Monday, December 22, 2014

Fred. Hylands, Len spencer and Harry Yeager

This morning,(with the great and wonderful help of my dear friends Rae Ann Hopkins Berry and "Professor" Bill Edwards) I have put together the information on firm showed below, who I allude to often:
     (Spencer did the art here, in case any of you are wondering, it's pretty obvious)

This rare and short-lived firm, of "Hylands, Spencer and Yeager" was formed in March of 1899 and dissolved sometime shortly after the beginning of 1900. The three men who ran this firm all had different specialties in the music business, as two of them were recording artists at the time of their merging. When they worked, to what I can gather, it worked something like this:

Fred. Hylands- where many of the ideas and concepts came from(the leader, if you will)

Len Spencer-organized the material and arranged it correctly(some of the ideas too)

Harry Yeager-finalized the projects, and dealt with the artists they published

These three must have been a somewhat odd mix of minds, but really, the ones who were the wild minded of them were Hylands and Spencer, Yeager must have been the neutral one of the three and kept the arguments away, he balanced them out in some respects. They were all pianists, but to be logical, Hylands must have been the most accomplished of the three of them on the piano, and he had been on the stage longer than the three of them, so in some ways, Hylands was the leader of the firm(durr...his name comes first anyway), as he was already a publisher, and a successful stageman by 1897. Spencer was Columbia's most prized artist by 1897, so putting Hylands and Spencer together was a match made in heaven, as they were perfect as music partners. Hylands had the exact same ideas and on every record with Spencer singing Ragtime and Hylands on piano, you can just hear that connection on those cylinders, and that "vibe" is not present with other singers. The singers that Hylands had a great friendship and connection to were: 
Len Spencer
J. W. Myers
Vess L. Ossman
Roger Harding
Dan W. Quinn
Harry Yeager(as a vocalist, possibly)
He had some odd strong connection to these artists, most likely because he could easily work with them, and thy were much more tolerant of Hylands' wild and syncopated improvisations that he always did. Artists like George J. Gaskin were a bit more snobbish when it came to piano accompaniment, Gaskin must not have liked the sound of a pianist who was hitting the ivories with all his might. 
Hylands and Spencer also shared several long-term bets with one another, proving their immediate friendship even further, one of which was documented in the March, 1899 issue of The Phonoscope:

Quite an odd bet if you ask me. But, it certainly sounds like Spencer to me. And Hylands too. 

I hope you enjoyed this!

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