CD41 Recordings

 
OVER THERE!
American Songs and Marches of the Great War 1917-18 (CD41-045)
£10.00 (CD/download)


CD41 presents Over There!, a 26 track, 75 minute collection of historic American recordings from the First World War. An evocative assembly of popular songs, marches and speeches, featured performers include Al Jolson, Arthur Fields, Billy Murray, The Peerless Quartet and even General 'Black Jack' Pershing himself. Carefully remastered from original 78 rpm and cylinder sources, all tracks have been sympathetically treated with CEDAR noise reduction equipment for optimum sound quality.

The CD booklet includes archive images and detailed historical notes by author James Hayward. Available on CD and digital download, Over There! is a must have for military and social historians, as well as collectors of vintage audio recordings.

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Tracklist:
1. THE STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER (Sousa's Band)
2. OVER THERE (Enrico Caruso)
3. FROM THE BATTLEFIELDS OF FRANCE (General Pershing)
4. HOW YA GONNA KEEP 'EM DOWN ON THE FARM? (Harry Fay)
5. K-K-K-KATY (Billy Murray)
6. JUST BEFORE THE BATTLE, MOTHER (Ernest Pike)
7. KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN, FRITZI BOY (The American Quartet)
8. TELL THAT TO THE MARINES (Al Jolson)
9. HUNTING THE HUN (Arthur Fields)
10. YOU CAN'T BEAT US (IF IT TAKES TEN MILLION MORE) (Arthur Fields)
11. GOOD MORNING, MR ZIP-ZIP-ZIP! (Arthur Fields)
12. I MAY BE GONE FOR A LONG, LONG TIME (The Peerless Quartet)
13. WHAT HAS BECOME OF HINKY DINKY PARLAY VOO (Al Bernard)
14. GOODBYE BROADWAY, HELLO FRANCE! (The American Quartet)
15. I'M GONNA PIN MY MEDAL ON THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND (The Peerless Quartet)
16. HELLO CENTRAL! GIVE ME NO-MAN'S LAND (Henry Burr)
17. AU REVOIR BUT NOT GOODBYE, SOLDIER BOY (The Peerless Quartet)
18. THEY WERE ALL OUT OF STEP BUT JIM (Van & Schenck)
19. I'M CRAZY OVER EVERY GIRL IN FRANCE (Avon Comedy Four)
20. THE COLOURED PATROL (Wingates Temperance Band)
21. WE'LL DO OUR SHARE (WHILE YOU'RE OVER THERE) (The Peerless Quartet)
22. WHEN TONY GOES OVER THE TOP (Billy Murray)
23. WOULD YOU RATHER BE A COLONEL...? (Eugene Buckley)
24. THE YANKS STARTED YANKIN' (Arthur Fields)
25. I AIN'T GOT WEARY YET! (Arthur Fields)
26. THE VICTORIOUS STARS (Orchestra)

Recording notes:

1. THE STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER (MARCH) (2.48)
Performed by Sousa's Band. Composed by John Philip Sousa. Issued August 1906 on Victor 306, E-241. This stirring patriotic American march widely considered to be Sousa's magnum opus. By act of Congress, it is the National March of the United States of America. In his autobiography Marching Along Sousa wrote that he composed the piece on Christmas Day 1896, having just learned of the death of David Blakely, then manager of the Sousa Band. Sousa was on a ferry in Europe at the time, and wrote the march in his head. A set of lyrics also exists. This 1906 recording is thought to have been overseen by Sousa himself.

