Tomorrow in New York City – Bob Roberts

Uncle Dave Lewis and I will again be speaking about Bob and Nick Roberts and we have some exciting new discoveries to present! The flyer for the program is below.

NYC19030425.1.28-700w-call-2075-2625-1425-987

ARSC New York Chapter

FEBRUARY 2016 Meeting

7:00 P. M. Thursday, 3/17/16

(At the CUNY Sonic Arts Center)

West 140th Street & Convent Avenue, New York

Or enter at 138th Street off Convent Avenue

Shepard Hall (the Gothic building) – Recital Hall (Room 95, Basement level)

An elevator is located in the center of the building

“I May Be Crazy but I Ain’t No Fool”

The Legacy of Funnyman “Ragtime Bob” Roberts

PRESENTED BY DAVID N. LEWIS AND REBECCA FORSTE

Many collectors of vintage records need no introduction to Robert S. “Ragtime Bob” Roberts, one of the most charismatic and mysterious figures in the early phonograph industry, his name appearing on nearly 500 discs and cylinder releases. Researcher Rebecca Forste and I have been looking into the Bob Roberts story from the context of his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio and have made new discoveries in the life of this key entertainer. We have discovered a new birthdate for him and have made inroads into his family history, particularly in regard to his illustrious father, minstrel show entertainer and circus entrepreneur Nick Roberts (1841-1905). This will be a joint presentation where the Nick Roberts-related material will be presented by Rebecca Forste, with Uncle Dave Lewis joining in on Roberts’s recording activity, and later, career in early radio.

the original and only nick roberts

David N. “Uncle Dave” Lewis has been an ARSC member since 1999. He has presented at several ARSC Conferences since giving his first talk in Santa Barbara in 2002 on the subject of the obscure bandleader, Harry Spindler. Lewis ran the underground record label Hospital Records out of Cincinnati in the 1980s and has had a long presence in public radio, appearing in years-long programs on WAIF (Cincinnati) and WCBN (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan). He worked as a classical music buyer for West Coast Tower Records and Virgin Megastore locations in the 1990s and spent a decade as an editor for the All Music Guide, now RoviCorp. Today he presents monthly lectures at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County on topics relating to the music and recording industry in the Ohio Valley, and is an historian and producer for WVXU, the NPR affiliate in Cincinnati. His radio piece on bandleader Earl Fuller won an “Excellence in Journalism” award from the Society for Professional Journalists.

The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Sun__Sep_12__1897_

Rebecca Forste has worked as a contributor and editor for a variety of publications. Her background and interest in sound recordings is largely the legacy of her late mother, who was an audiophile and longstanding collector.

She contributes reviews to the ARSC Journal and returns to these meetings following her initial appearance last year in the Hal Kemp program.

DIRECTIONS TO THE SONIC ARTS CENTER

Subway: Take the 1 train to 137th Street City College and walk north to 140th St. & Broadway,

then go east to 140th St. & Convent Avenue. Take the A, B, C, or D trains to 145th St, go south on St. Nicholas to 141st St, (one long block), then west one block to Convent Avenue, and south one more block to 140th & Convent Avenue.

Bus: M4 and M5 on Broadway; M 100, 101 on Amsterdam Ave. (one block West of Convent Avenue)

All ARSC NY Chapter meetings are free and open to the public.

Voluntary contributions to help defray our expenses are welcome!

To join ARSC, visit http://www.arsc-audio.org

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Part Two of History of Cincinnati Music: Puttin’ On the Ritz – Southwest Ohio Show People

Dunbar,_Paul_Laurence_Advertising  oneillll

Last month, David Lewis and I presented  History of Cincinnati Music: Puttin’ On the Ritz – Southwest Ohio Show People

at the Main Library of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

The original plan was for me to present information on three figures: Powhatan Beaty, James O’Neill and Paul Laurence Dunbar. That plan had to be amended due to limited time and I focused on Powhatan Beaty and Henry Boyd, to whom Beaty was apprenticed early in his life.

