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Everybody Works But Father

Title: Everybody Works But Father

Artist: Lew Dockstader

Catalogue Number: Columbia A306 (3251)

Date: 1905

Composer: Jean C. Havez

Description:
Baritone solo

Record courtesy of Davis Hart

LISTEN



Lew Dockstader

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Born George Alfred Clapp in Hartford, Connecticut, Lew Dockstader (1856-1924) was the most notable minstrel man of the late 19th century. He formed the Dockstader Brothers with Charles Dockstader in 1878 and the first company of "Dockstader's Minstrels" in 1886. Lew joined Primrose and West's Minstrels in 1889, and then, with George Primrose, he organized his most famous minstrel troupe in 1898.

It seems that everyone passed through Dockstader's Minstrels. Al Jolson was a member in the early 1910s, and in fact, Dockstader gave the young Jolson his own spot in the program--right before the finale--because no one could successfully follow Jolie. The countertenor Will Oakland was another member of Dockstader's Minstrels about that time.

Lew recorded five tracks for Columbia, three of which were released. "Everybody Works But Father" (single-sided Columbia disc 3251), a hit for his company on stage, was the first in 1905, followed by "Uncle Quit Work Too" in 1906 and "Fiddle Dee Dee," cut with the Peerless Quartet in 1912. A peculiar feature of the recording is that Dockstader receives piano accompaniment instead of orchestral accompaniment. Because the major record companies had switched by about 1904 from piano to orchestra for vocal backups, this record sounds to record collectors like it is older than it really is.

Bob Roberts, Dan W. Quinn, and Billy Murray also had hit versions of "Everybody Works But Father," so Lew Dockstader's version was not especially popular--but as it was featured in 1908 on double-sided Columbia A306, opposite "Let Me Like a Soldier Fall" (from Maritana) by George Alexander, it was apparently of enough interest for Columbia to reissue it.

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