One of many contemporary “Oh, You Kid!” themed illustrations. (Library of Congress)
You fans of our Phonographic Yearbook series have waited a long time for the newest one, so we have a little gift for you. We had a lot of great material from which to choose our playlist for “1909,” and we weighed and sifted our options to try to cut down the list. In the end we decided to give you an extra song (or two) over the usual. So it’s a total of 28 tracks and 77 and a half minutes of playing time. Is everybody good with that?
The year in music for 1909 is probably best remembered for the popularity of the slang phrase, “Oh, You Kid!”—especially in the form of the song, “I Love, I Love, I Love My Wife, but Oh, You Kid!” Other songs borrowed the phrase (and occasionally the musical motif) as well. Besides that, though, a number of songs deal slyly with the subject of marital infidelity to a degree that seems pretty shocking for our forebears. Thus, the subtitle, “Talk of Your Scand’lous Times.”
It’s new-release Friday and the beginning of Archeophone’s Fall Sale. Be sure to pick up your copy of our new double-CD set, Songs of the Night by Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra, and grab those other items you’ve been eyeing. Everything is at least ten percent off.
For today’s blog, let’s celebrate by taking a good look at Smith’s band—literally. Admittedly, the print size of a standard CD-sized booklet means we can’t always print album art as big as we’d like. So we thought it would be nice to blow up the size of some Smith catalog pictures for you to examine.
Here’s the first time Smith’s band was pictured in a record-company catalog supplement, from Victor’s June 1917 “New Victor Records.” The studio lineup at this time consisted of two violins, cello, string bass, bass clarinet, cornet, trombone, piano, and traps—but we see no bass clarinet here, suggesting it was added only for recording purposes. The string bass provided a lovely foundation for the music, but it did not record especially well, so the bass clarinet was used to help out. Smith stands in the middle, holding his violin and bow. That’s probably Hugo Frey at the piano. (click photos to enlarge)
June 1917 Victor supplement (Archeophone Records Collection)
Band close up in June 1917 Victor supplement (Archeophone Records Collection)