Various Artists

Broadway Through the Gramophone, Vol. 2

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The first volume of British archival label Pearl's Broadway Through the Gramophone series, which collects medleys of songs from Broadway shows recorded between 1909 and the mid-1920s, concentrated on recordings of older shows dating back to the mid-19th century. This one features shows and recordings from 1909-1914, the recordings made contemporaneously with the original stage productions. Victor Records, in a precursor to the cast album, found that there was a market for the medleys, as recorded by the Victor Light Opera Company, which consisted of the label's leading recording stars, such as Ada Jones and the Revelers. (The 2001 equivalent would be to have Britney Spears and 'N Sync record songs from The Producers.) The singers were not credited individually -- and they are not identified here -- but pre-World War I audiences would have recognized their voices. And even today, comic singer Billy Murray's distinctive reedy baritone is obvious throughout. (Sometimes, the singing is so good you wish you knew who the vocalists were. For example, who is the woman doing those remarkable soprano trills in the medley from The Arcadians?) This was a period when Viennese operetta ruled Broadway, at least in the form of transferred productions often containing interpolations by American composers like the young Jerome Kern, who is heard on six tracks, including such hits as "They Didn't Believe Me" from The Girl from Utah. There are also major American composers like Victor Herbert, who has four excellent scores, including Naughty Marietta, which is full of familiar melodies ("Tramp Tramp Tramp," "Ah Sweet Mystery of Life," etc.), and Sweethearts. The transfers from old 78s retain a great deal of crackle and hiss, but the sound processing has not muffled the music, which comes through despite the static, making this another major contribution to the history of stage music.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Belle of Brittany, operetta
1 4:18
The Arcadians, operetta
2 3:59
Our Miss Gibbs, musical
3 4:04
Madame Sherry, operetta
4 4:26
Naughty Marietta, operetta in 2 acts
5 4:39
The Spring Maid, musical play
The Balkan Princess, musical play
The Pink Lady, musical play
The Quaker Girl, musical
9 4:26
Der Graf von Luxemburg, operetta in 3 acts
10 4:24
Oh! Oh! Delphine!!!, musical play
The Lady of the Slipper, musical comedy in 3 acts
12 3:40
Der Mann mit den drei Frauen (The Man With Three Wives), operetta in 3 acts
13 4:20
The Sunshine Girl, musical play
The Purple Road, musical play
15 4:00
When Dreams Come True, musical play
The Doll Girl, musical (contributed some songs)
17 4:22
Adele, musical play
18 4:20

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Der Liebe Augustin, operetta
1 4:25
Sweethearts, operetta in 2 acts
2 4:19
3 4:25
Oh, I Say!, musical in 3 acts
4 4:21
The Little Café, musical play
The Madcap Duchess, operetta in 2 acts
6 4:34
High Jinks, operetta
7 4:22
Iole, musical play
8 4:17
The Girl on the Film, musical
9 3:55
The Queen of the Movies, operetta
10 4:28
Der Zigeunerprimas (Sari), operetta
11 4:31
The Laughing Husband, musical (contributed some songs)
12 4:20
The Midnight Girl, musical play
13 4:16
The Beauty Shop, musical play
Ziegfield Follies of 1914, musical
15 4:17
The Passing Show of 1914, musical
16 3:45
The Girl From Utah, items (10) from the musical play by S.Jones
17 4:37
Miss Daisy, musical play
blue highlight denotes track pick