Another record we listened to at my Victrola party was Arkansas Traveler (as a fox trot)! It’s been one of my favorite old time tunes ever since I heard Rayna Gellert’s rendition. Most people think of Looney Toons or “Picking up my baby bumble bee” when they hear this tune, but I think it can be pretty edgy if you do it right, or just pretty.
So here’s the version recorded from the Victrola machine:
Rayna Gellert’s version:
And my version on solo dulcimer, just quickly recorded in my living room for the heck of it:
It’s something I’ve only heard about in oral history interviews about the 1930s. But golly, with luck like mine, I landed myself at my very own Victrola party tonight, where I got to pick out all the records and listen to them on an authentic RCA Victrola. I spent an hour or more going through stacks and stacks of 78s, looking at song titles, recognizing a few of the recording artists, but mostly just feeling like I’d encountered music from another planet. And really, it basically is music from another planet. A completely different time and place from where we currently live… This machine with no plug and no lights, you wind it up, set the record in motion, place the needle down in the outer groove, and then you get to hear one song. One. And it’s louder than a bomb. That is, if the cabinet doors are open. Want less volume? Close the cabinet doors. Wild.
It’s kinda similar to how I listen to music in my own house, with the iTunes going from the laptop in the bedroom, and if it’s too loud, I shut the door a little. Only, instead of having to get up and change the record after each song, I can listen to 2019 songs, and wouldn’t have to get up off my chair for approximately 5.4 days.
Anyway, I chose this record tonight because I recognized the title from a funny song my friend Tom has been known to sing. “Huggin’ and A’Chalkin,” written by Clancy Hayes and Kermit Goell, performed by Herbie Fields and his orchestra, 1946.