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American Vaudeville Pioneers

’Gene Greene's Victor Recordings
An Illustrated Discography

Compiled and annotated by Allan Sutton

File data courtesy of John Bolig and the UCSB Victor Project


   
'Gene Greene, the self-styled "Ragtime King" had a sporadic recording career, splitting his time between the U.S. and British studios when not busy touring. The majority of his American recordings were made for Victor, during the height of his success on the Keith and Proctor vaudeville circuits, and several of them number among his best recorded efforts. Greene's tenure with Victor, however, was cut short by his departure for an extended stay in England. There, he recorded prolifically for Pathé during 1912–13, producing more than sixty sides, most of them with piano accompaniment by his vaudeville partner, Charley Straight.

   

Victor announced its signing of Greene in July 1911 and inexplicably issued his first records on
single-sided discs, a format it had largely abandoned for popular releases by that time.
(Courtesy of John Bolig)
   

Greene made his first documented recording on February 14, 1911, at a Victor test session in Camden, New Jersey. Three days later, Greene was in the Columbia studio making what would be his first issued records, "Cancel That Wedding March" and "King of the Bungaloos" (coupled on Columbia A994). The latter, a fairly new composition at the time, would come to be Greene's signature piece, concluding with an improvised "scat" chorus that was reported to bring audiences to their feet. He soon returned to Victor's Camden studio, where he recorded on four consecutive days during April 1911. They would be his last American sessions before sailing for England.
  


 
Victor's August 1911 release of "King of the Bungaloos" was the first of two versions Greene
recorded for that company. He also recorded his signature piece for Columbia, English
Pathé, Emerson, Little Wonder, and — finally, in 1929 — as a Brunswick test.
(Courtesy of John Bolig)

   

Greene did not return to the American studios until December 1916, when he recorded several sides for the new Emerson label, as well as two test selections for Victor. His final Victor session, on March 9, 1917, produced remakes of two old favorites — "King of the Bungaloos," in a livelier and more self-assured rendition than the original; and "Ruff Johnson's Harmony Band," a song long associated with Greene, which Victor had handed to Will Halley in 1914 in Greene's absence.


The two Victor versions of "King of the Bungaloos." The 1917 remake (right) is far livelier
than the original, which was taken at a slower tempo and is somewhat tentative-sounding,
suggesting that Greene was still perfecting delivery of his signature piece.
(Author's collection)



   
The 1911 announcement of Greene's first double-sided Victors.
(Courtesy of John Bolig)


’GENE GREENE VICTOR DISCOGRAPHY

The following discography is compiled from the Victor ledgers (via John Bolig and the UCSB Victor Project) and has been cross-checked against the original pressings in the author's collection. It is particularly interesting to note how often only a single take was made of a selection; Victor's usual policy at the time was to record three takes of each title.


Camden, NJ: February 14, 1911  
  Acc: Not listed in ledger  
Trial — Title(s) not listed in ledger Victor unissued

Camden, NJ: April 18, 1911  
  Acc: Studio orchestra (no conductor listed in ledger)
B-10191-1 Maybe You Think I'm Happy Victor 16887
B-10192-1 Dublin Daisies Victor 16894

Camden, NJ: April 19, 1911  
  Acc: Studio orchestra (no conductor listed in ledger) 
B-10196-1 Slip On Your Glad Rags and Come with Me Victor unissued
B-10197-1 Alamo Rag Victor 16887
B-10198-1 Stay in Italy Victor 5850
B-10199-1 That Carolina Rag  [remade April 19, 1911] Victor unissued
B-10209-1 Go Back Victor 16894
B-10210-1, -2 Cancel That Wedding March  [remade April 20, 1911] Victor unissued
B-10211-1, -2 King of the Bungaloos  [remade April 19, 1911] Victor unissued
B-10212-1 I'm Going to Stay on Solid Ground  
   [remade April 20, 1911]
Victor 5848
  Note: The unissued takes were destroyed.

Camden, NJ: April 19, 1911  
  Acc: Studio orchestra (no conductor listed in ledger)  
B-10199-2 That Carolina Rag Victor unissued
B-10211-3 King of the Bungaloos Victor 5854
  Note: The unissued take was destroyed.

Camden, NJ: April 20, 1911  
  Acc: Studio orchestra (no conductor listed in ledger) 
B-10210-3 Cancel That Wedding March Victor 5853
B-10212-2 I'm Going to Stay on Solid Ground Victor unissued
B-10213-1 The Long-Lost Chord Victor unissued
B-10214-1 The Piano Man Victor unissued
  Note: The unissued takes were destroyed.

New York: December 15, 1916  
  Acc: Piano  
Trial — From Here to Shanghai Victor unissued
Trial — Ruff Johnson's Harmony Band Victor unissued

Camden, NJ: January 30, 1917  
Acc: Studio orchestra (Rosario Bourdon, conductor), with Peerless Quartet on B-19143  
B-19143-4 From Here to Shanghai Victor 18242
B-19144-
  1,-2,-3
Ruff Johnson's Harmony Band  [remade March 9, 1917] Victor unissued
  Note: The unissued takes were destroyed.

Camden, NJ: January 30, 1917  
  Acc: Studio orchestra  
B-19145-1 Dance and Grow Thin Victor unissued
  Note: The unissued take was destroyed. 

Camden, NJ: March 9, 1917  
  Acc: Studio orchestra (Rosario Bourdon, conductor)  
B-10211-6 King of the Bungaloos Victor 18266
B-19144-5 Ruff Johnson's Harmony Band Victor 18266
B-19356-1,-2 Frankie and Johnnie Victor unissued
  Note: The unissued takes were destroyed. 

"A major improvement over The Complete Entertainment Discography... informative." — ARSC Journal

Gene Greene's other recordings — and those of more than 420 other actors, vaudevillians, and musical comedy stars — are detailed in The American Stage Performers Discography, available from Mainspring Press.



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