The Roller Organ Cob Handbook

by Richard Dutton1)

Twenty-Note Cobs

Cobs #401-500


The tunes on cobs #401-500, like those on cobs #101-200, 201-300 and 301-400, are once again of a non-religious nature (with the exception of cob #451, a stray hymn) and are of many different types. The most common cob, and the only one with a scarcity rating of VC (“very common”), is also the only one associated with the Civil War, #480, “General Grant's Grand March”, and while there are a fair number of obscure garden-variety “tear jerkers” about children who die, songs of sad remembrance of lost love, etc., in this numerical range, the only sentimental piece in the range that survived in the popular memory long after the Victorian era is #476, “Silver Threads Among the Gold”. While the almost universally-known “Oh my Darling Clementine” (cob #443) also appears in this numerical range, not that many copies of it were sold and it has a scarcity rating of only “LC” (“less common”). There are once again several tunes from foreign operettas that became popular in the United States, at least fleetingly (#426, “March—Don Caesar”, #445, “Waltz—Nadjy”, #449, “Fan Tain March” (from von Suppe's “Die Afrikareise”), and #487, “Lullaby from 'Erminie'”), songs from comic American stage productions of the day, especially those of Harrigan & Hart (#439, “Midnight Squad”, #440, “Where the Sparrows and Chippies Parade”, and #459, “Slavery's Passed Away”), a number of songs that were popularized in minstrel shows and often were written by performers in such shows and, of course, the usual complement of dance tunes, especially waltzes. Like the cobs in the numerical range 301-400, the cobs in the numerical range 401-500, compared with those in the numerical ranges 101-200 and 201-300, contain many more tunes that are not remembered today and, I suspect, were not that popular even when the cobs were issued. One again has the impression that, following the initial success of the roller organ in its early years, the Autophone Company made an effort to make as many new cobs available for purchase as it could, and in doing so dipped into musical material that was not of lasting merit. In a number of cases a piece is so obscure that it is a challenge to locate any copy of sheet music for it in the many extensive collections of sheet music held by the Library of Congress and university libraries. If sheet music for a piece can be located so that at least the names of the lyricist and composer can be determined, it may then be possible to guess at where they may have lived from clues on the cover of the sheet music such as the place of publication, a dedication to a resident of a particular city, or a reference to a performer of the piece. This, coupled with research using census records, local birth, marriage and death records and listings of addresses and occupations in old city directories, can often enable one to determine exactly when and where a lyricist or composer lived and to piece together a fairly detailed picture of his or her life. Research of this kind leads to the conclusion that many obscure songwriters also worked as church organists, music teachers and/or piano tuners and some either owned or were employed by businesses that sold sheet music and/or pianos and other musical instruments. According to articles about them that occasionally appeared in publications of the day, they would often sell a song for a modest one-time cash payment and even if their piece became a “hit” (which, in the days before recordings, was measured in sheet music sales) they did not receive any further compensation for it. As such, many of them lived ordinary or even impoverished existences and their passing was not memorialized by any detailed obituary articles.

Two interesting groups of cobs that are included in the 401-500 numerical range are English music hall songs and pieces from Spanish zarzuelas. There are a few lower-numbered cobs with English music hall songs on them, such as #167, “It's Funny When You Feel That Way”, by the prolific writer of songs for the English music hall stage, G. W. Hunt, #389, “The Beau of Saratoga”, by the English music hall performer who came to be known as “The Great Vance”, and (certainly the most popular of the three after being imported to the United States) #335, “Little Annie Rooney”, by a lesser-known English music hall performer named Michael Nolan. The 401-500 numerical range, however, begins with an English music hall song, #401, “Where is my Nancy”, also by Hunt, and includes no fewer than fifteen others (#403, 405, 412, 413, 416, 417, 418, 419, 433, 434, 474, 477, 482, 483 and 488). Moreover, these were, by the time they found their way onto roller organ cobs, older songs, mostly dating from the 1860s, and presumably were not put on cobs as a group only after several hundred lower-numbered cobs had been issued because they suddenly achieved popularity in the United States for the first time in the late 1880s. One possible explanation of their inclusion on the roller organ is that they found their way from England to the United States either because English music hall performers on tour sang and popularized them here or American minstrel singers and other stage performers here picked them up from English performers and incorporated them into their repertoire. They were for the most part clever and funny songs and their lyrics were in English and thus accessible to American audiences, even though many of their references were to places and events that would be more familiar to an audience in England than here. Their importation and inclusion in performances in the U.S., however, would not explain their sudden appearance as a group in the 401-500 cob range. Another possibility that is interesting to consider is that these cobs were made with the specific intention of being sold in England. Cob roller organs were unquestionably sold in the British Isles; English author Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume's book Clockwork Music (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc., 1973), for example, reproduces four very detailed British advertisements for Gem and Cabinet (as the Concert/Chautauqua model was called in Britain) roller organs that show that they were sold there, at least in the mid-to-late 1890s when the advertisements appeared. As an English music hall song was chosen for the very first cob in the 401-500 range, one wonders whether the cobs beginning with #401 (a “400s series”) were initially intended for British purchasers and whether that range may have been started, with a number of older English music hall songs that would have been familiar to the British buying public, even before the range of cobs numbered 400 and below was completely filled out with more recent tunes. There is still another possibility, however: there was no international copyright law at the time that prevented American music publishers from publishing sheet music for English music hall songs with no payment of royalties, and this had enabled publishers like DeWitt in New York, which printed vast quantities of inexpensive “songsters”, plays, novels, children's books, etc., to produce sheet music for most of the English music hall songs that later appeared in this numerical range on the roller organ for sale in its “half dime” series, that is, to sell sheet music for these songs for a nickel at a time when the regular price for such sheet music, according to contemporary advertisements, was typically six or eight times that amount. Therefore, it may be that the Autophone Company, in an attempt to put as many new cobs on the market as quickly as possible, merely chose pieces for them from readily available and inexpensive sheet music even though some such pieces, being fifteen to twenty years old and of English origin, might not be widely known in the U.S.

The second interesting group of cobs in the 401-500 range contains music from Spanish operettas known as “zarzuelas”. The tunes on cobs #463-464 and 470-472 all come from zarzuelas that originated in Madrid, Spain, although they would have been subsequently performed in other Spanish-speaking countries in the Western Hemisphere. As with the cobs containing the English music hall tunes, it is interesting to speculate as to the audience for which these cobs were produced: Were cob roller organs sold in Spain as they were in Britain, or, if not, were they sold in Mexico, Cuba, and/or other Central and South American countries? Or were these cobs manufactured for the Spanish-American population then living in the United States? Cob #463, “Chateau Margaux” (the title of a zarzuela; the tune on the cob is actually a waltz from that production), does not have the word “(Spanish)” on the label following the title, but all cobs from #464 through #473 do, even though several of the tunes on them are not of Spanish origin: cob #467 contains what is probably the best-known song from the French comic operetta “La Mascotte”, and #468 and #469 contain waltz tunes by “the Parisian waltz king”, Emil Waldteufel. Were these included in the run of “Spanish” cobs because they had become favorites of a Spanish-speaking population in the U.S., or Cuba or Mexico, or perhaps Spain itself?

A review of the scarcity ratings of the cobs in the 401-500 numerical range shows that not many of them were big sellers. As noted above, the only one with a rating of “VC” (“very common”) was #480, “General Grant's Grand March”, and there were four others with a scarcity rating of “C” (“common”). The remaining 95 cobs have scarcity ratings of either “LC” (“less common” (50 cobs)), “S” (“scarce” (37 cobs)), “VS” (“very scarce” (7 cobs)) or “N” (“no known copy” (1 cob)). As such, it is considerably more difficult to collect a complete set of the cobs in this numerical range. After many years of collecting, I have still never come across a copy of cob #495, “Pretty as a Butterfly”.

As for the dating of the cobs in this group, it was previously noted (in the Introduction to the section on cobs #301-400) that all of the cobs in the 301-400 numerical range numbered higher than #309 must have been issued no earlier than 1889. If all cobs in the 401-500 range were issued after all of the cobs in the 301-400 range, cobs in the 401-500 range, too, would all have to have been issued no earlier than 1889. There are, however, no cobs in the 401-500 range containing music that can be identified as dating from any year later than 1889 and, in fact, many of the pieces on cobs in this range date from the early 1880s, the 1870s and even the 1860s, based on sheet music copyright dates, which shows that the Autophone Company was, at the time the cobs in this range were issued, once again not putting much of the latest music on its cobs.

All in all, the cobs in this range, like those in the previous three ranges, constitute an interesting sampling of the music that was current in America in the 1880s and, as I said about cobs #101-400, include many appealing and harmonious arrangements of very pretty pieces that, when played, show off the roller organ well. It is still once again a great pleasure to crank through these cobs and listen to them!

I have again been able to locate information about and/or sheet music for most of the tunes in this numerical range, with the exception of three pieces with Spanish titles (#465, 466 and 473) and three pieces that are pretty clearly songs rather than instrumental dance pieces: #402, “When the Roses Bloom Again”, #438, “Happy Hours”, and #491, “Sweet Little Stanny Snow”. In the case of cob #495, “Pretty as a Butterfly”, I have located sheet music for a piece with this title in MN (the Library of Congress sheet music collection) but, because I have not yet come across a copy of the cob, I have been unable to verify that the tune on it is the same as the tune in the sheet music.


#401 - Where is My Nancy?, Scarcity: S
In this English music hall song with five verses and a chorus, the singer tells how he fell in love with a charming young lady named Nancy Barr, proposed to her and bought her a ring, but on the day of their wedding she failed to show up at the church; he has heard that she eloped with a member of the Horse Guard and he is unable to find her. Both the words and music were by G. W. (George William) Hunt (c. 1838-1904), a comic vocalist who turned to songwriting and wrote many well-known and successful songs for other English music hall performers (Although Hunt's birth year is given by some sources as 1825 or 1829, the engraving on his London tombstone states that he died in 1904 at age 66; see notes to cob #167). Just the words to the song appeared in the form of a broadside, a copy of which is in the National Library of Scotland, with a date of 1869 and no mention of Hunt. The Complete Catalogue of Sheet Music and Musical Works published in 1870 by the Board of Music Trade of the United States (the members of which were American music publishing firms) listed the song as being by Hunt and sheet music for it as being available through two of the member publishers. There is also undated sheet music for the song, published in London, in the collection of the State Library of New South Wales in Australia that refers to Hunt on the cover as also the author and composer of “Up in a Balloon” (cob #419) and notes that “Where is my Nancy” was “sung with the greatest success by Harry Rickards”. Rickards (real name Benjamin Leete; 1843-1911) was a boisterous and jovial English music hall comic singer who emigrated to Australia and operated a chain of variety theatres there. “Where is my Nancy” is also another of the songs of English origin that appeared in the long list of items of sheet music that the New York publisher DeWitt advertised for sale for a nickel apiece in 1877 and subsequent years in The Publishers Trade List Annual (see notes to cob #389). Additional reference: OC.

#402 - When the Roses Bloom Again, Scarcity: LC
I am disappointed that I have not yet been able to locate sheet music for this pretty and unusual song or other conclusive information about it. I have looked at sheet music for four songs with the same title or a similar title (“When the Roses Bloom Again”, Austin T. Turner (1876); “When the Roses Bloom Again”, Charles Drumheller (1883); “When the Roses Are Blooming Again”, Joseph P. Skelly (1879); and “I'll Come When the Roses Bloom Again”, Adam Geibel (1884); all are in MN), but in each case the tune is different from the tune on the cob. There is also a song listed in the 1870 Complete Catalogue of Sheet Music and Musical Works (see notes to cob #401) with the title “When the Roses Bloom Again” by “Kreide” which, I have ascertained, is a poem by Boston poet, music critic and editor Dexter Smith (see notes to cob #290) that was set to music. The poem, without the music, appeared in Dexter Smith's Poems (Boston, G. D. Russell & Company, 1868). The unusual tune on the cob begins with eight short lines in quick tempo followed by a “chorus” of four longer lines in slower tempo and the meter of the poem is such that it could be sung to the chorus. The tune on the cob, however, may instead be that of a totally different song with the same title.

#403 - Tassels on Her Boots, Scarcity: S
There is 1869 sheet music for this song in LL under the title “Tassels on the Boots” which shows Robert Coombs as the lyricist and composer. The song also appeared at about the same time in a number of other sheet music editions from other publishers and also in “songsters” (that is, inexpensive collections of lyrics of currently popular songs), in each case with no lyricist's or composer's name given and essentially the same lyrics, under the title “Tassels on her Boots” or “Tassels on the Boots” (see, for example, one sheet music version in MN and two sheet music versions in IU). In what was satirical commentary on the fashion of women wearing tassels on their boots at the time, the singer says that he met his “charmer fair” at a fancy ball, where she was the prettiest dancer; that he watched her dance while the orchestra played “the latest Waltz of Coote's”; and that he fell in love not with her but with the tassels on her boots. In the following three stanzas he continues in the same vein: later, expected to drink to the health of the ladies present, he instead drinks to the tassels on their boots; the girl asks if he is sad because he always looks down and he replies that he is not, but is only looking at the tassels on her boots; and, finally, he says if he marries the girl he will make their children wear tassels on their boots. The references to English society orchestra conductor and composer Charles Coote (see notes to cob #105) as well as to “English girls” and “Regent Street” (two references in the LL edition that were changed in other editions) reflect the English origin of the song. Robert Coombs was himself an English music hall performer; an advertisement in the February 23, 1868 issue of the London weekly theatrical newspaper the Era described him in a list of performers as “Comedian, Author, Composer”.

#404 - Oh! You Little Rascal, Scarcity: S
There is sheet music for this song in MN with a copyright date of 1884 that describes it as a “companion to 'Oh! You Little Darling'” (cob #417) and shows the lyricist as George Cooper and the composer as James Dunn. It is a happy song with three verses and a chorus in which the singer, a young woman, tells how her husband, before their marriage, declared his love for her in the shady glen where they now make their home, calling her a “little rascal” with a “cunning smile and roguish eye”. In the cob version the chorus is played through twice. Cooper (1840-1927) was a prolific New York songwriter many of whose pieces found their way onto the roller organ (See, for example, notes to cobs #173 and 294). I have not yet located any definitive information about Dunn, but he may have been an actor, singer and/or variety performer as well as a composer: there are a number of references in the New York Clipper to a James Dunn (admittedly not an uncommon name) who acted and sang in productions at Niblo's Theatre and Abbey's Park Theatre in New York between 1874 and 1880 and to a James Dunn (perhaps a different person) who appeared as a solo performer on programs in theatres as far afield as Toronto, Canada, Portland, Oregon, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Peoria, Illinois and Lafayette, Indiana between 1886 and 1909.

