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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..


 






Bring Me A Rose

1918

 

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

Enjoy this beautiful work now (SCORCH format)

listen to MIDI version

For You A Rose

1917

 

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 ballad.

 

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


The Rose That Made Me Happy Is The Rose That Made Me Sad

1913

 


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 daily.

 

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

 

When You Look In The Heart Of A Rose

1918

 


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 beauty (scorch)


Listen to MIDI version

 



In The Heart Of A Rose

1912

 

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.

Enjoy this great 1912 song (scorch)

Listen to MIDI version


Blue Rose

1917


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 works.

More Rose Music and Covers in this month's issue, go to part B.



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