The Original Charleston
Rhythms of the Roaring Twenties
Josephine Baker – she of the famous banana skin costumes! – and many more famous musicians of the twenties in music for dancing and smooching away the evening, whether it’s at the cabaret, or at home by the fireside! Vintage recordings, lovingly restored.
There is something special about these vintage recordings: don’t forget that they were effectively ‘live’, since recording techniques of the 1920s allowed no other way. Musicians crowded around a microphone and got it right first time. So we really are hearing these musicians and singers as they really were, and hearing them when they were really concentrating as well! And with a bit of judicious tweaking of the hisses and crackles on these old recordings, we can produce a respectable sound which allows the superb artistry to shine through.
Our cover image features Josephine Baker, an American who took Paris by storm in 1925 in the show at a theatre on the Champs-Elysées which introduced the marvelous Charleston dance to the French. Baker went on to perform many more times in Paris, her almost nude appearances causing quite a stir, and helping to confirm her status as one of the most talked-about stars of her day. We have included two of her most famous songs on this album, ‘Who?’ and ‘That certain feeling’.
Other stars on the album include Ted Weems, famous for introducing Perry Como to the world in the 1930s. Paul Whiteman was one of the greatest musicians of the jazz age, so it’s appropriate to have his own rendition of the Charleston. The famous bit of the tune puts in appearance after a minute or so! Jolson, Astaire, Morton, Sophie Tucker: none of these names need introduction here. All make strongly rhythmic music which positively begs the feet to get moving. So we invite you to enjoy these wonderful sounds. An armchair is a good place to start, but I hope that the music will drag you to your feet and onto the dance floor!