaired watches, even though he was legally blind! In searching for information about Mr. Rhoades, I did make contact with some current Mendon, Ohio residents who were kind enough to find some information for us. The following information was kindly provided by Mr. Rex Emans;
"John Maurer (78 years old) Still runs the Hardware Store in Mendon, remembers (Del) playing cards in the furniture store ( morgue in back room). He was legally blind ,but could see some if held cards REAL close to his eye, He ALWAYS wore a Derby hat , suit and vest , dressed up all the time. Was clean shaved. Never married , but rumor has it he dated Clara Rager. He lived with a John Maurer who said Del also was a watch repairman , Said he held the watch real close to his eye and could fix them., but was a good piano tuner and repairman."
Listen to this rare Titanic song (Scorch plug-in)
Here is another piece that managed to be exposed twice in a gallery but never as a featured item. It is a fairly straighforward ,march item but unique in that it celebrates the turn of the 20th century and it's musical tone. Though in 1900, most music followed traditional harmonic style, a modern movement was beginning to emerge, not in popular music but in classical. Composers such as Stravinsky were just beginning to emerge with music that was less harmonic and less tonal (atonal, without a tonal center) than the music that came before it. Harmonically, more dissonance was emerging which made the music somewhat less pleasing to the ear but was viewed as "modern."
Messina manages to give some hints of these trends in this march. The music still is tonally based but Messina manages to include some dissonance and offers some chromatic progressions that hint of the modern age in classical music (and jazz) that was about to blossom. It is an interesting work.
J. Messina could be Joe Messina but the two are listed separately in most library collections and there is no cross duplication in the titles attributed to them. "J." has a number of later works attributed to him as composer and several where he is credited as the arranger. The original works by him include the Twentieth Century (1900), Love and Passion (1902), In The Valley of Roses With You (1919) and Wayside Chapel Reverie (1930). He arranged a number of other popular works including one arrangement of the famous Robin's Return in 1926.
Listen to this great old march( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)
Lyrics (There are no lyrics for this work)
The Burning of Rome
This final work is also from the gallery section of that early 1997 issue. One of the most published of E. T. Paull's marches, copies of it abound. Unlike many of his works that often sell for over $100, the commonness of this one rarely gets more than a few dollars. Regardless of sheet music value, the music within is priceless. One of the two early Paull marches (the other was Ben Hur) that established his reputation, it is probably the most well known of all his works. It also follows the formula that Paull established of tying themes to actions in a storyline. Paull may have adopted the idea of a piece of music reflecting events or places from the classical idea of a tone poem but it certainly was unique in popular music.
Paull often included "descriptives" with his works that gave a preview and outline of the story that the music was to convey. He included text cues in the score as a new musical passage appeared that described the link. For example in this piece he includes themes described as; "Dash of the charioteers for position, The Race, Parade of the Victors, Evening song of the Christians," and "People in Panic." Each musical theme reflects the emotion, urgency and actions of the descriptions. It really is quite a show and probably explains some of the popularity of his marches. He used this device in almost all of his marches. We've included the full cover image, "explanitory" page and last page in the Scorch version of this song so you can appreciate his approach. The file is over 4MB so be patient as it loads, it's worth the wait.
E.T. (Edward Taylor) Paull (February 16, 1858 - November 27, 1924) Was the son of Virginia farmers and started his musical career as manager of a music store, selling pianos and organs in Martinsburg , Virginia around 1878. It is unclear as to his activities for the next 20 years but his first successful march was The Chariot Race or Ben Hur March (MIDI) in 1894. The great success of this march caused Paull to begin a steady stream of works. He started his own publishing company around this same period and continued publishing under his name till his death (at which time the company was bought and continued to publish under the same name for two years afterward). Though best known today for his marches, Paull did write other works and even wrote one piece for silent film Armenian Maid in 1919. Marches were wildly popular and though Paull was capable of composing fine works, he often obtained works by others and arranged them and released them under his banner. This work is one such work. His last work was the 1924, Spirit Of The U.S.A., copyrighted just six weeks before his death. See our in-depth biography of Paull as well as our two features on his music from July 2001 and June 1998 to learn more about this man and his music.
Listen to this popular Paull march (Scorch plug-in)
Lyrics (There are no lyrics for this piece)
This article published October, 2006 and is Copyright © 2006 by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor Songs Academy Text, images or music may not be reproduced in part or in total without express written permission of the author or an officer of the corporation. Though the songs published on this site are often in the Public Domain, MIDI renditions are protected by copyright as recorded performances.
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