Various Artists

Victrola Favorites: Artifacts From Bygone Days

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The Dust-to-Digital label has compiled several exquisitely packaged anthologies of rare early- to mid-20th century roots and ethnic music, the two-CD Victrola Favorites being no exception. What exactly the theme of this compilation is, however, is a little hard to ascertain, other than having been drawn from the collections of Robert Millis and Jeffery Taylor. The 48 songs could hardly be more geographically and stylistically widespread, ranging from early American jazz, blues, and folk to indigenous and ritual music from China, India, Turkey, Korea, Japan, Egypt, and the Republic of Congo. There's chanting from Chinese Buddhist nuns, spoken word, oud and bamboo flute solos, West Indian jazz-calypso, a Thai costume drama, and even an "actual recording of Big Ben and traffic noises" from London. Though the images of Victrolas and ancient recording labels and ads in the liner notes might prep you for tracks originating from the 1920s and 1930s, actually the chronological span it covers is wider than that, running from about 1910 to the early '50s (with some of the dates being estimated). There are occasional cuts of U.S. origin that are clearly ancestors of strains of American pop, and even one fairly well-known performer, Blind Boy Fuller, whose rhythmic 1938 blues "Step It Up and Go" isn't far removed from R&B and rock & roll. But these are considerably outnumbered by less conventionally accessible world music recordings. So you'll need to have wide tastes to get the most out of this, though that's something that can be said of several other Dust-to-Digital releases. If you are an adventurous listener with a general liking for world music and vintage folk/ethnic sounds, it's a thoughtfully assembled banquet of material that provides windows into cultures now vanished or nearly vanished, or at least rarely exposed to most 21st century Western listeners. The handsome book within which the CDs are packaged is actually rather light on traditional liner notes, but the vintage illustrations of record-related memorabilia will entertain many collectors of this sort of music.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
Groupo de Totoko Francois 02:51 Amazon
2
Guangzhou Cantonese Opera Troupe 02:55 Amazon
3
Stella Haskil 03:11 Amazon
4
Dr. Edmundo Bettencourt / Edmundo Bettencourt 02:54 Amazon
5
Bismillah Khan / Bismillah and Party Khan 03:10 Amazon
6
Noble Sissle & His Orchestra / Noble Sissle / Noble Sissle & His Sizzlin' Syncopators 03:12 Amazon
7
Blind Boy Fuller 02:51 Amazon
8
Yukie Kubo 03:13 Amazon
9
Kelly Harrell 02:46 Amazon
10
Zemin He / Peiying Huang 03:07 Amazon
11
Roy Smeck 03:00 Amazon
12
Seven Gallon Jug Band 02:36 Amazon
13
Mozmar Caire Orchestra 02:53 Amazon
14
Yiorgo Anestopoulos / Yorgos Anestopoulos / Yiorgo Papasideris 03:15 Amazon
15
Zapotec-Teotitlan Indians 01:10 Amazon
16
Goebel Reeves 02:49 Amazon
17
Don Redman & His Orchestra / Don Redman 02:53 Amazon
18
Sri Ma Keow / Chai Wat 03:06 Amazon
19
Badida Mansabny / Badia Massabni And Her Orchestra 02:46 Amazon
20
The Tennessee Ramblers 02:46 Amazon
21
Zeki Dogulu / Zeki Duygulu 02:55 Amazon
22
Seong-Jin Kim 03:15 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
Stanley Roper 00:53 Amazon
2
Jessie May Hill 02:52 Amazon
3
Carlos Ramos 02:54 Amazon
4
Frank Ferera 03:04 Amazon
5
Kachikuri Mimasuya 01:48 Amazon
6
Maung Sein Maita / Po Sein 03:04 Amazon
7
St. Gun Khin May 03:22 Amazon
8
Haffouz Jachar Bey 03:28 Amazon
9
The Hall Bros. / The Hall Brothers 03:07 Amazon
10
Cook and Flemming 00:06 Amazon
11
Barton Brothers 01:35 Amazon
12
Shelton Brooks / Shelton and Co. Brooks 00:07 Amazon
13
Sa Ma Nang Noi / Ut Sa Win 03:03 Amazon
14
Slim Lamar / Slim Orchestra Lamar 02:52 Amazon
15
Blossom / John Henry / John and Blossom Henry 00:10 Amazon
16
Ernest Thompson 03:07 Amazon
17
Chinese Buddhist Nuns 02:56 Amazon
18
Kane's Hawaiians / Kane's Hawaiinans 02:44 Amazon
19
Maria Smyrnea 03:28 Amazon
20
The Unknown Artist 03:34 Amazon
21
Harold Boyce and the Harlem Indians 02:20 Amazon
22
Golden and Marlowe 00:39 Amazon
23
Johnnie Lee Wills & His Boys / Johnnie Lee Wills 02:08 Amazon
24
Komachiyo Okada 02:44 Amazon
25
Mameyigudi and His Dancers 03:06 Amazon
26
Vishnudass Shirali 04:14 Amazon
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