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An amusing glimpse into 1899 minstrelsy, featuring Len Spencer, Steve Porter and Dan W. Quinn.

Imperial Minstrels

Company Columbia Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 13006 (5-inch "grand" cylinder)
Category Minstrels
Title Imperial Minstrels – Upon the Golden Shore
Performed by Len Spencer, Steve Porter & Dan W. Quinn
Circa 1898-1899
Announcement "The Imperial Minstrels, introducing their original minstrel first part, for Columbia Phonograph Company of New York and Paris."

This popular minstrel selection was listed in Columbia's catalogs beginning in 1897.   Note the several seconds of "open horn" sounds captured at the end.   Although Dan W. Quinn is referred to in the recording, it seems he was probably only heard during the laughs and final chorus - perhaps, during the open horn.   One of the gags mentions "policy" numbers games: a type of illegal lottery (here is a Wikipedia article on policy playing).

The Columbia Phonograph Company's 5-inch diameter "Grand" cylinders were originally priced in 1898 at $5 – as were Edison's National Phonograph Company's 5-inch "Concert" cylinders.   A very hefty price generally afforded only by phonograph exhibitors and the financially well-to-do.   In today's dollars, that would be roughly $140!

To hear The Imperial Minstrels  

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