An essential collection for libraries and archives. Many of these shows have never been recorded in any other format but these light opera company medleys of "vocal gems." These antique 78-RPM discs are the predecessors of today's original cast recordings.
Covered here are operettas, musicals and revues of the war years.
Listeners should be aware that all the recordings in this set date from the "acoustic" period of recording and have limited range. Those I haven't daunted are in for a treat, for once you get past the antique sound you discover a wealth or musical material and a glimpse into a Broadway very different from what it would eventually become.
Once you get all 4 volumes of BROADWAY THROUGH THE GRAMOPHONE you will have a fairly comprehensive collection covering musical theatre from 1900 - 1929.
While show medleys continued to be recorded into the 1930s, these tended to be more dance-band oriented and the various record label "light opera companies" were retired. But changes were on the horizon: In 1931 Victor was experimenting with a new format of long play records at 33 1/3 rpm and recorded Fred and Adele Astaire in selections from the revue THE BANDWAGON. In 1932 Jack Kapp at Brunswick put out an album of SHOW BOAT featuring some of the cast of the 1932 revival. Broadway stars like Ethel Merman began recording singles of their hit songs, and by the time of World War II, Decca Records was starting to record complete sets of hit shows like OKLAHOMA! and CAROUSEL. It is a shame that it took American labels so long to begin documenting Broadway hits with full length albums but the industry was growing and learning. Thanks to these collections from Pearl we can sample the early years.