The Edison Collection, Jazz and Blues on Edison, Volume 1 by Various Artists

Label: Document
Release Date: March 14, 2006
Recording Time: 71 minutes
Recording Date: September 1, 1920 - February 10, 1929

Styles:  Big Band, Dance Bands, Early Jazz, Jazz Blues

Thomas Edison's pioneering Edison Company recorded seemingly everything under the sun between 1914 and 1929, including a host of vaudeville sketches, opera, and classical pieces, string bands, jazz dance bands, political speeches, and even the voice of Edison himself. The company ceased making records in 1929, and packed up its vast and varied catalog in boxes and stored them in an old warehouse until 1976, when Merritt Malvern began the process of transferring everything to archival tape. Most of this material has never been issued in any form, and Document Records has undertaken the daunting task of issuing the best of it on digital disc, including this set of jazz and blues sides, Edison Collection: Jazz and Blues on Edison, Vol. 1, Thomas Edison himself disliked jazz intensely, stating he always played jazz records backwards because "they sounded better that way," but he must have been incredibly open-minded, since his company recorded several jazz outfits. A lot of what is collected here has mostly archival value, but there are some undeniable gems, including the simultaneously joyful and mournful "St. Louis Gal" by the Original Memphis Five (who were neither the original band nor from Memphis), Wilbur Sweatman's sinewy "It Makes No Difference Now," Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake's carefully written and arranged "Broken Busted Blues," and the mysterious Helen Gross' odd and willfully maudlin "Undertaker's Blues." Sounding like they have come from a world far distant and lost to us, these sides have gained a kind of freshness because of it, and there is an unhinged joy inside the old grooves. Thanks to Document for taking on the task of bringing these little lost treasures -- all digitally shined up and ready to glow -- into the public arena of the 21st century.
by Steve Leggett

Credits: Gary Atkinson - producer; Eubie Blake - primary artist; Elsie Clark - primary artist; Ethel Finney - primary artist; The Georgia Melodians - primary artist; Genevieve Gordon - primary artist; Helen Gross - primary artist; Mal Hallet & His Orchestra - primary artist; Rosa Henderson - primary artist; Kansas City Five - primary artist; Bud Lincoln & His Orchestra - primary artist; Lopez & Hamilton's Kings of Harmony Orchestra - primary artist; Viola McCoy - primary artist; Josie Miles - primary artist; The Original Memphis Five - primary artist; Andy Razaf - primary artist; Marjorie Royer - primary artist; Noble Sissle - primary artist; Wilbur Sweatman's Brownies - primary artist; Eva Taylor - primary artist; Larry Tedder - digital remastering, liner notes, producer; Clarence Williams - primary artist; Winegar's Pennsylvania Boys - primary artist; Kevin Witt - graphic design.

Tracks: 1) Dixie Land - Lopez & Hamilton; 2) Baby's Got The Blues - Genevieve Gordon; 3) St. Louis Gal - Original Memphis Five; 4) You Gonna Wake Up Some Morning - Ethel Finney; 5) Hot Tamale Baby - Andy Razaf; 6) Hard Hearted Hannah - Marjorie Royer; 7) Temperamental Papa - Josie Miles; 8) It Makes No Difference Now - Wilbur Sweatman'S Brownies; 9) Undertaker's Blues - Helen Gross & The Kansas City Five; 10) Memphis Bound - Viola McCoy; 11) Don't Advertise Your Man - Rosa Henderson; 12) Broken Busted Blues - Nobble Sissle With Eubie Blake; 13) Loud Speakin' Papa - Elsie Clark; 14) Everybody Stomp! - Bud Lincoln & His Orchestra; 15) I've Found A New Baby - Georgia Melodians; 16) Since My Best Girl Turned Me Down - Winegar'S Penn Boys; 17) Come On Home - Clarence Williams & Eva Taylor; 18) Wang Wang Blues - Mal Hallet'S Orchestra.