2. OVER THERE (2.45)
Performed by Enrico Caruso, tenor with Orchestra. Composed by George Cohan (Chappell Music Ltd). Issued July 1918 on Victor 87294, B22125. Undoubtedly the best known American song of WW1, composer Cohan recalled that the words and music came to him while traveling by train from New Rochelle to New York shortly after the United States had declared war against Germany in April 1917. Italian born tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) cut this definitive version the following year, although other popular contemporary recordings include those by Billy Murray, Nora Bayes, Charles King and Arthur Fields. The second verse line "Johnny show the Hun you're a son-of-a-gun" is now more usually sung as "Johnny on the runÖ"

3. FROM THE BATTLEFIELDS OF FRANCE (0.29)
Spoken word address by General Pershing, recorded 1918. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing (1860-1948) led the American Expeditionary Forces in WW1, US Army units having initially fought under British and French command. After departing from Fort Jay at Governors Island in New York Harbor in May 1917, Pershing arrived in France in June. In a show of American presence, elements of the 16th Infantry Regiment marched through Paris shortly after his arrival. Pausing at the tomb of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, Pershing was reputed to have uttered the famous line 'Lafayette, we are here.' In fact the line was spoken by his aide, Colonel Charles E. Stanton. Pershing was known not to give great speeches, making this short address all the more fascinating.

4. HOW 'YA GONNA KEEP 'EM DOWN ON THE FARM? (2.35)
Performed by Harry Fay, comedian. Composed by Donaldson/Lewis Young (B Feldman & Co/Redwood Music). Issued June 1919 on Zonophone 1950, y21612e. A humorous but acute song written in the wake of America's entry into the war, How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm? (After They've Seen Paree) proved a great popular success, though composer Walter Donaldson remains better known for the song My Blue Heaven. Light comedian Harry Fay also achieved gramophonical fame through his version of It's A Long Way To Tipperary.

5. K-K-K-KATY (2.51)
Performed by Billy Murray. Composed by Geoffrey O'Hara (Redwood Music). Issued March 1918 on Victor 18455. A popular song of the era written by O'Hara, an Army Song Leader, in 1917. Published the following year, the sheet music advertised it as 'The Sensational Stammering Song Success Sung by the Soldiers and Sailors', reflecting a time when speech impediments could be poked fun at. The song tells the story of Jimmy, a young soldier 'brave and bold' who stutters when he tries to speak to girls. Finally he manages to talk to Katy, the 'maid with hair of gold'.

6. JUST BEFORE THE BATTLE, MOTHER (3.07)
Performed by Ernest Pike, tenor, with orchestra. Composed by George F. Root (public domain work). Issued 1910 on Zonophone X42628. Just before the Battle, Mother was a popular song during the American Civil War, particularly among troops in the Union Army. It was written and published in 1864 by Chicago-based George Frederick Root, who found notable success as the composer of martial songs such as Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!, Just before the Battle, Mother, and The Battle Cry of Freedom. Root ultimately had at least 35 war-time 'hits', which were played and sung at both the home front and the front line. Tramp, Tramp, Tramp became popular on troop marches, and Battle Cry of Freedom became well-known even in England.

7. KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN, FRITZI BOY (2.33)
Performed by The American Quartet. Composed by Clarence Murphy and David Worton. Issued July 1918 on Victor 18467. This humorous song was largely based on an older music hall favourite, Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy, already popular with British troops, and subsequently adapted by Lieutenant Gitz Rice (1891-1947). A Canadian gunnery officer, Rice fought in several battles, including Ypres, the Somme and Vimy Ridge, and also sang and played piano in concert parties. Other wartime songs by Rice included Dear Old Pal of Mine, On The Road That Leads To Home and Fun In Flanders. The American Quartet was one of Victor's premier groups at the time this recording was made, with member Billy Murray also a very popular solo artist.

8. TELL THAT TO THE MARINES (2.48)
Performed by Al Jolson, comedian. Composer by Jolson/Schwartz/Atteridge (B Feldman & Co). Issued September 1918 on Columbia A2657, 78046-1. Al Jolson (1886-1950) was an American singer, comedian and actor, in his heyday dubbed 'The World's Greatest Entertainer'. During America's participation in WW1 Jolson sang at War bond rallies and relief benefits, helping to raise millions of dollars. He also performed at military camps, a habit he maintained in WW2 and Korea. To young men facing deprivation and possible death, Jolson's sentimental songs of home and "Mammy" had irresistible appeal. The title of the song is a play on the idiomatic phrase "Tell it to the Marines", meaning "I don't believe what you said".

