Memoir Records released 100 Years Ago: The Songs They Sang Last Century's Eve a few weeks before New Year's Eve 1999. The collection is an amazing time capsule of tunes that were popular one hundred years ago. Each of the two dozen songs and ballads originated in British and American music halls and theaters, and were popular as the 1800s turned into the 1900s. However, the songs are not, of course, vintage recordings. Neither are they about the turn of the century, as one might expect. Perry Como sings "When You Were Sweet Sixteen " while Bing Crosby and Mary Martin sing "Lily of Laguna," for example. The collection is a nice New Year's novelty that will still pique some interest, even if the "millennium" has past. In fact, 100 Years Ago: The Songs They Sang Last Century's Eve provides a fun change of pace from Prince's "1999" and "Auld Lang Syne," which can hardly sound fresh anymore. Some songs like "Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-Wow" by the Maestros and "Whistling Rufus" by the International Novelty Sextet will be unknowns to modern audiences. The CD is like Now Hits 1900! The sound quality is superb (since they are simply old not ancient recordings), and the mood is classic and archival pop. Imagine a Ken Burns New Years 1900 documentary and this would be its soundtrack. The point of the collection is to link past generations of celebrators, and 100 Years Ago: The Songs They Sang Last Century's Eve does an admirable job with this one of a kind collection.
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AllMusic Review by JT Griffith