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The Great War: An American Musical Fantasy

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 7, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


2 CDs, 2 hours, 38 min., highly recommended. The songs here were all recorded between 1914-1919 (with the exception of the last three tracks, which were cut in 1926), and given the sound source, the quality is excellent. But this is no mere collection or random war songs. The compilers have done a remarkable job of putting the war and the burgeoning record industry into historical perspective. As the booklet notes describe, Disc 1 covers the period 'from neutrality to preparedness to belligerence.' Disc 2 covers the war and beyond, when it was safe for the industry to start questioning the war itself. And while the music here is fascinating, the 76-page booklet is a true gem, full of original scholarship and rare, historic photos. It explores the 'talking machine' business that saw itself threatened by the war and so adopted a jingoistic stance for its own economic benefit, casting itself as a necessary war industry, and thus a propaganda machine. An insightful document of likely interest to anyone who wishes to understand the history of the record industry. Songs include It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary by American Quartet, Don't Bite The Hand That's Feeding You by Irving Kaufman (with the ever-so-charming theme of telling immigrants to love the war or go the hell back where you came from), Over There by Enrico Caruso, On Patrol In No Man's Land by Lieut. Noble Sissle & Lieut. Jim Europe's 369th U.S. Infantry Band, Boys Who Won't Come Home by Henry Burr, They'll Be Mighty Proud In Dixie Of Their Old Black Joe by Albert Campbell and Henry Burr, Hello Central, Give Me No Man's Land by Edna Brown and many others. --Roots and Rhythm

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. There's a Long, Long Trail (John McCormack)
  2. It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary (American Quartet)
  3. Keep Your Eye on Uncle Sammy (Peerless Quartette)
  4. War Talk at Pun'kin Center (Cal Stewart)
  5. I Didn't Raise My Boy to be a Soldier (Morton Harvey)
  6. Die Wacht am Rhein (Male Quartet)
  7. President Wilson's Historical Message, Part III (Anonymous [Excerpt 1])
  8. Schwertlied (Du Schwert an meiner Linken) (Arion Brooklyn)
  9. Don't Bite the Hand That's Feeding You (Irving Kaufman)
  10. America, I Love You! (American Quartet)
  11. Stay Down Here Where You Belong (Henry Burr)
  12. Don't Take My Darling Boy Away (Sam Ash)
  13. President Wilson's Historical Message, Part III (Anonymous [Excerpt 2])
  14. What Kind of an American Are You? (Arthur Fields)
  15. Let's All Be Americans Now (American Quartet)
  16. Long Boy (Byron G. Harlan with Peerless Quartet)
  17. The Ragtime Volunteers Are Off to War (Van and Schenck)
  18. I'd Feel at Home if They'd Let Me Join the Army (Billy Murray)
  19. (Good Bye; and Luck be With You) Laddie Boy (Nora Bayes)
  20. I Don't Know Where I'm Going but I'm on My Way (Peerless Quartet)
  21. Arrival of the American Troops in France (Prince's Band and Columbia Male Quartette)
  22. When You Come Back (and You Will Come Back, There's the Whole World Waiting for You) (Raymond Dixon and Orpheus Quartet)
  23. When We Wind Up the Watch on the Rhine (Peerless Quartette)
  24. Throw No Stones in the Well that Gives You Water (Arthur Fields)
  25. Paul Revere (Vernon Dalhart)
  26. Lafayette (We Hear You Calling) (Reinald Werrenrath)
  27. Somewhere in France Is the Lily (Charles Hart)
  28. I'm Going to Follow the Boys (Elizabeth Spencer and Henry Burr)
  29. Over There (Enrico Caruso)

Disc: 2

  1. From the Battlefields of France (General J. J. Pershing)
  2. Hello Central, Give Me No Man's Land (Edna Brown)
  3. I Want to Be a Soldier Like My Dad (Robert Lewis)
  4. What Are You Going to Do to Help the Boys? (Charles Hart and Shannon Four)
  5. The Makin's of the U.S.A. (Peerless Quartette)
  6. Indianola (Billy Murray)
  7. They'll Be Mighty Proud in Dixie of Their Old Black Joe (Campbell and Burr)
  8. Won't You Say a Word for Ireland? (Irving Kaufman)
  9. When Tony Goes Over the Top (Billy Murray)
  10. There's a Little Blue Star in the Window (And It Means All the World to Me) (Henry Burr)
  11. My Sweetheart Is Somewhere in France (Elizabeth Spencer)
  12. If He Can Fight Like He Can Love (Good Night, Germany) (Farber Sisters)
  13. Tell That to the Marines (Al Jolson)
  14. Let's Bury the Hatchet (Arthur Fields)
  15. What'll We Do With Him Boys? (The Yanks Made a Monkey Out of You) (William J. 'Sailor' Reilly)
  16. On Patrol in No Man's Land (Lieutenant Noble Sissle)
  17. Fun in Flanders, Part 2 (Lieutenant Gitz Rice and Henry Burr)
  18. The Rose of No Man's Land (George Gordon and Robert Bruce)
  19. Rainbow Division March (Arthur Pryor's Band)
  20. Oh! What a Time for the Girlies When the Boys Come Marching Home (Avon Comedy Four)
  21. How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm? (After They've Seen Paree) (Nora Bayes)
  22. Dixie Is Dixie Once More (American Quartet)
  23. Johnny's in Town (Arthur Fields)
  24. The Boys Who Won't Come Home (Henry Burr)
  25. What Has Become of 'Hinky Dinky Parlay Voo' (Bernard and Robinson, The Dixie Stars)
  26. Don't Steal Daddy's Medal (Arthur Fields)
  27. My Dream of the Big Parade (Peerless Quartet with Billy Murray)

Product Details

  • Performer: Various Artists
  • Audio CD (February 7, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Archeophone Records
  • ASIN: B000NII7JU
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,667 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

The people at Archeophone have been doing a splendid job in making available on CDs historical recordings of songs from the past, accompanied by fact-filled program notes that are worth the price of the set alone. Now, in my opinion, they have outdone themselves in an imposing 2-CD set titled "The Great War: An American Musical Fantasy."

There are no less than 56 selections sung by artists such as Nora Bayes, John McCormack, Irving Kaufman, Henry Burr, Arthur Fields, Billy Murray, Vernon Dalhart, Elizabeth Spencer, Van and Schenck, Al Jolson, Enrico Caruso, and the American and Peerless Quartets. (Some of these singers have their own CDs in the Archeophone catalogue.) Heard also are the voices of President Wilson and General Pershing, both of which add to the chilling and thrilling time-machine feeling one gets when hearing recordings such as these.

The producers have given a shape to the selections in the following way. The first CD is devoted to recordings made from 1914 to 1917 and "they witness [as the program notes say] American policy toward The Great War change from neutrality to preparedness to belligerence--and the variety of emotions and arguments supporting each position."

So we have protest songs like "I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier" and "Don't take my darling boy away," side by side with "The ragtime volunteers are off to war" and "Lafayette (we hear you calling)." There are songs of rationalization such as "I'd feel at home if they let me join the army" and even songs looking forward to homecoming such as "When you come back (and you will come back, there's a whole world waiting for you)."

The second disc brings us up to 1926 with a "surge of American boosterism, sentimentality and realism.
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The online audio sampling was all I needed. The tunes were all good quality and the subjects varied from pro- to anti-war and from a couple of German tunes to very anti-German material. Then there were the follow ups like "How You Going to Keep Them Down on the Farm" and the "Big Parade." Well done.
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