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Above: 1920's covers from the Erdmann Collection.

Music of the Roaring Twenties

From the Erdmann Collection

Last year we received a generous and most important donation of sheet music from the Erdmann family of New Jersey. This unique donation included sheet music from the late 19th century up to the 1970's. The total number of sheets donated to us exceeded 6,000 and has increased our collection to a level exceeding all but a few library collections and places us as the top private non-profit web library collection in the country. This is the fourth and final issue in a series overview of the collection, such as we have done with other large collections such as the Marshall-Morrow collection donated to us in 2009. To continue the review of the decades represented by this collection, this issue will look at music of the 1920's from the collection. We hope to make much more of our collection available to view through a redesign of our site and help from volunteers to catalog everything, scan and organize the music to make it more accessible.

As in the previous recent articles, we are continuing to include the full cover art in the Scorch versions so you can enjoy them in more detail than our thumbnail images allow. As a result, the Scorch files are much larger than usual so expect some delay in downloading. In most cases, the download file size exceeds 2mb so some will take quite some time depending on your type connection. The wait will be worth it! In addition, all music featured this month is printable using the Sibelius Scorch player.

The decade of the 1920's brought forth some more radical changes in America's music. Often called the "jazz age" and of course the "roaring twenties," America experienced an explosion of social change. Women's rights were prominent in the social scene as women not only gained the right to vote but their prominence in the social and political scene exploded.

"The 1920s is commonly thought of as a hedonistic interlude between the Great War and the Great Depression, a decade of dissipation, of jazz bands, raccoon coats, bathtub gin, flappers, flagpole sitters, bootleggers, and marathon dancers. According to this view, World War I had shattered Americans' faith in reform and moral crusade, and the younger generation proceeded to rebel against traditional taboos while their elders engaged in an orgy of speculation.

In fact the decade was both a decade of bitter cultural tensions as well as a period in which many of the features of a modern consumer society took root."
Mintz, S. (2007). Digital History.
Retrieved April 16, 2011from
http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu

The decade also brought us the unique female phenomenon of the "Flapper," the wild and sexually free woman of the 20's whose dancing and cavorting was often featured in films and newsreels. One contemporary account describes the Flapper as: "Two bare knees, two thinner stockings, one shorter skirt, two lipsticks, three powder puffs, 132 cigarettes, and three boy friends, with eight flasks between them." It also brought prohibition and the gangster era that was associated with the illegal alcoholic beverage industry and the "speakeasy." Of course, as in earlier decades, our music reflected these changes and became more free, more sexually open and the blues and jazz music emerged as prominent aspects of our music.

Unfortunately, the twenties is also the period where the entry of music into the public domain was squashed by the 1998 copyright act that extended the copyright protections on music and other intellectual properties. This law, also known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, sometimes called the Mickey Mouse Protection Act because it was largely initiated by the Disney organization to prevent their works from entering the public domain. The act effectively "froze" the advancement date of the public domain in the United States for works covered by the older fixed term copyright rules. Under this Act, additional works made in 1923 or afterwards that were still protected by copyright in 1998 will not enter the public domain until 2019 or afterward. As a result, music after 1922 is still in copyright and we can only present music up to that year so this issue only allows us to focus on music from the years 1920, 21 and 22.

Despite that restriction, we can bring you some delightful music reflective of the beginning of the roaring twenties and the jazz age that presaged the full development of these concepts. We've included selections of well known tunes and many that are unknown to most of us today. We hope that the discovery of these obscure songs is as enjoyable to you as it was in our own discovery and bringing them to you.

To enjoy the full musical experience, we recommend that you get the Scorch plug in from our friends at Sibelius software. The Scorch player allows you to not only listen to the music but to view the sheet music as the music plays and see the lyrics as well. Each month we also allow printing of some of the sheet music featured so for those of you who play the piano (or other instruments) you'll be able to play the music yourself. It's a complete musical experience! Get the Sibelius Scorch player now.

Richard A. Reublin, June, 2011. This article published June, 2011 and is Copyright © 2011 by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor Songs Association, Inc. Text, images or music may not be reproduced in part or in total without express written permission of the author or a company officer.

