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Billy Murray, Anthology: The Denver Nightingale
[ARCH 5501]


Billy Murray, Anthology: The Denver Nightingale
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For the first time ever on a commercial CD, here are 30 songs that span the five decades of Billy Murray's career. Included are Murray's biggest hits, such as "The Grand Old Rag," "In My Merry Oldsmobile," and "I Love a Piano." Also featured are tracks representing the depth and breadth of Billy's recordings, such as one of his first, "The Way to Kiss a Girl"; one of his most biting, "He Goes to Church on Sunday"; one of his most wry, "He's a Devil in His Own Home Town"; and one of his very last, "It's the Same Old Shillelagh." Anthology includes a 24-page booklet featuring contributions from Murray biographers Frank Hoffmann, Quentin Riggs, and Dick Carty, as well as the story behind the biggest hit Murray never recorded—"Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

The Biggest Star of the Acoustic Recording Industry
Through 1925, nobody else even came close. Murray outsold all other performers from the time of his breakout records in 1903 through to his retirement in 1943. Each of Murray's successive efforts—first, "Yankee Doodle Boy," then "The Grand Old Rag," and later, "Casey Jones," by the Murray-led American Quartet—was announced as the biggest seller for Victor Records. Prior to 1950, only Bing Crosby surpassed Murray in popularity, and from 1951 through 1999, only Elvis and the Beatles have had a similar impact on the recording industry.

American Classics
The songs that Billy Murray popularized are classic American tunes, from "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis" to "Give My Regards to Broadway," and from "Harrigan" to "K-K-K-Katy (Stammering Song)." You'll notice that a number of the songs were composed by George M. Cohan: more than any other recording artist of the early industry, Murray was the primary interpreter of the now-famous songs of Cohan, the original "Yankee Doodle Boy."

Dynamic Duos
Murray was also part of several of the most important early duos and ensembles making records. The team of Ada Jones and Billy Murray sold more records than any other duo in the acoustic period. But Murray had success later on singing duets with Aileen Stanley, Walter Scanlan, and Ed Smalle. Each pairing brought him new challenges, and Anthology lets you hear Murray's amazing versatility. Some of his finest work was with quartets, especially the American Quartet, and as guest tenor with the Haydn Quartet. These groups are also represented on Anthology.

A Master Stylist
Billy Murray has been noted for his unique ability to enunciate so that every syllable could be clearly heard and understood. He was a master of style and form, performing every kind of popular music, from tender ballad to comic song. If you don't have any music from the acoustic era, this CD is the one to start with!

CD Details

  • Catalogue number: ARCH 5501
  • UPC: 656605931821
  • Original release date: October 22, 2002
  • Running length: 78:56 / 30 tracks
  • Booklet: 24-page
  • Tracks recorded: 1903-1940
  • Contains racially derogatory language
  • In Archeophone's Pioneers series.

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Track Listing and Sound Samples

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1. The Way to Kiss a Girl—Billy Murray (1903) Listen Listen Listen Listen
2. Bedelia—Billy Murray (1903) Listen Listen Listen Listen
3. Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis—Billy Murray (1904) Listen Listen Listen Listen
4. Alexander—Billy Murray (1904) Listen Listen Listen Listen
5. Come Take a Trip in My Air-Ship—Billy Murray (1904) Listen Listen Listen Listen
6. Yankee Doodle Boy—Billy Murray (1905) Listen Listen Listen Listen
7. Under the Anheuser Bush—Billy Murray (1905) Listen Listen Listen Listen
8. Give My Regards to Broadway—Billy Murray (1905) Listen Listen Listen Listen
9. In My Merry Oldsmobile—Billy Murray (1905) Listen Listen Listen Listen
10. Everybody Works But Father—Billy Murray (ca. 1906) Listen Listen Listen Listen
11. The Grand Old Rag—Billy Murray (1906) Listen Listen Listen Listen
12. He Goes to Church on Sunday—Billy Murray (1907) Listen Listen Listen Listen
13. Harrigan—Billy Murray (1907) Listen Listen Listen Listen
14. Shine On, Harvest Moon—Billy Murray and Ada Jones (1909) Listen Listen Listen Listen
15. Carrie—Billy Murray (1910) Listen Listen Listen Listen
16. By the Light of the Silvery Moon—Billy Murray and the Haydn Quartet (1910) Listen Listen Listen Listen
17. Casey Jones—Billy Murray and the American Quartet (1910) Listen Listen Listen Listen
18. The Cubanola Glide—Billy Murray (1910) Listen Listen Listen Listen
19. He'd Have to Get Under—Get Out and Get Under (To Fix Up His Automobile)—Billy Murray (1914) Listen Listen Listen Listen
20. He's a Devil in His Own Home Town—Billy Murray (1914) Listen Listen Listen Listen
21. I Love a Piano—Billy Murray (1916) Listen Listen Listen Listen
22. Pretty Baby—Billy Murray (1916) Listen Listen Listen Listen
23. K-K-K-Katy—Billy Murray (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
24. He Went in Like a Lion and Came Out Like a Lamb—Billy Murray (1920) Listen Listen Listen Listen
25. You've Got To See Mama Ev'ry Night—Billy Murray and Aileen Stanley (1923) Listen Listen Listen Listen
26. That Old Gang of Mine—Billy Murray and Ed Smalle (1923) Listen Listen Listen Listen
27. Charley, My Boy—Billy Murray and the International Novelty Orchestra (1924) Listen Listen Listen Listen
28. I Faw Down and Go Boom!—Billy Murray and the Midnight Ramblers (1928) Listen Listen Listen Listen
29. Amos 'n Andy—Billy Murray and Walter Scanlan (1930) Listen Listen Listen Listen
30. It's the Same Old Shillelagh—Billy Murray and Harry's Tavern Band (1940) Listen Listen Listen Listen
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