Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Transcription Mystery Disc #115

It says "Frank Carry Me Back" in plain English on the Recordio label.  It starts at the outer edge and spins at 78 rpm.  There is no date or location.  On the B-side is a more personal recording of someones Grandmother it too is labeled in pencil "grandma's Birthday present 2-23-47 Kathy Anne Frank. Assuming the same frank appears on both sides, I'll also assume that Kathy Anne and Frank are three different people despite the lack of commas. I'll also note the date is written in different handwriting than the rest.  The wear on the two sides is very uneven, and even starts much further inside the edge on the b-side. Levels also vary.  I think they were recorded at different times, possibly quite far apart.

The announcer opens the recording by saying " ...Silver Dollar Bar, we're going to have a selection tonight by Francis Dagga..."  I'm not confident on the last name there. Then a man with a warbly voice sings a dreary rendition of Carry Me Back To Old Virginia.. There is a very famous Silver Dollar bar in Jackson Hole Wyoming, but with the Yankee accent I suspect it is the much lesser known Silver Dollar bar in Boston. It was once famous for having a bar a whole block long. It later became the Two O'clock Lounge and is currently the site of the Registry of Motor Vehicles on Washington Street. 

Jazz trumpet player Reuben "Ruby" Braff once wrote that he played there, but that there were no steady gigs unless you played badly. Sammy Davis Jr. performed there and George Wein flat out called it a bucket of blood. Harper's Magazine wrote about two murders there in 1936.  One travel guide described it "...just one of a number of saloons in the district between Tremont and Washington Streets, where prostitutes prowled bars and cruised the alleyways."  I found a 1947 Life Magazine article that described even more colorfully, as both famous and gaudy: 
"...a mecca for sailors passing through, the cigarette butts and other refuse is said to add glamor to the tinseled appearance of the bar.  A heavy-lidded customer is just as likely to lean askew and spit over his neighbors shoulder in the general direction of the floor as he is to bum a cigarette."

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