The Parlor Songs Collection
January, 1998 Edition, Featured Covers

This month, I am featuring some of the folio booklets from the collection. Compilations of popular music have always been a hit with the public. The tradition of published collections goes back at least two centuries to the times when the only home entertainment was the family's own music making. Even in today's market we see collections of music. The collections featured here span the time from before 1900 to the 1920's. Since these collections have several songs, I am including several from each collection so you can get a good idea of the tone of each collection.

Our guest submission this month is a unique piece of music from Hungary.

Tango Dreams

Tango Land


Music and Lyrics by: Various Composers
Cover artist unknown.

This is one of my favorites from the collection, I just love the cover. It is interesting that the Tango continues to emerge time and again as a popular dance and music form. Today we are enjoying a re-emergence of Tango music that seems to repeat the popularity of the 1910's and 1930's periods. All of the songs in this collection were written in 1913 & 1914 and were written by Argentinian and other South American composers. As such, they represent "real" tangos.

Hear these songs from the Tango Dreams folio:

Tango Dreams
Castle Innovation Tango
Mi Amigo Dengozo

Star Folio

Star Dance Folio, No. 26


Music and lyrics by: Various, Cover Artist: Unknown

During the twenties, the Fox-Trot reigned supreme. Music was still a large part of everyone's life and popular music was at a peak. Some of the greatest songs in history were written during this period. Many of the songs from this folio are still popular today; It Had to be You, Mandaly, & Since you Went Away are some of the classics in this group. This compilation was published in 1925 and contains the publishers most popular songs from 1924.

Listen to the 1924 hit parade:

The Jefferson Davis    Vampanella
Beau Brummel, The Beau of Memphis
Sing Me "O Solo Mio"

Parlor Songs

Parlor Songs


Music by: Various Composers, Cover artist: unknown

During the 19th century, one of the main forms of entertainment at home was music. Families would gather around the piano, play popular and classical music and enjoy the time and music together. During that period, a large number of songs were written specifically as "parlor" pieces for the family to enjoy. This compilation is of ten popular songs, some by well known composers such as Stephen Foster (Foster's Massa'a in the Cold, Cold Ground can be heard here), others by relatively unknown composers. Many of these songs are also still in the common repertoire and can frequently be heard in their present incarnations.

Hear some of these popular classics:

Listen to the Mocking Bird
Massa's in the Cold, Cold Ground
Killarney Ben Bolt

Memories of Stephen Foster

Memories of Stephen Foster


Music & Lyrics by: Stephen C. Foster Cover artist: unknown

Stephen Foster is perhaps the best known American composer of popular songs. Many of his songs are so well known that they are immediately recognizable after over 150 years. The songs in this collection include many of the most well known and several more obscure songs. The folio also includes photos of Foster, his home and family as well as some letters and other information about his life. For your listening enjoyment I have included some of the lesser known works.

Enjoy the music, listen now.

Comrades, Fill No Glass For Me
Hard Times Come Again No More
Willie, We Have Missed You"
Linger In Blissful Repose

And Now, for January, a special Feature!

The following piece was submitted by one of the "fans" of the Forward collection. Tamas Revbiro known as "Kilroy" in his E-Mail, is an author, lyricist, poet, artist and philosopher who lives in Hungary. He has submitted a fascinating Hungarian piano version of John Philip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever. "Kilroy" is a fascinating person and I strongly urge you to go visit his excellent web site at: http// You will not regret it. Tamas can be reached at

If any of you have works you would like me to include in future editions, please E-mail me with the details.

Stars and Stripes

The Stars and Stripes Forever

This version published ca1890

Music by: John Philip Sousa

In Tamas's own words, here is the story behind this sheet music: "Re Fregoli: it's the name of a person - he was an Italian stage performer touring in Hungary late last century. His gimmick was changing his appearance on stage extremely fast. He became immensely popular for a period of time, Hungarian language even adopted his name as an adjective for transforming objects, especially: a) a collapsible clothes drier rack and b) a kind of raincoat that could also be worn inside out. The latter is largely forgotten by now, but the former still exists. Why the name is on the front cover is a matter of conjecture; maybe it was the brand name of transcriptions (in this case from full orchestration to the piano) at this publisher. This may help in timing the publication; it may be well over 100 years old. You wonder how I got the sheet. Why, last summer I went into a shop and bought it for 68 Hungarian forints - roughly 35 US cents. Sounds crazy? It seemed ridiculous to me too, but that's how it happened. You come to Hungary, I'll show you the shop."

Listen to this great work.Play The Song

Parlor Songs is an educational website about American popular music and the history of the genre

If you would like to submit an article about America's music for publish on the website, contact the email on the main page. I also welcome suggestions for subjects for future articles.

All articles are written by the previous owners, unless otherwise stated.

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