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That Moaning SaxophoneThe Six Brown Brothers and the Dawning of a Musical Craze$
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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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The Traveling City 1899–1909

The Traveling City 1899–1909

(p.36) 4 The Traveling City 1899–1909
That Moaning Saxophone

Bruce Vermazen

Oxford University Press

This chapter covers Tom Brown's career in minstrelsy (Guy Brothers' Minstrels), circuses (Walter L. Main Enormous Shows and Ringling Brothers' World's Greatest Shows), and vaudeville during 1899-1909. His brothers Percy, Verne, Fred, and Alex also join the circus. The first Brown Brothers musical act (Tom and Percy) is formed (c.1903), and Tom's first saxophone ensemble emerges (c.1906) in the Ringling “after-show” and tours in vaudeville. Tom meets and courts his future wife, Theresa Valerio. The Main and Ringling shows of the era are described along with the sort of life led by the performers. The possible influence on Tom of Zip, the What-Is-It? (William Henry Johnson) and of Alfred Ringling's Life Story of the Ringling Brothers is discussed.

Keywords:   Tom Brown, Brown Brothers, Walter L. Main, Ringling Brothers, vaudeville, Theresa Valerio, Tom of Zip, What-Is-It, William Henry Johnson, Guy Brothers' Minstrels

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