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That Moaning SaxophoneThe Six Brown Brothers and the Dawning of a Musical Craze$

Bruce Vermazen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372182

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372182.001.0001

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(p.215) Appendix: Discography

(p.215) Appendix: Discography

Source:
That Moaning Saxophone
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

As far as I know, the only primary sources for discographical information on the Six (or Five) Brown Brothers are the Columbia Graphophone Company file cards that Brian Rust used for the Columbia Master Book, the Victor Talking Machine Company's recording books, currently housed at Bertelsmann Music Group, New York, and the Emerson catalog cited in chapter 10, note 45. There are no known archives for Emerson, according to Allan Sutton, who has studied the company's history. Only the Emerson catalog lists personnel for the sessions. For the Columbia and Victor discs, the best one can do is conjecture from what is known about the group's makeup from other sources, such as theatre programs, newspaper articles, and photographs. There may have been substitutes on some of the recording sessions (Billy Markwith is pictured in place of William Brown in some Victor publications), but I have found no evidence for the presence of Guy Shrigley, Harry Cook, Slap White, or Sunny Clapp, although Shrigley, Cook, and White all get composer credit on various titles. Nor have I found any evidence that the instrumentation ever included a C-melody sax or, before 1919, a soprano sax. No soprano sax is audible on any of the titles below, except for Tom Brown's solo side of “Rosy Cheeks” and the soundtrack disc for Vitaphone no. 549.

The first known personnel list for the Five Brown Brothers, published in Variety, December 11, 1909, includes Tom Brown and Fred Brown, alto sax; Billy Markwith, tenor sax; Alec Brown, baritone sax; Vern Brown, bass sax. The Brothers made their first records in 1911, including four cylinders for the United States Phonograph Company, described in chapter 6. The exact recording date for the cylinders, released in October 1911, is unknown. The personnel may have been as it is given above, but it may also have included one or both of the other two Brown brothers, Percy and William. Percy is pictured with the Six Brown Brothers in December 1911 playing baritone sax, and William at various times from 1912 onward played both baritone and tenor with the sextet. The 1911 personnel of the quintet may also have included Harry Fink (who was born Harry Finklestein and later went by the name Harry Brown), who sometimes played baritone, sometimes tenor.

Each entry below gives (1) the name of the group as it appears on released discs, (2) the location and recording date of the selections, (3) the matrix and take number (underlined take numbers indicating that the take was mastered, that is, used to create a metal negative that in turn could be used to manufacture records), (4) the overall (p.216) all title of the side, followed by the type (fox-trot, waltz, etc.) when that is not part of the title, followed by names of selections included in a medley, followed by the names of the composer(s) and arranger, when known, and (5) information about the fate of the take(s) (rejected, mastered though never issued, or released on the disc specified). All the information under (4) is given at the first occurrence of a title, but only a short title is given for repetitions, except when two different record companies are involved. When there is a conflict between information given on a record label and that given by the corresponding documentation, preference is given to the record-label version. Composer's names are given as they are presented on labels and in documentation. They have not been corrected, although I have allowed myself an occasional “sic.” Where no composer is identified in the sources, “n.c.” appears where the name(s) would otherwise appear.

Brown Brothers' Saxophone Quintette

New York, June 26, 1911

19433-1

That Beautiful Rag (n.c.)

rejected

19434-1

American Patrol (Meacham)

Columbia A-1041

19435-1

Tramp, Tramp, Tramp-Theme and Variations (n.c.)

rejected

19436-1

The Bullfrog and the Coon-Medley (“Chicken [Reel],” “Cubanola Glide,” When the Moon Plays Peek-a-Boo,” “The Bullfrog and the Coon”) (n.c.)

Columbia A-1041

These two released titles were remade by the American Saxophone Band on March 7, 1912, and issued on discs with the same release number as the June takes. The matrix numbers of the remakes were respectively 19790 and 19789. But the March 1912 group couldn't have been the (by then Six) Brown Brothers, since the latter were not in New York at that time. There is some reason to believe that the March 1912 group included Billy Markwith.

