victor records

victor records

Harry Macdonough "The Girl I Should Have Married Long Ago" (November 20, 1901) Victor 613

1d ago
SOURCE  

Description

Harry Macdonough recorded "The Girl I Should Have Married Long Ago" on November 20, 1901, for the Victor Talking Machine Company. It was issued on Victor 613 (Pre-matrix B-]613) Composer (words and music) is William Francis Burke. Harry Macdonough (30 March 1871 - 26 September 1931) was of Scottish descent, He was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada as John Scantlebury Macdonald. During the two decades he was active as a recording artist, the tenor was perhaps the most popular ballad singer to make records aside from Henry Burr, also a tenor from Canada. Determining who made more records before 1920 would be a challenge since both Macdonough and Burr worked regularly as solo artists and also within duos, trios, quartets, and larger ensembles. He first made cylinders for the Michigan Electric Company in Detroit. In a letter written to Jim Walsh dated February 9, 1931, he states that these cylinders "were not sold but merely used in their `Phonograph Parlor' on the slot machines in use at that time." The June 1920 issue of Talking Machine World states he "spent his early business life in Detroit." John Kaiser, who recorded "Casey" monologues and later served as a U.S. Phonograph Company executive, helped Macdonald enter the record business on the East Coast. After Macdonald made a test record in October 1898 at the New York studio of Harms, Kaiser & Hagen, Kaiser himself played the test record for Walter H. Miller, then Edison's recording manager. As a result, Macdonald began making commercial recordings at the Edison laboratories in West Orange, New Jersey, on October 17, 1898. His first Edison recordings included "The Lost Chord" (6504), "Good-Bye, Sweet Dream, Good-Bye" (6500), and "Mary Quite Contrary" (6510). He wrote to Walsh, "At my first session I made twelve selections, for which I received $9.00. The regular rate was at that time $1.00 per song but being a beginner I was supposed to be satisfied with anything they chose to pay me and, as a matter of fact, I was. That $9.00 seemed pretty big pay for the afternoon and I had no complaint...shortly after that they paid me the regular rate of $1.00 per 'round' as it was described in those days. Each morning or afternoon session consisted of 30 'rounds,' consisting of five or six songs..." Miller objected to the name John, claiming it was not "romantic enough," and told the singer, "You're Harry Macdonald from now on." However, on the singer's first cylinder, the last name had been mistakenly printed as "Macdonough." The tenor later explained why he continued using this name: "...I was completely indifferent to what they called me. I thought then that record-making was a sort of lowdown business, anyway." It is a curious explanation for a name change since "Harry" seems no more romantic than "John," but the singer reported this to Walsh without any hint of jesting. His assumed name led to some embarrassment since veteran theatrical comedian named Harry Macdonough was asked to sing ballads when on stage. The recording artist wrote to the stage artist a letter of apology because, as he later told Walsh, "I felt that if I told him the truth, that I had never heard of him before I appropriated his name, I would only be adding insult to injury." A friendly understanding was reached, the only inconvenience being the tendency of each to receive the other's mail. Since John Macdonald never worked as a stage performer--he sang in churches--all references in theater literature from the 1890s and later to Harry Macdonough concern this stage artist, never the recording artist. In 1899, for the cylinder company Harms, Kaiser, and Hagen, the tenor used the name Ralph Raymond. As a solo artist he recorded in 1899 and 1900 a few dozen titles for Berliner. In 1900 the tenor made discs for Eldridge R. Johnson's newly-formed Consolidated Talking Machine Company, soon to be called the Victor Talking Machine Company. He recorded more titles for the compa...