Update: 2021-06-14


At Centuries of Sound I am making mixes for every year of recorded sound. The download here is only for February and March. For the full 3.5-hour version please come to centuriesofsound.com to stream, or patreon.com/centuriesofsound for downloads and a host of other bonus materials for just $5 per month. This show would not be possible without my supporters on there, so please consider signing up or sharing this with someone who may be interested.

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As we journey through the 20th century, another parallel progression is taking place. In the now little remembered days of, 1901, this project involved collecting whatever meagre heavily-mediated artefacts survived and trying to knit them together into a narrative which felt like it made sense. For the long-forgotten years of the Edwardian era, this made sense, but as the devastation of the First World War started, the inadequacy of the sources available became suddenly stark. Who were these dance bands playing hot ragtime, and why were they so completely oblivious to the events going on in Europe? There was a forced myopia, and we just had to put up with it.

But then we had jazz, blues, country, electrical recordings, sound films, radio, newsreels; all expanding the pool of available sounds, cross-fertilizing, widening the pallet. As you know, of course, another war is now approaching. Perhaps it would be hyperbole to say the distant rumbles can be felt throughout these recordings, perhaps this is all in my interpretation and in yours, but this mix does feel to me like a picture of a year, not just a picture of a year’s music.

This, naturally, adds complications. I know very little of the lives of the musicians featured so far. Their contribution has been the joy their music can bring, and at this distant a perspective everything else about their lives – though likely very interesting – is not relevant to the project. This mix, on the other hand, includes the voices of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin. To leave them out entirely would be to paint a sanitised picture of the year, but it is vital not to let them set the agenda. I have tried, to the best of my ability, to present them each briefly, with appropriate mournfulness or mockery. I can’t promise that I’ve always achieved this as well as I would like, but I promise I have tried.

This tracklisting has been divided up month-by month in order to be more easily digestible.

January – Swing Is Here

0:00:00 NBC Symphony Orchestra – Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 In A Major Op. 92. Ii. Allegretto
(Clips from 1936-01-03 Opening Day of 74th Congress)
0:00:34 Busch Quartet – String Quartet No. 12 In E Flat Op. 127
(Clip from My Man Godfrey)
(Clip from AT&T Archives Introduction to the Dial Telephone)
0:02:21 Gene Krupa – Swing Is Here (+ Benny Goodman)
(Clip from Rose Marie)
0:05:16 Ink Spots – Stompin’ At The Savoy
0:06:17 Benny Goodman & His Orchestra – Stompin’ At The Savoy
(Clip from Reefer Madness)
0:08:28 Memphis Minnie – New Orleans Stop Time
0:11:21 Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – Steel Guitar Rag
0:14:08 Ciro Rimacs Rumba-Orchester – Maxixe-Carioca

February – Nightmail

(Clip from Disorder in the Court)
0:15:58 Lion – Four Mills Brothers
(Clip from Le Vrai Jeu)
0:18:41 Charles Trenet – Tout Est Au Duc
(Clip from Anthony Adverse)
0:20:56 Django Reinhardt Et Le Quintette Du Hot Club De France, Avec Stéphane Grappelli – Limehouse Blues
0:23:38 W. H. Auden – On This Island
0:24:27 Benjamin Britten, Stuart Legg and John Grierson – Nightmail
0:27:35 The Benny Goodman Quartet – Tiger Rag (Take 1)
(Clip from Cain & Mabel)
0:30:37 Ella Fitzgerald feat. Chick Webb And His Orchestra – Sing Me A Swing Song (And Let Me Dance)
(Clip from Rose Marie)
0:32:24 Jones-Smith Incorporated – Lady Be Good
0:35:29 Slim & Slam – The Flat Foot Floogie

March – There May Be Trouble Ahead

0:38:15 Robert Johnson – Cross Road Blues (Take 2)
(Clip from 1936-03-01 King Edward VIII – The first broadcast to the Empire as King)
0:41:18 Fred Astaire – Let’s Face The Music And Dance (Soundtrack)
(Clip from 1936-03-01 King Edward VIII – The first broadcast to the Empire as King)
0:43:27 Barney Bigard And His Jazzopaters – Caravan
(Clip from 1936-03-07 PTT Albert Sarrault Proteste Contre Loccupation De La Rhenanie)
0:44:27 Josephine Baker – Mayari
0:46:20 Sukru Tunar – Suzinak Taksim
0:47:05 Sukru Tunar – Karslama
(Clip from 1936-03-xx Winston Churchill – The Loaded Pause)
0:49:09 Ramadan Lolov – Orientalski Kyuchek
(Clip from 1936-03-19 NBC ATMOTA – The Supreme Court and the Constitution)
0:50:49 Milton Brown – Somebody’s Been Using That Thing
(Clip from Pathe Review of 1936)

April – Will the Machine Dominate Man?