#405 - I'll Tell Your Wife, Scarcity: LC
This is another of the songs of English origin that appeared in the long list of items of sheet music that the New York publisher DeWitt advertised for sale for a nickel apiece in 1877 and subsequent years in The Publishers Trade List Annual (see notes to cob #389). The composer's name was given as Frank W. Egerton. Egerton was an English music hall performer as well as a songwriter and later was an agent and manager. He died at the age of 57 on October 7, 1905. References: The Era Almanack (London, 1874) (theatrical annual directory listing Egerton under “comic singers”); The Era Annual (London, 1906) (same theatrical annual listing Egerton's death on October 7 of the previous year and giving what was presumably his real name in parentheses, “W. F. Hughes”); England & Wales Death Index and England & Wales National Probate Calendar entries for Frank Egerton (under that name).

#406 - Schottische, Always smiling, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music for this lively dance tune with a copyright date of 1878 in MN. On the cover, the name of the composer appears as “Pierre Latour”, while on the first interior page it appears as “E. Mack”. As we have previously seen (see notes to cob #378), works by the prolific blind Philadelphia composer Edward L. Mack (1825 or 1826-1882; see notes to cob #323) were sometimes published under the Latour pseudonym. There is sheet music for the tune from a different publisher, also with a copyright date of 1878, in the University of California at Berkeley Music Library showing the composer as Latour on both the cover and the first interior page.

#407 - Waltz—Love's Dreamland, Scarcity: LC
This pretty waltz tune is excerpted from a longer piece with the title “Love’s Dreamland Waltzes” by Otto Roeder, for which there is undated sheet music in UV that also includes its German title, “Der Liebe Traumland”. “Otto Roeder” was the pseudonym of Clement Locknane (1866-1914), an English organist, composer, teacher and conductor who also composed “Mia Bella, Waltz” (Grand cob #2032), “Gondolier Waltzes” (Grand cob #2046) and several dozen similar pieces, all published by Enoch & Sons in London under the Roeder pseudonym in the years 1883-1897, as well as many pieces of music that were published under his own name, a number of them religious in nature. For further information about him, see notes to cob #2032.

#408 - Down by the Willow in the Lane, Scarcity: S
There is sheet music for this song in the New York Public Library's sheet music collection with a copyright date of 1886 showing words and music as by J. P. Skelly. The singer and his love met and sadly parted down by the willow in the lane and he waits for her there in the moonlight hoping she will return. Joseph P. Skelly (1853-1895) was the plumber turned songwriter who lived in New York and wrote many popular songs that found their way onto the roller organ (See, for example, notes to cobs #239 and 346). OC said of Skelly that “[a]lthough he was a practicing Christian and a member of the Bible House, he lived a drunken, dissolute and generally penniless life, often selling his songs for very little”, and that he “wrote his songs simply for beer money”.

#409 - Modjeska Waltz, Scarcity: LC
There is undated sheet music for this waltz tune under its alternate title, “Venetia Waltz”, in the National Library of Australia's collection and another version, also undated, in the MB collection with just the title “Venetia Waltz” on the cover but “Modjeska or Venetia Waltz” on the first interior page. The composer's name is given in each case as Caroline Lowthian. Still a third version of the sheet music, also undated, has, on the cover, the title “Modjeska Waltzes”, an image of actress Madame Helena Modjeska with a notation that the work is dedicated to her and the name “Albert H. Fernald” along with Lowthian's name as composer (Presumably Fernald was actually just the arranger). Madame Modjeska emigrated from Poland to the United States in 1876 and specialized in Shakespearean roles. There is a brief article about Lowthian (1858-1943) and a photograph of her in Volume 4 (1896) of the Strand Musical Magazine, a London monthly publication that included sheet music. It says that her husband's name was Cyril A. Prescott, that she was born in Penrith in Cumbria in northwestern England and that “Venetia Waltz” was her first great success. Reference: England & Wales Birth and Death Indexes (entries in both for Lowthian).

#410 - Why did they Dig Ma's Grave so Deep?, Scarcity: LC
This is another “tear jerker” in which the singer relates, in three verses with a chorus, that now that Nellie's mother is dead and buried deep in the clay, the little girl is left alone to remember, murmur, weep and ask why. The lyricist and composer was once again the prolific New York songwriter J. (Joseph) P. Skelly (1853-1895) (see notes to cobs #239, 346 and 408) and sheet music for it in LL has a copyright date of 1880. It was also published as a broadside (that is, a single sheet with lyrics but no music) and in songsters (inexpensive collections of just lyrics of currently popular songs). In an article in the November 9, 1884 issue of The New York Herald that contains a great deal of interesting information from a New York publisher of “penny ballads” about which songs were most popular at the beginning of the roller organ era, the publisher is quoted as saying that “Wait Till the Clouds Roll By” (cob #224) was by far the best-selling song he remembered, he having sold more than 75,000 copies of the lyrics in a month, while “Why Did They Dig Ma's Grave So Deep” “did not set the country on fire as the author expected” and he (the publisher) would be willing to sell the copies of it he had for a very low price.


#411 - Lardy Dah, Scarcity: S
The slang term “lardy dah” meant the same thing in 1880 that the term “lah-de-dah” does today: it refers to someone who is pretentious, who puts on airs, who seeks to convey to others an impression of superiority. In the sheet music for this song in LL, the singer describes a foppish fellow who wants to appear to be a “swell” but in fact does not have a penny to his name: his “shirt” consists of just cuffs and a dickey and his “patent leather” boots are actually made of glued paper. The cover reads “as sung by Mr. Wm. A. Mestayer in The Tourists in a Pullman Palace Car presented by J. H. Haverly at Haverly's 5th Ave. Theatre” (see notes to cob #244). There are other versions of sheet music and broadsides for the song, also in LL as well as in MN and UT, some with covers that refer to other performers who sang it at other New York theatres; in an essay on the MN website with the title “Themes in Popular Songs”, the song was described as “a major hit of the year 1880”. None of the sheet music or broadsides gives the name of the author or composer of the song but one of the broadsides refers to it as “English”.

#412 - Not for Joseph, Scarcity: LC
This is another song from the English music hall tradition; it was the most successful piece written and composed by the very popular comic singer Arthur Lloyd (1839-1904) (see notes to cob #380) and dates from 1867. The singer, who says his name is Joseph Baxter and refers to himself in the third person as “Joseph” or “Joe”, is a cautious fellow who has learned from experience to be wary of people trying to take advantage of him: when someone tries to get the singer to treat him to champagne, asks the singer to loan him money or offers to introduce the singer to a forty-two-year-old widow, the singer says this is “not for Joe”. Lloyd said that he based the character of Joseph on a conductor he overheard talking on a bus and he wrote the song the same day. LL has sheet music for the song with the image on the cover of Lloyd as he would have appeared performing on stage and the words “written, composed & sung by Arthur Lloyd”. This is still another of the songs of English origin that appeared in the long list of items of sheet music that the New York publisher DeWitt advertised for sale for a nickel apiece in 1877 and subsequent years in The Publishers Trade List Annual (see notes to cob #389). Reference: The Era (a London theatrical weekly), July 23, 1904 (obituary article about Lloyd).

#413 - The Bell Goes A-Ringing, Scarcity: S
This is still another English music hall song and sheet music for it in LL (with the full title “The Bell Goes A-Ringing for Sa-i-rah”) bears the date of 1868 and shows both words and music as being by the English comic singer and songwriter G. W. (George William) Hunt (c. 1838-1904) (see notes to cob #401). The singer is a domestic servant girl who laments that she is always on the run in the house where she works and whenever she has a moment to sit down one of her employers, a pretentious but financially strapped husband and wife, rings a bell to summon her to some duty. This is still another of the songs of English origin that appeared in the long list of items of sheet music that the New York publisher DeWitt advertised for sale for a nickel apiece in 1877 and subsequent years in The Publishers Trade List Annual (see notes to cob #389).

#414 - Down by the Blooming Apple Tree, Scarcity: LC
This is still another 1883 song with words by George Cooper (1840-1927) and music by J. (Joseph) P. Skelly (1853-1895), the two New Yorkers who frequently collaborated in writing songs (see notes to cobs #344, 356 and 369). There is sheet music for the song in MN that misspells Skelly's name as “Skelley”. The song is similar to Skelly's later “Down by the Willow in the Lane” (cob #408): the singer sadly recalls past joys when he visits the place where he declared his love to a woman but where they later bid each other adieu. Several of the English music hall songs which the Autophone Company put on cobs in this same numerical range (for example, the songs on cobs #401, 403, 412 and 413) were enormously popular, at least in England, twenty years earlier. This song, by comparison, seems to be an uninspired piece with nothing to distinguish it from many other pieces of the same type and one wonders if it ever was at all popular.

#415 - Eileen Allanna, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music for this song in LL with the title spelled “Eilleen Allanna” and a copyright date of 1873, with words by E. S. Marble and music by J. R. Thomas. The singer addresses his beloved Eileen who is in Ireland (“that dear land of shamrock”) and tells her how much he misses her and that he is looking forward to their being reunited and married. Although he uses stock terms of endearment phonetically Anglicized from the Irish language (“allanna” (“o child”), “asthore” (o treasure“) and “mavourneen” (“my darling”)) and the tune sounds Irish, this is not a truly Irish song but rather an “Irish style” song that would have been sung on stage by a “stage Irish” character. It was, in fact, used by the Irish-born playwright and actor Dion Boucicault (see notes to cob #163) in his play “Arrah na Pogue”, and Boucicault reportedly declared it to be “the best Irish song ever written”. The lyricist and composer were both American: E. (Edward) S. Marble (1846-1900), who was born in Buffalo, New York, is remembered more as a nationally-known actor, playwright and stage director than as a songwriter and, as noted previously (see notes to cobs #135 and 136), J. R. (John Rogers) Thomas (1829-1896) was a concert singer as well as a composer and lived in New York. The sheet music in LL also includes on the first interior page “as sung by J. G. Russell”, referring to James G. Russell (d. 1883), who was a well-known vocalist who performed with several major minstrel companies. Additional references: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 11, 1900 (lengthy article about Marble and drawing of him following his death in Brooklyn two days earlier), MM.

#416 - Captain Jinks, Scarcity: LC
This is still another comic English music hall song from the 1860s. The singer, a captain in the horse marines, brags that he teaches the ladies how to dance and they regard him as their pet, but he also admits that he lives beyond his means, is pursued by his tailor and other creditors, and even had his hat fall off when he went out to drill and ran from the enemy in battle because he “wasn't cut out for the army”. This was at one time a very popular song and there is sheet music for it in a number of collections, some editions showing the songwriter as “T. MacLagan” and some attributing the song to “Wm. Lingard”. The cover of the edition in DU has at the top “Serio Comic Songs Written Composed and Sung by William Lingard” while, under the title on the first interior page, “by T. MacLagan” appears. Other sources have credited the lyrics to Lingard and the music to MacLagan, or vice versa. Tom MacLagan was a Scottish-born English music hall performer; William Horace Lingard got his start in English music halls, emigrated to the United States in 1868, sang “Captain Jinks” in his first performance here on April 6 of that year, and immediately established himself as a quick change artist as well a vocalist and actor, often appearing in elaborate female costumes. MacLagan also certainly performed the song. One version of the sheet music for it in LL crediting the song to MacLagan has on the cover “as sung by Billy Emerson of Emerson Allen & Manning's Minstrels”. Billy Emerson (born Redmond; 1846-1902) was a well-known American minstrel singer and dancer who formed the short-lived Emerson Allen & Manning troupe in 1868 only a few months after Lingard's arrival from England. This is also another of the songs of English origin that appeared (attributed to MacLagan) in the long list of items of sheet music that the New York publisher DeWitt advertised for sale for a nickel apiece in 1877 and subsequent years in The Publishers Trade List Annual (see notes to cob #389). Additional references: William Ellis Horton, About Stage Folks (Detroit, 1902) (information about Lingard and this song), MM.

#417 - Oh! You Little Darling, Scarcity: LC
This is still another English music hall song. The singer describes herself as “a girl with lots of beaux” and says that although she has promised nearly forty men that she will be their wife, she has no desire to be married, because for a kiss men will give her “no end of pretty things”; the chorus, beginning “Oh, you little darling, I love you” is what her “beaux” sing to her. The song was written and composed by Joseph Tabrar (1857-1931), who was born in London of Spanish and Italian ancestry, began performing as a singer when he was only a boy, first worked as a mechanic as well as a music hall comedian, singer and musician, and later turned to full-time songwriting, writing songs for essentially every English music hall performer of note over a period of many decades and also supplying performers with monologues, sketches, pantomime scripts and even short operettas. His best-known song was the 1892 hit “Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-Wow”, which appeared on cob #1027 and Grand cob #2014. In an interview in the February 10, 1894 issue of the London theatrical newspaper The Era, Tabrar claimed that he had by that point written over 17,000 songs, could write as many as 30 songs in a single day and wrote his songs spontaneously, as inspiration came to him. Additional references: OC, LL.

#418 - Perhaps He's on the Railway, Scarcity: S
I have found a couple of references to a song with the title of “Perhaps He's on the Railway”, but it appears to have been one of a number of parodies of a much more popular song with the title “Perhaps She's on the Railway”. Both the words and music to this song were written by Charles McCarthy and it is still another piece that originated in the English music halls. The singer is a husband whose wife has disappeared (taking with her all of the furniture) and he speculates as to whether she is on the railway, up in a balloon, dead, alive or on the sea, or whether she has become a Mormon. As the five verses progress it becomes clear from what he says that she was fascinated by Mormonism and was walking each day with a “Mormon saint” from across the sea. By the third of the five verses he is roundly cursing her and in the fourth verse he hopes that “German bands and organ men annoy her all the day”. Reference: LL.

#419 - Up in a Balloon, Scarcity: S
This is another English music hall song from the 1860s by G. W. (George William) Hunt (c. 1838-1904) and there is undated sheet music for it in LL. The jovial singer describes a balloon voyage in which, he says, he sailed above the spires of buildings, saw stars, planets and constellations, seized the tail of a comet but finally fell out of bed and realized it was all a dream. His advice: “don't sup too heavy”. This is still another of the songs of English origin that appeared in the long list of items of sheet music that the New York publisher DeWitt advertised for sale for a nickel apiece in 1877 and subsequent years in The Publishers Trade List Annual (see notes to cob #389).