Six Brown Brothers

New York, November 10, 1914

From contemporary photos, the most likely personnel for this group includes Tom Brown and Fred Brown, alto sax; William Brown, tenor sax; Harry Fink and Alec Brown, baritone sax; Vern Brown, bass sax. However, Billy Markwith appears in some photos during this period instead of William Brown.

(p.217)

15360-1-2

Chicken Reel Comedy Medley (“Chicken Reel,” “He's a Devil in His Home Town,” “While the Angelus Is Ringing,” “Bull Frog and the Coon”) (n.c.)

rejected

15361-1-2

La Paloma (Yradier)

rejected

15362-1-2

That Moaning Saxophone Rag (Harry Cook-Tom Brown)

rejected

15363-1-2

Dill Pickles Rag (Johnson)

rejected

New York, November 20, 1914

15360-3

Chicken Reel Comedy Medley

rejected

15361-3

La Paloma

Victor 17822, 72326

15362-3

That Moaning Saxophone Rag

Victor 17677

15363-3

Dill Pickles Rag

mastered, not issued

15414-1

Independentia—Medley March (“Independentia,” “Under [the] Double Eagle,” “When You Wore a Tulip”) (n.c.)

rejected

New York, December 8, 1914

15414-2-3

Independentia-Medley March

rejected

New York, February 15, 1915

15360-4-5

Chicken Reel Comedy Medley (“Poet and Peasant,” “Chicken Reel,” “Virginia Lee,” “Bull Frog [sic: Bullfrog] and the Coon”) (n.c.)

Victor 17799

15361-4

La Paloma

rejected

15363-4

Dill Pickles Rag

rejected

15414-4-5

Independentia-Medley March

rejected

New York, June 11, 1915

15414-6-7-8-9-10

Independentia-Medley March (“Independentia,” “Under the Double Eagle,” “Billboard March”) (n.c.)

Victor 17822

New York, June 25, 1915

16141-1-2-3

American Patrol (n.c.)

mastered, not issued

16142-1-2-3

Down Home Rag (Wilber C. S. Sweatman)

rejected

New York, July 8, 1915

16142-4-5-6

Down Home Rag

Victor 17834

16178-1-2-3

A La Carte (Abe Holtzman)

rejected

(p.218) New York, August 13, 1915

16178-4-5-6

A La Carte

rejected

16355-1

The Hustler March (Harry L. Alford)

rejected

Camden, N.J., June 19, 1916

The instrumentation has probably changed by this date, but not the personnel:

Tom Brown and Fred Brown, alto sax; Harry Fink and William Brown, tenor sax; Alec Brown, baritone sax; Vern Brown, bass sax. Some of the arrangements for this series of dates are by F. Henri Klickmann, according to the Victor recording books.

17894-1-2

Pussyfoot March (In Fox Trot Time) (“Slap” White, arr. FHK)

Victor 18097

17895-1-2

Chin Chin-Medley Fox Trot (“Pretty Baby,” “Chin-Chin Open Your Heart and Let Me In”) (Van Alstyne [sic]-Seymour Brown)

rejected

17896-1-2

Rigoletto Quartet (Verdi, arr. G. E. Holmes)

rejected

Camden, N.J., June 20, 1916

17895-3-4-5

Chin Chin-Medley Fox Trot

Victor 18149

17897-1-2

Bull Frog Blues (In Fox Trot Time) (Tom Browne [sic]-Guy Shrigley, arr. FHK)

Victor 18097

17898-1-2

Walkin' the Dog-Fox Trot (Brooks-Shrigley, arr. FHK)

rejected

17899-1-2-3

Chicken Walk-Eccentric Fox Trot (Tom Brown, arr. FHK)