0:52:37 Phil Green – Nobody’s Sweetheart (Ballyhooligans)
(Clip from 1936-04-02 NBC ATMOTA – Will Unionization Promote Industrial Recovery)
0:54:31 Kōichi Sugii – Kiso Takashi
0:57:15 Walter De La Mare – Nod
0:58:15 Roy Acuff and his Crazy Tennesseeans – Great Speckled Bird
(Clip from 1936-04-16 NBC ATMOTA – Will the Machine Dominate Man)
1:00:14 Lonnie Glosson – Arkansas Hard Luck Blues
(Clip from 1936-04-16 NBC ATMOTA – Will the Machine Dominate Man)
1:03:11 Harlem Hamfats – Weed Smoker’s Dream
(Clip from 1936-04-17 PTT Maurice Thorez)
1:06:31 Edith Piaf – Je Suis Mordue
(Clip from John Wayne in The Lawless Nineties)
1:08:10 Sri Ma Keow & Chai Wat – Courting The Woman From Chiang Mai

May – Play Faster!

(Gennett Sound Effects – Rainfall and Thunder)
(Clip from 1936-05-01 Adolf Hitler Speech at Krupp Factory in Germany)
1:09:18 NBC Symphony Orchestra – Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 In A Major Op. 92. Ii. Allegretto
(Clip from 1936-05-09 EIAR Benito Mussolini – Vincere)
(Clip from 1936-05-09 EIAR Reports End Of Ethiopian War)
1:10:03 Pablo Casals – Excerpt from Suite No. 2 In D Minor
(Clip of Spencer Tracy in Fury)
1:10:59 Anestis Delias – Sura Ke Mastura
(Clip of Shirley Temple in Poor Little Rich Girl)
1:13:00 Septeto Anacaona – Despúes Que Sufras
(Clip from Dodsworth)
1:16:02 Meade ‘Lux’ Lewis – Celeste Blues
(Clip from Camile)
1:18:03 Mary Lou Williams – Corny Rhythm
(Clip from Reefer Madness)
1:21:15 Albert Ammons – Nagasaki
(Clip from The Story of Louis Pasteur)
1:23:05 Little Brother Montgomery – Farish Street Jive
1:24:23 W. H. Auden – May

June – Red Hot

1:25:17 Teddy Wilson And His Orchestra – Pennies From Heaven
(Clip from After The Thin Man)
1:28:35 Georgia White – Get ’em From The Peanut Man (Hot Nuts)
(Clip from 1936-06-12 Alfred M Landon Speech)
1:30:25 Fats Waller & His Rhythm – It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie
(Clip from 1936-06-26 CBS Democratic Convention)
1:34:54 Louis Armstrong – Mahogany Hall Stomp
(Clip from 1936-06-26 CBS Democratic Convention)
1:13:16 Bo Carter – Cigarette Blues
1:39:34 Robert Johnson – They’re Red Hot
(Clip from Rembrandt)
1:41:07 Lil Johnson – Sam The Hot Dog Man
(Clip from Tarzan Escapes)
1:43:12 Lead Belly – Pig Meat Papa
(Clip from The Story of Louis Pasteur)

July – Now You’re Singing With A Swing

1:44:34 Jesse James – Southern Casey Jones
(Clip from Green Pastures)
1:46:41 Hall Negro Quartet – I’ve Heard Of A City Called Heaven
1:47:30 Elder Otis Jones – O Lord I’m Your Child
1:49:30 Mahmut Celalettin And Udi Marko – Yuzu Pembe
(Clip from AT&T Archives Introduction to the Dial Telephone)
1:50:44 Cuarteto Marcano – Sucedio Lo Que Tenia Que Suceder
(Clip from Disorder in the Court)
1:52:39 Billie Holiday – Summertime
(Clip from 1936-06-30 Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia – Addresses League of Nations)
(Clip from Ten Year Old Boy Pilot)
1:55:50 Benny Goodman – Bugle Call Rag
(Clip from Mr Deeds Goes to Town)
1:58:48 Louis Prima And His New Orleans Gang – Sing, Sing, Sing
2:00:40 RCA – First Television Broadcast July 7, 1936

August – Quite Beyond the Reach of Young Women

2:04:28 Benny Goodman Trio – Tiger Rag
(Clip from 1936-07-28 DRF Jessie Owens Interview)
2:06:54 Johnny Rodríguez Y Su Orchestra – Mulatica
(Clip from 1936-07-31 RRG Radio – Olympic Fire Handed Over At The Czech-German Border)
2:10:01 Karlo – Vladaisko Horo
(Clip from 1936-08-16 Olympic Sports In Berlin)
2:11:59 Stuff Smith Onyx Club Boys – I Hope Gabriel Likes My Music
(Clip from 1936-08-16 Olympic Sports In Berlin)
(Clip fom 1936-xx-xx RRG Edgar Stahff – The Olympic Games And Foreign Germans)
2:14:50 Andy Kirk & his Twelve Clouds – Lotta Sax Appeal
(Clip from Sabotage)
2:18:08 King Radio – Texilia
(Clip from The World’s Tallest Man Robert Wadlow)
2:19:39 George Formby – When I’m Cleaning Windows
2:21:18 George Formby – Quickfire Medley
(Clip from Winterset)

