1914-1916 standards

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1914
St. Louis Blues (W. C. Handy)
That’s A Plenty (m. Lew Pollack, w. Ray Gilbert)
12th Street Rag (Euday L. Bowman)

They Didn’t Believe Me (m. Jerome Kern, w. Herbert Reynolds)

1915
I Ain’t Got Nobody (Spencer Williams, Roger Graham)

1916
Beale Street Blues (W. C. Handy)
Poor Butterfly (Raymond Hubbell, John Golden)

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1914

St. Louis Blues (W. C. Handy)

Wikipedia excerpts:

1914-St. Louis Blues-Handy-ColumbiaLabel-BessieSmith[“St. Louis Blues”] is an American popular song composed by William Christopher Handy in the blues style. It remains a fundamental part of jazz musicians’ repertoire. It was also one of the first blues songs to succeed as a pop song; it has been performed by numerous musicians of all styles from Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith to Glenn Miller and the Boston Pops Orchestra. It has been called “the jazzman’s Hamlet”. Published in September 1914 by Handy’s own company, it later gained such popularity that it inspired the dance step the “Foxtrot”.

The version with Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong on cornet was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1993. The 1929 version by Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra (with Henry “Red” Allen) was inducted there in 2008.

Performances
Writing about the first time St Louis Blues was played (1914),[5] Handy notes that “The one-step and other dances had been done to the tempo of Memphis Blues…When St Louis Blues was written the tango was in vogue. I tricked the dancers by arranging a tango introduction, breaking abruptly into a low-down blues. My eyes swept the floor anxiously, then suddenly I saw lightening strike. The dancers seemed electrified. Something within them came suddenly to life. An instinct that wanted so much to live, to fling its arms to spread joy, took them by the heels.”[6]

Researcher Guy Marco, in his book Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound in the United States, stated that the first audio recording of “St. Louis Blues” was by Al Bernard in July 1918 on the record company label Aeolian-Vocalion (cat. no. 12148). This is however not true, since Columbia’s house band, directed by Charles A. Prince, had recorded a released instrumental version already in December 1915 (Columbia A5772). Bernard’s version may have been the first US issue to include the lyrics though. However, by then Ciro’s Club Coon Orchestra, a group of black American artists appearing in Britain, had already recorded a version including the lyrics in September 1917 (UK Columbia 699).

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Marion Harris – 1920

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original-dixieland-jazz-band-sepia-smooth

Original Dixieland Jazz Band, vocal: Al Bernard — Victor 18772-A, 1921

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Bessie Smith – 1925

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Efim Schachmeister mit s. Jazz Symphonie-Orchester – 1927

From Wikipedia:

Chaim “Efim” Schachmeister was a German violinist and dance band leader. On records, he also used the pseudonyms Sascha Elmo and Joan Florescu. [read more]

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Bessie Smith sings “St. Louis Blues” in the 1929 short film of the same title, the only known film footage of Smith according to Wikipedia. Her performance is fine, but the recording is destroyed in my opinion by the Hollywood version of a gospel chorus singing responses to her calls.

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rudy-vallee-30-st-louis-blues-f35

Rudy Vallée and his Connecticut Yankees – 1930

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Louis Armstrong – 1933 (Chicago, Victor Records)

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That’s A Plenty (m. Lew Pollack, w. Ray Gilbert)

Wikipedia says:

It started out as a rag, and is now included in Dixieland jazz repertoire. The first recording was in 1917 by Prince’s Band, and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings recorded their rendition in 1923. Television comedian Jackie Gleason used it in his shows in the 1950s.

New Orleans Rhythm Kings – Paul Mares, c / George Brunies, tb / Leon Roppolo, cl / Mel Stitzel, p / Ben Pollack, d. Richmond, IN, 13 March 1923

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Benny Goodman (clarinet), accompanied by Mel Stitzel (piano), Bob Conselman (drums) —  recorded in Chicago, 13 June 1928

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Louisiana Rhythm Kings – Personnel: Red Nichols – director, trumpet; Glenn Miller – trombone (originally believed to be Miff Mole); Dudley Fosdick – mellophone; Fud Livingston – clarinet, tenor saxophone; Arthur Schutt – piano; Vic Berton – drums — recorded 20 Feb 1929

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Ray Miller and his Orchestra – 1929

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Benny Goodman —  Aurex Jazz Festival, 3 Sep 1980 at Budokan (Tokyo,Japan) cl:Benny Goodman; p: Teddy Wilson; tp: Tony Terran; tb: Dick Nash; g: Eddie Duran; b: Al Obidenski; dr: John Markham

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(above, left) cover of sheet music published 1915, (right) 1919

12th Street Rag (Euday L. Bowman) – composed in 1914

Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven– recorded 11 May 1927. Noting that 12th Street had been one of the best-selling numbers of the ragtime era, wiki names this rendition as the first jazz recording of Bowman’s rag.