#420 - Schottische, Happy-Go-Lucky, Scarcity: LC
Sheet music in MN for this lively dance tune was published in 1884 by White, Smith & Co. in Boston under the title “Happy Go Lucky Schottische”, with the composer's name given as “Emile de Coen”. An advertisement for the sheet music in the August, 1884 edition of White, Smith's publication Folio: A Monthly Journal of Music, Drama, Art and Literature described the piece as “played by all the Boston bands at the seashore and mountains” and “the best dancing and piano schottische published”. As we have seen, a number of composers' names in White, Smith sheet music were pseudonyms, but it appears that there was an Emile de Coen, although he is an obscure figure represented by only three pieces of sheet music in MN, all dating from 1884 and 1885 and all published by White, Smith. Piecing together information from U.S. census, naturalization and passport records, Emile (George) de Coen was born in Belgium in 1861, was brought to the United States as a child in 1872, was living in Boston in 1880 and remained there until at least the time of his marriage there in 1885, subsequently relocated to New York, and returned to Boston by the time he became a naturalized American citizen there in 1894. In the 1880 census his occupation, at age 19, was listed as “assistant teacher”, while in the 1910 census he was listed as a “salesman” of “paper”. When he was married in 1885 his occupation was also listed in the Massachusetts marriage records as “salesman”, but when he applied for a passport, also in Boston, in 1894 after becoming a citizen he described himself as a “music dealer”. All of these descriptions would be consistent with his having sold sheet music. According to his tombstone in St. Joseph Cemetery, Roxbury, Massachusetts, he died in 1937.


#421 - My Mother's Old Red Shawl, Scarcity: LC
In this song, the singer says that he treasures the old red shawl his long-deceased mother wore because it reminds him of her and of the happy days of his childhood. The maudlin tone of the piece is exemplified by the opening line of the third verse: “How brightly her face to my mem'ry appears, Tho' grave dust has covered it for years”. Sheet music for the song in MN published in Evansville, Indiana with a copyright date of 1885 attributes it to Charles Moreland, who was a vaudeville performer as well as a songwriter. The song was also published under the alternate title “The Little Old Red Shawl my Mother Wore”. There is a reference in the Terre Haute [Indiana] Saturday Evening Mail of May 11, 1895 to Moreland appearing in the vaudeville portion of a nine-hour-long comedy show in Terre Haute as part of an act called “Moreland and Thompson, refined sketch artists”, noting that he was “a song writer of some prominence” and the author of this song. Information submitted by Moreland that appeared in the July 6, 1912 issue of The New York Clipper explains that the “Thompson” of the act was Minnie May Thompson, whom Moreland married in 1889. The duo later added Joe Roberts as a third member of the act and they performed under the name Moreland, Thompson and Roberts for eight years. Moreland separated from Thompson in 1902 and she subsequently remarried and died on March 26, 1912. There were notices in Variety in 1908 and again in 1912 to advise members of the theatrical profession that Moreland, “formerly of Moreland, Thompson and Roberts”, was seriously ill in a hospital in Chicago, and city directories for 1901, 1902, 1912 and 1913 list him as living in that city and list his profession as “actor”.

#422 - Hark! the Angels Sweetly Singing, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music for this song with a copyright date of 1873 in the University of California at Berkeley Library showing the lyricist as Albert A. Hill and the composer as H. P. Danks. It is another “tear jerker” in which the singer is a child who is about to die and tells its mother it hears the angels singing. As we have seen, Hart Pease Danks (1834-1903; see notes to cob #230) was a very prolific writer of both secular and religious tunes who is most remembered for the once very popular song “Silver Threads Among the Gold” (cob #476), although he did not make much money from his musical works. Hill, by contrast, is a little-known and forgotten figure, but it was possible to piece together a surprising amount of information about him. His name also appears as the author of the lyrics of more than a dozen other songs, all dating from the period 1873-1878 and all with music by Charles D. Blake (1847-1903; see notes to cob #284), in sheet music published in a number of cases by Cory Brothers in Providence, Rhode Island and held in a number of different collections including MN and LL, and as the editor of a short-lived (1873-1874) monthly publication in Providence, also published by Cory Brothers, with the title Echo; Devoted to Music, Literature, Art and Drama. According to the July, 1874 issue of Boston music publisher White, Smith's publication Folio, Blake was at that time living in Providence, and Providence city directories provide the further detail that he was, at least during 1873-1874, employed at Cory Brothers. There is also a listing for an Albert A. Hill in Providence city directories for 1871-1872 in which he is shown as a “clerk, P & W freight office” and for 1874-1879 in which he is shown as an accountant. Also, according to Rhode Island marriage and birth records, an Albert Allen Hill, born in 1830, was married in Providence in 1874 and had a son who was born two years later. Earlier census records confirm that the same Albert A. Hill had previously lived in Fall River, Massachusetts. In the 1880 Providence directory “Mrs. Albert A. Hill” is shown as living at the home address shown for him in the 1879 directory, suggesting that he may have died during that year, which would be consistent with 1878 being the latest date of the sheet music for the songs attributed to Hill. The story of Hill, however, then picks up with an article in the February 15, 1885 edition of the Brooklyn [New York] Daily Eagle that reported Hill's disappearance after leaving his home in Brooklyn and included the facts that he was formerly editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and treasurer of the United States Bridge Company, that he was “refined and intelligent”, that twelve years earlier he was an influential and respected citizen of Providence, that “his inclinations took a literary direction and his reputation as a scholar was extensive”, that he became estranged from his wife and lost considerable money in a publishing enterprise in Boston, that he then moved to Brooklyn, that he wrote music and “many of his pieces have been published by Blake”, that he also wrote poetry that found its way into print, but that he had been living in impoverished circumstances and working at odd jobs such as addressing envelopes in newspaper offices. The February 20, 1885 edition of the same newspaper reported that he had turned up at his rooming house after his absence of about two weeks but he did not say where he had been. According to Rhode Island death records he died on December 30, 1887 in Providence of “dropsy” (edema) at the age of 57 and was buried in Fall River. His profession is listed in the record as “bookkeeper” and his place of birth is listed as Slatersville, Rhode Island.

#423 - Polka—Peep-O'-Day, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music for this lively dance tune in MN with a copyright date of 1884 showing the composer as George Fox. Only the portion of the tune that appears on page 3 and is continued in the first five bars on page 4 appears on the cob. The publisher of the sheet music was once again White, Smith in Boston and Fox had a small advertisement in the January 1884 issue of White, Smith's publication Folio that read: “George Fox, Concert Pianist, and Teacher of Modern and Classical Music. Address, 10 Common Street, or care of White Smith & Co.” 1880 United States census records listed him as 31 years old, his birthplace England and his occupation professor of music. When he became a naturalized United States citizen on July 11, 1884 he gave the Common Street address as his residence and March 8, 1850 as his date of birth. Fox is listed in every Boston city directory from 1874 through 1921 and in every case his occupation is given as “music teacher”, although his address changed thirteen times. The 1922 directory says “George Fox died June 9, 1921”.

#424 - I'll go Back to the Old Bridge Again, Scarcity: S
This is still another sentimental song with words by George Cooper (1840-1927) and music by J. (Joseph) P. Skelly (1853-1895), two prolific New York City songwriters who frequently collaborated (see notes to cobs #344, 356, 369 and 414). The sheet music for it, in MN, with a copyright date of 1884, says on the cover that it is a reply to “The Old Rustic Bridge by the Mill”, one of Skelly's most popular and lasting songs, although it did not find its way onto a roller organ cob (The cover of sheet music for “The Old Rustic Bridge”, also in MN, claims that over 175,000 copies of it were sold, and the song somehow later found its way into the repertoire of Irish folk musicians, some of whom still perform it today). The theme and tone are almost the same as those of Skelly's “Down By the Willow in the Lane” (cob #408) and Cooper and Skelly's “Down By the Blooming Apple Tree” (cob #414): the singer (who is presumably “Maggie”, the woman whom the singer addresses in “The Old Rustic Bridge”) sadly recalls past joys associated with the place where her beloved, from whom she is now separated, declared vows of love, and she says that she will return there.

#425 - Tripping Through the Daisies, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music that includes the tune on this cob in MN with a copyright date of 1881 and with the title “Tripping Thro' the Daisies Polka Rondo Op. 85” by W. F. Sudds. William F. Sudds (1843-1920) (see notes to cobs #379 and 391) was an English-born composer and teacher who studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music and lived in upstate Gouverneur, New York, where he owned a music store.

#426 - March—Don Caesar, Scarcity: S
This march tune comes from the operetta “Don Cesar” by German composer Rudolf Dellinger (1857-1910) with libretto by Oscar Walther. The King of Spain is enfatuated with the gypsy singer Maritana but cannot marry her himself in order to fulfill his desires because he is already married to the Queen, so he arranges for the hero Don Cesar, who is being held as a prisoner, to conceal his real identity, pretend to be the King, and go through the wedding ceremony with Maritana in the King's place. The King's plans are subsequently thwarted, however, and Don Cesar and Maritana, now legally married, end up together. Dellinger was born in the town of Graslitz (Kraslice), now in the Czech Republic, was educated at the Prague Conservatorium and was conductor at the Carl-Schultze Theater in Hamburg when “Don Cesar”, his first and most famous operetta, was produced there in 1885. A production in New York followed the next year. The march tune on the cob appears at the end of the Finale to Act I (No. 7 in the score) with lyrics that begin “Nichts hilft Sorge und Pein”. Although “Don Cesar” is forgotten today, EM called it “certainly the most successful” of all nineteenth-century German operettas.

#427 - The Dear Old Village School, Scarcity: S
There is sheet music for this song in MN with a copyright date of 1884 showing words and music as being by Bobby Newcomb. The singer happily recalls his childhood school days and says if he now had the chance to relive them he would pay great attention this time to the lessons that were taught, but the shady lane where the schoolhouse used to stand is now a busy, thriving street and a grand, stately mansion is now on the site of the schoolhouse itself. According to MM, Newcomb (real name Robert Hughes; 1847-1888) was a minstrel performer who began his career at about the age of ten, appeared with many different minstrel companies over a period of more than three decades and generally wrote his own songs and dances.

#428 - Go to Sleep My Baby Girl, Scarcity: LC
There is once again sheet music for this song in MN. The entire piece is a lullaby in which the singer, in three verses and a chorus, urges a baby girl to fall asleep: the full title, as it appears on the first interior page, is “Lotta's Lullaby; 'Go to Sleep, my Baby Girl'”. The tune is unusual, however, in that it begins briskly with the verse in 4/4 time and then abruptly slows down into waltz time in the familiar chorus, which ends in yodeling! The copyright date is 1885 and the lyricist and composer is shown as M. H. Rosenfeld (followed by one of his pseudonyms, “F. Belasco”). Monroe H. Rosenfeld (1862-1918; see notes to cob #115) was the prolific New York songwriter and newspaper columnist who is remembered largely for originating the name “Tin Pan Alley” for the area along West 28th Street in Manhattan where songwriters' and composers' offices were located and the tinny sound of pianos could be heard outside when their windows were open. On the cover of the sheet music also appears “Written for and Sung by Lotta”, referring to Charlotte Crabtree (1847-1924), an at one time very popular and well-loved American actress known simply as “Lotta” who performed in young girl roles built around her singing, playing the banjo and dancing. Reference: OA (information about Lotta).

#429 - "New York Glide" Waltzes—I, Scarcity: S
#430 - "New York Glide" Waltzes—II, Scarcity: LC
#431 - "New York Glide" Waltzes—III, Scarcity: LC
The tunes on these three cobs appear, in order, one to a page, in the three pages of sheet music in MN with the title “New York Glide Waltz's [sic]”, “By Geo. Thorne”, “Simplified by Wm. Gooch”, published by White, Smith and Company in Boston with a date of 1878, although, according to The Publishers' and Stationers' Weekly Trade Circular for February 1, 1872, White, Smith had already published sheet music for “New York Glide Waltz” by Thorne by that date. Although there has apparently been nothing written about Thorne, I had hoped to find some information about him either in White, Smith's periodical Folio: A Journal of Music, Drama, Art and Literature, in United States Census records or in birth, marriage and death records and city directories for Boston (where White, Smith had its office) or other locations, as I did for Albert A. Hill (see notes for cob #422), but I have, so far, found nothing about any George Thorne who can be identified as having any connection to music. There are 22 pieces of sheet music bearing his name in MN, all published by White, Smith, and, while he may have been one of the stable of White, Smith composers and arrangers who helped churn out the large volume of sheet music that company produced, it is more likely, in light of the complete dearth of information about him, that his name was a pseudonym for another composer associated with the company such as Charles D. Blake, who is known to have written music under eleven different names (see notes to cob #284) or Charles A. White himself (see notes to cob #142 re: his use of the pseudonym “Harry Birch”). As for Gooch, according to U. S. Census records, Civil War draft registration records and Massachusetts marriage and death records, he was born in Randolph, Massachusetts in 1830, by 1863 was pursuing the profession of “piano maker” in Boston, was subsequently listed in census records as a “piano tuner” (1870), “musician” (1880), and again “piano tuner” (1900), and died in Boston in 1913. He is also listed in Boston city directories between 1865 and 1905 as a piano dealer or piano tuner at different business addresses, and in Vol. 17 on p. 435 of Folio, for example, from 1878, the publication year of the “New York Glide” Waltzes as simplified by Gooch, there is a small advertisement for him as a tuner and repairer of pianos in care of the White, Smith office as well as a separate, similar advertisement by White, Smith itself on the same page.

#432 - Chop-Sticks Waltz, Scarcity: S
This familiar waltz tune, the first part of which countless children have learned to play on the piano, picking out the simple staccato melody with the index fingers of both hands, originated in England: according to BW, sheet music for it, with the title “The Celebrated Chop Waltz”, was deposited at the British Museum in 1877 showing the composer as “Arthur de Lulli”, a pseudonym of sixteen-year-old Euphemia Allen (c. 1861-1939), the sister of Mozart Allen, whose Glasgow firm was one of the two publishers of the piece. The sheet music included the instructions “This part (primo part of the duet) must be played with both hands turned sideways, the little fingers the lowest, so that the movements of the hands imitate the chopping; from which the waltz gets its name”. Sheet music for the tune also appeared in the October, 1881 issue of Boston music publisher White, Smith's journal Folio, also arranged as a duet, giving the title as “Chop Sticks Waltz”, showing the composer as “De Lulli” and containing the same instructions for playing it as in the English sheet music. Presumably the word “Sticks” was added to the title because if just the index fingers were used in playing the first part of the piece their movement was considered similar to the motion of chopsticks used as eating utensils in East Asian countries.