 

Listen to this wonderful old song (Scorch format, be patient, long load time due to graphics)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics


Sheet music coverBlue Diamonds

1920

Words and Music by: Jack Caddigan and Chick Story
Cover art: un attributed

Dedicated to "My Little Baby Margaret" this is a sweet song, I assume about Caddigan's (or Story's) child and her eyes "like blue diamonds." The music itself is not the greatest work Caddigan ever wrote but the sentiment is heartfelt and sweet. I wonder how he felt when baby Margaret hit the terrible twos? That's a time when all of us wonder what the heck were we thinking but through it all we loved our children and the tremendous joy that they bring our life. The cover photos are interesting and I will also assume that they are of Caddigan's (or Story's) wife and new baby. So much of our popular music was inspired by personal events of the songwriter and this is a perfect and clear cut example.

 

Caddigan & Story: Little seems to have been documented about these two songwriters despite a rather large inventory of songs published by them individually and collectively. In our own collection, we have a few and Wikipedia lists several for Caddigan (Jack Caddigan (1879 – 1952), also known as John J. Caddigan) including I Can't Stop Doing It Now (1912) with James Alexander Brennan, Poor Little Rich Girl (1914) with James Alexander Brennan, published by O. E. Story, The Dream I Had Last Night (1915) with James Alexander Brennan and O. E. Story, In The Golden Summertime (1915) with James Alexander Brennan (sheet music), The Rose of No Man's Land; La rose sous les boulets (1918) with James Alexander Brennan, (French lyric by Louis Delamarre), The Rose Of The Mountain Trail with James Alexander Brennan, In The Old Sweet Way (1919) with "Chick" O. E. Story, Sweetheart Waltz (1920) with "Chick" Story, When The Money Moon Is Shining with "Chick" O. E. Story and Egyptian Moonlight (1919) with A. Fred Phillips. From this list, it seems odd that little else can be found about this pair!

Hear this touching "baby" song ( printer Scorch format, be patient, all the Scorch files this month are very large file sizes, this sheet music is printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 



Shores of Old California

1920


Words and Music by Ralph D. Tompkins
Cover art: un attributed


During the heydays of American popular music (and still today), many budding songwriters struggled to get their music published. In many cases, those songwriters self published by creating their own publishing company and then contracted with printers to publish a limited number of copies they could then hawk to music stores in the areas. In most cases, these songs were "one hit wonders" with the word hit being a very subjective one and probably overstated.

This particular song struck me as one of the most unusual self published songs we've seen. The cover image has a quality almost like a photocopy but of course, photo copying had not yet been invented in 1920. At first we thought it may have been a photocopy ( a poor one at that) of an original however the paper, layout and inside printing are clearly original. To add to the uniqueness, in this version Tompkins did not even include the usual copyright line but only the date on the inside first page of the music. There are other copies of this song that do carry publishing information for the Tompkins company.

This was obviously a very limited distribution piece and as such is a rarity. The music is not at all as bad as the cover image and actually is quite enjoyable. It is a nice waltz ballad in a dreamy sort of style. The quality of composition is quite good and I'm surprised that Tompkins did not rise above the local scene. Tompkins did write a few other songs and as far as I can determine, all were published by his publishing house, The Tompkins House of Hits in Pittsburgh which we can assume was the origin of this copy.

Raplh D. Tompkins

  This image of Tompkins is taken from the cover of another of his songs, Won't You Be a Friend of Mine?, published ca. 1919. That song cover featured a photo of Mary Pickford, the famous silent film star. As you can see, two other songs by Tompkins are listed: She's Some Girl, and Won't You Love Me All the Time?

 

 

Hear this coastal song ( Scorch format, be patient, long load time, printable)

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


sheet music cover
Ain't We Got Fun

1921


Music by: Richard A. Whiting
Words by Gus Kahn & Raymond B. Egan
Cover art: un attributed

 

This is one of those iconic songs that have survived nearly 100 years and which are still known to most of us. In this case, as with many iconic songs, only the chorus is that which is most remembered and the verses were lost over time.

