Cylinder of the Month

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For April 2000 . . .

This month:   From 1910, Polk Miller and the all-black "Old South Quartette" sing Jerusalem Mournin'.


Jerusalem Mournin'
Company Edison's National Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 10334
Category Quartette
Title Jerusalem Mournin'
Performed by Polk Miller and His Old South Quartette
Circa March 1910
Announcement None

The authentic sounds of a Southern plantation quartette.


To hear Jerusalem Mournin'  —

To hear an excerpt   —  
For help playing these sounds, click here.

In January 1910 Edison Phonograph Monthly announced the release of seven recordings by Polk Miller and His Old South Quartette:

POLK MILLER'S RECORDS.

These were made especially for the Southern trades, and any remarks from us as to the popularity of "Polk Miller" and his "Old Southern Quartette" will seem entirely superfluous to our Southern clientele, who have long and favorably known these fine entertainers; but to those with whom the name is not familiar, would advise, Mr. Miller is the foremost delineator of the old Southern plantation negro that has ever appeared on the public stage, – who has organized and drilled a quartette of the best negro singers ever heard on the platform, with voices naturally sweet, though uncultivated, thus producing a harmony unequalled by the professionals, and which goes straight to the hearts of people, and to those who know of Southern plantation life from much reading, the songs will prove a pleasant and educational pastime.   While, as above stated, these Records were especially prepared for the Southern trade, they are so admirably rendered that we believe they will promptly meet with general favor and prove to be ready sellers.

Elsewhere in the issue, the following description was given for Jerusalem Mournin'

10334   Jerusalem Mournin' Polk Miller and Quartette
A favorite camp-meeting song, whose fame is by no means confined to the South. This is probably the catchiest of the seven numbers.   The lines are sung alternately by Randall Graves, the first tenor, and the quartette.   Unaccompanied.

Two months later, in the March issue, the following comments appear:

Polk Miller Records a Surprise

The seven Records made by Polk Miller and his "Old South Quartette," which went on sale January 3rd, have proven a tremendous surprise.   We expected that the demand for these Records would be confined almost exclusively to the South, as the request that they be catalogued emanated from that section.   In this we were mistaken, for while naturally the demand was greatest in the South, still the North took to them very kindly and some sections of the West simply cannot get enough of them.   One enthusiastic Kansas Dealer wrote in to the factory suggesting that we make one thousand Records of the same order.   The popularity of the Records proves that the real "darkey" plantation melody still has a firm grip upon the affections of the American public, irrespective of locality.   Dealers will do well to advertise and push these Records in every way.   Polk Miller and his "Old Southern Quartette" are conceded to be the best delineators of the Southern plantation darkey before the public, and the selections are the very best numbers in their repertory.

Polk Miller
Personnel:

Polk Miller – Tenor, guitarist, banjoist

The Old South Quartette:
    Randall Graves – Tenor
    unknown – Tenor
    unknown – Baritone
    James L. Stamper – Basso

The 'Old South Quartette'
The above images of Polk Miller and his Old South Quartette are taken from the January 1910 issue of the Edison Phonograph Monthly. Only two of the quartette members are specifically named. Any leads on the remaining two members, or identifying in the quartette photograph who is who, would be most welcome.

                                       


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