#433 - The Flying Trapeze, Scarcity: LC
With this cob we again return to English music hall songs that were first popular in the 1860s. According to BW, apparently the earliest sheet music for this song was published in London in 1867 and reads “Written and Sung by George Leybourne. Arranged by Alfred Lee.” There is 1868 sheet music for it in LL, published in the United States. Leybourne (real name Joseph Saunders; 1842-1884) was one of the most popular English music-hall entertainers of his time and generally appeared on stage in the role of a well-dressed, well-to-do aristocrat (See also notes to cob #434). Alfred Lee (1839?-1906) began his career as a piano tuner and music-hall piano player and later became a songwriter and arranger, the composer of scores for burlesques which featured a number of prominent music-hall performers of the day and the musical director for both London theatres and traveling musical productions. In this song, the singer laments that his love became enfatuated with a trapeze artist, ultimately eloped with him (“From two storys high, He had lower'd her down To the ground on his flying Trapeze!”) and now, dressed in tights, performs as a trapeze artist herself. At the time, the French trapeze artist Jules Leotard (whose name is memorialized in “leotard”, the one-piece form-fitting garment worn today primarily by dancers) was appearing in London. This is another of the “comic and serio-comic” songs of English origin that appeared in the long list of items of sheet music that the New York publisher DeWitt advertised for sale for a nickel apiece in 1877 and subsequent years in The Publishers Trade List Annual (see notes to cob #389). References: OC, EM.

#434 - Champagne Charlie, Scarcity: LC
This lively and cheery song is also from the English music hall tradition of the 1860s. There is undated sheet music for it in LL stating that it was, like “The Flying Trapeze” (cob #433), “written and sung by George Leybourne”, with “music by Alfred Lee”. The singer says that in his nightly revels he treats everyone to champagne, and he mentions specifically, as his brand of choice, “Moet vintage”, prompting OC to call the song “an early advertising jingle”. As part of his portrayal of an aristocratic “swell”, Leybourne (real name Joseph Saunders; 1842-1884 (see notes to cob #433)) would arrive for his performances in a brougham drawn by four white horses and his salary ultimately reached 120 pounds per week, an enormous sum at the time. He became an alcoholic in real life, however, which led to his early death. This was his best-known and most successful song. It is still another of the “Comic and Serio-Comic” songs of English origin that appeared in the long list of items of sheet music that the New York publisher DeWitt advertised for sale for a nickel apiece in 1877 and subsequent years in The Publishers Trade List Annual (see notes to cob #389). As noted in the paragraph about cob #175, “Rhine Wine Charley”, the song on that cob was a “Dutch” (German dialect) parody of “Champagne Charlie”.

#435 - The Jolly Dude, Scarcity: S
There is sheet music for this song in MN with the title “The Jolly Dude Song” and a copyright date of 1883 with words and music by Sam Lucas (1850-1916), the African-American minstrel performer whom we have previously encountered as the writer and composer of “Don't You Hear the Baby Crying” (cob #373) and “On de Banks by de Ribber Side” (cob #385). The “Jolly Dude” is an unusual song in that it begins in quick 4/4 time, then has a spoken part of a few sentences in each verse (not reflected in the tune on the cob), then has a chorus in waltz time. The singer is shocked when he is out walking and a girl comes up to him and says to him “How are you Dude” (meaning that he is an overdressed, ostentatious “dandy”). He considers this comment “rude” and “crude”, although he is at the same time proud that his “style” is “nobby” (meaning “fashionable”) and that his “get up's so bewitching They think I am a Dude”.

#436 - Sweet Thoughts, Scarcity: S
The sheet music for this song, in MN, with a copyright date of 1883 and words by M. Brown and music by Emil E. Hansen, says on its cover that it was sung in the play “Joshua Whitcomb”. The song is a sentimental one in which a man and woman in love ask each other whether, when they are far apart, each of their spirits will wander to the other and the love from each of them will come back to the other with a greeting of sweet thoughts of home. “Joshua Whitcomb”, dating from 1878, was a play featuring actor and playwright (Henry) Denman Thompson (1833-1911) in the title role, which he had originally created for a vaudeville sketch, of a rural New England character, dressed in baggy pants, spectacles and a big straw hat. He later portrayed the same character for more than 20 years beginning in 1887 in the very popular stage production “The Old Homestead”, into which a number of popular songs of the day were interpolated (see, for example, notes to cobs #234 and 281). I have not found any information about Brown or Hansen. There are only three pieces of sheet music in MN attributed to Hansen, all of them dating from 1883 and all published by Oliver Ditson or C.H. Ditson: “Sweet Thoughts”, a “tear jerker” sung by a dying man to his beloved with lyrics by “Bill Hook” (almost certainly a pseudonym) and a dance tune without lyrics. Reference: OA.

#437 - Little Ah Sid, Scarcity: VS
[With regard to this cob, see the WARNING AND HISTORICAL CONTENT DISCLAIMER about songs containing offensive language or negative stereotypes at the end of the General Introduction to this Handbook.] The 1883 sheet music in MN for this peculiar novelty piece, subtitled “Chinese Song and Dance”, says both on the cover and on the first interior page that the music is by J. P. Skelly, but does not say anything about the origin of the lyrics, which reflect anti-Chinese sentiment at the time and tell how a little Chinese boy named Ah Sid, referred to as a “cute little cuss”, “frolicsome brat” and “wee sardine”, catches a bumblebee (which he calls a “Melican buttelfly”) intending to pull off its wing and ends up being stung by it. As we have seen before (see, for example, the notes to cobs #239 and 346), the composer of the interesting and lively tune, Joseph P. Skelly (1853-1895), was a sometime plumber who turned to songwriting and was the composer and in some cases the lyricist of many popular songs that found their way onto the roller organ. An article in the May 28, 1877 edition of The New York Times reporting him inexplicably missing from home contains some additional personal details about him. His elderly mother, with whom he lived in an apartment on West 44th Street in Manhattan, was quoted as saying “He never drank or kept bad company” and the Times reporter said that his talents as a popular songwriter always enabled him to earn a handsome income. This may all have been true at that early stage of Skelly's career, but it is certainly at odds with OC's evaluation of him as a dissolute drunk who was generally penniless and “wrote his songs only for beer money”. A detective who interviewed a friend of Skelly's who had been with him at a place called “Gill's 'Free and Easy'” the night before he disappeared said he “thought there was a woman in the case” and Skelly would turn up in a few days. He did. The Times article also reported that at that time Skelly had already been writing songs for six years and described him as being 5'10” tall, having blue eyes and dark curly hair and being “slightly pock-marked”.

#438 - Happy Hours, Scarcity: S
Although the piece on this cob sounds like a sentimental song, I have, so far, been unable to determine its composer or locate sheet music for it. As one might expect with such a generic-sounding title, there are no fewer than 25 items of sheet music in the U. S. Library of Congress collection (MN) for pieces with “Happy Hours” either as the title or as part of the title. None of them, however, contains a tune corresponding to the one on this cob. Also, sheet music for a song with the title “Happy Hours” with lyrics by Katie Belle Wichmann and music by Harrison Millard (see notes to cob #366) appeared in the November, 1893 issue of The Musical Record (a publication of Boston music publisher Oliver Ditson), but again the tune is not the same as the one on the cob. The 1870 Complete Catalogue of Sheet Music and Musical Works published by the Board of Music Trade of the United States of America lists sheet music for another song with the title “Happy Hours” by “Howard” published by J. L. Peters in New York, but I have not yet seen a copy of this sheet music.

#439 - Midnight Squad, Scarcity: VS
“The Midnight Squad” is another song with lyrics by Edward (“Ned”) Harrigan (1844-1911) of Harrigan and Hart (see notes to cob #249). It dates from the period after he and Tony Hart had a falling out in 1885 and went their separate ways. The music for it was written by Harrigan's regular collaborator and father-in-law David Braham (1834?-1905). The sheet music for it in LL has a copyright date of 1888 and the cover indicates that the song came from a Harrigan production of that year, “Waddy Googan”, and was dedicated to the New York City Police Department. The singer describes the activities of intrepid policemen on night patrol as they encounter and deal with thieves, prowlers, tramps, drunks and other miscreants in the deserted streets of New York. A review of the play appeared the day after it opened in The New York Times of September 4, 1888 and contains a summary of the plot. The title character, Waddy Googan, played by Harrigan, is an Irish-American all-night hack driver in New York who is thoroughly familiar with the denizens of the underbelly of the city. As we have seen, Harrigan usually populated his plays primarily with stage Irish, African-American and German characters, but in “Waddy Googan” he included a number of Italian immigrants and, apart from one heroic character, Joe Corello (also played by Harrigan), and the heroine Bianca, an Italian girl rescued from captors by Googan and Corello, generally presented them very unattractively (although the Times reviewer, who clearly disliked New York's growing Italian population, described them as accurate portrayals of the city's actual Italian-Americans of the time). The members of the local police precinct's “midnight squad” assembling and marching off to duty while singing the song on this cob was noted in the review as one memorable scene.

#440 - Where the Sparrows and Chippies Parade, Scarcity: S
This song in waltz time is also from the 1888 play “Waddy Googan”, with lyrics by Edward (“Ned”) Harrigan (1844-1911) and music by David Braham (1834?-1905) (see notes to cob #439). The play is set in part in “The Willow Garden”, a saloon with a gambling room and dance hall, and the New York Times review in its September 4, 1888 edition said “Here Mr. Harrigan boldly introduces that phenomenon of low life in New York known as the 'chippy'” (According to The American Heritage Dictionary, the word “chippy” or “chippie” can mean either a type of sparrow or a prostitute). The singer of the song is Waddy Googan himself and he enumerates all of the characters he encounters in the early morning while his hack is parked on a New York street corner outside a “gilded cafe” (presumably “The Willow Garden”). Reference: MN.


#441 - Waltz—Jeffrie's Yacht Club, Scarcity: S
The Jeffries Yacht Club in East Boston, Massachusetts was founded in the 1870s and has survived down to the present day. There is 1879 sheet music in MN for the “Jeffries Yacht Club Waltz” that was published in East Boston, shows the composer as “Angie I. Blaney” and also includes on the cover “as played by Edmands Band” (a band that played prominently at social and political events in the Boston area in the second half of the nineteenth century) and “respectfully dedicated to the Jeffries Yacht Club of East Boston”. According to turn-of-the-twentieth-century Boston editions of the Social Register, Ms. Blaney became Mrs. George E. Armstrong, according to 1900 United States Census records listing her under that name she was born in 1862 and her husband was a banker, and according to Massachusetts death records she died in 1940. A 1904 book published by the New York Tribune titled Prominent and Progressive Americans: An Encyclopaedia of Contemporaneous Biography contains an article about Mr. Armstrong that adds the details that he married Angie Isabel Blaney of Boston in 1883 and died in 1902, thirty-eight years before his wife. Thus, in summary, Angie I. (Isabel) Blaney (1862-1940) composed the lively and pretty “Jeffries Yacht Club Waltz” when she was only 17, was married four years later when she was 21 to a man who became a prominent banker, was widowed at 40 and lived for another 38 years. I have not come across any reference to her ever having composed any other music or her having been involved in any other musical activities during her long adult life. See also notes to cob #486.

#442 - Down On the Farm, Scarcity: C
Many people who see “Down on the Farm” in a list of cob titles very likely assume that the piece on this cob is the much more popular but also much later “How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree?)”, which dates from 1919. Actually, according to sheet music in DU for the song on the cob, it dates from 1889, it was written by James T. Williams (about whom I have found no information), and it was sung by Raymon Moore of Primrose & West's Modern Minstrels. It is another song of reminiscence, in which the singer thinks of scenes at his childhood homestead and of his now-deceased mother and is transported momentarily to “those delightful boyhood days down on the farm”. Raymon Moore (1867 or 1868-1916) was depicted on colorful Primrose & West posters (one of which is in MN's collection) and described as “the greatest of ballad singers”. He is also remembered as the composer of the tune for the very pretty and popular 1890s waltz song “Sweet Marie” (cob #1036 and Grand cob #2055). References: August 26, 1916 issue of Musical America (a weekly periodical published in New York) (brief article about Moore's death in Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn); New York City death certificate for Moore (spelling his first name “Raymond” and giving his age at death as 48).

#443 - Oh My Darling Clementine, Scarcity: LC
Because this song is so universally familiar and has been passed down orally from generation to generation right down to the present day, many would probably think of it as an American folk song. There was sheet music published for at least three different versions of the song during the period from the United States Civil War through the beginning of the roller organ era. In 1863 Oliver Ditson & Co. in Boston published sheet music for a song with the title “Down by the River Lived a Maiden” by the prolific American songwriter H. (Henry) S. Thompson with a different tune but many similarities in the lyrics to those of the song as it is sung today; in 1884 Ditson published sheet music for “Oh My Darling Clementine” with words and music credited to Percy Montrose and the familiar tune that is also on the cob; and in 1885 the music publisher Willis Woodward & Co. in New York published sheet music for “Clementine” with words and music credited to Barker Bradford and a slightly different tune. There is a copy of the sheet music in LL for “Down by the River Lived a Maiden”, which has eight stanzas with occasional words (such as “lubly” for “lovely”, “drefful” for “dreadful” and “bery” for “very”) in African-American dialect, showing that it was a minstrel song. Like the version of the song that has survived, it is a parody of “tear jerkers” in which the singer laments the death of his love who has drowned; she is described as not merely unattractive but grotesque, with lips like “luscious beefsteaks” and feet so large she uses (as in the surviving version of the song) herring boxes without tops for sandals. The 1885 song, for which there is sheet music in MN, is more of a genuine lament, with very different lyrics in which Clementine is not described so unappealingly. The 1884 song is essentially the same as the song as we know it today. References: BW; Henry Randall Waite, comp., College Songs (Boston, Oliver Ditson & Co., 1887) (Montrose version of the song).