9. HUNTING THE HUN (3.10)
Performed by Arthur Fields, baritone with Orchestra. Composed by Archie Gottler and Howard Rogers. Issued March 1918 on Columbia A2528, 77721. Another popular song whose crude references to sauerkraut and Limburger cheese fail standards of political correctness today. Several explanations have been offered as to why the term 'Hun' was applied to Germans in WW1. In a speech delivered during the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900 Kaiser Wilhelm gave the order to act ruthlessly towards the rebels: "Mercy will not be shown, prisoners will not be taken. Just as a thousand years ago, the Huns under Attila won a reputation of might that lives on in legends, so may the name of Germany in China, such that no Chinese will even again dare so much as to look in askance at a German." The spiked helmet (Pickelhaube) worn by German troops until 1916 was also reminiscent of images depicting ancient Hun helmets. Another alternative explanation is the motto Gott mit uns (God be with us) featured on German military belt buckles, it being suggested that the word uns was mistaken for Huns.

10. YOU CAN'T BEAT US (IF IT TAKES TEN MILLION MORE) (2.52)
Performed by Arthur Fields, baritone. Composed by Ernest Ball and Keirn Brennan (Redwood Music). Issued September 1918 on Columbia, A2657, 78058. Born Abe Finkelstein in Pennsylvania, Arthur Fields (1888-1953) was a prolific singer (baritone) and songwriter who recorded many songs of a topical nature. Stay Down Where You Belong mirrored the country's anti-war mood in late 1914 and 1915 (the devil urges his son to remain 'down below' (ie in hell) rather than venturing up to the surface of the earth, where war raged in Europe). However, when America later engaged in the conflict, Fields elected to cut overtly patriotic songs which reflected that change, with several such tracks appearing on this CD. Interestingly, the popular Let's Bury the Hatchet on Columbia at first seems to call for peace until the title line is completed in the song's chorus: 'Let's bury the hatchet in the Kaiser's head'.

11. GOOD MORNING, MR ZIP-ZIP-ZIP! (2.29)
Performed by Arthur Fields, tenor [sic], and Peerless Quartet. Composed by Robert Lloyd. Issued January 1919 on Victor 18510, B-22264. A ragtime song first published in 1918, the sheet music states that it was 'written around a Fort Niagara fragment' by Robert Lloyd, an Army song leader. Both Victor and Columbia issued this recording by Arthur Fields and the Peerless Quartet. The title refers to short military haircuts rather than machine gun fire on the battlefield.

12. I MAY BE GONE FOR A LONG, LONG TIME (2.49)
Performed by The Peerless Quartet. Composed by Albert Von Tilzer and Lew Brown. Issued June 1917 on Columbia, A2306/77126. The Peerless Quartet (known as the Columbia Quartet prior to 1906), was the leading American vocal group during the acoustic recording era. It remained active until 1928 and had many changes of personnel during that time, the one constant being Henry Burr. The Quartet made hundreds of recordings between 1904-1928, and during their heyday trailed only Billy Murray. The US entered WW1 on 6 April 1917, with the first American troops arriving in Europe in June, and reaching the front line in October.

13. WHAT HAS BECOME OF HINKY DINKY PARLAY VOO (3.47)
Performed by Al Bernard and chorus. Composed by Al Dubin, Irving Mills, Jimmy McHugh and Irwin Dash. Issued 1924 on Edison Blue Amberol 4896. A postwar song about the loss of the camaraderie of military life on the Western Front, the title refers to the lyric of an earlier (and often ribald) WW1 song, Mademoiselle From Armentieres. Known as 'The Boy From Dixie', Alfred A. Bernard (1888-1949) was an American vaudeville singer who was most popular from the 1910s through to the early 1930s.

14. GOODBYE BROADWAY, HELLO FRANCE! (2.56)
Performed by The American Quartet. Composed by C. Francis Reisner, Benny Davis and Billy Baskette. Issued September 1917 on Victor 18335-A, the 'big song hit' of The Passing Show of 1917 at the New York Winter Garden. On the recording The American Quartet comprised Albert Campbell, John H. Meyer, William F. Hooley and Billy Murray. William Thomas 'Billy' Murray (1877-1954) was one of the most popular singers in America in the early decades of the 20th century. While he received star billings on Vaudeville as the 'Denver Nightingale', he remains best known for his prolific work in the recording studio, cutting records for almost every record label of the era. He soon established himself as a versatile interpreter of many genres, journalist Jim Walsh later writing that 'Murray's records were the only ones so clear you could catch every word on first hearing. This was partly because there was a certain "ping" to his voice that cut sharp into the wax and he was smart enough to nasalize certain syllables to make important words and phrases stand out.'