David gave fantastic presentations on Charles Urban, Arthur V. Johnson, Theda Bara and Harry Richman.

thedabara

This month, on Saturday, we will be presenting Part Two. I will be presenting the information on James O’Neill and Paul Laurence Dunbar that I had to reserve earlier, while David will tell us all about Burton L. King, Ted Lewis and Harry Reser.

Here is his radio piece on King:

 A commentary about Burton L. King, Cincinnati native and silent film director 

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And here is his recent radio interview with Joseph Rubin, curator of the Ted Lewis Museum in Circleville:

Learn About Ohio-Born Jazz Musician Ted Lewis

And here is the event page for part two of this talk:

History of Cincinnati Music – Puttin’ on the Ritz Part II: More Cincinnati Show People

I think it was David who wrote this description of it:

“A continuation of Rebecca Forste and Uncle Dave Lewis’s series of historical sketches of Cincinnati figures in entertainment. On this program, Rebecca will present on 19th century actor James “Count of Monte Cristo” O’Neill, father to playwright Eugene and, for the first time, tell the untold story of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar’s connection to mainstream, Broadway entertainment. Uncle Dave will narrate, in summary fashion, the careers of Harry Houdini’s film director Burton L. King, and musicians Ted Lewis and Harry Reser.

Program will be held in the Reading Garden Lounge located on the first floor of Main Library’s south building.”

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So, here is some of what I presented last time on Powhatan Beaty:

“The three (Beaty, O’Neill and Dunbar) were contemporaries, but Powhatan Beaty was born first, in Richmond, Virginia on October 8, 1837. pbeattydeath Most sources state that Beaty’s parents are unknown, but I have located a copy of his death certificate which lists his mother as A. Leigh. We know that Beaty named his first-born son Albert Lee Beaty. Also, the 1900 census shows a sister named Ellen Lee and a niece named Carrie Lee living in his household. These facts provide more evidence for Leigh/Lee as a family surname.

1900beaty

Beaty was born a slave and is believed to have come to Ohio in 1849 at around the age of 12. It is not known exactly when or how he was freed. He was listed as free in the first record I found of him: the 1860 federal census, where he is found living in the household of furniture maker Henry Boyd on June 18 in the thirteenth ward of Cincinnati.

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It is thought that Beaty was apprenticed to Boyd, who had been a slave in Kentucky before coming to Cincinnati, where he became a prominent furniture maker known especially for his beds. The bed shown here is at the Golden Lamb in Lebanon. Boyd employed both black and white workers. He  is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery. Beaty’s occupation in early records is usually given as turner or sawyer, both woodworking jobs.

treasures_henryboydbed

Beaty is believed to have received schooling before this apprenticeship. He showed promise as a scholar and actor and is known to have studied with actor James E. Murdoch, who moved to the Cincinnati area around 1850.  

murdoch

In 1862, Beaty served in the Black Brigade formed to help protect Cincinnati from attack and in 1863 he enlisted as a private in the Union Army at Camp Delaware, Ohio. He was promoted to sergeant two days later. Beaty was awarded a medal of honor for his actions at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, where “took command of his company, all the officers having been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it.”

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As impressive as Beaty’s military career was, we are more interested in, for the purposes of this presentation, his stage career. ”  –To be continued….

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Please come down to the main library in Cincinnati on Saturday, August 29 at 3 PM to hear more!! Looking forward to seeing you there!!

History of Cincinnati Music: Puttin’ On the Ritz – Southwest Ohio Show People

The_Sun_Wed__Apr_26__1899_

Saturday, July 25

 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

 Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

800 Vine St, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Dunbar,_Paul_Laurence_Advertising  pb james-oneill-circa-1896-photo-bw-resized

“Cincinnati has contributed a multitude of major talent to show biz, stretching back into the nineteenth century. Through thumbnail sketches, audio and video clips, Rebecca Forste and Uncle Dave Lewis will present summary profiles of seven key players in mainstream entertainment from 1870-1930: Powhatan Beaty, James O’Neill, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Charles Urban, Arthur V. Johnson, Theda Bara and Harry Richman. The one thing these key historic figures in entertainment have in common is that they all called Southwestern Ohio home. ” Text by David Neal Lewis

cristo

https://www.facebook.com/events/1450547255250357/

This going to be great! Hope you can be there!