#444 - Galop, Jolly Brothers, Scarcity: C
The galop “Jolly Brothers” (also known by its German title, “Bruder Lustig”) was apparently at one time a very popular piece, as this cob is one of only five cobs with a scarcity rating of C (“common”) or VC (“very common”) in the numerical range 401-500, in which nearly all of the cobs are either LC (“less common”) or S (“scarce”). It was written by the obscure composer Franz Budik as his Op. 10, although there are many versions of the tune as arranged by others in sheet music in MN and elsewhere. The cover of sheet music for it in the San Francisco Public Library collection, undated but identified by the California Sheet Music Project as “ca. 1867”, reads “as played at the Balls of the Liederkranz and Arion Societies, New York”, two then-prominent German-American musical organizations. As noted in the paragraph about cob #183, a “galop” is a very spirited quick dance in 2/4 time that originated in Germany and was given its name when it was introduced in France. Apparently Budik was a military bandmaster and lived from 1812-1877; his name and years of birth and death appear in a list of military bandmasters of the Austro-Hungarian army through 1918 on the internet website

#445 - Waltz—Nadjy, Scarcity: LC
“Nadjy” was the name of the heroine of “Les Noces Improvisees”, a comic operetta by Belgian-born composer Francis Chassaigne (1848?-1922). Its first performance in Paris in 1886 was followed by more successful 1888 English-language adaptations in New York and later London with the title “Nadjy” and “Nadgy”, respectively. I have not yet seen a score for any of these three productions, however, and have not otherwise been able to locate and access sheet music for the tune on this cob. References: AM, EM, The Theatre (London, December 1, 1888).

#446 - Manhattan Polka, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music for the lively but obscure tune on this cob in the collection at the Main Library of the Cleveland Public Library. It was part of a series called “Favorites of the Dance” with a copyright date of 1884, the composer's name is given as “C. Reichardt” and the piece is said to be his “Op. 3”. “C. Reichardt” is very likely Carl Reichardt, a German composer of a considerable number of dance tunes (especially polkas) and marches, the sheet music for which was published in Hamburg. Reference: Friedrich Hofmeister, Handbuch der Musikalischen Literatur (Leipzig, 1881).

#447 - Where the Myrtle Loves to Climb, Scarcity: S
So far, I have found only (1) a newspaper advertisement from 1886 for sheet music that includes this title and (2) a long list of “extraordinary bargains” in sheet music from 1895 that also includes the title, with its price discounted from 35 cents to 7 cents, and lists the composer of the piece as “Arlington”. This suggests that within ten years of its being at least somewhat familiar the piece had descended into obscurity. I have not yet seen a copy of the sheet music to determine whether the piece in it is the same as the one on this cob. As for the composer, there are a number of items of sheet music in MN dating from 1883-1886 containing other songs with music and in some cases lyrics by a “George Arlington”, nearly all of them published in Boston either under the name of Arlington himself or by Charles D. Blake & Co. As noted previously (see the paragraph for cob #284), Charles Dupee Blake (1847-1903) was a very prolific songwriter based in Boston who used a number of pseudonyms as well as his own name, and a lengthy obituary article about him in the November 25, 1903 edition of The Boston Post says that “George Arlington” was one of his pseudonyms. When a copy of the sheet music for this song is located, if it was published under the Arlington name or by Blake's company this will confirm Blake's authorship. Although the song may instead have been written by a totally different person named Arlington, this seems unlikely.

#448 - Come Sit By Me Mother, Scarcity: LC
This is another song associated with Denman Thompson's stage production “The Old Homestead” (see notes to cob #436); it appeared in the 1889 book of sheet music Songs from the Old Homestead, where it is attributed to Charles E. Bray (1845-1924). Bray was born in Pennsylvania, went west as a young man, was married in Idaho in 1865, subsequently lived in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, and died in California. A lengthy article about songwriters in the San Francisco Chronicle of May 30, 1897 noting how little they often were paid for their efforts focused on Bray in particular, called him “one of the best-known writers in the United States” who “should be a millionaire” and noted that despite his great productivity in songwriting he had, at that time just over age 50, very little to show for it. The writer added that Bray “ran a hotel in Idaho somewhere at one time, but was burned out”. “Come Sit By Me Mother” is a “tearjerker” in which the singer, a young man, asks his mother to sit down with him so that he can relate his sad tale to her: his beloved, having received an incorrect report that he perished in battle, has committed herself to another man and the singer, brokenhearted, tells his mother that he is about to die. There is also sheet music for this song with a copyright date of 1885 in MN that makes no mention of Bray but credits Charles E. Pratt (see notes to cob #224) with arranging the song and says, on the cover, that it was sung by Chauncey Olcott of Thatcher, Primrose & West's Minstrels. Olcott's year of birth has been variously reported as 1858, 1859 and 1860; the inscription on his tombstone in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York, says that he lived from 1859 to 1932. In the late 1880s, still in the early years of his career, he toured as a member of a singing quartet in “The Old Homestead”. He later became a very well-known “stage Irish” tenor singer as well as a songwriter and is remembered for the 1910 favorite “Mother Machree” (cob #1230) as well as for “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and “My Wild Irish Rose” (the latter two songs not on the roller organ). References: EM, OC, United States Census records as to Bray for 1850 (youngest child of English-born parents living in West Philadelphia with older siblings all of whom were born in England), 1870 (“musician” living in Portland), 1900 (“musician” living in Seattle), 1910 (retired, living with his daughter, her husband and their family in Harper, Kitsap County, Washington) and 1920 (retired, living with his daughter and her children in Berkeley, California); Idaho marriage records showing his marriage in Boise in 1865; entry in the 1885 Portland City Directory listing him as a “music teacher” living in the city; 1924 California death record.

#449 - Fan Tain March, Scarcity: LC
The title of the tune on this cob is “Fan Tain March”, not “Fan Tan March” as it appears in some lists of cob titles; the label on the cob in my collection has the title correctly spelled. The piece is by Dalmatian-born Viennese composer and theater conductor Franz von Suppe (1819 or 1820-1895) and comes from his operetta “Die Afrikareise” (“The Trip to Africa”) (see notes to cob #211). There is sheet music for it in UT with the subtitle “Over Mountain. Over Dale.”, which is a translation of the German words “Uber Berg, uber Thal” that appear in the piece, which comes from the Terzett (trio) in Act III of the operetta (Item 15 in the score).

#450 - Clayton's Grand March, Scarcity: C
There is sheet music in MN with a copyright date of 1877 for this march by the very prolific Boston songwriter and composer Charles D. (Dupee) Blake (1847-1903), whose name we have encountered so many times before (see, for example, notes to cobs #284 and 422). The march's onetime popularity is shown by the fact that this cob is another of only five in the numerical range 401-500 with a scarcity rating of C (“common”) or VC (“very common”); nearly all of the others in this range have a rating of either LC (“less common”) or S (“scarce”). The “Clayton” of the title was Blake's friend and fellow songwriter, Frank H. Clayton, to whom the piece was dedicated.


#451 - While the Years are Rolling On, Scarcity: LC
The piece on this cob is a hymn of American origin and it is surprising that the Autophone Company included it among the non-hymn pieces here in the 401-500 series rather than among other hymns of a similar type that appeared in the series of cobs numbered 1-100, 601-665 and 721-750. The lyrics, by Harriet B. (Burn) McKeever (1807-1887), are an exhortation to Christians to engage in the work of winning souls from lives of sin, because time is flying. According to JD, McKeever was a native of Philadelphia, was engaged in educational work there for many years, was associated with St. Andrew's Episcopal Church there and wrote some of her hymns for use in that church. The tune was composed by John R. Sweney (1837-1899) (see notes to cob #78), who served as leader of a regimental band during the Civil War and, thereafter, as a music teacher at a number of institutions including Pennsylvania Military Academy in Chester, Pennsylvania and as music director at a Presbyterian church in nearby Philadelphia. He was a prolific writer of hymn tunes as well as an editor of many hymnals, and the piece on this cob appeared in Joy to the World, an 1878 hymnal of which he was a co-editor.

#452 - Fresh Life—March, Scarcity: LC
This pretty march tune is another piece by W. F. (William F.) Sudds (1843-1920) and was his Op. 45. There is sheet music for it in MN with a copyright date of 1878. As noted previously (see notes to cobs #379, 391 and 425), Sudds was an English-born composer, music teacher and author of music instructional works who lived in upstate Gouverneur, New York and owned a music store there.

#453 - Listen to My Tale of Woe, Scarcity: LC
This song has an interesting history. The lyrics came from an 1880 poem with the title “The Little Peach” by the well-known American poet, newspaperman and literary wag Eugene Field (1850-1895). They tell how two children, Johnny Jones and his sister Sue, see an unusual bright green peach growing on a tree in an orchard, knock it down with a club, take bites of it and die. Field's friend, the comic actor and singer Francis Wilson (1854-1935), in his book The Eugene Field I Knew (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908), said that when the poem was published in an obscure country newspaper with no mention of the author's name, a songwriter named Hubbard Smith in Washington, D. C. came across it, made some changes in it (which included adding the line “Listen to my tale of woe” twice within each of the six stanzas, combining the stanzas in pairs to create only three longer stanzas, and adding a refrain) and set it to music. According to Wilson, the song became a great hit, the sheet music for it sold “thousands and thousands of copies” and it was even incorporated into a Boston production of the operetta “Nadjy” (see notes to cob #445), in which it was performed as a duet; however, Wilson said, Field had never copyrighted his poem when he first wrote it (although it does appear, with its 1880 date, in The Poems of Eugene Field, Complete Edition (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916)) and Smith did not derive any financial benefit from the song because he had sold his rights to it to a music dealer in Washington for ten dollars. Hubbard T. Smith (1854-1903), according to a lengthy article about him in the Indianapolis Journal of February 15, 1903, was an Indiana-born American diplomat who also wrote songs as a sideline and was Vice Consul at Cairo, Egypt at the time of his death. References: EM (information about Wilson); LL (sheet music for the song published in Washington, D.C. in 1884 attributing it only to Smith, referring on the cover to its use in “Nadjy” and giving the name of Wilson as one of the singers who sang it as a duet in that production); the Boston Public Library (sheet music for the song published by the same publisher in the same year, but crediting Field with the words).

#454 - Snow-Drift Waltz, Scarcity: LC
This waltz tune appears in sheet music in MN with a copyright date of 1879 and with the title “Snow-Drift. Valse Elegante”. The composer's name is given as “B. E. Shirk” and the piece is dedicated to the composer's father in Peru, Indiana. There were several prominent families with the name “Shirk” in Peru at that time about whom a good deal of biographical information has been preserved. “B. E.” was almost certainly Elizabeth (also known as “Bettie”) Shirk (1859-1927), who is listed in the 1880 U.S. Census records as being the daughter of Harvey J. Shirk, a lawyer in Peru, and was at the time “at art school”. Four years later, she married Charles A. Cole, another Peru lawyer, and lived for the rest of her life in Peru as a housewife and mother; however, an article in the Tilton [Indiana] Tribune of May 10, 1948 enumerating Indiana composers mentions “Elizabeth Shirk Cole” second in the list and adds that she was an aunt of the much more famous songwriter Cole Porter, also a native of Peru. Additional references: U.S. Census records for 1860, 1870, 1900, 1910, 1920; Indiana marriage records.

#455 - Oscar Wilde Galop, Scarcity: LC
The witty and eccentric Irish-born literary figure Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) made a trip to the United States to give a series of lectures in 1882 and received a great deal of attention. The “Oscar Wilde Galop” presumably dates from that time. Different editions of sheet music for the piece in LL, IU and UV are all undated and do not provide a composer's name, but only “F. H. Snow” as the arranger.

#456 - Racquet Waltz, Scarcity: LC
There are two different editions of sheet music in MN that include the tune on this cob, both with the title “Racquet Waltz” and a copyright date of 1879, both with the words “Immensely Popular” on the cover and one with the words “The Best Selling Piece in America” on the cover as well. In both cases the composer's name is given as “F. H. Baker”. Her full name was Florence Hooper Baker, according to sheet music in MN for a song she wrote with the title “Oh! That Horrid Mosquito” that identifies her on the cover as the composer of the “famous Racquet Waltz” as well as two other waltzes. Although she is not remembered today, it is possible to piece together scraps of information about her from various sources. According to a number of advertisements in 1887 editions of the South-Jersey Republican, a newspaper published in Hammonton, New Jersey, “Mrs. Florence Hooper Baker Of New York City, PIANIST and COMPOSER Of the famous 'Racquet Waltz'”, was then living in Hammonton and was available to give music lessons, and according to an article in the November 1, 1890 edition of The Better Way, a Spiritualist newspaper, she was then associated with the Union Square Conservatory of New York and played the piano at a Spiritualist program at a residence in Brooklyn. She is shown, however, in both the 1880 and 1900 U.S. census records as living in Hammonton (1890 U.S. census records are unavailable, having been almost completely destroyed in a 1921 fire), and in addition the 1900 records show her year of birth as 1842 and place of birth as Maine. 1850 and 1860 census records show that her parents, Asher and Abigail Moore, relocated from Maine to Mullica Township, Atlantic County, New Jersey by 1860, when she was 18. In the 1870 census records, she is shown as married and living in Waterford, Camden County, New Jersey, with her husband Wellington Baker (who had also lived in Mullica Township at the time of the 1860 census) and young daughter. Her tombstone, at Brackett Memorial Cemetery, Peaks Island, Cumberland County, Maine, identifies her as “Mrs. Florence Baker”, says she was the wife of Wellington Baker, and gives her years as 1841 (instead of the 1842 in the 1900 census records) to 1914. There are also two other pieces of sheet music in MN that include tunes different from the one on this cob by other composers but with similar titles: one is “Racquet Waltzes” by George Thorne (see notes to cobs #429-431) with the notation on the cover “The Latest Society Dance” and a copyright date of 1880 and the other is “The Standard Racquet Waltz” by Chandler with a copyright date of 1881. This is because the “racquet waltz” was a dance popular in the early 1880s as well as just the title of a particular tune. An advertisement in the student newspaper The Cornell Daily Sun (Ithaca, New York) for March 19, 1883, for example, for “E. W. Prager's Dancing Academy”, included the “Racquet Waltz” in a long list of “The latest and most Fashionable Dances taught in one course of lessons”; however, at about the same time, according to an article in The Cincinnati Enquirer, an organization of dancing teachers, at their annual meeting in New York City, “voted to discard the 'racket' from their lessons and to forbid it altogether in their academies”. The author of the article said that, nevertheless, he had seen it danced at every ball he attended, that its name came from the fact that the music first used for it was “The Racquet Waltz”, and that it was regarded as “too showy for modest girls to fling themselves into”. Reference: The Fairplay Flume (a newspaper in Fairplay, Colorado), March 8, 1883, reprinting an article about dances then in vogue in New York written by the New York correspondent of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

#457 - Waltz, Estudiantina, Scarcity: LC
The well-known and familiar “Estudiantina Waltz” is an 1883 piece arranged for piano and later for orchestra by “Parisian waltz king” Emile Waldteufel (1837-1915) (see notes to cob #102), based on an 1881 vocal duet by Paris composer Paul Lacome (1838-1920), who is best remembered for his operettas. References: OC, BW.

