Thursday, March 02, 2006


Archeophone, the company that released the three brilliant Bert Williams collections recently, has got more up their sleves. Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1891-1922 captures basically what it says in the title, much of it from the minstrel scene in New York. This is where George W. Johnson became a star. Among his biggest hits were "The Laughing Song" and "The Laughing Coon", and the latter in particular is a prime example of how African American performers often had to adopt the stereotypes the white "black-face" performers had created of them in order to become successful. Several, but not all of the songs on Lost Sounds follow that pattern. The sound on some of the recordings may be a bit too "tin can" for the more sensitive ears, but there is no denying the musical quality of many of the artists collected here.

As you may have noticed, there have been some changes in the appearance of this blog. An overwhelming majotiry of some 67 % called for a change, so who am I not to listen to the masses. I'm not a computer-wiz, so I don't think there will be any further modifications. Thanks to all...erm...9 of you who voted.

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