Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Roots of The Three Suns

Actually, I hate the term "roots." I'll have to be honest. Part of the reason I hate "roots" is because it's ambiguous. Does it mean "the foundation of" or "a precursor to"? Both meanings pop up all of the time in music reviews, which is why I consider it sort of a joke term. But it's such a standard one, I can't resist using it. Only my psychiatrist knows for sure, and he's forbidden me to come back. "You're crazy!" he yelled, as he kicked me out of his office.

Enough weirdness. Unless we find it strange that The Three Suns' sound preceded them. And it did, by a number of years. Proof: Jesse Crawford's highly-TS-sounding A Precious Little Thing Called Love, from 1929. I don't know who the other guys are....

A Precious Little Thing Called Love, Jesse Crawford, organ. 1929.

More Three-Suns-esque sounds from organist Lew White--don't know who's on the xylophone. This dates from the earliest period of The Three Suns, but White had been doing this for a while. I'm trying to get my paws on White's late-1920s/early-1930s material:

The Whistler and His Dog (Arthur Pryor, 1905), Lew White, 1941.

And here's Lew White with two musical helpers--this one is way Three Suns. And, just between you and me, it also sounds way pre-1941, but that appears to have been the year:

The Wedding of the Painted Doll (Freed-Brown, 1929), Lew White, 1941.

Hopefully, I can land a copy of White's 1929 Brunswick recording of Doll....

The original sheet music cover for The Whistler and His Dog, courtesy of



Anonymous Byron Los Angeles said...

Hi Lee! Thanks for playing 'The Whistler & His Dog' one of my many favorites. The sheet music even cooler! Have you got to use your new sound device you got for Christmas? These ol' 78's sound just like new, Wow!
Do you have Bill Boyd 'Wahoo' ? Good ol' Western side.
Byron Los Angeles

6:45 AM  
Blogger Lee Hartsfeld said...

Hi, Byron.

Nope, don't have that side ("Wahoo"). Sounds good!

These transfers weren't mine--in both cases, RCA Camden's engineers did the work. They do sound good, don't they? And they were pre-digital restorations, to boot.


3:11 PM  
Anonymous Byron Los Angeles said...

Hi Lee ! What's spinnin' at the Vintage Lounge these days ?
Can you find more good Peggy Lee or Patti Page ?
Thank YOU.
Byron Los Angeles

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Jesse Crawford recording is just one person!

8:21 AM  
Blogger Lee Hartsfeld said...


Oops. Er, I knew that, of course.

I was going by my ears, which told me the xylophone and piano were genuine, but of course those were (I gather) literally built into the theatre organ? I've been checking out theatre organ sites and essays.

Checking 78 discographies, I'd seen that organ records from the period were often augmented by pianists and/or xlophone players, so I made my best guess! I suspected I might be wrong. Oh, well....

Thanks for the info. I thought that might have been, in effect, Jesse times 3!


6:39 AM  

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