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A 1906 two-minute wax recording of a minstrel show bit produced for Edison records.

At the Minstrel Show - No. 1
Company Edison's National Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 9275
Category Minstrel series
Title At the Minstrel Show - No. 1
Performed by Edison Minstrels
Circa May 1906
Announcement "At the Minstrel Show, No. 1.  Edison record."

Most major record producers of the early sound recording era offered selections imitating a minstrel show "in miniature".   This typically required condensing the essentials of the minstrel show format into a harried 2 to 2½ minute wax cylinder recording.   Later attempts, most notably by the Columbia Phonograph Company and Edison, split the minstrel show over several cylinders - either in a series, or a la carte (build your own minstrel show).   Here we have part one ("Around the World", see below) of Edison's May 1906 six-record minstrel show series.   To date, I've found just parts 1, 3 and 4, so when parts 2, 5 and 6 surface we will be able to put together Edison's entire minstrel show.

The light thunking sound heard through much of the recording was likely caused by a swaying recording horn.

To hear At the Minstrel Show - No. 1  

For help playing these sounds, click here.

  In the six following number we have made a departure in presenting six Records that at a glance may seem to be similar in character.   Such is not the case, however, for each Record is complete in itself and fully as attractive played alone as when made one of the series.   The entire six present a most attractive minstrel performance in miniature.   The first Record gives an opening overture; the second introduces one set of end men with jokes and songs; the third introduces another set of end men with other jokes and songs; the fourth is a monologue; the fifth is a dialogue specialty, and the sixth is a sketch quite similar to those with which the average minstrel performance comes to a close.   The individual Records may be referred to as follows:

    No. 9275, "At the Minstrel Show, No. I," by the Edison Minstrels, is a grand introductory overture, "Around the World," by the entire ensemble.   There is very little dialogue is this Record and the "trip" is represented almost entirely by appropriate musical numbers.   The orchestra begins with "A Life on the Ocean Wave," England is "visited," and the quartette sings, "Rule Brittania."   Then comes Scotland and the bells and orchestra accompaniment contribute "Blue Bells of Scotland."   The next is "Ireland," greeted by a tenor solo, "The Minstrel Boy."   Germany next, and the basso sings "Die Wacht Am Rhein" in English.   For France the quartette enlivens the occasion with "The Marseillaise," also in English.   The grand old Russian National Hymn, "God Save the Czar," is next heard by the quartette, after which comes "Homeward Bound," with the quartette singing "Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue" and

"Oh, it fills our hearts with joy,
To see our friends once more."
interrupted by "Yankee Doodle" and cheers.
.   .   .   .
— April 1906 Edison Phonograph Monthly [announcing the May records]


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