Thursday, January 15, 2015

"Digging up the dirt"

My dear friend Cliff Kennedy said to me at the West Coast Ragtime Festival last year that I could be the next Jim Walsh(which in itself is possible, as I'm working that way already), but he said that i'm doing one thing that Walsh refused to do as sticking to is old-fashioned ways, 

"Digging up the dirt"

Some of you may not entirely know what he meant by this, but what this means is that I'm finding all the more negative points about these recording artists, making them true human beings in the history written down of them. I'm sure most of them wouldn't like me doing this, but i'm making their lives more complete, with all their faults and with all the details the record researchers shied away from. I'm finding their flaws, their eccentricities, habits(good and bad), and personal information that wasn't previously known. 
Here's some of the notes I have made of this "dirt"and who it belongs to:

Len Spencer(I have the most "dirt" about him):

-married three times, in 1885, 1892 and 1895
-had five children(possibly others)
-possibly a heavy drinker or alcoholic
-possibly also a smoker
(mind you, this last one is only a theory that my friend Craig and I have discussed SEVERAL times before, and I'm sure it's been a rumour since the time period itself, it was probably passed down in various unknown ways)
-most likely had Syphilis(not sure if is was hereditary) 
Dan W. Quinn:
-married in 1882 
-had five children
-very likely a drinker
-notorious occasional asshole in the recording studio
-highly racist and/or offensive to the few black recording artists there were in this time
-a "dandy" in his time period 
Vess L. Ossman: 
-married in 1890
-had more than four children(exact number is unknown)
-notorious for having a HORRIBLE temper for small things 
-also a notorious asshole, but this time when it came to money
-it was been said that is was bad luck to be in the studio when he broke a banjo string
-treated the Dudley brothers(George and "Audley") awfully and didn't keep them working when they needed it

So this is only a fraction of all of the "Dirt" I've dug up about these performers/recording artists, I have found at least one thing negative about everyone in my catalogue, whether it be a performer like DeWolf Hopper or a recording artist like Byron G. Harlan i've got em all covered! If there's any recording artist in particular you're curious about, DO ask me! I will take your questions. 
*I cannot thank Tom Hawthorn and Cliff Kennedy for all they've done to help me, thank you guys!*

I hope you've enjoyed this!


  1. I've enjoyed your postings. Please tell me there's not much dirt on Frank C. Stanley, though!

    More seriously, do you have any information about Roger Harding? I know some basic biographical data, but have yet to uncover even a picture of him. Also, in regard to his lone Victor recording session of 1901, any speculation (by anyone) as to why he did mainly dialect songs when he was better known as a ballad and light opera singer? I know that Harry Macdonough was well on his way to being the tenor balladeer with the company, but Harding had been recording longer.


    1. Unfortunately, i hate to tell you that the one thing of "dirt" on Frank Stanley is that he was most likely a hearty drinker, as were many of these early recording artists.
      And to move to Harding, the reason that he was more well-known for this type of music is because that was mainly the type of music he wrote and got published between 1891 and 1901. He was apparently such a well-known composer that he was a rival to the great Chauncey Olcott!
      A picture of Mr. Harding can be found on my blog somewhere in my previous posts.
      Thank you for the comment!
      I do hope for more!