Tough times financially seem to come and go with far too much regularity in our economy but despite tough times, most people are resilient and cope with the bad times. Though we usually look on the 20's as a period of incredible economic growth and opportunity (till 1929 and the following great depression, in mid-1920 the American economy began to contract and there was a short 1920-1921 depression which lasted about a year, but a rapid recovery reestablished full-employment by 1923. This song and some others from this period sing of financial hard times for a couple who basically lose everything they have yet they still manage to find something to sing about to cope with their troubles. Few of us have ever heard the verses of this song that explains the story behind the chorus we all know so well. Give it a listen and look at the lyrics for a completely new perspective on this joyful chorus.


Richard WhitingRichard Whiting (b. 1891, Peoria, IL, d. 1938 Beverly Hills, CA) is one of America's greatest songwriters. He taught himself the piano and music theory and talked his father into publishing his first songs.He worked for Jerome Remick for a time and in 1912 became manager of Remick's Detroit office. He wrote many, many of the classic American songs we still know today. Till We Meet Again (Scorch format) is one of his earlier works. In 1919 he moved to New York where he wrote songs for musicals. Among his best known songs from he 20's is the great Breezin' Along With The Breeze and Sleepy Time Gal. Later hits included Beyond The Blue Horizon and The Good Ship Lollipop. He was the father of the great popular singers Margaret and Barbara Whiting. His melodies have been described as having a graceful and effortless style.

Gus Kahn (1886 - 1941) is one of America's greatest lyricists. Born in Coblenz, Germany, his family came to the USA and settled in Chicago in 1891. He worked mostly in non-music related jobs but persisted in seeking outlets for his song lyrics. His first song was published in 1907 and after that, he concentrated on writing lyrics for vaudeville performers in Chicago first, then in New York in the 1920's. In 1933, he moved to California and focused on writing for movies. The many eminent composers he teamed with over his long career include, Isham Jones, Walter Donaldson (My Buddy) , Egbert Van Alstyne, George Gershwin and Ernie Erdman (Toot -Toot -Tootsie). Many of his songs have become standards with Pretty Baby (1916) being perhaps the most notable. Other standards by Kahn include, Carolina In The Morning (1922), Makin' Whoopee, 1928 and Liza (1928). His movie biography, I'll See You In My Dreams (1951) starring Danny Thomas and Doris Day is an engrossing story that is filled with many of his hits. Kahn died in Beverly Hills in 1941.

Raymond B. Egan was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in 1890 and was mainly a lyricist, most active during the 1920's and 30's. Egan's family came to the US in 1892. Egan grew up in Detroit and began his musical career as a boy soprano at St. John's Episcopal church there. He was a graduate of the University of Michigan and had various early jobs including a bank clerk till he became a staff writer at Grinells Music Co in Detroit and worked with many of the major composers of the period. His most famous song is arguably The Japanese Sandman, (Scorch format) written with Richard Whiting. Also with Whiting he wrote the lyrics for And They Called It Dixieland (Midi) (1916), Mammy's Little Coal Black Rose (1916), Sleepy Time Gal (1918) and the great, Till We Meet Again, (Scorch format) also in 1918. Egan had a number of other extremely well known hits that have lasted till modern times including the great songs, Ain't We Got Fun, Sleepy Time Gal and Three on A Match. Egan collaborated with many of the best composers of the Tin Pan Alley Era, among them were Walter Donaldson, Ted Fio Rito and Harry Tierney. Egan died in Westport, Connecticut in 1952.


Listen to and watch this famous song (Requires Scorch plug-in, long load time)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics


sheet music coverPucker Up and Whistle ('Till the Clouds Roll By)

1921



Words and Music by: Blanche Franklyn & Nat Vincent
Cover art: Barbelle


Blanche Franklyn was a talented and popular Vaudeville performer and a songwriter of note. Her partner in writing this song, Nat Vincent was at one time a part of her vaudeville team of Franklyn & Vincent though Vincent also partnered with other performers of the period including The Happy Chappies. Franklyn wrote many songs, undoubtedly for use on the stage in her own shows. The majority of her songs never reached super hit status and most are forgotten today. Among her contributions are: Oh, You Can't Fool an Old Hoss Fly (1919), Pretty Little Cinderella (1920), At the End of the Redwood Trail (1927), Grin (1922) and I Know a Band that Needs No Leader (1919). Of all her works, "Pucker Up" was the most popular and recorded.