Genuine Georgia Gal

Featuring an additional composition by Robert S. Roberts: “My Genuine Georgia Gal.”

ggg

Artie Hall, pictured above and in the previous post, had a hit singing “I’m Certainly Living a Ragtime Life” by Robert S. Roberts.

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She is also reported to have had a hit as early as 1900 with another Robert S. Roberts composition, “My Genuine Georgia Gal.” Afterwards, she was consistently billed as “the Genuine Georgia Girl.”

Truth_Sat__Mar_24__1906_

It was widely reported that she was crushed to death in the collapse of the Orpheum Theater during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. This was even reported in her Wikipedia article (citing  a New York Times report.)

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artie_Hall

However, there are many reports of her performing on stage after this date. She survived the earthquake.

As Wikipedia tells you, she performed in blackface, and I need to state here that I do not condone racial stereotyping.

Artie Hall married Robert Fulgora. Here is another song she sang in 1899:

Here she is described as  a “Georgia Coon Shouter.” After performing the Roberts song, she seems always to have been “The Genuine Georgia Girl.”

More songs composed by Robert S. “Ragtime Bob” Roberts

At the time of our recent presentation, we knew of three published musical compositions by Bob Roberts, son of Nick Roberts.They are:

The Pride Of Bucktown,  1897

A Bundle of Rags, 1897

These two pieces are historically significant not only because they add to our understanding of Bob Roberts as an artist, but also because they are among some of the very earliest ragtime pieces published. Moreover, they help us to make a bit more sense of how Roberts came to be known as “Ragtime Bob.”

The other piece of which we knew, probably the best-known, is:

I’m Certainly Living a Ragtime Life, 1900

LivingARagtimeLifeCover

An article in the March 12, 1900 edition of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle describes this song’s success. However, the article also describes Roberts as the composer of “a number of songs which have gained wide circulation.” The term “a number” seemed to indicate to me more than the two other songs that we knew, so I went searching. I found a few things.

Two songs are listed in the Catalogue of Title Entries of Books and Other Articles Entered in the Office of the Register of Copyrights, Library of Congress, at Washington: Volume 34, both published by Howley, Haviland and Dresser of New York in 1903. The first is “The College Girl” with words by Joseph C Farrell.

college girl 

The second is “One Thing That Money Cannot Buy” with words by Thomas C. MacDonald.

Another song that turned up is “The Absent-Minded Beggar” published in 1900 by Sol Bloom of Chicago.

http://booth.library.eiu.edu/archon/?p=collections/findingaid&id=36&q=&rootcontentid=6873

This came out at around the same time as the song of the same name with words by Rudyard Kipling and music by Sir Arthur Sullivan.  Is there any connection? We hope to find out!

We also hope to find more songs by Roberts. I have a feeling they are out there.

Listen to This! History of Cincinnati Music part 15 – Fats Waller and Una Mae Carlisle: A Romance Made on Radio

I will be presenting a brief portion of this.

fats 2 with una
https://www.facebook.com/events/791301340964753/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Listen to This! History of Cincinnati Music part 15 – Fats Waller and Una Mae Carlisle: A Romance Made on Radio

Like Bix Beiderbecke, jazz pianist and composer Thomas “Fats” Waller (1904-1943) enjoyed a strong local connection to Cincinnati that remains little known, but it had a critical impact on both Waller and the city. Not the least of his achievements here was discovering the immense talent of Una Mae Carlisle (1915-1956), a beautiful singer and pianist from Xenia who went onto her own significant, if tragic and now forgotten, career. Uncle Dave Lewis will present the stories of both artists, and Rebecca Forste will contribute a brief account of Una Mae and her family background in Ohio.

Program will be held in the Popular Library Lounge located on the first floor of Main Library’s south building, behind the fiction books.

Wednesday, February 11, at 7:00pm

Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
800 Vine St, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202