Victor 18189

Camden, N.J., June 21, 1916

17895-6-7

Chin Chin-Medley Fox Trot

rejected

17898-3-4

Walkin' the Dog

rejected

17899-4-5

Chicken Walk

rejected

18006-1-2

Passion Dance (La Danza Appassionata) (Parisian Fox-Tango) (Clarence M. Jones, arr. FHK)

rejected

18007-1

Saxophone Sobs-Fox Trot (E. Erdmann, arr. FHK)

rejected

Camden, N.J., June 22, 1916

17896-3-4-5

Rigoletto Quartet

Victor 18217

17898-5-6

Walkin' the Dog

Victor 18140

18006-3-4

Passion Dance

rejected

18007-2

Saxophone Sobs

Victor 18140

18014-1-2

Tambourines and Oranges- Fox Trot (F. Henri Klickmann)

rejected

(p.219) Camden, N.J., June 23, 1916

17895-8-9

Chin Chin-Medley

rejected

17896-6-7-8

Rigoletto Quartet

rejected

18006-5-6

Passion Dance

Victor 18217

18007-3

Saxophone Sobs

rejected

18014-3

Tambourines and Oranges

mastered, not issued

New York, 1 May 7, 1917

Personnel and instrumentation are probably the same as those on the 1915 sessions, except that a cornet or trumpet is audible on “For Me and My Gal.”

19696-1-2

Tom Brown's Saxophone (Waltz) (Tom Brown, arr. FHK)

mastered, not issued

19697-1-2

Daughters of American Revolution (National March) (n.c.)

mastered, not issued

19698-1-2-3

Saxophone Sam-Fox Trot (Paul Biese-F. Henri Klickmann)

Victor 18309

19840-1-2-3

My Fox Trot Girl (Paul Biese- F. Henri Klickmann)

Victor 18310

New York, May 8, 1917

19699-1-2

Comedy Tom (In One-Step Tempo) (Gus King)

Victor 18385

19843-1-2-3

The Aunt Jemimas [sic] Slide (Fox Trot) (Karl Johnson)

mastered, not issued

19844-1-2

Ghost of the Saxophone-Fox Trot (F. Henri Klickmann)

rejected

19845-1-2

A Wonderful Thing (Valse Hesitation) ??(n.c.)

mastered, not issued

19846-1-2

Saxophonology (One Step) (Ernie Erdman, arr. FHK)

rejected

New York, May 9, 1917

19844-3-4

Ghost of the Saxophone

Victor 18309

19846-3

Saxophonology

mastered, not issued

19847-1-2-3

The Darktown Strutters' Ball- Fox Trot (Shelton Brooks)

Victor 18376

19848-1-2

For Me and My Gal-Medley Fox Trot (“From Here to Shanghai,” “For Me and My Gal”) (George W. Meyer- Irving Berlin)

mastered, not issued

19849-1-2-3-4-5

Smiles and Chuckles (Jazz Rag) (In One-Step Tempo) (F. Henri Klickmann)

Victor 18385

(p.220) New York, May 10, 1917

19848-3-4-5-6

For Me and My Gal

Victor 18310

New York, June 4, 1918

At this point, Vern Brown may already have been in the military, though Fred was not inducted until September 1918. A possible substitute for Vern is Matthew Amaturo. Otherwise, the personnel is probably the same as for the 1917 sessions.

21945-1-2

Minstrel Days March (G. E. Holmes)

rejected

21946-1-2

Oh! Babe!-Fox Trot (F. Henri Klickmann, arr. FHK)

rejected

21947-1-2

When Aunt Dinah's Daughter Hannah Bangs on That Piano-One Step (James (Slap) White, arr. FHK)

Victor 18476

21948-1-2

A Georgia Moan-Fox Trot (Frank Fuhrer)

mastered, not issued

21949-1-2

Come Along Ma Honey (Down Upon the Swanee)-Fox Trot (Harold Weeks, arr. FHK)

mastered, not issued

New York, June 5, 1918

21945-3

Minstrel Days March

mastered, not issued

21950-1-2

Chasing the Chickens- Fox Trot (Walker-Olman)

rejected

21951-1-2-3

Drafting Blues-Fox Trot (Maceo Pinkard)

rejected

21952-1-2

Cute and Pretty-Fox Trot (Melville Morris)

rejected

21953-1-2

Sand Dunes-One Step (Will Rossiter [sic])

rejected

21954-1-2-3

At the Funny Page Ball- Fox Trot (Robert Sparcey)

rejected

21955-1-2

The Courtier March (G. E. Holmes)