Also written during the brief 1920-21 depression, the son is one of optimism and looking forward to better days. The verse introduces the times and troubles and reminds the listener that behind every black cloud is a silver lined sky and further suggests that the chorus to the song is a "real good tonic" for the bad times. The chorus has a really nice melody and of course urges us to pucker up and whistle till the clouds roll by. Though I can't find specific evidence for it, I'll bet the song was dusted off when the great depression of 1929 and the thirties hit us. The song was recorded in 1921 by Frank Crumit on Columbia A-3406. Given Blanche Franklyn's fame as a performer, I was somewhat surprised to find that she was not the first to record her own song.

Nathaniel Hawthorne Vincent (a.k.a. Jann Kenbrovin, F.N. Vinard) was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 6, 1889.
After graduating from Betts Military Academy in Stamford Connecticut, Vincent was a sheet music demonstrator in New York department stores before becoming a professional manager of music for various publishing companies on Tin Pan Alley. As a performer, Vincent was a member of the vaudeville teams Franklyn & Vincent and Tracey & Vincent, appearing in the act “A Trip to Hitland.” Later, Vincent appeared on radio as a member of the recording team The Happy Chappies with Fred Howard.

Throughout his career, Vincent was a prolific songwriter collaborating with Fred Howard, Herman Paley, Maceo Pinkard, James Kendis, James Brockman and Russ Morgan. He contributed songs to the revues Ice Follies, Palais Royal Revue, Cochran Revue (London), Show of Wonders, Passing Shows and Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolics.

The Nat Vincent catalog boasts such enduring standards as “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”, “When the Bloom is on the Sage”, “La Veeda”, “When Old Bill Bailey Plays the Ukulele”, “The Strawberry Roan”, “I Know What it Means to be Lonesome”, “Give a Little Credit to Your Dad”, “Mellow Mountain Moon”, “Little Girl Dressed in Blue”, “Pucker Up and Whistle”, “That Railroad Rag”, “Down South Everybody's’s Happy”, “Pretty Little Cinderella”, “At the End of the Lane”, “Liza”, “My Old Man”, “I Know Why I Cry”, “Sitting on the Bank by the River”, “It’s Great to Love Someone Who Loves You Too”, “My Pretty Quadroom”, “Me and My Burro”, “Old Black Mountain Trail” and “It’s Time to Say Aloha.” (from the Songwriters Hall of Fame entry for "Nat" Vincent.)

Hear and see the score to this song ( Scorch format, printable, be patient for images to load)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics




sheet music coverBees Knees

1922



Music by: Ray Lopez with Ted Lewis
Words by: Leo Wood
Cover art: un attributed


For many of us the term "bees knees" has for years conveyed the idea of something swell or in today's terminology, cool. "It's the bees knees" was an oft used phrase in the 20's and at least I always thought it meant something nifty. According to Answers. com, the phrase was meant to mean "something along the lines of "the height of excellence." Well, as it turns out, though it may have been used in the 20's in that context, historically the term means just the opposite.

In truth, the phrase originated as early as 1906 in a newspaper comic and was meant to convey something of trivial insignificance given that bee's knees are quite small and insignificant in their own right. Exactly how the term came to mean something opposite is unknown but it is even possible that the term could have been used in both contexts. Declaring someone "the bee's knees" could have been both a compliment or an insult.

Despite the origins or real meanings of the term, this bright song speaks to the ubiquity of the term at the time and in some respects mocks it and the overuse of the term. Musically, it is a very jazzy and snappy tune with some great lyrics. In some respects it sounds a bit of a fusion between Jazz and Ragtime. There is a great "patter" section at the end that is almost pure Ragtime. The song has some modern chordal progressions as well. It makes for an interesting bridge from the days of Ragtime, to Jazz and more complex modern styles.

Trumpeter Ray Lopez had worked with most of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band musicians in New Orleans and wrote a number of other jazzy works including "Livery Stable Blues" in1917 which later became the object of a lawsuit when the Original Dixieland Jazz Band issued a recording crediting themselves as the composers. Ted Lewis later became one of the most famous Big Band leaders and also wrote a number of other songs including When My Baby Smiles at Me. His band may have been best known for their iconic recording of On The Sunny Side of the Street in 1930 with Lewis on vocals.

