Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve Columbia style, and etc.

Well, it is now the year 2016 in many parts of the world already, for our Australian friends, and European friends, the now year has just passed, and I wish a happy new year to all of those who have already counted down for the new year. I just saw a wonderful movie to-day, called "The Hateful Eight" and it was full of Quentin Tarantino's film genius, from the violence to the geeky historical puns. It is not a movie for everyone, but for those who can take a whole lot of blood contrasted with beautiful shots of the Colorado Rockies, have at it! Make sure you go to a 70mm showing of it, that's the way to see it at its best! 

Well, enough of that sort of that off-subject mush! Since it's a quiet evening for our home this new year's eve, I am thinking of all of the parties that many people all over the world are commencing. Thinking backward, what about an end-of-the-year exhibition at Columbia? That must have been a real riot! I can see all of the Columbia staff at one of their expensive gatherings at one of the many famous hotels of Manhattan, all dressed up in their tails, silks and satins, and for some reason all with "Columbia" caps on. 
By these caps, I mean the one that Lady Columbia has on her head on all of their cylinder boxes:
Or maybe those caps that were worn during the French Revolution:
They're pretty much the same thing anyhow. You know what I'm trying to say. 
The only reason that this comes to mind when thinking of a big party of Columbia staff members is because of the fact that they would keep the "Columbia" theme pretty prominent at all of their exhibitions, so there isn't really a reason why they wouldn't do the same thing at one of these parties. The caps notion is comical anyway,  thinking of Len Spencer, Roger Harding, Steve Porter, Billy Golden, and Fred Hylands all wearing those caps is just hilarious. Much to the nature of Len Spencer, it would be likely that he would organise one of these gatherings, and he would pay for it with Harry and their mother Sara. 
Any of these gatherings might have just been a performance by all of the artists for the Easton's(the highest management there!), many of which had been documented in issues of The Phonoscope. 
(lots of typos sorry...)
These sort of things were lavish gatherings, for obvious reasons, as they often chose to do these at the Waldorf Hotel, and in the late-1890's, that hotel was about as "gilded age" as you could get. Every room was adorned with the finest of whatever theme that took that room. I have heard of rooms that had oriental sort of themes, one that had a palm tree theme, with hundreds of palm trees in a single room, and one that was a revival of the reign of Louis XIV. It must have been a swell affair, the kind that those pieces of sheet music from that time describe where the "society leaders" would come and have "a hot time" with all the finery that could be offered. And with hope, Fred Hylands(or Len Spencer!) was able to control his drinking better than he did in the studio, since so much of the most expensive drinks were offered at these performances/parties. Going to one of these gatherings must have been better than one of their exhibitions. 

To go in a little different direction, I am listening to an interesting record by Edward M. Favor as I'm writing this:
Favor in 1893.
The record I am listening to is his rendition of "Bedelia" from 1903. You can hear it toward the top of the page here. The reason that I find this record interesting is because of how much the orchestra slows down at the second chorus. It's really noticeable! Since I hear Hylands on the piano on the orchestra, I am not the least bit surprised that this can be heard on the record. That was sometimes a problem with Hylands, as can clearly be heard by how many times he was out-of-sync with the main artist featured on the record. This did not help when Hylands was in their house orchestra. There are many examples that have this problem by the Columbia orchestra, or early Columbia's with orchestra accompaniment for that matter. You can hear an example of Hylands once again slowing down in the middle of a verse here.
It's so weird, Frank Banta never had that problem. Even if Hylands generally had better rhythm than Banta, he never had that slowing down problem. 

I hope you all listened to that take 3 of Leachman's "Whoa Dar Mule" from my last post! I still cannot identify what that sound is.

Well, that's about as much as I want to say for now, happy New Year everyone! 

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