flapper

Music!

Ziegfeld Follies 1924-25
Order Flapper Fox Trots CD
High brow was in full flower in the twenties. But the flappers got down and dirty with jazz — or rather, the white, refined version of that improvisational jamming — in elegant (or just plain gaudy) ballrooms or right in their own living rooms. They danced the Charleston, the Black Bottom, the Fox Trot, Tango, and all sorts of exotic steps.

The music that became popular in the twenties and developed further in the thirties, raised the hackles of the conservative few just as rock and roll and its successors have done in our time. In The Ladies’ Home Journal for August 1921 the question was posed, “Does Jazz Put the Sin in Syncopation?” Mrs. Marx E. Oberndorfer, National Music Charman, General Federation of Women’s Clubs, answered vigorously in the affirmative:

[Jazz is] that expression of protest against law and order, that bolshevik element of license striving for expression in music. . . . dancing to Mozart minuets, Strauss waltzes, and Sousa two-steps certainly never led to the corset check-room, which holds sway in hotels, clubs, and dance halls. Nor would the girl who wore corsets in those days have been dubbed ‘old ironsides’ and left a disconsolate wallflower in a corner of the ballroom. . . . Such music has become an influence for evil.
And Fenton T. Bott, a leading light in the American National Association of Masters of Dancing, noted that jazz dancing was:
a worse evil than the saloon used to be. Those moaning saxophones and the rest of the instruments with their broken, jerky rhythm make a purely sensual appeal. All of us dancing teachers know this to be a fact. . . . The music written for jazz is the very foundation and essence of salacious dancing. The words also are often very suggestive, thinly veiling immoral ideas.
These “authorities” would really have been vocal about the final selection below, You’se a Viper, which clearly alludes to smoking dope and getting high.

Early in the decade, the radio was more novelty than broadcast medium. Stringing a hundred feet of wire in the back yard in order to pick up some dim amateur broadcast on a crystal set did not lend itself to musical entertainment. Of course, there was the player piano and the Victrola. The youngsters especially would purchase the latest tunes at the local record store, bring them home, roll up the rug, crank up the Victrola and dance.

Radiola As the decade progressed, the radio rapidly developed, gaining amplification that made it viable for home entertainment. In those early days, the fare was pretty poor, since most of the professionals were wary of performing in front of a microphone. Even so, the radio could provide clarity of tone the talking machine couldn’t match. You couldn’t hear Galli-Curci on the radio, but what you did hear sounded more like real music than any phonograph could offer.

In 1925, with the introduction of the electric recording process and the orthophonic Victrola, the phonograph could offer much better sound, but even so, its popularity declined. Dance halls with live bands abounded, and the radio had begun carrying broadcasts of top bands.

Bobby Heath Revue Following are a few selections from the late teens through the thirties. I have also compiled an audio CD which includes most of these songs. Go to the bottom of the page for more information.

(The photo to the left features the Bobby Heath Review, the source of “Roll ’em Girls, Roll ’em”)

If you have RealAudio 3.0 or higher installed (or a compatible player) and the music doesn’t play for you, please let me know. Some systems seem to mis-read the metafile. You can try direct access (download takes about 3 minutes) by typing the music file name into the location bar, changing the extension to .ra (instead of .ram). The file name should appear on your status bar when you point to the associated play button. Be sure to use the complete URL — http://bassocantante.com/flapper/music/[file].ra
Play button Crazy Rhythm
Roger Wolfe Kahn & His Orchestra

Play button Black Bottom / Birth of the Blues
Ohman and Arden & their orchestra

Play button Evening Star
Irving Aaronson & His Commanders

Play button My Blue Heaven
Gene Austin

Play button Yes, We Have No Bananas
Great White Way Orchestra, Billy Murray vocal

Play button Roll ’em Girls, Roll ’em
Billy Murray

Play button Speedboat Bill
Ray Noble & the New Mayfair Dance Orchestra

Play button Crazy Words, Crazy Tune
Irving Aaronson & His Commanders

Play button Chloe (Swamp Song)
All Star Orchestra (vocal - Franklyn Baur)

