Inquiries into the early years of SJI

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lonesome Lefty's Scratchy Attic

This might seem a bit off the track for this blog, but I just stumbled upon this site. Lonesome Lefty transfers old records to mp3 files, and posts them on his blog.

The first album I saw there was called Music Hall Memories, and features British music hall performances from as early as 1906 (and as recently as 1938). So, this is a kind of roots music and although you won't hear anything resembling "St. James Infirmary" here, you will hear tunes that were enormous influences on British popular music as well as on the music that came from American Vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley.

In fact, the second major hit for Irving and Jack Mills' fledgling sheet music business was "Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Sean" - a song that would be very much at home on this collection. The Gallagher and Sean song ensured that Jack and Irving had enough money to continue buying songs, and so probably played a key role in the later drama of SJI.

I have an old 78 of "Mr. Gallagher and Mr Sean," the flip side of Jack Shea's 1922 recording of "Lovesick Blues." It's very scratchy, but I've just purchased an old turntable; my son, Alex, gave me an accessory that will allow me to create mp3 files from those records, and I shall be posting them in the near future.

Highly recommended here is the hilarious 1932 ditty "The Lion and Abert" by Stanley Holloway.