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Buddy Rogers and his California Cavaliers in the film Pirate Party on Catalina Isle (1935) filmed in Technicolor

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Pee Wee Hunt and his Orchestra – 1948

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kingofthekeyboard plays “by ear” an arrangement by Winifred Atwell

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mikewoollett

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They Didn’t Believe Me (m. Jerome Kern, w. Herbert Reynolds)

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1915

I Ain’t Got Nobody (Spencer Williams, Roger Graham)  The songwriting credits for this song are certainly embroiled in controversy.

Wikipedia excerpts:

“I Ain’t Got Nobody” (sometimes referred to as “I’m So Sad and Lonely”) is a popular song copyrighted in 1915. Roger A. Graham (1885–1938) wrote the lyrics, Spencer Williams composed it,[1] and Roger Graham Music Publishing published it.[2]

Chicago and Saint Louis ragtime pianist and blues composer Charles Warfield (1878–1955) claimed to have originally written the song[3] and a copyright dated April 1914 attributes Warfield as the composer, David Young as the lyricist, and Marie Lucas as the arranger. The title of the song is given as “I Ain’t Got Nobody and Nobody Cares for Me”. Williams’s copyright entry from 1916 under a shorter title attributes the composition to Davy Peyton and himself and the lyrics to publisher Roger Graham.[4]

In 1916, Frank K. Root & Co., a Chicago publisher[5] (né Frank Kimball Root; 1856–1932), acquired the Craig & Co. copyright, and, later that year, also acquired the Warfield-Young copyright.[6]

Clarence E. Brandon, Sr. and Billy Smythe, both St. Louis musicians, both claim that they wrote the first version, words and music, of “I Ain’t Got Nobody”, filed two copyrights 1911, and published it that same year.[2]

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Bessie Smith and Her Band – recorded 19 August 1925

Bessie Smith (vocal)
Bob Fuller (clarinet)
Isadore Myers (piano)
Elmer Snowden (banjo)

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2. Red McKenzie and the Mound City Blue Blowers – 1929

According to the provider, the lineup for the performance in the following clip is Red McKenzie, Jack Bland, Carl Kress and Josh Billings. The band’s instrumentation includes comb (with paper), kazoo, banjo, acoustic guitar, and a traveler’s suitcase played with whisk brooms. In I Ain’t Got Nobody, McKenzie, the vocalist and comb player, also plays music by blowing into an instrument which looks like a can. The second song is My Gal Sal, by Paul Dresser (1905).

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Mills Brothers – early 30s

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1916

Beale Street Blues (W. C. Handy)

From Wikipedia, with minor edits:

The title refers to Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, the main entertainment district for the city’s African American population in the early part of the twentieth century, and a place closely associated with the development of the blues. The song was published by the Pace and Handy music company in 1917, but was first popularized for a mass audience when sung on Broadway by Gilda Gray in the 1919 musical revue Schubert’s Gaieties.

Like many of Handy’s songs, [the song] is a hybrid of the blues style with the popular ballad style of the day, the opening lyrics following a line pattern typical of Tin Pan Alley songs and the later stanzas giving way to the traditional three-line pattern characteristic of the blues.

Beale Street Blues has been recorded by dozens of noted artists, from early recordings by Fats Waller, Alberta Hunter, Charlie Poole and Jack Teagarden, to more modern versions by Nat King Cole, Lena Horne, and Tommy Dorsey. The song itself is now in the public domain in the United States, due to expiration of the copyright.

Earl Fuller’s Famous Jazz Band – 1917. Featuring Ted Lewis on clarinet

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Marion Harris – 1921

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jackteagarden-2-full

Jack Teagarden – 1939

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Poor Butterfly (Raymond Hubbell, John Golden)

Extracts from wikipedia, adapted:

Poor Butterfly was inspired by Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly and contains a brief musical quote from the act 2 duet Tutti i fior in the verse. The music was written by Raymond Hubbell, the lyrics by John Golden. The song was published in 1916. It was introduced in the Broadway show The Big Show, which opened in August 1916, and was sung in the show by Sophie Bernard.

The two biggest hit versions in 1917 were recorded by Elsie Baker (using the pseudonym Edna Brown) and by the Victor Military Band. Another version which received a significant amount of popularitywas by Grace Kerns recording under the name Catherine (or Katherine) Clark. This version was recorded in November 1916.

Somewhat less popular, but still noted at the time, were a recording by Elizabeth Spencer, released by Thomas Edison’s recording company as a disk, catalog number 50386, and an Amberol cylinder, catalog number 3039, and a recording by Prince’s Orchestra(or Prince’s Band), recorded December 1916 and released by Columbia Records as catalog number A-5930, with the flip side “You and I”.

Fritz Kreisler – 1917

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Red Nichols and his Five Pennies, vocal by Scrappy Lambert – 1928

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Deanna Durbin

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Judy Garland – with Bobby Cole and His Trio on Episode #25 of “The Judy Garland Show,” taped 6 March 1964

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Count Basie and Oscar Peterson – first track on the album Yessir, That’s My Baby – 1978

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