Cylinder of the Month

See also the Cylinders of the Month Archive.

For May 1997...

This month:   A brown wax concert cylinder recording of the comic song, All the Silver in the Silvery Moon, sung by the great Billy Williams.


All the Silver in the Silvery Moon
Company Columbia Phonograph Company
Cylinder # pirated copy (5" diameter)
Category Comic song
Title All the Silver in the Silvery Moon
Performed by Billy Williams
Circa 1911 (?)
Announcement "I wish I had all the silver in the silvery moon."

Sometimes overlooked in a sea of contemporary "Billy's" and "Williams's" (Billy Murray, Billy Merson, Billy Golden, Billy Heins, Bert Williams, Will F. Denny, William H. Thompson – have I forgotten anyone?) is perhaps the most talented of them all – Billy Williams.

With his trademark forced laugh, and characteristic spirit and enthusiasm, it was clear the Australian Billy Williams loved to sing: He had the ability to make an ordinary song memorable.   Known as the "Man in the Velvet Suit", he died in 1915 at the age of 38.

This mint condition Columbia grand (5-inch diameter) cylinder is not an original recording but is apparently a pirated copy from a Columbia disk recording made in London in about 1911.   How such a clear copy could have been transferred from disk to cylinder beats me.   Yet, here it is: A mysterious Columbia grand cylinder recording of Billy Williams.   If you listen carefully, you can hear when the duplicating apparatus engages at the beginning of the recording and disengages at the end!

To hear All the Silver in the Silvery Moon  —

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

Columbia grand (5" diameter) wax cylinder record


To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the


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