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MMD > Archives > May 1999 > 1999.05.21 > 03Prev  Next

Vocalstyle "Home Minstrel Series" Piano Rolls
By Dean Moore

The Vocalstyle Home Minstrel series was started around 1922.  I believe
that there was a total of only six rolls in this series, beginning with
series #1 (roll #11265), #2 (#11330), #3 (#11595), #4 (#11948) #5
(#12355) and #6 (#12356).

They appear to have come with two fold-out type booklets in each box.
As the booklets explain:

  "The music is made up of parts of Old Minstrel Melodies and
   Plantation Songs that never grow old. The same is true of the
   'Jokes.'  Both will please you and pleasantly recall many a smile
   of by-gone days, at the same time proving hilarious fun for the
   'Actors' around the piano and the 'Audience' on the other side of
   the parlor".

The jokes would be considered very incorrect for today's standards
since all the jokes were to be performed by "Mr. Interlocutor" the
player-pianist, "Mr. Bones" on one end of a semi-circle and "Mr. Tambo"
on the other end of the semi-circle.  Here is an example of the type
of jokes used (this is from Series #3, Joke #2).  Emphasize the words
in capitals.

 - - -

Interlocutor: And how are YOU feeling tonight, Mr. Tambo?

Tambo: (groaning) Oh, LAWDY, Mr. Interlocutor, I'se feelin' POWERFUL

Interlocutor: I am EXTREMELY sorry to learn of your INDISPOSITION,
Mr. Tambo.  What SEEMS to be the matter?

Tambo: Oh, I just drank my first PROHIBITION COCKTAIL.

Interlocutor:  PROHIBITION Cocktail?  That's a NEW ONE on me.
How's it made?

Tambo: The directions are VERY SIMPLE.  You take a glass of water,
in which you have very CAREFULLY rinsed one SMALL prune, Throw in
one EMACIATED raisin, and after adding one VERY LAZY grasshopper,
shake well and drink SLOWLY through a straw.

Interlocutor: (disgustedly)  Ugh!  SHADES of John Barleycorn!
You say that a GRASSHOPPER is one of the ingredients?

Tambo: The most IMPORTANT of all.

Interlocutor: How do you figure THAT?

Tambo: Well, you see, the grasshopper puts the KICK in it.

 - - -

Hope this answers a couple of questions.

Havin' Fun!
Dean Moore

(Message sent Fri 21 May 1999, 22:40:26 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Home, Minstrel, Piano, Rolls, Series, Vocalstyle

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