15. I'M GONNA PIN MY MEDAL ON THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND (3.13)
Performed by The Peerless Quartet. Composed by Irving Berlin. Issued September 1918 on Victor 18486, B-22113. A sentimental song written by Berlin in 1917, and featured in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1918. The same show featured another song by Berlin, The Blue Devils of France, with both featuring in a vivid production number titled Forward Allies. As Allan Churchill described it: 'Actors in battle dress stood frozen in the act of tossing grenades, bayoneting cringing Huns, and charging over the top. Completing the tableau were Follies girls as Red Cross nurses, waifs in war-torn undress, and goddesses of war. Dominating the vivid scene was Miss Kay Laurell representing the Spirit of the Allies, her costume in enough disarray to expose one breast.' How then to pin the medal?

16. HELLO CENTRAL! GIVE ME NO-MAN'S LAND (3.21)
Performed by Henry Burr. Composed by Sam Lewis, Joe Young and Jean Schwartz. Issued 1918, release details unknown. Referencing an earlier song (Hello Central, Give Me Heaven), this mordant number tells the story of a small child who picks up the telephone in the hope of calling his absent soldier father in France, unaware that he has already been killed. Although popularised by Al Jolson, this recording is by Henry Burr, a constant member of The Peerless Quartet. A Canadian born in 1882, Burr's real name was Harry Haley McClaskey. During his lifetime Burr is reckoned to have recorded an astonishing 5,000 songs, and formed his own record company, Paroquette. He died in 1941 and is little remembered today, lying buried in an unmarked grave in Kenisco, upstate New York.

17. AU REVOIR BUT NOT GOODBYE, SOLDIER BOY (3.03)
Performed by The Peerless Quartet. Composed by Albert Von Tilzer and Lew Brown. Issued April 1918 on Victor 18438, B-21418. An enduring sentimental favourite. Like his older brother Harry, Albert Von Tilzer was a leading Tin Pan Alley songwriter.

18. THEY WERE ALL OUT OF STEP BUT JIM (3.02)
Performed by Van and Schenck, character duet with orchestra. Composed by Irving Berlin (Berlin Music Corp). Issued mid 1918 on Columbia A2630, 77975. A song also known as Did You See My Little Jimmy Marching? Van and Schenck were a popular American duo in the 1910s and 1920s, singing and performing comedy routines, Van providing hearty baritone to Schenck's tenor and piano. Another of their humorous wartime songs, I Don't Want To Get Well, told the tale of a wounded soldier reluctant to recover, as he was comfortable in hospital and in love with a nurse.

19. I'M CRAZY OVER EVERY GIRL IN FRANCE (2.57)
Performed by Avon Comedy Four, with orchestra. Composed by Wendling and Wells. Issued late 1917 on Columbia A2399, 77333. The Avon Comedy Four was first and foremost a vehicle for the dialect comedy of Joe Smith (born Joseph Sultzer, 1884) and Charles Dale (born Charles Marks, 1881). In due course this song may have struck a false note. From the New York Times of 11 May 1919: 'DOUGHBOYS AND FRENCH GIRLS: Not Many of Them Are Marrying, and the Soldiers Long for their Homes : Reports which are current in certain quarters in America regarding the conduct of American soldiers abroad, and about their marriages to French girls, are set to rest by the following letterÖ American mothers, wives and sweethearts have suffered quite enough with added anxiety over the "French girls". I have been observing French women closely, and their effect on American men. Therefore I say unhesitating that the report of 100,000 of our soldiers have married French girls is nonsense. I believe Stars and Stripes said 6,000. Any larger figure is ridiculous.'