#458 - Polka-Mazurka, Adrienne, Scarcity: LC
Although I have found a number of references to sheet music for a piece dating from 1852 with the title “Adrienne, Polka-Mazurka” by a French composer named Alexandre Croisez (1814-1886), I have not yet seen the sheet music to determine whether the piece is the same as the piece on this cob.

#459 - Slavery's Passed Away, Scarcity: LC
This song came from the Edward (“Ned”) Harrigan melodrama “Pete”, which dates from 1887, two years after Harrigan parted ways with Tony Hart (see notes to cob #249). As usual, the lyrics were by Harrigan (1844-1911) and the music by his father-in-law David Braham (1834(?)-1905), and Harrigan himself, in blackface, played the title role of the kindly and loyal African-American Pete, an ex-slave who establishes that his deceased former master's daughter is not illegitimate so that she can receive her rightful inheritance from her father despite the machinations of her conniving stepmother. As in the song “Slavery Days” (cob #372), which came from the 1875 Harrigan and Hart sketch that was expanded to create “Pete”, the lyrics to “Slavery's Passed Away” emphasize the cruel and brutal aspects of slavery, recalling the “dark, clouded years…full of bitter tears” and expressing joy and thankfulness that they are over. References: LL, John Franceschina, David Braham: The American Offenbach (New York, Routledge, 2003) (information about the production “Pete”).

#460 - Waltz, Myosotis, Scarcity: S
This is another waltz by English composer Caroline Lowthian (1858-1943) (see notes to cob #409). There is undated sheet music for it in the collection of the University of Michigan, published in London, and in UN, published in the United States. An article in the Hawke's Bay [New Zealand] Herald of February 27, 1890 with the title “Dance Music” said that “Caroline Lowthian is admittedly the writer of the sweetest waltz music of to-day. Three hundred thousand copies of her 'Myosotis Waltz' have been sold. … She commenced writing ten years ago, when well in her teens, and by the time she had composed four waltzes was famous. … 'Myosotis', written seven years ago, still has its run, though, strange to say, it started its career up in Scotland, working downwards, the last place it reached being London.” The word “myosotis” is the name of a genus of plants that includes the flower known as the “forget-me-not” and the words “myosotis” and “forget-me-not” have been used interchangeably. Accordingly, the “Myosotis Waltzes”, op. 101, of “Parisian waltz king” Emile Waldteufel (see notes to cob #102), which pre-date, are different from and were not the basis for Lowthian's composition, are also known by the German name “Vergissmeinnicht”, which translates to “Forget Me Not”.


#461 - Waltz, Nid D'Amour, Scarcity: S
This waltz tune is another by the well-known and prolific French composer Emil Waldteufel (1837-1915) (see notes to cob #102) and was his Op. 195. “Nid d'amour” is French for “nest of love”, or “love nest”; the waltz is also known by the equivalent German title “Liebchens Heim”.

#462 - Waltz, The Dawn, Scarcity: LC
There is undated sheet music for this waltz tune in UN that gives the composer's name as “H. Louel”. This is almost certainly Count Hippolyte Louel, a French composer and man of letters who was active in the mid-nineteenth century but about whom I have, so far, found very little additional information (French marriage records show that he was married in Paris in 1851). It should be mentioned, however, that there was also a Henry or Henricus Louel (1807-1885), presumably a different person from Hippolyte (but perhaps not), who appears in the 1871 and 1881 censuses of residents of the Isle of Guernsey in the Channel Islands and, according to the 1881 census, was a “professor of music” who was born in France. An article in the Guernsey newspaper The Star of May 8, 1877 (reproduced on an online website relating to The Brothers' Cemetery in St. Peter Port, Guernsey, where Louel is buried) refers to him as Henri Louel and says that in 1840 he was a piano teacher in St. Servan in the Bretagne region of France, where he taught the child prodigy and later famed pianist Arabella Goddard, who was then four years old. The style of the sheet music, which is simple and coverless, indicates that it is of an earlier date than most of the items of sheet music I have referred to in my previous paragraphs about cobs; it is probably from the 1850s or even the 1840s, as there is also sheet music dated 1856 in MN for an arrangement of the tune by Charles Grobe (with no mention of Louel) in a series called “Melodies of the Day, a Collection of Popular Airs with easy and pleasing Variations”, all arranged by Grobe. Additional reference: The Guernsey Magazine, April, 1885 (death notice for Henricus Louel).

#463 - Chateau Margaux, Scarcity: S
Although the title on the label of this cob is not followed by the word “(Spanish)”, the cob is part of a group of “Spanish” cobs that is continued with the next ten cobs. Chateau Margaux is probably the best-known and traditionally the most highly regarded red wine-producing chateau in the Margaux area of the Bordeaux region of France, but it is also the title of a “zarzuela” (a traditional Spanish form of operetta) by Manuel Fernandez Caballero (1835-1906). Caballero was a musician and conductor in theatres in Madrid who composed scores for an enormous number of zarzuelas beginning when he was 19 and continuing through the time of his death over 50 years later. “Chateau Margaux”, from 1887, consists of only one act. The simple plot involves newlywed Angelita drinking too much Chateau Margaux wine and embarrassing herself in front of her husband Manuel's visiting rich uncle and aunt; all ends well, however, after the visitors partake of the excellent wine themselves. The actual title of the waltz tune on this cob is “El Vals de Angelita” (“The Waltz of Angelita”), also known as “No se que siento aqui” (“I do not know what I feel here”), soprano Angelita's response upon drinking too much of the wine. References: OC, EM (information about Caballero).

#464 - "Jota" La Bruja (Spanish), Scarcity: S
A “jota” is a Spanish folk dance in fast triple time and “La Bruja” (“The Witch”) is the 1887 zarzuela in which this particular jota appeared. Its composer was Ruperto Chapi (1851-1909), a barber's son who studied music at the Madrid Conservatory and later in Rome and worked as a cornet player in theatre orchestras and a bandmaster in the Spanish artillery before becoming a very successful composer of zarzuelas, writing the music for more than 150 of them between 1880 and the time of his death. “La Bruja” is set in 17th century Navarre, Spain. At the end of the first act (of three), the hero, Leonardo, about to depart in the hope of performing deeds of valor with the Spanish army in Italy so that, by doing so, he will free the title character, a good witch, from her enchantment and restore her to her youthful beauty, sings the jota, “Ay! Canto alegre de mi pais” (“O happy song of my country”), praising his homeland. References: OC, EM (information about Chapi).

#465 - Passa Calle, No.1 (Spanish), Scarcity: S
The Pronouncing Dictionary of Musical Terms by H. A. Clarke (Philadelphia, Theodore Presser Co., 1896), and other, similar works from the roller organ era define “passa-calle” as the Spanish term for “an old dance in triple time” that literally means “running the street”.

#466 - "El Ganga" (Spanish), Scarcity: S

#467 - Duo De Pippo Y Bettine (Spanish), Scarcity: VS
As noted in the paragraphs for cobs #168-172, which contain tunes from the 1880 French operetta “La Mascotte” with music by Edmond Audran (1842-1901), it is curious that probably the best-known piece from that operetta, the duet of Pippo and Bettina from Act I, was included on the roller organ only here among some obscure and scarce Spanish cobs. Presumably, not many copies of this VS (“very scarce”) cob were sold and one might wonder for what audience it was intended. The answer must be that “La Mascotte” was, in its day, popular all over the world and was undoubtedly widely performed in Spanish-speaking countries. For example, an article by Thomas Brown in the October, 1899 issue of the New York magazine Cosmopolitan with the title “The Stage in Mexico and its Favorites” reported that “La Mascotte” was an operetta that was especially popular in Mexico (typically preceded onstage by a zarzuela) and that he had heard it there “given in a manner that from an artistic standpoint would reflect credit upon a Broadway house”. In the duet, lovers Pippo, a shepherd, and Bettina, a turkey girl, each sing (with interjected turkey and sheep sounds, “glou glou glou” and “be be be”) that they love their farmyard charges well enough, but love each other more.

#468 - Dolores Waltzer No.1 (Spanish), Scarcity: S
#469 - Dolores Waltzer No.2 (Spanish), Scarcity: S
The waltz tunes on these cobs both are included in “Dolores Walzer”, Op. 170, by “the Parisian waltz king”, Emil Waldteufel (1837-1915) (see notes to cob #102). The complete piece, as arranged for orchestra, runs for about eight minutes and the first tune first appears at the very beginning and is then reprised about three quarters of the way through the piece and repeated, with elaborations, through the end. The second tune follows immediately after the first tune in the first half of the piece. In other sheet music for the piece, four separate waltz tunes are identified by number and the tune on cob #468 is identified as “No. 1” (with the instruction that it be played “doloroso”, that is, sorrowfully) and the tune on cob #469 is identified as “No. 2”. It is once again not clear why these Parisian waltz tunes appeared on cobs in this scarce group with the word “Spanish” in parentheses following their titles; as in the case of the previous cob, it is presumably simply because they were, at the time, internationally popular, and were favorites in Spanish-speaking countries.

#470 - Vals del Caballero de Gracia (Spanish), Scarcity: S
This is another piece from a Spanish zarzuela, in this case “La Gran Via”, first performed in Madrid in 1886, with music by Federico Chueca (1846-1908) and Joaquin Valverde (1846-1910), both of whom studied at the Conservatory in Madrid and became theatre conductors as well as composers. The one-act musical production is unusual in that it revolves around the proposed creation of a new main street (La Gran Via) in Madrid and a number of the characters are streets and other locales of the city in human form who speculate and express their concerns about how the new street will affect them. One such street is the Caballero de Gracia, who sings, in waltz (vals) time, his song, “Caballero de Gracia me llaman” (“They call me Caballero de Gracia”). OC notes that “La Gran Via” was performed more than 1,000 times in Madrid and EM adds that it was also “the most internationally successful of all Spanish pieces”.


#471 - Mazurka de los Marineritos (Spanish), Scarcity: S
The tune on this cob also comes from the zarzuela “La Gran Via” (see notes to the previous cob), with music by Federico Chueca (1846-1908) and Joaquin Valverde (1846-1910). When the Caballero de Gracia and a passerby (El Paseante) who accompanies him on a visit to several Madrid locations that will be affected by the construction of the new “Gran Via” stop at the square known as the Puerta del Sol, they encounter a group of sea cadets (marineritos) who sing a song that begins “Somos los marineritos que venimos a Madrid” (“We are the sea cadets who come to Madrid”), the tempo of which changes into that of a mazurka. Reference: EM.

#472 - Polka—De los Ingleses (Spanish), Scarcity: LC
This piece comes from another zarzuela with music by Federico Chueca (1846-1908) and Joaquin Valverde (1846-1910) (see notes to the previous two cobs), “Cadiz”, which, like “La Gran Via”, dates from 1886. It is set in the Spanish city of Cadiz at the time Napoleonic troops held the city under siege and British troops were assisting the Spanish forces. The full title is “Polka de los ingleses y damiselas” (“Polka of the English and the damsels”) and it appears in the second of the two acts. Reference: EM.

#473 - Passa Calle, No.2 (Spanish), Scarcity: S
See notes to cob #465.

#474 - Mother Says I Mustn't, Scarcity: LC
With this piece we turn from Spanish tunes to, once again, a song from the English music hall tradition. In this case, both the words and music are by the well-known writer of songs for music hall performers, G. W. (George William) Hunt (c. 1838-1904) (see notes to cobs #167 and 401). The words, without the music, are included in an 1877 collection of lyrics of “new and popular songs” published in London, Diprose's Railway Song Book. Whenever the singer (“George”) asks the pretty girl with whom he has fallen in love (“Selina”) for a parting kiss, she replies “mother says I mustn't” and “not just yet”. When he then asks her to marry him, she makes the same reply, adding, in a recitation between verses, that they “could never live on two hundred a year” and telling him to wait until he makes at least five hundred pounds annually. He applies himself to his work until his income reaches that level and when he next sees Selina she is very pleasant and “lovingly” brings up the question of his previous marriage proposal. This time it is his turn to respond “mother says I mustn't” and in the final verse he sings “Give me the girl who loves a man…for himself” rather than for his “pelf” (money) and “All sordid-minded damsels who/May worship golden dross/May they be old maids till they die/And we'll never feel their loss”. According to the cover of sheet music for the song in the collection of London's Victoria and Albert Museum (in which the last word of the title is spelled “Musn't”), the song was “sung with the greatest success” by the music hall star George Leybourne, who is better remembered as both the writer and performer of “The Flying Trapeze” and “Champagne Charlie” (see notes to cobs #433 and 434). There is 1873 sheet music in MN for just the tune to “Mother Says I Mustn't” as arranged by “E. Mack” (Edward L. Mack; see notes to cob #323) and the song is also another of the pieces of English origin that appeared in the long list of items of sheet music that the New York publisher DeWitt advertised for sale for a nickel apiece in 1877 and subsequent years in The Publishers Trade List Annual (see notes to cob #389).

