Cylinder of the Month

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A rare and early ragtime piece full of snappy bits, Mr. Thomas Cat, composed by the obscure Milt H. Hall.

Mr. Thomas Cat

Company Leeds & Catlin Company, New York
Cylinder # unknown
Category Band
Title Mr. Thomas Cat
Performed by The Empire State Band
Circa 1900-1901
Announcement "Mr. Thomas Cat, by the Empire State Band."

Enjoy this month's rare brown wax cylinder produced by the Leeds & Catlin Company of New York City of an early ragtime "march two-step" selection (as many early rags were categorized) composed in 1899 by Milt Hall and featuring the sliding trombone.

During this time, Leeds & Catlin (the successor to the Metropolitan Phonograph Company of New York) recorded their records at a relatively fast 180-rpm in an effort to increase the loudness and fidelity of their product.   Of course, speeding up the record from a typical 120-rpm shortened the recording considerably – down to about 1¾ minutes.

Not much is known about Milt Hall except that he appears to be a pioneer composer of published ragtime pieces.   His 1897 "Cotton Blossoms", which also features trombone slides (a.k.a. smears, glissandos or portamentos) is among the earliest, if not the earliest, published ragtime.

An interesting article by David Lewis looks into the elusive Mr. Hall.

To hear Mr. Thomas Cat  

For help playing these sounds, click here.

Interested in hearing other wax cylinder recordings featuring bands local to or associated with New York?

Key Title Category Performed by Circa
11/2013 Belle of New York March Band Empire State Concert Band 1896-1897
06/1998 Five Minutes With the Minstrels Band Voss's First Regiment Band 1891
12/2002 Hallelujah Chorus Band Battery Band of New York 1894
01/2006 The Melon Patch Schottisch Band 23rd Regiment Band of New York 1894-1896
01/2007 Pilgrim's Chorus from Tannhauser Band Gilmore's Band 1901
10/2000 Our Victorious Nation March Band New York Military Band 1909
07/2009 Stars and Stripes Forever March Band 71st Regiment Band 1897-1898
04/2012 Wild Cherry Band New York Military Band 1909


To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the

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