Listen to and view this song ( Requires the Scorch plug-in, be patient, sometimes a long load time due to graphics)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



 sheet music coverI've Got the Profiteering Blues

1922



Music by: Irving Bibo
Words by: Al. Wilson
Cover art: Unknown

I am often surprised at how songs from the past can often reflect the current times. Such is the case with several of the songs in this month's feature bit perhaps none so much so as this song.

We are all experiencing a period of financial instability and "profiteering" by corporations and corporate leaders including greedy bonuses and inflated salaries have been issues for the news, blogs and talking heads on cable news networks for two years now. This song takes on a more personal view and the lyrics could well have been written today by any of us who have been squeezed by higher prices, more taxes and gluttonous price increases, fees and levies. Though we've got a link to the lyrics below, I want to be sure you read them and think of them in the context of today. I think you too will be surprised at their timeliness:

"I've got the Profiteering blues.
High prices make me sick for all my clothes are worn through,
I'll have to dress like Adam but what else can I do?

I've got the profiteering blues,
I can't afford to buy a pair of shoes.
Ev'ry time I get a raise I laugh with glee,
then along comes my landlord and takes it from me.

It seems the more I make the more they take,
I've got the profiteering blues. blues.

[Verse 2.]
Long, long ago,Prices were low,
That is like a dream now to me,
A little pay Would go a very long way
A loaf of bread now is a luxury.

I'm disgusted through and through,
Here's what I would like to do.
Just like Rip Van Winkle I would like to sleep
Until the cost of living once again in cheap."

Irving Bibo was born in San Francisco, California, August 22, 1889; he wrote tunes for the Ziegfield Follies, Greenwich Village Follies and other theatricals in the 1920s. He also wrote college songs such as "Sing UCLA" and "Stanford Scalp Song." Bibo came to Los Angeles in the 1930s where he composed scores for more than 300 motion pictures. He also wrote songs for acts such as Marlene Dietrich and Jim Burke. Some of his compositions include "Huggable Kissable You" and "March on America". Bibo died of a heart Attack in 1962

 


Listen to and view an old song that resonates today ( Requires the Scorch plug-in, be patient, sometimes a long load time due to graphics)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



sheet music coverFalling

1922


Words and Music by: Will Collins, Ed. Cameron & Buddy Fields
Cover art: un attributed

 

If ever there was a photo that could be an image that defines the word "lothario," in my mind this cover image of Joseph Lertora would be it.

Lertora was a very popular Broadway and stage performer (singer) who was featured in many Broadway productions during the period from 1914 all the way through the mid 1930's. He also appeared in at least one film, A Romance of the Air (1918), unfortunately a silent film.

This song, an excellent one, may have been his most popular as no other sheets have been found by us crediting him as the performer. The song has a great verse melody which is not often the case. Of course the chorus is a well known and heartfelt ballad.

Lertora was born in 1884 and died in 1934, only two years after his last stage performance in There You Are (1932) in which he played Don Jose Gomez, Governor of the District and sang two songs in the production.

Listen to this Lothario's ballad ( Scorch plug-in, printable, be patient, long load due to graphics)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



 sheet music coverLonesome Land

1922



Music by: Dave Dreyer
Words by: Bernie Foyer
Cover art: F. Earl Christy

 

Around this period in art and music, there emerged some artists that became quite famous for their beautiful depictions of women. Later we would call these paintings pinups and the artists, pinup artists. Below we feature a cover by Frederic Manning who was perhaps the most famous of these artists during this time however in terms of these examples, this painting by Christy is exceptional. Christy (1883 - 1961) seems most remembered for his beautiful postcard illustrations. According to Vintage Image Craft.com,

"Christy practically invented the illustrated image of the "All-American Girl," at least for the Ivy-League set.  His early works glorified the society college girl - always beautifully dressed at football games, golf and tennis tournaments, riding in automobiles or playing instruments.  His first College Girl postcard series was published in 1905 by the U.S.S. Postcard Company.  When the college girl fad had run its course, he went on to paint more mature men and women, movie stars and political figures, still romantically idealized.  His work can be found on the covers of vintage fan magazines like Photoplay, Modern Screen, Pictorial Review, Popular Songs, Radio Stars, Screen Album, Screen Romances, and Shadowplay - not to mention sheet music, fans, blotters, book illustrations, boxes, jigsaw puzzles, posters, serving trays, bookmarks, advertising mailers, catalogs, programs, china, and textiles." (from vintageimagecraft.com)
The song is fine but a bit pedestrian in comparison to the work of Christy.

