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> What's better? 20's or 30's??, What's your preferred decade?
What's better--sounds of the 20's or 30's?
What's better--sounds of the 20's or 30's?
Music of the 20's [ 17 ] ** [70.83%]
Music of the 30's [ 7 ] ** [29.17%]
Total Votes: 29
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Charleston Charl...
post Mar 28 2006, 04:57 PM
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QUOTE
I am not as fond of the early 20's jazz. As others have pointed out, recording technology was still crude.


Actually, you find some very good remastering of the '20s music nowadays; particularly from '25 on (with the advent of the carbon microphone and electric recording process), so I don't find that much of the 20's music is 'unlistenable' as such.
The 30's were very different, given the social and economic cliamate; art reflects life. 30's music was either highly escapist (the vast majority), or reflected the feeling of the era.

As far as the music goes, I find the 20's to be a blend of the silly and the sublime.

"West End Blues" vs. "Yes, We Have No Bananas"; so for me it is mostly a question of art; highbrow or lowbrow.

I found these two pics that illustrate the difference:

pre-carbon mic's and electric recording:


electric w/ carbon mic's.


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clark
post Mar 30 2006, 03:16 AM
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Great pictures, C.C.. That appears to be the same band in both photos.
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Ed Vasicek
post Mar 30 2006, 05:08 AM
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Dear Charleston Charlie,

I heard about how they used to record, singing into a "horn," but I never imagined it looked like that! I really appreciate those pictures.

The discussion has been fascinating. Whereas my favorite era is definitely 1925-1935, with the later 20's being my favorite (I already "cast my vote with the 20's) , I would enjoy 1935-1945 more than I would 1915-1925. biggrin.gif
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Murfunit
post Apr 4 2006, 01:27 AM
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Charleston Charlie,

I enjoyed the posting of the recording studio photographs. The acoustic recording session features orchestra leader Rosario Bourdon who was a house orchestra leader for Victor. I am not familiar with the leader in the second picture. I hope my spelling is correct on the Rosario's name.

Indeed your thoughts on the years 1930-1934 are appreciated. I think these are best described as Art-Deco years with the music we like tranforming into Swing music. I immediately thought of Leo Reisman's Orchestra with his very smooth orchestrations, especially "Needle in a Haystack" from the "Gay Divorcee" featuring Fred and Ginger, although I still root for Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore.
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gregoryagogo
post Apr 4 2006, 09:46 PM
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QUOTE(Ed Vasicek @ Mar 29 2006, 10:08 PM)
Dear Charleston Charlie,

I heard about how they used to record, singing into a "horn," but I never imagined it looked like that! I really appreciate those pictures.

The discussion has been fascinating. Whereas my favorite era is definitely 1925-1935, with the later 20's being my favorite (I already "cast my vote with the 20's) , I would enjoy 1935-1945 more than I would 1915-1925. biggrin.gif

What's amazing is that anything was recorded at all! They had to strategically place the instruments so it could maximize the optimal recording results.

When they went to the use of the microphone and amp system, I think there was a period where they were still getting use to the new system. Sometimes the sound is overblown or distorted. Other times I think they got down right lazy with the placement of the instruments because it sounds like they assumed the mic would pic up everything, no matter where they were in the room... like the piano in the corner.

My favorite recordings are ones where every instrument is featured and recorded precisely. I think mastering the medium is an ongoing art form, even today!

Love,
Gregory


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victrolajazz
post Apr 6 2006, 04:29 PM
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Thanks again, Charleston Charlie, for those wonderful photographs--if you could just only HEAR THEM!!! Do you realize PEOPLE ACTUALLY GOT PAID TO PLAY MUSIC IN A RECORDING STUDIO DURING THE 20'S, AND OTHER PEOPLE GOT PAID TO LISTEN TO IT LIVE!!!!!!! And I'll bet there were employees who grumped and groaned at 6:00 a.m. on a day in 1925 thinking "...gosh, I've got to get up and go listen to Coon-Sanders play two or three takes of "I'm Gonna Charleston Back to Charleston", then spend the afternoon listening to Nat Shilkret and that awful International Novelty Orchestra...think I'll call in sick...if only I could've been born in 1795 instead of 1895..."

Tho't of another component of 20's music that really shifts my Dual Range Hydra-Matic: the way the violinists always play in 3rd or 4th position on the "E" string and make the melody sing out above the rest of the orchestra--it's also wonderful to watch their bowing in the few examples I have from the 20's, specifically in Tommy Christian's Orchestra in the VHS version of At the Jazz Band Ball. One of my favorite examples is on Bennie Krueger's version of an unusual title: BR 2528 Out of Sight, Out of Mind, on the other side of a more familiar tune Old Fashioned Love. The bowing is absolutely seamless and one can hear in the background Bennie Krueger playing a lovely obligatto on his sax. That style seemed to endure throughout all the 20's, and is especially prominant in the acoustical era.