Play button Doin’ the Raccoon
George Olsen & his Music

Play button Bye Bye Blackbird
George Olsen & his Music

Play button Put Away a Little Ray of Golden Sunshine
George Olsen & his Music

Play button Ha-Cha-Cha
Rudy Vallée & his Connecticut Yankees

Play button Turn Off Your Light, Mr. Moon Man
Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth

Play button You’se a Viper
“Stuff” Smith and his Onyx Club Boys (vocal by Jonah Jones)

Flapper Foxtrots The Flapper Fox Trots CD contents are shown below. The price is $10.00 (USD) plus shipping: $3.00 (USA), $5.00 outside the US (cash or international money order in US funds for orders outside the US). Orders placed in the US and countries supported by Google Checkout may pay online with Visa or MasterCard. To order by mail, simply send a note stating how many copies of the Flapper Fox Trots CD you want, along with your check or money order and shipping information to:

Carlton Higginbotham
1015 N Meade St
South Bend IN 46628

OR — forego the disk, jewel case, artwork, etc. Download the mp3 version for $8.00. You will receive download instructions within 24 hours of receipt of payment (unless I'm on vacation or something).

Cautionary notes:

  1. Flapper Fox Trots CD and mp3 sets are made from original 78 rpm recordings. I have used minimal noise reduction. The recordings are not pristine; you will hear needle noise, just as a flapper would have heard it. The recordings do not sound like a modern studio-made CD.
  2. If you order the download version, be sure to e-mail me WITH YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS to get instructions for download. Google Checkout seems to lose e-mails sent through their system, then customers are mad at me because they didn't receive the download instructions.
  3. In any case, if you don't receive expected information from me by e-mail, check your spam folder (it may be online, so check there, too). On several occasions I've dealt with merchants who sent info in good faith only to have my sbcglobal.net spam filter snatch it. I've learned to check that folder if something goes missing.

Choose your option from the drop-down menu, then click the “Buy Now” button

Title Performer Writer Disk
Put Away a Little Ray of Golden Sunshine George Olsen & His Music Lewis-Young-Ahlert Victor 19518-B
My Best Girl George Olsen & His Music Walter Donaldson Victor 19518-A
Who George Olsen & His Music Harbach-Hammerstein II-Kern Victor 19840-A
Sunny George Olsen & His Music Harbach-Hammerstein II-Kern Victor 19840-B
When the World Is at Rest George Olsen & His Music Lou Davis-Sammy Fain Victor 21846-A
Bye Bye Blackbird George Olsen & His Music Mort Dixon-Ray Henderson Victor 20089-A
Because My Baby Don’t Mean Maybe George Olsen & His Music Walter Donaldson Victor 21452-B
Just Like a Melody Out of the Sky George Olsen & His Music Walter Donaldson Victor 21452-A
Hi-Diddle-Diddle George Olsen & His Music Coon-Keidel Victor 20112-A
Doin’ the Raccoon George Olsen & His Music Raymond Klages-Fred Coots Victor 21701-A
Bye Bye Pretty Baby Broadway Nitelites Gardner-Hamilton Columbia 1085-D (144503)
Crazy Words Crazy Tune Irving Aaronson & His Commanders Jack Yellen-Milton Ager Victor 20473-A
Dream Kisses The Troubadors Jack Yellen-M.K. Jerome Victor 21000-B
Me Too Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra Woods-Tobias-Sherman Victor 20197-B
Yes Sir! That’s My Baby Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra Gus Kahn-Walter Donaldson Victor 19745-A
Chloe All Star Orchestra (vocal-Frank Bauer) Gus Kahn-Neil Morát Victor 21149-A
Evening Star Irving Aaronson & His Commanders Roy Turk-Fred Ahlert Victor 21451-A
Imagination Roger Wolfe Kahn & His Orchestra Kahn-Caesar-Meyer Victor 21368-A
Crazy Rhythm Roger Wolfe Kahn & His Orchestra Kahn-Caesar-Meyer Victor 21368-B
Lucky Day Phil Ohman & Victor Arden with their Orchestra De Silva-Brown-Henderson Brunswick 3242-A
Black Bottom Phil Ohman & Victor Arden with their Orchestra De Silva-Brown-Henderson Brunswick 3242-B