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1906: When Things Was Lookin' Bright
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Description The U.S. suffered its worst natural catastrophe to date when a massive earthquake hit San Francisco in April 1906. What the shaking earth did not destroy, ravaging fires in the quake's aftermath did. Coming at a time when dangerous irregularities in the country's packing plants were uncovered in Upton Sinclair's landmark book, The Jungle, it was obvious that the American infrastructure was unconsolidated and unprepared for significant disruptions. Archeophone's Phonographic Yearbook, 1906: "When Things Was Lookin' Bright," shines a light on these events and provides a 27-selection soundtrack to the historical moment.

All-Time American Classics
Many of the biggest hits of 1906 are also prominent members of the great American songbook, and none more so than Bert Williams' moaning lament, "Nobody." Our number-one all-time most requested song, "Nobody" perfectly sums up the feeling of helplessness felt by the victims of cruel fortune. More optimistically, "Wait ’Till the Sun Shines, Nellie" was so popular that major hit versions of it were scored by both Byron G. Harlan (listen) and Harry Tally (listen). Similarly, the stirring ballad, "Love Me and the World Is Mine" was a hit for both Henry Burr (listen) and Albert Campbell (listen)--two of the early industry's most versatile tenors who would later form a duet partnership.

Ballads by Notable Female Artists
Other enduring songs from 1906 were first introduced by female vocalists, making the year look like a breakthrough period for early women artists. Corinne Morgan beams on two numbers: "How'd You Like to Spoon with Me?" and "So Long, Mary!", accompanied on both by members of the Haydn Quartet. Ada Jones was only a one-year-old act, featured here on the Edison cylinder of "Just a Little Rocking Chair and You," along with Vesta Victoria's hit of "Waiting at the Church," and her duet with Len Spencer on "Peaches and Cream." And Elise Stevenson marks one of her first major hits with partner Frank C. Stanley on "The Linger Longer Girl."

Billy Murray as a Bona Fide Superstar
By 1906 it was indisputable: Billy Murray was the first genuine hit personality of the fledgling acoustic-era industry. He had scored big hits already, but now he added huge pieces to his repertoire: Lew Dockstader's "Everybody Works but Father," the cowboy-themed "Cheyenne," and George M. Cohan's controversial masterpiece, "The Grand Old Rag." Eager to capitalize on Murray's success, Victor paired him up with their best vocal ensemble, the Haydn Quartet, for "Waltz Me Around Again Willie" to build on the franchise.

Musical Hilarities
Strong instrumentals are to be had with the Arthur Pryor Band's rendering of "On the Rocky Road to Dublin" and Vess Ossman's take on "Buffalo Rag," but what you'll most remember on 1906: "When Things Was Lookin' Bright" are the humorous selections. Bert Williams delivers a second classic on the year with "Let It Alone," about the wisdom of minding your own business, while Edward M. Favor recites some of the most clever (and clean) limericks you'll ever hear in "Fol the Rol Lol." Meanwhile, Collins and Harlan mix it up with an oom-pah band on "The Leader of the German Band" and Bob Roberts will cause your head to spin around with "He Walked Right in, Turned Around and He Walked Right Out Again."

A Bittersweet Reminder
Our 1906 Phonographic Yearbook captures the hopeful feeling of the times, but the historical moment of San Francisco's April 1906 agony is especially etched into the beautifully recorded aria of "Forza del Destino—Solenne in quest' ora" by Enrico Caruso and Antonio Scotti. The two opera stars had recorded it in Camden only weeks before they performed in Carmen at the Grand Opera House in San Francisco the night before the earthquake struck. A terrified Caruso swore he would never return to the Bay city--and he kept his promise.

Running length: 73:43 / 27 tracks
Booklet: 24-page full-color
Tracks recorded: 1905-1906
Contains racially derogatory language
Track Listing Everybody Works but Father - Billy Murray
Waiting at the Church - Ada Jones
Love Me and the World Is Mine - Henry Burr
Fol the Rol Lol - Edward M. Favor
Nobody - Bert Williams
Forza del Destino - Solenne in quest' ora - Enrico Caruso and Antonio Scotti
Wait 'Till the Sun Shines, Nellie - Byron G. Harlan
Why Don't You Try? - Harry Tally
He Walked Right in, Turned Around and He Walked Right Out Again - Bob Roberts
How'd You Like to Spoon with Me? - Miss Corinne Morgan and Haydn Quartet
Buffalo Rag - Vess L. Ossman
Bill Simmons - Arthur Collins
Just a Little Rocking Chair and You - Ada Jones
Cheyenne - Billy Murray
The Good Old USA - Byron G. Harlan
Good Night, Little Girl, Good Night - Henry Burr
Let It Alone - Bert Williams
Peaches and Cream - Ada Jones and Len Spencer
So Long, Mary! - Miss Corinne Morgan with Male Chorus
Love Me and the World Is Mine - Albert Campbell
On the Rocky Road to Dublin - Arthur Pryor's Band
The Linger Longer Girl - Frank C. Stanley and Elise Stevenson
The Leader of the German Band - Collins and Harlan
Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie - Harry Tally
Waltz Me Around Again Willie - Billy Murray and Haydn Quartet
Will You Love Me in December as You Do in May - Harry Macdonough and Haydn Quartet
The Grand Old Rag - Billy Murray
Audio Samples Everybody Works but Father - Billy Murray
Waiting at the Church - Ada Jones
Love Me and the World Is Mine - Henry Burr
Fol the Rol Lol - Edward M. Favor
Nobody - Bert Williams
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Label ARCH - Archeophone Records
Number 9013
Subsidiary Artists: Billy Murray
Ada Jones
Henry Burr
Edward M. Favor
Bert Williams
Enrico Caruso and Antonio Scotti
Byron G. Harlan
Harry Tally
Bob Roberts
Miss Corinne Morgan and Haydn Quartet
Vess L. Ossman
Arthur Collins
Ada Jones
Len Spencer
Albert Campbell
Arthur Pryor
Frank C. Stanley and Elise Stevenson
Collins and Harlan
Harry Tally
Harry Macdonough
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