Let's begin with a new image:
What a perfect image! Now that we've seen this amazing picture, let's get to identifying!
I pretty much knew who everyone was when Charlie Judkins sent me the Ebay auction that this came from. Thankfully there was a picture also identifying everyone, to check my answers as to who they are!
So close! Those damn Emerson's are always the hardest ones.
It's only because I've only seen one of them(Victor). Oddly enough, I had guessed Georgie Emerson was a really young and handsome chap, assumed to be the best-looking of the Emerson boys, and what d'ya know! That was a complete wildcard guess, and it just happened to be true! At first glance, I thought Steve Porter was someone else(thought he was J. W. Myers...), because of that young and new mustache he's got. He looks very strange with facial hair, though he fits the "dandy" category even more than he regularly did. But one thing is for sure, we can now prove that one of the singers in that infernal pianist picture from 1897 IS Porter. Take a look:
That is certainly the same physique as Porter in the other picture.
Now let's not kid ourselves, I really freaked out when I saw this new picture because of Spencer. Finally! A clear, full length image of Spencer. That's exactly what I needed. Spencer looks pretty much exactly as we would all expect him to look. Luckily, he's not hard to spot. Strangely enough, I drew a cartoon of Spencer last evening, and now that we've got comparison, I wasn't too far off! It's the strangest thing really, being able to educatedly guess the physique of a character and have drawn them many times, to only see fully what they looked like perhaps years after first learning of them. That's pretty much what happened with my cartoons of Spencer, and now they will be pristine in their accuracy! Now that I've seen this picture, I can actually picture Spencer making all those records.
Perfect. Now he can haunt me in my dreams.
Yep, it seems fitting now. Before seeing this image, I couldn't really set the strange face to the records, but now it's clear. This is going to make listening to Spencer records a whole lot more fun. He's just as much a dandy as expected, and how much of a stereotype is it to have Spencer right next to Ossman? That's almost to be expected of them. Never really thought that duo was the best, but maybe we're wrong. I have long assumed that Ossman's picky nature and short temper couldn't have gone over well with Spencer, but maybe they were the types that could go out for a drink after the studio day(like he and Hylands the year after this picture was taken). Speaking of that, this picture was taken in 1898, and the specific date can be seen in an edition of The Phonoscope, of which a section was published describing the exact event that this picture was taken. All the names were listed too, so that even better identifies everyone in the picture. This was a day where the leading Columbia talent(then where's Hylands?) went to the Berliner company to make some records, including unusual talent members like George Schweinfest and George Graham(!).
How weird is it to see George Graham in another photo? Very much so. Going from completely mysterious and only one image, to a full-length image where he pretty much looks the same. Something so note, everyone looks pretty much how we've been told personality wise, as well as their appearance. Gaskin actually looks like he's relatively short, something a little unexpected, however, he certainly looks an Irish stereotype to the highest degree. Ossman, Spencer and Porter are dressed flashy, as expected. Gaskin is smoking, and so are Spencer and Ossman, but oddly enough, something about seeing Quinn with a cigar is a little unfitting. Everything about Hunting is fantastic, like every picture of him there is, even that funny-looking, slightly cockide tie and little jeweled drop on his chain. Schweinfest is pretty much exactly as we'd expect him to be, modest, squinting a little(no glasses though hmm...) with a somewhat serious face. Certainly looks the Issler orchestra member he was.
Looks like a guy you'd like to know. And he was!
He also looks a German stereotype, much like how Gaskin does with the Irish thing. It's also nice to really get an idea of height difference since that's really the hardest thing to perfect with my cartoons of these figures. Of course Spencer is the tallest, and Gaskin, Quinn, Schweinfest, and Clyde Emerson are the shorter ones, which is really helpful to see. It's actually great to see the height difference of Spencer and Ossman very clearly, since Ossman appears to be taller than some had previously thought. Ossman had lots of leg, and that's clear in the many images of him out there. This has been made clear by this image. Spencer had a long neck and lots hair, both of those things can be observed here(not really the hair thing, but kind of).