rejected

New York, June 6, 1918

21952-3-4

Cute and Pretty

mastered, not issued

21953-3

Sand Dunes

rejected

21955-3-4

The Courtier March

mastered, not issued

21956-1-2

Cry Baby-A Jass Fox Trot (Tom Brown-Ernie Erdman)

mastered, not issued

21957-1-2

Play It Again-One Step (Ernie Erdman-Tom Brown)

mastered, not issued

21958-1-2

Moovie [sic] Blues-Fox Trot (Harry Brown)

mastered, not issued

21959-1-2

Hello Central, Give Me No Man's Land (Jean Schwartz)

rejected

21960-1

Saxophone Caprice (F. Henri Klickmann)

mastered, not issued

(p.221) New York, June 7, 1918

21946-3-4

Oh! Babe!

mastered, not issued

21950-3

Chasing the Chickens

Victor 18476

21951-4-5

Drafting Blues

mastered, not issued

21953-4-5

Sand Dunes

mastered, not issued

21954-4

At the Funny Page Ball

mastered, not issued

21959-3-4

Hello Central, Give Me No Man's Land

mastered, not issued

21960-2-3-4

Saxophone Caprice

rejected

Camden, N.J., May 12, 1919

At this point, both Fred and Vern Brown may still have been in the military, although the war had ended the previous November. So there could be subs on second alto and bass sax, possibly including Billy Markwith and Matthew Amaturo, or the personnel could be the same as in 1914-1917: Tom Brown and Fred Brown, alto sax; Harry Fink and William Brown, tenor sax; Alec Brown, baritone sax; and Vern Brown, bass sax.

21956-3-4

Cry Baby

mastered, not issued

22826-1-2-3

Peter Gink-One Step (George L. Cobb)

rejected

22827-1-2

Missouri Blues-Fox Trot (Harry Brown)

mastered, not issued

22828-1-2

Oriental Fox Trot (Vincent Rose)

mastered, not issued

22842-1-2

Off Again On Again Gone Again Finnegan (F. Henri Klickmann)

mastered, not issued

Camden, N. J., May 13, 1919

22826-4

Peter Gink

Victor 18562

22843-1-2-3

Pershing Patrol (Herbert Phillips)

rejected

22844-1-2

Sweet Jazz o' Mine-Rag One Step (Jack Frost, arr. FHK)

mastered, not issued

22850-1-2

Rajah One Step (N. M. [sic])

rejected

22851-1-2-3

Egyptland-Fox Trot (James W. Casey, arr. FHK)

Victor 18562

New York, 1919, probably after May 1

Personnel and instrumentation, according to the Emerson catalog, are the same as in 1916-17. The cornet or trumpet soloist on “I'll Say She Does” may be Harry Fink. A (p.222) cornet or trumpet is also audible on “Rainbow of My Dreams.” The takes marked as issued are those on discs known to the author. There may be others.

4437-1-2-3

I'll Say She Does (Medley) (“Smiles,” “I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles”) (Fox Trot) (De Sylva-Kahn-Jolson -Lee S. Roberts-Kenbrovin-Kellett)

Emerson 1056

4438-1-2

Carolina Sunshine (Waltz) (Hirsch-Schmidt)

Emerson 1055

4439-1-2-3

The Concourse March (G. E. Holmes)

Emerson 10106

4440-1-2-3

Peter Gink (One Step) (George L. Cobb)

Emerson 1055

4441-1-2

Missouri Blues (Fox Trot) (Harry Brown)

Emerson 1056

New York, 1919-20

4688-1-2-3-4

Twelfth Street Rag (Fox Trot) (C. E. Wheeler [sic])

Emerson 10205

New York, spring 1920?

