December 2001
Cylinder of the Month


See also the  Cylinders of the Month Archive.

Silas Leachman, "The Record King", sings When the Birds Go North Again on a rare Sears-Roebuck concert cylinder (1900).


When the Birds Go North Again
Company Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Cylinder # Unknown (5" diameter)
Category Song
Title When the Birds Go North Again
Performed by Silas Leachman
Circa 1900
Announcement "Sears-Roebuck record, When the Birds Go North Again, sung by Silas Leachman."

Chicago-based Silas Leachman, the dominant recording artist of the mid-west during this era, earned his nickname "The Record King".   He would play piano and sing into 3 or so phonographs at a time, song after song, day after day.  

Leachman sold his records through a variety of outlets.   Here, we have a recording he made for Sears-Roebuck on a concert brown wax cylinder (5" diameter instead of the 2" diameter standard cylinders).   From the crisp, forward sound of his announcement we can tell this was an original record, not a copy.

To hear When the Birds Go North Again  —

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

When the Birds Go North Again
Words by Robert F. Roden             Music by Max S. Witt
 
First verse.
Once a lad and lassie parted and she left him broken-hearted
Among the tall old pines in distant Maine, 
To the fair South she was going where the orange flow'rs were growing,
Where the old folks hoped her health she might regain.
When the Autumn came in splendor he received a message tender: 
"Darling Jack, I want to see you," thus he read; 
'Mid magnolias soon he met her and he saw she was no better, 
As he clasped her in his arms, she sadly said:

Second verse.
Tenderly the lad drew near her and he tried his best to cheer her, 
While birds were singing in the trees above;
"There's no use, sweetheart, in sighing, for when birds are northward flying 
You'll be home again among the ones you love." 
Still it seemed to him, each hour, that she faded like a flower, 
When the Springtime came he knew they'd never wed.
'Neath the pines she now lies sleeping, where her sweetheart, softly weeping, 
Oft in fancy seems to hear the words she said:

Chorus.
"In the Springtime, when the birds go North again, 
Where I told you, 'Yes', beneath the pines in Maine, 
They will take me home to rest, to the scenes I love the best, 
In the Springtime, when the birds go North again."

The song may have been inspired by the Ella Higginson (1862-1940) poem of the same name:

When the Birds Go North Again

Oh, ev'ry year hath its winter,
And ev'ry year hath its rain,
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.

Oh, ev'ry heart hath its sorrow,
And ev'ry heart hath its pain,
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.


— This cylinder of the month is from the collection of  Bruce Stinchcomb —

                   


To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the


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