Daniel traded a bass for a 1930s era ukulele on a whim one day while stopping by Old Style Guitar Shop, here in LA. He plans on making an atheism themed inspirational folk album with it, for the kids who don’t get to go to Jesus camp every summer (think of “Kumbaya” with out “my lord” – ha).
So, with the old, yet newly acquired uke laying around the studio, and Daniel playing it constantly, I decided to search for some not-so-Hawaiian early recordings of the instrument.
Here’s a 78 rpm Victor recording of a 25 year old tenor “crooner” (and presumed “ladies man” based on the picture below), by the name of Gene Austin, performing with ukulele in 1925. I’ve fallen in love with it.
“Arriving with the advent of electro-magnetic recording, Austin, adopted an intimate, radio-friendly, close-miked style that took over from the more sentimental style of tenor vocals popularized by such singers as Henry Burr and Billy Murray. Such later crooners as Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra all credited Austin with creating the musical genre that began their careers.” (wikipedia, duh)
Gene Austin “What a Life”
I also subsequently decided to pick up the instrument for the first time myself. With Edison as my “first recordings” inspiration, I decided to press record the very first time I played it. The result was a new song, nearly complete, that I can’t wait to share.