I got to hear first hand a gentleman who had played violin in the 20's back when I was in junior high and high school. I played in the string ensemble at First Baptist Church from 1956-1962--there were always five or six of us and we'd play 15 minutes before the evening service and during congregational singing. The gentleman's name was Frank Bird, who at that time worked at the Waco News Tribune as an editor. He said he'd gone on the road with his own dance band in 1920 at the age of 19, playing violin, and continued 'till 1930, when, having married and deciding to raise a family, realized it was time to quit--but what an era to have played in! This was when I had begun collecting and I asked him if he'd ever been recorded, but he said no. He still wore those wonderful owl-ish looking tortoise-shell glasses you always see in 20's photographs--he made the comment one time that he'd been wearing them since 1927--I nearly fell off my chair. We'd always play two verses of the song, and on the second verse, he'd shift to 3rd position on the "E" string and, with his strong vibratto, it sounded just like it does in a 20's orchestra, embellished with grace notes and all. He sat right behind me and I'd get goose-bumps listening to him play. He lived to be almost 90, still in possession of all his faculties.
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Fiji Hill
post May 8 2006, 02:58 PM
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Although I like the music of both decades, for me, Vernon Dalhart's disaster songs ("The Miami Storm," "The Wreck of the Shenandoah," The West Plains Explosion," etc.) give the 1920's the edge.
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hhp1928
post May 9 2006, 04:53 AM
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Looking at the 2 photos, it's interesting to note the use of Stroh violins in the acoustic session. They seem to have dropped out of favor with the advent of electric recording.

The late 20's and early 30's (roughly 1925-1935) are the most interesting for me. My favorite bands (Anson Weeks, Ambrose, Jack Hylton, Roy Fox, Gus Arnheim, Jimmie Grier, Richard Himber, etc) all date from this period. The combination of 20's exuberance and 30's glamour produced an amazing sound which evokes the luxury of the era like nothing else!

Henry
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80rpm
post May 27 2006, 04:46 PM
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Although I collect pre-swing records going back to the beginning (my oldest record is a Berliner Disc from 1897), my favorite period is 1923 to about 1932. During this time music evolved into more complex melodies and harmonies than had previously existed. Compare the harmonic complexity of the 1928 song "Changes" by Walter Donaldson to the simplicity of a George M. Cohan composition. Also arrangements became more interesting. In the teens dance record arrangements were often repetitive. This begins to change by about 1923. An early example of this change is the Ferde Grofe's arrangement of the Gershwin song "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" as recorded by Paul Whiteman in 1922. This is a terrific arrangement.
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LadyNostalgiaBuf...
post May 30 2006, 02:51 AM
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'20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, etc..... hey, if it's a "moldy oldie", I'm totally intrigued!!
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tferbe
post May 30 2006, 11:06 PM
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QUOTE(LadyNostalgiaBuff @ May 29 2006, 08:51 PM)
'20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, etc..... hey, if it's a "moldy oldie", I'm totally intrigued!!

I agree with Ladynostalgiabuff wholeheartedly wink.gif wink.gif wink.gif
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jdbenton
post Jun 11 2006, 09:42 PM
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If you force me to choose between the two decades I would take the 1930's. However, if you allow me a bit more freedom I would eagerly tack on the late 1920's. (I'm not sure where my 20's cutoff is. 1927 or 1928, I guess. I need to do some "research" on that question.)

Way back when I used to think that the late 30's was the best. Nowadays, the older a song sounds the more I like it (late 20's to early and mid-30's).


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gregoryagogo
post Jun 12 2006, 08:34 PM
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QUOTE(jdbenton @ Jun 11 2006, 02:42 PM)
If you force me to choose between the two decades I would take the 1930's...Way back when I used to think that the late 30's was the best.  Nowadays, the older a song sounds the more I like it (late 20's to early and mid-30's)...


That's why we are here now! Here in 2006, we can go to any decade we want!

Love,
Gregory wink.gif


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Jarred
post Jun 12 2006, 08:41 PM
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You're right, Gregory, it is convenient to be enjoying this music now, because while being in the middle of it would definitely be exciting, you only had access to the current stuff, and it might become tedious after awhile. Now I can play a tune from 1926, then one from 1946, then 1937 and then back to 1929! You have a better perspective on everything and you know the direction everything is going in. This allows you to tell the stark contrast between a recording from 1935 and one from 1941. While going through your day to day life then and listening to swing music consistently, you wouldn't notice the change as much because it was gradual. Exposure to the slight changes didn't alarm you, because you just breezed along with it. I'm sure even when fans of today's music get old, they will be able to tell the difference from a song from 2000 and one from 2005 very easily, and they too could be shocked by how different they sound.


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