Saturday, June 7, 2014


What an amazing amount of music has been written and printed.  Going back through the years I find the not only are the words simpler and more innocent, but the music  is less complicated, more predictable in structure.   You can anticipate where the tune is going, and while I cannot play without written music, I am not surprised most of the time with the path and pattern.   I wish I could play the left hand as written but I have to rely on "fake" music, or music with the chords indicated above the melody.  That's fine.  I didn't begin this journey until rather late and am happy with what i can do.   Well, no, I'm not.  I just said I wished I could play the music and written, and that's the truth.   But I know I don't have time enough to accomplish that so I am satisfied, if not happy.  As my son said recently, contentment or satisfaction is a nice state of being but "happy" is for special events.  I took some liberty with his words, but that's the gist of them.

The song this week is a little on the naughty side, and doesn't make a lot of sense.
While the words claim Harry got sued for "breach of promise"  there is no expansion on that subject.    The song was written in 1912 and the music composer was the publisher.   It took two men to write the lyrics, Alfred Bryan and Sam M. Lewis.

Mr. Bryan was born in 1871 and died in 1958.   He worked as an arranger in New York, and wrote for several Broadway shows in the 1900s.  In the '20s he moved to Hollywood to write lyrics for screen musicals.   Among is hits which are more familiar than "Daisy"  are: Peg o' My Heart, Come Josephine in My Flying Machine, I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be a Soldier (which sold 650,000 copies during the first three months and  describes the American public's anti-war sentiments); We'll Be Together When the Clouds Roll By and Who Paid The Rent For Mrs. Rip Van Winkle?

Mr. Lewis, whose real name was Levine, was born in 1885 and died in 1959.  His musical career began by singing in cafes in New York, and began writing songs in 1912.  He collaborated with some of the well known songwriters of the time (many of those names appear on numerous sheet music copies over and over): Harry Warren, Walter Donaldson, Victor Young, Peter DeRose to name a few.  He wrote for some Broadway productions and screen musicals.  He was a charter member of ASCAP.
Some of his songs:  Dinah, For All We Know, Gloomy Sunday (English version)
Has Anybody Seen My Gal, I'm Sitting On Top Of The World, Laugh, Clown, Laugh.

Some people buy sheet music to use the covers for wrapping paper.   I am offended by that careless destruction of the really lovely artwork and interesting pictures of the celebrities.   "Daisy" has (what else) a random bunch of yellow eyed daisies, really very attractive.  In the corner there is an inset picture of Reine Davies, the vocalist who became known as "The New American Beauty"  in the early 1900s.    Her friends called her "The True Blue Girl".  She was the oldest girl in the Douras family and when driving through Brooklyn one day saw the office sign of Valentine Davies, liked the name, adopted it.   Her sisters followed by taking the name also.  Marion Davies was one of her younger sisters.

Reine married twice: to George Lederer with whom she had a son, writer/director Charles Lederer; and a daughter,Josephine Rose.  After her divorce in 1912 she married Goerge Regas, an actor.  Reine died in 1938 in her swimming pool of a heart attack.  Both children are also deceased.  

She is featured on many sheet music covers, always in elaborate dress of the times, wonderful fancy hats setting of her truly beautiful face.  Some of her songs were Meet Me Tonight IN Dreamland, The Reine Waltz, When I Kissed Your Tears Away,  Leaf By Leaf the Roses Fall to name a few.  

Many of the songs named above are still available to listen to on the internet.  

"Always Take A Girl Named Daisy (Cause Daisies Won't Tell).

Handsome Harry, handsome Harry Thomas, He was sued yes, sued for breach of promise.

He took Mary walking through the dell,and said, "Now don't you dare to tell,
Mary went right home and told her mother,
Ma told P and Pa then told her brother.
Brother told the preacher and the preacher went and tolled the wedding bell ---

Never take a walk with Mary, Never take a walk with Sue
Never take a walk with Maud or Carrie,
That's the kind of girl you'll have to marry.
If you take a girl out walking, 
Down a little shady dell
Always take a girl named Daisy
'Cause Daisies don't tell.

Harry's married life was pure and simple,
Till he met a girlie with a dimple.
She said "Dear, I'm not acquainted here, I just came down from Beaver Fall,
Harry went and said, why silk and satin
To this girl would be like Greek and Latin,
Harry felt like fainting when he missed his little dollar Ingersol -

Never take a walk with Mary --etc.  etc.

You can hear a recording of this typical vaudeville song on the internet.   It's from an old cylinder machine so it's a little gritty.  But it was quite an invention all the same.

You might also come across a visual and recording of an opera production done in 1903. It's not great, but near the end there is a picture of the equipment and the man recording the production.  Even if you don't think the sound is great, I think you will agree that 1) it was a marvelous feat of technology and 2) it's amazing it is still in tact and playable. 

Wouldn't it be great to find a few people who would put together a musical program singing and playing these long forgotten songs!   Now where can I find a tenor, a baritone, a contralto and bluesy alto who would love to work for a song?  Just another cockeyed notion.

Next weekend is the annual  community yard sale event in which the Maine Music For LIFE Players is participating.  Some of the 700 pieces of music I have been housing is going to go out for sale.  But I am keeping those with special meaning, and those with beautiful covers -  whether I can play them or not.  

jan major (please put MUSIC in the subject line.

Ack: Bing Search

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