September – My Hours Are Slumberless

2:21:42 Teddy Wilson – Blues In C Sharp
(Clip from 1936-08-30 Franklin D. Roosevelt – I Hate War Speech)
2:25:03 Hal Kemp – Gloomy Sunday
(Clip from 1936-xx-xx Leon Trotsky – On Stalins Moscow Trials)
2:27:36 Busch Quartet – String Quartet No. 12 In E Flat Op. 127
(Clip from 1936-xx-xx PCPT Josef Stalin – On Germany)
(Clip from 1936-xx-xx PCPT Josef Stalin – Will Do His Duty)
(Clip from 1936-xx-xx PCPT Josef Stalin – Workers Paradise)
2:28:42 Walter De La Mare – Song Of Shadows
2:29:15 Barney Bigard (Duke Ellington) – Clouds In My Heart
(Clip from Pathe Review of 1936)
2:31:16 Stellio Et Son Orchestre Creole – Encore Cinq Minutes Veux-Tu!
(Clip from 1936-xx-xx BBC Chamberlain On Tax Hikes For Armaments)
2:32:47 Ink Spots – Christopher Columbus
2:34:28 Emmett Miller & His Georgia Crackers – The Gypsy

October – Vote For Mr Rhythm

(Clip from 1936-10-01 FDR Speech DNC Pittsburgh)
2:38:02 Chick Webb And His Orchestra – Vote For Mr. Rhythm
(Clip from 1936-10-02 WCFL City Series Game 2 Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox)
2:40:41 Riki Miyagawa – Yume Miru Kokoro
(Clip from 1936-10-03 NBC World Series Game 3 NY Giants vs NY Yankees)
2:42:46 The Spirits Of Rhythm – My Old Man
2:44:28 Putney Dandridge – Skeleton In The Closet
(Clip from Hra Bublinek)
2:45:48 Márkos Vamvakáris – Mávra Mátia Mávra Frýdia
(Clip from Mon Père avait raison)
2:47:04 Charles Trenet – Vous Oubliez Votre Cheval
(Clip from 1936-10-28 FDR Fiftieth Anniversary Of Statue Of Liberty)
2:48:46 Georges Boulanger – La Trioletta7
(Clip from Disorder in the Court)
2:50:20 Lew Childre – It Don’t Do Nothing But Rain
(Clip from 1936-10-31 Franklin D. Roosevelt – I Welcome Their Hatred)

November – Isn’t Jazz Just A Lot Of Noise?

2:52:23 J.E. Mainer’s Mountaineers – John Henry Was A Little Boy
(Clip from 1936-10-31 Houdinis Final Seance)
2:54:09 Henry Hall BBC Dance Orchestra – Rusty And Dusty
(Clip from 1936-11-02 The First BBC Programme)
2:56:03 Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – Basin Street Blues
(Clip from NBC ATMOTA)
(Clip from 1936-11-16 Winston Churchill – The Causes of War)
3:00:10 Hackberry Ramblers – J’ai Pas Bien Fey
(Clip from 1936-11-30 British Pathe – Crystal Palace Fire Aka Great Fire Destroys Crystal Palace)
3:01:46 Marian Anderson – Heav’n, Heav’n
(Clip from 1936-11-26 NBC ATMOTA – What Does the Public Want in Music)
3:02:43 Django Reinhardt Et Le Quintette Du Hot Club De France, Avec Stéphane Grappelli – I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
(Clip from 1936-11-26 NBC ATMOTA – What Does the Public Want in Music)
3:06:18 Duke Ellington – In A Sentimental Mood
(Clip from 1936-11-26 NBC ATMOTA – What Does the Public Want in Music)
3:07:56 Mahmut Celalettin – Neva Ussak Gazel
(Clip from 1936-11-26 NBC ATMOTA – What Does the Public Want in Music)

December – No Regrets

3:09:45 Orchestre Del’s Jazz Biguine – Nain Cochon
(Clip from 1936-11-26 NBC ATMOTA – What Does the Public Want in Music)
3:12:45 Mildred Bailey – Long About Midnight
(Clip from 1936-12-11 King Edward VIII – Abdication Speech)
3:16:30 Blind Boy Fuller – I’m A Rattlesnakin’ Daddy
(Clip from Alastair Cooke on Katherine Hepburn)
3:18:13 Tino Rossi – Le Mur De Ton Jardin
3:21:10 W. H. Auden – A Bride in the 30’s
3:23:06 Busch Quartet – String Quartet No. 12 In E Flat Op. 127
(Clip from 1936-12-29 MBS First Coast To Coast Broadcast)
3:24:42 Futaba Akiko & Columbia Rhythm Boys – Biroudo No Tsuki
(Clip from The Petrified Forest)
3:27:07 Billie Holiday – No Regrets

In Channel






December 7th 1941

December 7th 1941





1939 Preview – War

1939 Preview – War














1936 Preview Part 1

1936 Preview Part 1


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