20. THE COLOURED PATROL-MARCH (3.02)
Performed by Wingates Temperance Band. Composed by Hiram Eden (Wright & Round Ltd). Issued on Regal G7552, 65696. When World War I broke out, there were four all-black regiments: the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry. Within one week of Wilson's declaration of war, the War Department had to stop accepting black volunteers because the quotas for African Americans were filled. Although technically eligible for many positions in the Army, very few blacks got the opportunity to serve in combat units, and most 'Buffalo Soldiers' were limited to labor battalions. The combat elements of the US Army were kept completely segregated. There was such a backlash from the African American community, however, that the War Department finally created the 92nd and 93rd Divisions, both primarily black combat units. Both saw action in the Argonne in 1918 under French command, the 369th Infantry winning glory as the "Harlem Hellfighters".

21. WE'LL DO OUR SHARE (WHILE YOU'RE OVER THERE) (3.25)
Performed by The Peerless Quartet. Composed by Lew Brown, Alfred Harriman and JC Egan. Issued August 1918 on Victor 18480, B-21910. The lyric to this popular song takes the form of a mother's letter to her soldier son, promising that the war effort on the US home front would back up the troops in the trenches. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest US engagement of WW1, beginning on 26 September 1918 and ending on 11 November 1918. In the three weeks fighting, the battle deaths of Americans numbered 18,000, a daily average of about 1,000. Overall the US Army lost 36,931 men killed in action, and no less than 62,668 killed by disease - chiefly due to the influenza pandemic of 1918.

22. WHEN TONY GOES OVER THE TOP (2.45)
Performed by Billy Murray, with orchestra. Composed by Billy Frisch, Archie Fletcher and Alex Marr. Issued January 1919 on Victor 18510-A. Described on the label as an 'Italian dialect song', the number is sung in a thick mock accent and tells of Tony, the Italian hero who will kill the Kaiser with his garlic breath, or his stiletto.

23. WOULD YOU RATHER BE A COLONEL WITH AN EAGLE ON YOUR SHOULDER, OR A PRIVATE WITH A CHICKEN ON YOUR KNEE? (2.49)
Performed by Eugene Buckley, baritone, with orchestra. Composed by Archie Gottler and Sidney Mitchell. Issued February 1919 on Columbia A2669, 78161-5. Although credited to Eugene Buckley, this is another recording by Arthur Fields of a song taken from the Ziegfeld Follies of 1918. The Ziegfeld Follies were a series of elaborate Broadway productions which ran from 1907 until 1931, then becoming a radio programme in 1932 and 1936 as The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air. Inspired by the Folies BergËres in Paris, the Follies were conceived and mounted by Florenz Ziegfeld, reportedly at the suggestion of his wife, the entertainer Anna Held.

24. THE YANKS STARTED YANKIN' (3.05)
Performed by Arthur Fields, baritone, with Orchestra. Composed by Charles McCarron and Carey Morgan. Issued March 1918 on Columbia A2528, 77723. Subtitled (The Russians Were Rushin'), this satirical song proposed a future world (1953) in which Germany, defeated, was erased from the map. McCarron was a Tin Pan Alley composer and lyricist, credited on classics such as Fido Is a Hot Dog Now, Eve Wasn't Modest 'till She Ate That Apple, and When the Lusitania Went Down. With Morgan, he was also responsible for I'm Crazy About My Daddy in a Uniform, and Your Lips are No Man's Land But Mine.

25. I AIN'T GOT WEARY YET! (2.57)
Performed by Arthur Fields, baritone, with The Peerless Quartette. Composed by Howard Johnson and Percy Wenrich. Issued September 1918 on Columbia A2669, 78091. A small format 'Patriotic War Edition' of the sheet music for this song was published, in order to 'cooperate with the Government and to conserve paper'. The same writing team also produced the popular hit Where Do We Go From Here, Boys?

26. THE VICTORIOUS STARS (2.38)
Performed by the OrchestrÈ symphonique du Gramophone. Composed by Vargues. Issued June 1919 on HMV K634, 20567b. A French one-step paying tribute to the part played by America in the deliverance of Europe.

James Hayward
November 2010

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