1920: "Even Water's Getting Weaker"
Various Artists

Various Artists: 1920: "Even Water's Getting Weaker"

24 hits from 1920, the year that national Prohibition and women's suffrage took effect. Top artists include Al Jolson, Billy Murray, Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, Van and Schenck, John Steel, Selvin's Novelty Orchestra, Nora Bayes, and Art Hickman's Orchestra. 24-page color booklet features detailed notes on the songs, an historical essay, and rare graphics. List price: $17.49


  • Catalogue number: ARCH 9001A
  • UPC: 656605911823
  • Original release date: September 1, 1999
  • Running length: 75:36 / 25 tracks
  • Notes & packaging: Includes a 24-page full-color booklet
  • Tracks recorded: 1919-1920
  • In Archeophone’s Phonographic Yearbook series
Tracks and Sound SamplesProduct DescriptionPackage DealsMore by these Artists
 Sample all tracks 
1. I’ve Got My Captain Working for Me Now Al Jolson 1919
2. Wait Till You Get Them Up in the Air, Boys Billy Murray 1919
3. Dardanella Selvin’s Novelty Orchestra 1919
4. The Moon Shines on the Moonshine Bert Williams 1919
5. Let the Rest of the World Go By Elizabeth Spencer and Charles Hart 1919
6. The Love Nest Art Hickman’s Orchestra 1920
7. When My Baby Smiles at Me Ted Lewis Jazz Band 1920
8. Left All Alone Again Blues Marion Harris 1920
9. All the Boys Love Mary Gus Van and Joe Schenck 1920
10. Alice Blue Gown Edith Day 1920
11. Yellow Dog Blues Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra 1919
12. Swanee Al Jolson 1920
13. Hold Me Art Hickman’s Orchestra 1919
14. Prohibition Blues Nora Bayes 1919
15. Whispering Paul Whiteman and His Ambassador Orchestra 1920
16. Rose of Washington Square Kentucky Serenaders 1920
17. You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet Al Jolson 1919
18. The Love Nest John Steel 1920
19. I’ll See You in C-u-b-a Billy Murray 1920
20. I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time Charles Harrison 1920
21. Tell Me Little Gypsy Art Hickman’s Orchestra 1920
22. You’d Be Surprised Eddie Cantor 1919
23. The St. Louis Blues Marion Harris 1920
24. Chile Bean Paul Biese Trio with Frank Crumit 1920
25. The Japanese Sandman Paul Whiteman and His Ambassador Orchestra 1920

The biggest hits of 1920 are now available in a beautiful second edition! This is the first volume of Archeophone Records’ celebrated Phonographic Yearbook series, and this new edition features three bonus tracks, an expanded booklet, improved sound, and the high standards you’ve come to expect from the leader in acoustic-era reissues.

National Prohibition went into effect in January 1920, and Bert Williams moaned about the loss of his beloved liquor in “The Moon Shines on the Moonshine,” singing wryly, “Even water’s getting weaker / ‘Bout one tenth of one percent.” But also in January of that year, the U.S. went through its first “red scare,” in which thousands of suspected Communists were rounded up and arrested. Further, for the first time in American history, the population in cities surpassed that of rural areas, while veterans returning from World War I flooded an uncertain domestic economy.

No Prohibition Against Laughter

The palpable fear of change evident in American society was soothed over by the comedians, who took Prohibition as their subject. In addition to Bert Williams, there was Billy Murray urging his countrymen in “I’ll See You in C-u-b-a” to take a trip to the land where wine is flowing; Nora Bayes lamenting the passing of her old friend, Alcohol (“Al” for short) in “Prohibition Blues”; and Van and Schenck extolling the virtues of Mary in “All the Boys Love Mary.” It turns out that Mary’s charms are not in her face but in the secret her father keeps in the cellar.

Dance Away

The dance craze was in full swing by 1920, with Paul Whiteman’s first record, “Whispering” and “The Japanese Sandman” becoming one of the best-selling singles of the entire acoustic era. The future “King of Jazz” was joined in setting dance halls to music by Ted Lewis and his trademark “When My Baby Smiles at Me,” as well as Art Hickman, whose “Hold Me” features a splendid piano duet in the middle, and the Kentucky Serenaders’ “Rose of Washington Square” (one of the bonus tracks on this second edition). Possibly the biggest of all dance hits was “Dardanella,” by Selvin’s Novelty Orchestra, a song still played today.

Don’t Let the Blues Get You Down

The emergence of jazz was accompanined in the late 1910s by the blues, and here are featured several early attempts. Marion Harris shines on “The ‘St. Louis Blues'” and “Left All Alone Again Blues,” while trombonist Harry Raderman steps out with the Joseph C. Smith Orchestra on “Yellow Dog Blues” (another bonus track).

Abundant Classics

1920 had more than its share of classics, and they’re all here, in the best-sounding versions you will find anywhere on compact disc: songs such as Al Jolson’s “Swanee,” John Steel’s “The Love Nest,” Edith Day’s “Alice Blue Gown,” and Eddie Cantor’s “You’d Be Surprised” (the third bonus track included on the new edition). Archeophone’s “1920” CD is now a classic in its own right, and with this new edition, you’ll be surprised just how much better it is

This release is included in the following packages.

1920s Yearbook Extravaganza

Save $6 when you order our three yearbooks from the 1920s together

Phonographic Yearbook Starter Kit

Save 15% when you order all in-stock editions of our Phonographic Yearbook series together.

All Things Archeophone

Save 20% on our entire catalogue

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