The Product of Our Souls: The Sound and Sway of James Reese Europe's Society Orchestra
Various Artists

The Product of Our Souls
March 25, 2018 hennessey
Various Artists: The Product of Our Souls: The Sound and Sway of James Reese Europe’s Society Orchestra

America was hot to trot in 1913, when a craze for social dancing swept across the nation. Vernon and Irene Castle were the faces of that cultural revolution—and the soundtrack was composed by James Reese Europe and played by his bands. An esteemed musician, bandleader, and labor organizer on behalf of his fellow African Americans, Europe described his cohort's musical innovations as "the product of our souls." This compilation presents for the first time all eight sides recorded by Europe's Society Orchestra in 1913 and 1914, and it contrasts them with recordings of the same material by studio bands made contemporaneously. Also included are selections composed by Europe but recorded by other stars of the day, showing Europe's depth and influence. In the enclosed 56-page booklet, author David Gilbert gives incisive musical and cultural analysis, establishing James Reese Europe's prominence of position among the great musical forces of the 20th century. Companion to the book, The Product of Our Souls: Ragtime, Race, and the Birth of the Manhattan Musical Marketplace, published by the University of North Carolina Press, 2016. List price: $17.99


  • Catalogue number: ARCH 6010
  • UPC: 868490000258
  • Original release date: June 1, 2018
  • Running length: 74:37 / 22 tracks
  • Notes & packaging: Digipak with a 56-page full-color booklet
  • Tracks recorded: 1908-1916
  • In Archeophone’s Jazz, Dance & Blues series
  • Awards: 61st GRAMMY Nominee, Best Album Notes
Tracks and Sound SamplesReviewsHonors & AwardsExplore Further
 Sample all tracks 
1. Too Much Mustard Europe’s Society Orchestra 1913
2. Down Home Rag Europe’s Society Orchestra 1913
3. Amapa Europe’s Society Orchestra 1913
4. El Irresistible Europe’s Society Orchestra 1913
5. You’re Here and I’m Here Europe’s Society Orchestra 1914
6. The Castles in Europe Europe’s Society Orchestra 1914
7. Castle Walk Europe’s Society Orchestra 1914
8. Castle’s Lame Duck Europe’s Society Orchestra 1914
9. I’ve Got the Finest Man Ada Jones 1912
10. Castle Valse Classique Metropolitan Military Band 1916
11. Too Much Mustard Prince’s Band 1913
12. Down Home Rag Van Eps Trio 1914
13. Amapa Maxixe National Promenade Band 1914
14. El Irresistible Indestructible Band 1913
15. I Ain’t Had No Lovin’ in a Long Time Bob Roberts 1908
16. Castles’ Half and Half Prince’s Band 1914
17. Ballin’ the Jack Victor Military Band 1914
18. You’re Here and I’m Here Kathleen Kingston & Billy Murray 1914
19. Castle House Rag National Promenade Band 1914
20. The Castle Walk Metropolitan Military Band 1916
21. The Castle Walk Metropolitan Military Band 1916
22. Fiora Waltz Hesitation Victor Military Band 1915

Vintage Jazz Mart
“Archeophone has done jazz history a great service in compiling all of the Victors into this collection with excellent sound. But listen carefully to these tracks because they are rewarding listening, then wonder how dancers could keep up with tempos. ” Russ Shor, Autumn 2018 issue

Black Grooves
“The Product of Our Souls
is an authoritative compilation that emphasizes the importance of James Reese Europe as an extraordinary musician, composer, and bandleader who paved the way from ragtime to jazz.”
Brenda Nelson-Strauss, September 2018

The Syncopated Times
“Do us all another favor and encourage Archeophone to produce more valuable CDs with 56-page liner notes by acquiring this one.”
Joe Bebco, August 2018

  • GRAMMY Nominee, Best Album Notes, 2018
Share via
Send this to a friend