41105-1-2-3

Fatima (One Step) (Curtis-Van Alstyne)

Emerson 10205

41106-1-2

Jazz Band Blues (Fox Trot) (James White)

Emerson 10195

41107-1

Lazy Jazz Waltz (Sweet Hawaiian Moonlight) (F. Henry [sic] Klickmann)

Emerson 10186

41108-1-2

Rainbow of My Dreams (Medley) (“Norse Maid”) (Fox Trot) (Freed-Wallace)

Emerson 10195

41109-1-2-3

Alexandria (One Step) (Anselm Goetzl)

Emerson 10186

New York or Camden, N.J., November 22, 1920

24702-1-2-3

Tip Top-Medley Fox Trot (“Wonderful Girl, Wonderful Boy,” “The Girl I Never Met”) (Ivan Caryll)

Victor 18714

24703-1-2

If a Wish Could Make It So- Medley Fox Trot (“TickleMe”) (Herbert Stothart)

Victor 18714

24704-1-2-3

Shivaree-One Step (Geo. L. Cobb)

mastered, not issued*

New York, c. 1920

Disc for a sound movie short produced by the Talking Picture Company of New York; title of film and musical selections are unknown; see “Pat” Ballard, “Making the First Talking Picture of a Jazz Orchestra,” Metronome, November 1929, 40.

(p.223) Tom Brown Accompanied by Brown Brothers

Location and date unknown [probably 1921-25]

Rosy Cheeks (Squires)      not commercially issued*

Six Original Brown Brothers

New York, May 5, 1927

This Vitaphone soundtrack disc, entitled Saxaphonic [sic] Jazz Masters and Orchestra in Vitaphone's distributor's catalog but copyrighted as The Original Six Brown Brothers, Saxophone Orchestra Headed by Tom Brown, Offering … (completed by the playlist), is slightly longer than nine minutes. Only two pieces are played by the (p.224) Six Brown Brothers; others are by Their Augmented Orchestra (with or without the addition of the sextet), a “modern dance orchestra” including Tom Brown on soprano and alto saxophones and possibly other members of the Six Brown Brothers, which at the time probably included Tom on soprano and alto, Vern Brown on bass sax, and four unidentified musicians, possibly including Lester Rush, on alto, two tenors, and a baritone. No composers are given in the Vitaphone catalog, which is the only written source I know of for information about the short. I have added their names where known, but have omitted “n.c.”

  • Yankee Rose (Abe Frankl): band                           Vitaphone 549
  • In a Little Spanish Town(Mabel Wayne): sextet
  • The Bullfrog and the Coon (Joseph S. Nathan): band
  • Yankee Rose: band
  • Pagliacci (Dance Orchestration)(Leoncavallo): band
  • 'Deed I Do (Walter Hirsch-Fred Rose): band
  • Abandoned-bride routine: Tom Brown and band
  • How Dry I Am: band
  • Rosy Cheeks (Harry D. Squires): Tom Brown and band
  • There's Something Nice About Everyone
  •    (Arthur Terker-Alfred Bryan-Pete Wendling): band

*“Shivaree” and “Rosy Cheeks” are the selections on the two sides of a privately made disc designated Six Brown Bros Saxophone Records 1000, recorded by Electric Recording Laboratories, New York, at an unknown date. The former seems likely to be a dub of the November 1920 Victor “Shivaree.” The latter sounds as if it were recorded acoustically, which makes a date of 1925 or earlier likely, and the song bears a 1921 copyright. Since the date of the Brothers' short film for the Talking Picture Company of New York (see chapter 12) is unknown, but probably lies in the period 1920-23, and since “Pat” Ballard, on whose testimony knowledge of the film relies, characterized the music in it as “subdued and organ-like,” perhaps “Rosy Cheeks” is a dub of the soundtrack disc. The artist credit on the “Shivaree” side reads “Played by Six Brown Brothers”; the corresponding line on the reverse is “Solo Played by Tom Brown Accompanied by Brown Brothers.” The disc is inscribed “Gift from Dorothy Stone” and may have entered the collection of the National Music Museum, Vermillion, South Dakota, via the private collection of Tom Brown's friend H. A. Waggener.

Notes:

(45.) Emerson Phonograph Company, New Gold Seal Emerson Records November 1919 [catalog] (n.p. [New York]: Emerson Phonograph Company, 1919), 3. The catalog entry for the Brothers’ records uses one of the 1914 White Studio photos of the group, showing two baritones, in contradiction of the verbal (p.259) description of the group as using two tenors. It is the same photo as the inset of the Brothers in figure 8.