 

Listen to this old lonesome song ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



 sheet music coverMy Buddy

1922



Music by: Walter Donaldson
Words by: Gus Kahn
Cover art: un attributed

 

The great Al Jolson introduced some of America's best loved and most remembered songs, probably more so than any other performer of the Tin Pan Alley Days. Aside from the fact that Jolson himself had a presence and celebrity that was nearly super heroic, his popularity attracted some of the best songwriters of the day and the team of Donaldson and Kahn were two of the absolute best and were superstars in their own right. Put these songwriters and Jolson together and you get a blockbuster hit, and one that is still remembered today, nearly 90 years later. If you are interested in more about Jolson and his music, be sure to see our biography about him.

Over the decades since publication the song has been recorded numerous times by more than 50 performers including, Gene Autry, Barbara Streisand, Doris Day, harry Connick Sr., Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Kate Smith. It is one of the most beautiful tribute ballads ever written and if you've never heard it before, then you've been living under a very large rock or were born too late to know the joy of one of America's greatest songs. If so, be sure to listen to it now!

Walter DonaldsonWalter Donaldson (1893 - 1947)
Born in Brooklyn, New York. was one of the most prolific American popular song writers of the twentieth century. He wrote more than 600 songs in his long career. He composed most of his best during the years between the two World Wars, when he collaborated with many of the best known lyricists of his day (among them Gus Kahn, Edgar Leslie, Bud de Sylva, and Johnny Mercer), but he also wrote many of his own lyrics, such as for At Sundown, Little White Lies, and You're Driving Me Crazy.

Donaldson inherited a certain amount of musical skill as both of his parents were musically inclined. Though he received no formal training in music, he began by writing songs and music for school productions. After graduation from High School, he went to work in a brokerage house on Wall Street. Soon after, he became a "song plugger" on Tin Pan Alley but was fired for writing songs on company time. His first published song, Back Home In Tennessee, (MIDI) in 1915 was an immediate hit and he published two other hits that same year; You'd Never Know The Old Home-Town of Mine and We'll Have A Jubilee In My Old Kentucky Home.

During the First World War, Donaldson performed as an entertainer at Camp Upton New York and he wrote a number of war related songs including Don't Cry Frenchy (Scorch format) and How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm (Scorch format). After the war Donaldson joined Irving Berlin's firm and stayed with them for a decade. It was this period that Donaldson wrote his biggest and most lasting hits. His Jolson song, My Mammy set the stage for his rise and then his collaboration with Gus Kahn beginning in 1922 established him (and their team) as one of America's greatest songwriters. Some of the hits they generated during this period were; Carolina In The Morning, My Buddy, Yes Sir, That's My Baby, Makin' Whoopee and My Baby Just Cares For Me. Like many songwriters of the period, as soon as movies began incorporating sound, Donaldson went to Hollywood to produce music for the movies.and he contributed a number of songs to movies including, Follow The Boys and The Great Ziegfeld.

Donaldson also collaborated with a number of other lyricists, a list of which reads like a who's who of American popular music; Billy Rose, Lew Brown, Howard Johnson, Ballard MacDonald and George Whiting with whom he wrote My Blue Heaven. In 1928 Donaldson resigned from the berlin organization and formed his own publishing house (Donaldson, Douglas and Gumble). By 1946, Donaldson was plagued with illness and he withdrew from all activities. He died in Santa Monica, California on July 15, 1947.

 

Gus Kahn (1886 - 1941) is one of America's greatest lyricists. Born in Coblenz, Germany, his family came to the USA and settled in Chicago in 1891. He worked mostly in non-music related jobs but persisted in seeking outlets for his song lyrics. His first song was published in 1907 and after that, he concentrated on writing lyrics for vaudeville performers in Chicago first, then in New York in the 1920's. In 1933, he moved to California and focused on writing for movies. The many eminent composers he teamed with over his long career include, Isham Jones, Walter Donaldson (My Buddy) , Egbert Van Alstyne, George Gershwin and Ernie Erdman (Toot -Toot -Tootsie). Many of his songs have become standards with Pretty Baby (1916) being perhaps the most notable. Other standards by Kahn include, Carolina In The Morning (1922), Makin' Whoopee, 1928 and Liza (1928). His movie biography, I'll See You In My Dreams (1951) starring Danny Thomas and Doris Day is an engrossing story that is filled with many of his hits. Kahn died in Beverly Hills in 1941.


