Cylinder of the Month

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A popular novelty record from 1902 - The Arkansas Traveler featuring Len Spencer & George Schweinfest.

The Arkansas Traveler
Company Columbia Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 11098
Category Descriptive talk
Title The Arkansas Traveler
Performed by Len Spencer & George Schweinfest
Circa 1902
Announcement "The Arkansas Traveler, by Spencer and Schweinfest.  Columbia record."

Although most 19th Century record catalogs carefully classified their records ("Vocal", "Operatic", "Band", "Cornet", "Humorous speech", etc.), there was often found a category for "Special talking records and novelties".   Aside from minstrelsy recordings, which were well known, a growing number of sideshow, oddball, or 'hybrid' recordings were made.   These selections typically featured both talking (either in a comic, recitation, or dramatic setting) coupled with some manner of music, singing, or both.   These novelty records were in later years often categorized as a "Descriptive selection", "Comic sketch", "Vaudeville specialty", etc.

The Arkansas Traveler was a particularly popular selection, first appearing in the 1900 Columbia Phonograph Company catalog.   It was found thereafter in most major record catalogs, including Edison's, for many years.   In this recording, George Schweinfest, who was usually a piccolo soloist, plays the violin.

To hear The Arkansas Traveler  

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Interested in hearing other selected novelty wax cylinder recordings?

Key Title Category Performed by Circa
02/2001 At the Circus Descriptive selection Edison Symphony Orchestra 1899
10/1999 Clancy's Prize Waltz Contest Comic sketch Len Spencer 1904
09/2003 The Dixie Rube Descriptive Selection Edison Military Band 1906
01/2003 Hebrew Vaudeville - parody on Rip Van Winkle was a Lucky Man Hebrew monologue Julian Rose 1903
11/2007 Hickory Bill Talking & banjo Len Spencer & Fred Van Epps 1907
04/2011 Mandy and Her Man Vaudeville sketch Ada Jones & Len Spencer 1906
06/2009 The Musical Moke Vaudeville specialty Len Spencer 1901
09/2004 Rudolph and Rosie at the Roller Rink Skating scene Ada Jones & Len Spencer 1907
12/2000 The Sleigh Ride Party Descriptive selection The Greater New York Quartette 1898


To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the

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