Like most pictures of Quinn he looks a little awkward in this one, though that same smile he had in the 42 Edison artists picture is there. In fact, I think he even had the same hat in his hand. It looks like he has the same hat on in this new picture that he's holding in the 42 artists picture. Wow, that's strange. Victor Emerson doesn't look inviting at all, like he really was! The only Emerson here that's remotely welcoming is George, of course it doesn't help that he's the youngest one in the picture. He was surprisingly good-looking, almost on par with Fred Hager(Haga) respectfully. Georgie was practically a teenager when this image was taken(21-22).
I could go on forever about this picture, since there's so much to take in. I will certainly be using that picture of Spencer very often though. It really does channel everything about him, including the slightly frightening eyes. Also the bit with George Emerson, since now we know what he looked like, and that he was the baby-faced young man, likely with red or blond hair. Soon I will have a better quality scan of this image to use more frequently.
Now for some music quoting!
An important part of the humor of the late-19th century is certainly knowing all the popular songs of the era. Something that was done as an indirect type of humor was quoting popular songs of the past and the present to continue a point or end a joke. This is something that musicians did all the time, and this is evident since the studio pianists were always doing this behind the singers. Something was know very well is that Hylands loved to quote other songs, and this is all over his written music. Just listen to his 1898 recording of "The Darkey Volunteer" with the Columbia orchestra:
There's quotes everywhere, and the second section is the main melody of "The Darkies' Dream", of which Ossman recorded with Hylands already by the time he wrote this piece. These are common quotes, ones that many pianists used in their pieces. How about more unusual ones?
Take Denny's 1898 Columbia of "Time Is Money" for example, Hylands plays the piece straight throughout, until he plays that strange Rag-Time tag at the very end. This is no random improvisation of Hylands', he' quoting that popular Rag-Time song "Get Your money's Worth", which is really funny! Just to confirm this, here's his and Spencer's 1898 Columbia of it:
The melody in the chorus is exactly the same, just with Hylands playing it in that really ragged and slightly Les Copeland-like way. Oddly enough, that messy and scattered solo Hylands plays at the end of Denny's 1899 Columbia of "How'd You like to be the Iceman?" is actually a quote of "Get Your Money's Worth". Well, as messy as the cylinder gets at the solo part, I can still pick out that same melody. But to add to the unusual nature of quoting this song, we look to Denny's Edison of "How'd You Like to be the Iceman?":
(the transfer is played too fast, sorry about that...)
Banta also quotes "Get Your money's Worth" at the end! The way Banta took the melody and ran is really fantastic. That's essentially what he did with it on the Edison take. Hylands just made it weird in that way he did.
Other strange Hylands quotes include these:
his not-so-great tag of "Telegraph My Baby" at the end of Johnson's "The Whistling Girl": https://archive.org/details/TheWhistlingGirl1898JohnsonandHylands
Playing "Mister Johnson, Turn me Loose" at the end of Johnson's "Laughing Song":
Now THAT is ironic humor right there. Playing "Mister Johnson Turn me Loose" at the end of a George W. Johnson record. Wow Hylands...
(by the way, this is one of those great pantographed copies where you can actually hear the left hand chords Hylands plays)
and of course, playing "Mister Johnson" again behind Billy Golden in 1899:
(Banta did this too, playing it his way behind Golden in 1897)
Of course, with this humor being most of what he hear from Hylands, there are quotes that we cannot identify, such as what Hylands plays at the end of that infamous take of "The Laughing Song" by Johnson:
(it sounds like a quote, though it's likely an improvised tag of his)
This recording is still one of the best recordings of Hylands out there, and just general Rag-Time too.
Another mystery quote is this end of one here:
Anyone know what it is? Everyone I've asked has no idea. But they do recognize it from somewhere, which means that it IS a quote, but we don't know of what.
If you know what it is, PLEASE enter your input by commenting on this post!
Well, that's all for to-day, hopefully I can get another post in before the Santa Cruz Rag-Time festival next weekend! Please continue to keep writing sections for the Our Tattler contest, the ones I have received so far have been great, and hope to receive more!
*Congratulations on winning the picture Charlie!
Hope you enjoyed this!