Listen to and watch the music play (Scorch format, allow time for download)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



sheet music coverNobody Lied

1922



Music by: Edwin J. Weber
Words by: Karyl Norman and Hyatt Berry
Cover art: unknown

 

Karyl Norman, real name George Paduzzi, made a very successful New York debut as a female impersonator in May 1919. He especially enjoyed singing Southern songs and billed himself as the “Creole Fashion Plate”. Behind his back his fellow vaudevillians described him as “The Queer Old Fashion Plate”, a response to widespread suspicions about his sexual orientation.

Karyl NormanNorman starred in the Greenwich Village Follies of 1924 and in 1930 at the beginning of New York’s brief ‘Pansy Craze’, or infatuation with gay clubs and performers, he headlined at the Palace Theatre in an act called “Glorifying the American Boy-Girl”. Beside vaudeville tours he performed in many stage plays and musical comedies in New York.

Norman was known for his fabulous gowns, many made by his mother, his fine voice, and his quick changes of clothes and gender on stage. According to one critic “Not only does this impersonator wear his feminine toggery in tiptop shape, but has a voice that fools’em at the start.”

Norman wrote the lyrics of many of his featured songs including “Nobody Lied (When They Said That I Cried Over You)”, “Beside a Babbling Brook”, and “I’m Through (Shedding Tears Over You)”.    From "Ambisexuous"website biography of Norman at the University of Saskatchewan Archives.

The song is really very good and representative of the Jazz age we were entering in the 1920's. Musically it is pretty interesting to me and I think you will enjoy this great song by a pioneer in the arena of female impersonation.

Listen to and watch the music play ( Scorch version, printable be patient for graphics to load)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



sheet music coverSomebody Stole My Girl

1922



Words and Music by: Leo Wood
Cover art: Frederick J. Manning

 

As mentioned earlier, Frederick Manning was one of the greatest "pinup" artists to emerge from the early 20th century. His sheet music art was the subject of an entire series of songs published by the Jerome Remick company in the 1920's. That series spawned the many other similar "pinup" art on sheet music by a variety of other talented artists such as Christy (mentioned and featured above.) Often, the music was not quite as good as the art however in this case, the music may have been better (actually this is not one of Manning's best covers).

Somebody Stole my Gal became a mammoth hit and like My Buddy, was recorded over and over by many of the best performers in American music.

 

Leo Wood (1882–1929) Is best remembered as the songwriter of the 1920’s hit Somebody Stole My Gal. Wood wrote lyrics for many of the top songwriters of the day, including Theodore F. Morse. Other popular songs written by Leo Wood include the Paul Whiteman jazz standard "Wang Wang Blues, "Runnin' Wild, Play that 'Song of India' Again, a no.1 hit for 5 weeks for Paul Whiteman in 1921, and Down Among The Sheltering Palms. Leo Wood died in New York City. (From Wikipedia)

 

Listen to and watch the music play ( Scorch version, printable be patient for graphics to load)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



sheet music cover"Wink"

1922



Words and Music by: Grace T. Boyle
Cover art: un attributed

That sassy lady on the cover is not identified but I believe it is the composer, Grace Boyle, a rather elusive persona as far as our resources and the net.

The song has a great melody and the lyrics reflect a bit of coy amusement. Boyle did not seem to write any other songs that I can find and that is a pity if true. The song shows a great deal of humor and musical talent. Unfortunately, as we have said many times over the years, women composers have been severely neglected by history in favor of the men. While we can typically find mention of some of the most prominent woman composers, many are simply not represented in most of the reference books on the subject of American popular music. A sad situation.

Grace T. Boyle (1893-1955) Boyle was married to Edward Boyle, the publisher of Roguish Rosie Ray. Edward was billed as the "celebrated blind entertainer." Unfortunately, I've found little else about this songwriter.

 

Listen to and watch the music play ( Scorch version, printable be patient for graphics to load)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics


This article published June, 2011 and is Copyright © 2011 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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