#475 - Kiss Me as I Fall to Sleep, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music for this song in MN with its correct title, “Kiss Me, as I Fall Asleep”. The copyright date is 1881, the words are by George Birdseye (1844-1919), the music is by John P. Dougherty (1859-1940) and the sheet music was published by Dougherty himself in Chester, Pennsylvania. The piece is once again a “tear jerker” in which a little boy who is dying sings to his mother, bidding her not to weep, because heaven is such a pretty place and when he arrives there he will meet his brother Charlie, who has died before him. Although John (shown as “Jno.” in the sheet music) Dougherty is an obscure figure, it is possible, from census records and Chester city directories, to reconstruct some information about him. He was, like a number of the composers we have encountered whose songs found their way onto the roller organ, an organist, music teacher and piano tuner, and also sold and published sheet music. His mother was a music dealer who also sold stationery, two of his sisters were music teachers and his brother was a music teacher who also sold sheet music, stationery, pianos, organs and other musical instruments, all at the same address on West 3rd Street in Chester, which was also the Dougherty family's home for many years. John is listed as a twenty-year-old “music dealer” in the 1880 U. S. Census and was, therefore, only twenty-one when he composed the tune for “Kiss Me as I Fall Asleep” and published the sheet music for the piece. He lived for the rest of his life in Chester and died there in 1940 at the age of eighty-one. MN has in its collection nearly fifty items of sheet music published by Dougherty in the 1880s, including some containing pieces by Philadelphian Adam Geibel (see notes to cob #227) and Dougherty's fellow Chester resident John R. Sweney (see notes to cobs #78 and 451). As for George Birdseye, according to Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century (Chicago, American Publishers' Association, 1898), he was a writer and poet who was born in New York City in 1844 and who was “the author of numerous popular songs, and a regular contributor to current publications”. In addition to his poetry, he wrote a series of articles about America's song composers, including ones on Stephen Foster (see notes to cob #112), Henry C. Work (see notes to cob #109) and Thomas P. Westendorf (see notes to cob #251). Some details of Birdseye's life can once again be pieced together from census records and city directories. According to the 1870 U. S. Census, he worked as a lawyer in New York as a young man, and according to New York marriage records, he was married there in 1872. He is, however, listed in the 1880 U. S. Census (without his wife) as a “journalist” living in Philadelphia, in the 1879 Philadelphia City Directory as a “reporter” and in the 1884 and 1885 Philadelphia City Directories as a “publisher”. He subsequently moved to Boston, Massachusetts and appears in city directories there for 1886-1897 at three different addresses on Tremont Street with the occupation “author”. He then moved to Lynn, Massachusetts, outside Boston; 1900 U. S. Census records show him living in Lynn in a lodging house with his occupation as “poet”, although a similar entry in the 1910 Census records gives his then occupation, at age 65, as clerk in a real estate office. In Lynn city directories, he is listed beginning in 1899-1902 under his old profession of “lawyer”, in 1905 as “author” and, thereafter, as “clerk”. He died in 1919, still a resident of Lynn. Additional references: Pennsylvania death certificate for Dougherty giving his dates of birth (8/12/1859) and death (9/23/1940); Massachusetts death record for Birdseye.

#476 - Silver Threads Among the Gold, Scarcity: C
Previous references to H. P. (Hart Pease) Danks (1834-1903; see notes to cobs #230, 339, 400 and 422) have all noted that he is best remembered as the composer of the tune for this song. According to OC, more than two million copies of the sheet music for the song were sold following its publication in 1873. Danks reportedly had seen a poem he liked in a Wisconsin farm magazine and contacted the editor, Eben E. Rexford (1848-1916), offering to purchase rights to the poem for $3 so that he could set it to music. Rexford accepted the offer and sent Danks a whole batch of other poems he had written, offering them for sale at the same price. One of them was “Silver Threads Among the Gold”. Danks was reportedly very moved by the poem and composed an equally moving tune to go with it, sold the song to a publisher and, popularized by minstrel singers, it became an instant success. The singer, whose hair is becoming streaked with silver, addresses his beloved wife and says that although “life is fading fast away” she has not aged since they first kissed and will always be young and fair to him. As noted in the paragraph for cob #281, Bridgeport, Connecticut newspaperman and songwriter Arthur W. French claimed, but never proved, that he, rather than Rexford, had supplied Danks with the poem that Danks adapted to create his extraordinarily successful song. This cob is another of only five in the 401-500 numerical range with a scarcity rating of C (“common”) or VC (“very common”), reflecting the fact that “Silver Threads Among the Gold” remained familiar and popular for more than half a century from the time of its composition, and beyond the end of the roller organ era. References: DU, BW, FS.

#477 - O Fred, Tell them to Stop, Scarcity: S
There is sheet music in MN for this waltz song (in which the first word is spelled “Oh” rather than “O”) with a copyright date of 1880 that gives the name of the composer and lyricist as George Meen. The singer, a fellow named Fred, takes his girl Maria (pronounced Ma-RYE-Ah to rhyme with “higher”) to the “Great Fancy Fair” and soon after she boards a swing ride she begins shouting “Oh, Fred, tell them to stop” but, despite her protests, the “roughs” operating the ride keep pushing her higher and higher and when the ride finally stops she stumbles off and faints. Fred nevertheless recommends the ride as “the best fun that's out” for anyone going to the Fair. The song is another of English origin; SU, a work concerned primarily with English music hall songs, includes Meen in its alphabetical listing of lyricists and composers, gives his years as 1853-1887, includes this song as his only listed composition along with the year 1880, and also notes that it was performed by the great music hall artist George Leybourne (1842-1884; see notes to cobs #433, 434 and 474) as well as Fred Coyne (1845-1886) and, in the United States, “the father of American vaudeville”, the singer as well as impresario Tony Pastor (c. 1832-1908). Meen was himself a music hall performer and notices in many English newspapers of the day say that his specialty was improvising topical songs while on stage.

#478 - Happy Hearts—Polka Mazurka, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music for this dance tune in MN under the title “Happy Hearts”, subtitled “Morceau de Salon” (“salon piece”). It has a copyright date of 1878 and the composer's name is given as “C. Kinkel”. As noted in the paragraphs for cobs #306 and 377, Charles Kinkel (1832-1891) was a German-born composer, music teacher and author of musical instruction works who lived for most of his life in Shelbyville, Kentucky and composed many light dance pieces.

#479 - Pretty Little Dark Blue Eyes, Scarcity: S
This is another song written and composed by the “Dutch” (German) comic, singer amd songwriter Gus Williams (1847?-1915) (see notes to cobs #175, 225, 242 and 349). There is sheet music for it in MN with a copyright date of 1884 and on the cover it says that Williams sang the song “in his new play, 'Captain Mishler'”. According to AM, in this 1884 production, Williams played the part of the Captain, a comic New York policeman. The New York Times of June 11, 1884 noted: “'Pretty little dark blue eyes', which Mr. Williams sings in 'Captain Mishler', bids fair to become as familiar on the streets as 'Sweet Violets'.” (see notes to cob #108). The theme of the song is simple enough: in three verses and a chorus, the singer merely extols the virtues of his love, who is always bright and cheerful and has pretty and bewitching dark blue eyes.

#480 - General Grant's Grand March, Scarcity: VC
This spirited march tune is the best-known and most enduring composition by the extraordinarily prolific blind German-born Philadelphia composer Edward Mack (c. 1826-1882; see notes to cob #323). It dates from the time of the American Civil War; sheet music for it in LL has an image of Union General Ulysses S. Grant on the cover, in uniform, and a date of 1862. The piece remained popular for many decades thereafter, which is why this cob is the most common one in the numerical range 401-500 and the only one in the range with a scarcity rating of VC (“very common”).


#481 - Neath the Roses Long Ago, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music for this song in MN with a copyright date of 1877. The lyrics were by Arthur W. French and the tune by Harry Percy. It is still another piece in which the singer (who, in this case, could be a man or a woman) remembers, longingly and with regret, a place where the singer and the singer's beloved “met, and loved, and parted”. French (1846?-1916), as we have previously noted (see paragraph on cob #281) was a Bridgeport, Connecticut newspaper editor who also wrote lyrics to a number of songs. Percy, although an obscure figure, is represented as composer (and in some cases lyricist as well) in about 30 items of sheet music in MN, sometimes collaborating with French. He was a minstrel performer as well as a composer; MM reports that his real name was John H. Peabody, he was “a prominent vocalist of many important minstrel companies” and he died at Jersey City, New Jersey, on January 2, 1880. There is a New Jersey death record for a “Jno. H. P. Peabody” who died at Jersey City on that date and it gives his birth year as 1850.

#482 - Awfully Clever, Scarcity: VS
This is still another English music hall song with lyrics and music by G. W. (George William) Hunt (c. 1838-1904; see notes to cobs #167 and 401) that was performed by George Leybourne (1842-1884; see notes to cobs #433 and 434). According to an article in the April 1, 1904 issue of The Musical Herald [London] following Hunt's death, he claimed to be the first songwriter who supplied music hall performers with both words and music for their songs. During the 1860s, he wrote hundreds of songs, sometimes three or four a day, and near the end of his life he estimated that he wrote over 7,000 songs in all. These included a total of 53 songs for Leybourne to perform. “Awfully Clever” dates from 1870. The singer, a “swell” like other characters Leybourne typically portrayed on stage, says that he has inherited an income from his mother and does not have to work for a living and people tell him that he is “awfully clevar, oh! deuced clevar”; his “favourite sport's killing time” and his “aim's to do nothing at all”, and he amuses himself by driving in the park, playing billiards or going to parties. The song is another of the pieces of English origin that appeared in the long list of items of sheet music that the New York publisher DeWitt advertised for sale for a nickel apiece in 1877 and subsequent years in The Publishers Trade List Annual (see notes to cob #389). References: LL, OC.

#483 - When the Band Begins to Play, Scarcity: LC
This is another 1870 song by English songwriter G. W. (George William) Hunt (c. 1838-1904) (see notes to cobs #167, 401 and 482). The singer this time is a woman who tells how jolly and thrilling she finds it when the band begins to play, especially when her darling Charlie, with his white gloves and baton, is up there leading it. In the fourth stanza she reveals that Charlie has asked her to marry him and their wedding is scheduled to take place within the month. The song is still another of the pieces of English origin that appeared in the long list of items of sheet music that the New York publisher DeWitt advertised for sale for a nickel apiece in 1877 and subsequent years in The Publishers Trade List Annual (see notes to cob #389). Reference: LL.

#484 - The Little Log Cabin's the Home After All, Scarcity: LC
There is 1875 sheet music in MN for this song by Will (William) S. (Shakespeare) Hays (1837-1907), the prolific Louisville, Kentucky songwriter who also wrote the much better-known piece “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” (see notes to cob #166). While the latter piece is a minstrel song in dialect from four years earlier in which an elderly African-American who now lives alone in a ramshackle cabin with his dog thinks back to his former life as a slave, the song on this cob is one of sentimental recollection in which the singer recalls the log cabin where he was born and raised and his mother was born before him and where he drove the cows, barefoot, and helped his father plough; although now, as an adult, he has seen many fine places, he wishes he could go back to his childhood and thinks of his parents who lie buried on the old property.

#485 - The Dude Galop, Scarcity: S
There is 1883 sheet music for this tune in MN with the title “The Dudes' Galop” by F. Simons. There is no sheet music in MN for any other piece by Simons, however, and I have, so far, not found any information about either Simons or this tune. There is sheet music in MN for a number of other pieces from 1883 with the word “dude” in the title (one of which is on cob #435) and it was in that year that the slang term “dude” for a fastidiously-dressed dandy was in vogue. A “dude” would typically stroll on Fifth Avenue, New York or some other comparable American thoroughfare dressed in a tight collar and tight pants and carrying a walking stick, aping what he understood to be the appearance and demeanor of an upper-class Englishman.

#486 - When the Dew Begins to Fall, Scarcity: S
There is sheet music in DU with a date of 1885 for this interesting and pretty waltz song showing both words and music as being by J. W. Turner. The singer says that very early in the morning, when the dew begins to fall and “spangles all the vale”, is the best time for him and his love to “stray” in “dingle and in dell” and he bids her “Oh, meet me!” The fast runs of eighth notes accompany quickly sung “Tra la la”s. There is sheet music in MN for more than 130 pieces of music composed or arranged by “J. W. Turner” or “Joseph W. Turner” (1818-1894), ranging in date from 1843 to 1885 and nearly 90% of them published in Boston. Many are pieces from the 1860s relating to the U. S. Civil War. According to OF, Turner was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts into a family of eleven children, began working in a type foundry at the age of fourteen, received an education in music as he was able and ultimately became an organist, music teacher and composer. He lived in East Boston, where the Jeffries Yacht Club is located, and, interestingly, the sheet music for the “Jeffries Yacht Club Waltz” (see notes to cob #441) was published and copyrighted by him. Reference: Massachusetts death certificate for Turner.

#487 - Lullaby from "Erminie", Scarcity: LC
The English-language comic opera “Erminie”, with music by Edward Jakobowski (1856-1929) and lyrics by Harry Paulton (1841-1917), opened in 1885 in London and the following year in New York where, according to EM, it became “unchallengeably the longest-running comic opera of the 19th-century Broadway stage.” A dashing thief, Ravannes, and his buffoonish sidekick, Cadeaux, escape from prison and rob a viscount of his clothes and papers and, pretending to be the viscount and his friend, a baron, go, in the hope of committing further robbery, to the home of the viscount's father's old friend, where the viscount was headed for his betrothal to the old friend's daughter Erminie, whom the viscount has never met. When the real viscount later arrives he is imprisoned as an impostor. Erminie, meanwhile, has been planning to elope with her love, her father's secretary, Eugene, in order to avoid the betrothal, and ultimately the viscount ends up with Eugene's sister, Cerise, whom he loves, and Erminie is able to marry her Eugene. The lullaby, “Dear Mother, in Dreams I See Her”, appears in Act 2 and became an enormous hit in the United States in 1886 as a result of its being sung in the American production by Pauline Hall (1860-1919), who remained associated with the role of Erminie and the “lullaby” for the rest of her career. Jakobowski, who was born in London to a Polish-born father and educated in Vienna, never achieved any other success nearly comparable to “Erminie”. Paulton, an actor and director as well as a writer, played the Cadeaux role in the London production himself and then came to New York to stage the American production, in which Cadeaux was played by Francis Wilson (1854-1935; see notes to cob #453), a role which established him in his career as a comic actor and singer. Additional reference: MN (sheet music for the “Lullaby”).

#488 - Buttercups and Daisies, Scarcity: S
There is sheet music for this lively and pretty piece in MN with a copyright date of 1875 published by the New York publisher DeWitt (see notes to cob #389) giving the name of the lyricist and composer as Frederic Maccabe. The piece was actually several years old at that time, however; an advertisement on the first page of the December 11, 1871 edition of The Times of London called “Buttercups and Daisies” Maccabe's “last new song”. It is childlike in its simplicity: Because pretty buttercups and daisies grow gaily and plentifully all among the grass, and brightest blossoms abound, the singer is content and does not care that thorns and weeds surround our lives and life is full of care; we share joy and grief alike. Maccabe (1830 or 1831-1904) was an English music hall performer, a vocalist and pianist as well as ventriloquist and quick change artist. In addition, he wrote a book with the title Maccabe's Art of Ventriloquism which was also copyrighted and published in 1875 by DeWitt and which indicates that he had recently come to the United States for a performance tour. According to a listing in the 1877 Publishers' Trade List Annual, DeWitt also published a book with the title Frederic Maccabe's Musical Album which included this song and said that Maccabe, in addition to composing it, performed it on stage. According to English census records, Maccabe was born in Liverpool; in the 1871 and 1881 censuses his occupation is given as “professor of music”, and in 1901, “retired entertainer”. His 1904 death record reports his age at that time as 73.

#489 - De Lime Kiln Club, Scarcity: VS
The cover of the 1883 sheet music for this piece in MN calls it the “great Negro minstrel song by Fred Lyons”. The lyrics, in dialect, invite everybody down to the Lime Kiln Club where there will be “walking for the cake” (a cakewalk, that is, a competition in which the participants prance elegantly for the prize of a cake; see also the notes to cobs #1085, 1107, 1114 and 1115) and a “great jubilee” (celebration); among those present, the singer says, will be “Brudder Gardner”, “Uncle Gideadam Jones”, “Waydown Bebee” and “Mose Whangadoodle”. Lyons, like minstrel composer and performer Sam Lucas (see notes to cob #373 and 385), was himself an African-American, wrote more than two dozen similar dialect songs which were published in the 1880s and the sheet music for which is in MN, and was a performer as well as a songwriter: the sheet music for one of his songs, “Somebody's Laughing, Laughing”, is subtitled “The Original Laughing Song Composed & Sung with Great Success Everywhere by Fred. Lyons”, and on the cover of the sheet music for another, “Swinging on de Golden Gate”, he is described as “the inimitable Negro minstrel”. Likewise, an advertisement for “the Celebrated Hyers Sisters' Comic—COLORED—Opera Company” in the February 3, 1881 issue of the Marion Daily Star (of Marion, Ohio) refers to the sisters' “own company of colored artists, Including the Most Comical Comedian on Earth, Mr. Fred Lyons, the Big-Mouthed Banjoist”. The same newspaper, on January 13, 1887, noted that Lyons was “at home sick” and therefore could not appear in a production of a show called “The Cattle King” in Marion, and an article in The Pittsburgh Press of January 27, 1888 referred to him as “the late Fred Lyons”; accordingly, he appears to have died sometime in 1887 or, conceivably, very early 1888.

#490 - I'll Get Rid of My Mother-in-Law, Scarcity: LC
There is 1879 sheet music in LL for this comic song by Charles H. Duncan. The singer complains that his wife's mother constantly interferes so that his wife never does things to suit him, and that when their first child was born the old woman insisted, incorrectly, that the boy looked just like his wife rather than him. In the chorus, the singer says that he will not stand for it any longer: he will “boss” his wife and get rid of his mother-in-law. Like many other songwriters of his day, Duncan was also a comic singer; the cover of sheet music for another of his songs, “Down on the Iron Pier”, in MN, says that that song was “Written, Composed and Sung to great applause by American's greatest comic vocalist, Charles H. Duncan”, and other pieces of his appeared in a sheet music series called “Charles H. Duncan's Great Comic and Motto Songs” (see notes to cob #233 as to the meaning of “motto songs”). Duncan placed advertisements for himself in the New York Clipper during 1893, giving two different home addresses for him in New York City. U. S. Census records for 1880 show that he lived in New York City at that time as well and list his profession as “actor”, his age as 38 and his birthplace as Missouri. In 1897 and 1899 he is listed as a resident in the New York City directory and his occupation is given in the first case as “actor” and in the second case as “vocalist”.


#491 - Sweet Little Stanny Snow, Scarcity: VS
Back in 1999, I visited the New York Public Library's Music Library and found in the card catalog (in the days before it was computerized) a card for sheet music in the Library's collection for a song with the title “Sweet Little Stannie [rather than “Stanny”] Snow”, by G. Elton George. Unfortunately, when the librarian attempted to locate it for me, it was missing from the shelf where it was supposed to be, and I have not yet followed up by returning to the library and requesting it again. I am not aware of any other existing copy of the sheet music and, therefore, I have never seen it. A paragraph (that was perhaps in fact a paid advertisement by the publisher of the sheet music for the piece) in the January 19, 1883 issue of the Ann Arbor Courier, a newspaper published in Ann Arbor, Michigan, called the piece a charming, “catchy” song with chorus, easy and melodious, and added that it was “so taking, that, although published less than a month ago, it has already been put on the concert stage by first-class minstrels”.

#492 - My Beautiful Rose, Scarcity: S
There is sheet music with a copyright date of 1887 for this pretty waltz song with chorus in the New York Public Library's sheet music collection that shows the lyricist as Leonard Wheeler and the composer as H. P. Danks. It is still another “tear jerker” in which the singer addresses his “beautiful rose” who died in her blossom and says her fragrance shall never depart and her caressed memory shall ever live in his breast; he bids her to come in sweet dreams when he is sleeping and he looks forward to being reunited with her when he himself dies. Wheeler may be the same Leonard Wheeler who wrote a book of poems published in 1882 by the “Melancholy Club” in New York, of which he was a member, that included the very lengthy and personal poem “Erothanatos”, which also relates to the death of a young woman and repeatedly uses flower imagery. Wheeler was, at the time, probably a very young man and perhaps still a student. We have previously encountered the prolific H. P. (Hart Pease) Danks (1834-1903) as the composer of a number of tunes on the roller organ (see notes to cobs #230 and 476).

#493 - Only a Violet Blossom, Scarcity: S
There is sheet music for this waltz song in MN with a copyright date of 1883 that shows the lyricist and composer as J. P. Skelly, who inscribed it “admiringly” to the then popular actress and singer Lillian Russell. The singer (who could be a man or a woman) has kept a violet blossom given to the singer many years ago by the singer's love and it is a reminder of happy days now long in the past. As we have seen previously (see notes to cobs #239, 346 and 437), Joseph P. Skelly (1853-1895) was a New York plumber turned songwriter who composed the music, and in some cases also wrote the lyrics, for an enormous number of popular songs, many of which found their way onto the roller organ.

#494 - "Mirage" Valse (Waltz), Scarcity: VS
There is undated sheet music in UV for this waltz tune; it is “No. 1” of the three separate parts of the piece, which is by the English composer Caroline Lowthian (1858-1943) (see notes to cobs #409 and 460). “Valse” is the French word for “waltz”. The tune dates from 1886, as it was reviewed as “newly-published music” received from Chappell & Co. in London in the June 1, 1886 issue of The Theatre: A Monthly Review and Magazine, also published in London (The reviewer called it “really good”, “with a strong and striking melody”; he was not as kind with his comments about other pieces for which music was sent to him, saying “I sincerely hope I may never be condemned to suffer the peine forte dure [an archaic form of harsh punishment] of listening to them”).

#495 - Pretty as a Butterfly, Scarcity: N
There is 1882 sheet music in LL for a song and dance by this title by the minstrel performer Bobby Newcomb (see notes to cob #427), but as I have never come across a copy of this cob I cannot say whether the tune in the sheet music is the same as the tune on the cob.

#496 - Angels Hear the Little Prayer, Scarcity: LC
The sheet music for the song on this cob is indexed in MN under “Angels Hear the Little Prayers”, which is the way the title appears on the first interior page of the sheet music and also is the first line of the lyrics as they appear there; the cover of the sheet music, however, gives the title as “Angels Hear the Little Prayer”, bears a copyright date of 1881, gives the lyricist's and composer's name as “Henry C. Wyatt”, says that the song is “dedicated to the memory of Miss Corinne Wyatt” and adds that it was sung by T. B. Dixon of the San Francisco Minstrels. Henry C. (also known as “Harry”) Wyatt (1849-1910), although remembered primarily as a pioneer theatre manager in California in the latter part of his life, was a minstrel performer and the proprietor of a music store in his native Richmond, Virginia in his earlier days. According to his obituary article in the July 26, 1910 edition of the Los Angeles Herald, he lost his left arm while serving as a drummer boy in the Confederate Army during the U.S. Civil War (although he would have been only sixteen years old when the war ended). He was a tenor singer who performed with the San Francisco Minstrels and he later formed and appeared in other minstrel companies. He also managed theatres and concert tours and, after relocating to Los Angeles, became the longtime manager of a group of theatres in southern California. The song is another “tear jerker” about a little girl who dies and, according to Virginia death and burial records, Wyatt had a daughter named Corinne who died in 1872 at the age of only eight months and who is, therefore, the “Miss Corinne Wyatt” to whose memory the song was dedicated. Additional reference: 1880 U.S. Census records showing Wyatt living in Richmond with the occupation “music dealer”.

#497 - Just Because You Kissed Me Darling, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music for this song in MN with a copyright date of 1879 that shows the lyricist as Arthur W. French and the composer as Edwin Christie (MN mistakenly indexes the song with the composer's name as “Devin Christie”). Because the singer's love kissed him good-bye for the first time when they parted, he is happy even though they are now far apart and he looks forward to when they will be reunited. As we have seen (see notes to cob #281), French (1846?-1916) was a very prolific songwriter who at one time worked in the Singer sewing machine factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut and later became a newspaper editor. Edwin Christie composed tunes for many popular songs and is represented by over 100 different items of sheet music in MN, essentially all published between 1870 and 1885. He occasionally contributed the lyrics himself, but in an overwhelming majority of cases collaborated with either Arthur W. French or George Cooper, whom we have encountered previously as another author of lyrics for a number of songs that found their way onto the roller organ (see notes to cobs #173, 294, 344, 356, 369, 404, 414 and 424). In addition, Boston music publisher Oliver Ditson & Co. published a whole series of sheet music for dance tunes by Christie with the title “Edwin Christie's Late Pieces for the Piano-Forte”. There is a Salem, Massachusetts birth record for Christie (misspelling his name as “Cristie”) showing that he was born there in 1850, and he is listed in both the 1870 and 1880 U.S. Censuses as residing in Boston, in both cases with the occupation “musician”; in the 1880 Census his name is again misspelled as “Cristie”. There are also listings in the 1882, 1883 and 1884 Boston City Directories for him as a “teacher of music”. He should not be confused with the earlier figure Edwin P. Christy (1815-1862), the minstrel singer who specialized in singing Stephen Foster's songs and who founded the famed Christy's Minstrels; his name is sometimes misspelled “Christie”, but all of Edwin Christie's songs postdate Christy's death. Reference (re: Christy): MM.

#498 - Out in the Snow, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music for this song in MN with a copyright date of 1874 and the title “Out in the Snow; or, the Drunkard's Child”. The piece is still another “tear jerker”: the singer begs her drunken and cruel father not to drive her outside, ragged and hungry, on a snowy night and asks who would shed one tear if she were to die in the streets. While the cover shows what appears to be a girl trying to assist a drunken man slumped on a snow-covered sidewalk, the singer could be either a girl or a boy. The lyricist and composer was once again Will (William) S. (Shakespeare) Hays (1837-1907), the prolific Louisville, Kentucky songwriter (see notes to cobs #166, 237 and 484).

#499 - My Boy Across the Sea, Scarcity: LC
This 1872 song is another “tear jerker” by Will (William) S. (Shakespeare) Hays (1837-1907; see notes to the immediately preceding cob) and sheet music for it appears in the collection Salty Sea Songs and Chanteys, compiled by Alex M. Kramer (New York, Leeds Music Corp., 1943). A mother sadly recalls her son's parting from her to go overseas and says that she weeps tears of affection and prays for God's protection for him while he is away, fearing that she may never see him again.

#500 - Norsk Folkesang (Norwegian Song—Norwegian), Scarcity: LC
This is the first in a series of fifteen consecutively numbered cobs containing Norwegian pieces. The tune on it also appears on cob #590, with a different pinning, with the title “Mit Fodeland (My Native Land—Norwegian)”. Sheet music for the piece can be found in the Sons of Norway Song Book (Minneapolis, Minnesota, Supreme Lodge of the Sons of Norway, 1948) with lyrics that begin “Hvor herlig er mit fodeland” (“How lovely is my native land”). The composer's name is given as L. M. Ibsen. This is Lars Moller Ibsen (1786-1846), who was born in Copenhagen and moved as a young man to Oslo (then known as Christiania), where he became a music publisher and music and singing teacher as well as a composer.

Scarcity Ratings

Scarcity ratings are based on hundreds of cob transactions and many years experience.
MC Most Common
VC Very Common
C Common
LC Less Common
S Scarce
VS Very Scarce
N No known copy


AM Gerald Bordman, updated by Richard Norton, American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle (New York, Oxford University Press, 4th Ed., 2010)
BW James J. Fuld, The Book of World-Famous Music, Classical, Popular and Folk, 3rd. Ed. (New York, Dover Publications, Inc., 1985)
DU Duke University Sheet Music Collections (online at
EM Kurt Ganzl, The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre, 2nd Ed. (New York, Schirmer Books, 2001)
FS James J. Geller, Famous Songs and their Stories (New York, Garden City Publishing Co., Inc., 1940)
IU Indiana University Sheet Music Collection (online at
JD John Julian, ed., A Dictionary of Hymnology (New York, Dover Publications, Reprint of 1907 ed.)
LL Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection at Johns Hopkins University (online at
MB Maine Music Box Collections (at the University of Maine and elsewhere, online at
MM Edward LeRoy Rice, Monarchs of Minstrelsy, from “Daddy” Rice to Date (New York, Kenny Publishing Co., 1911)
MN Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1820-1860 and 1870-1885 (and similar online United States Library of Congress collections)
OA Gerald Bordman & Thomas S. Hischak, The Oxford Companion to American Theatre, 3rd Ed. (New York, Oxford University Press, 2004).
OC Peter Gammond, The Oxford Companion to Popular Music (New York, Oxford University Press, 1991)
OF Helen Kendrick Johnson, Our Familiar Songs and Those Who Made Them (New York, Henry Holt and Co., 1881)
SU Michael Kilgarriff, Sing Us One of the Old Songs: A Guide to Popular Song 1860-1920 (New York, Oxford University Press, 1998)
TE Sheet music in the library of Temple University, accessible online at
UN Sheet music in the library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, accessible online at
UT Sheet music in the University of Tennessee Sheet Music Collection, accessible online at
UV Sheet music in the University of Virginia Library, accessible online at

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