Four very different treatments of Shelton Brooks’ 1910 hit, beginning with a Victor release by studio singer Billy Murray in auto-pilot mode. Given what we know of Victor’s musical assembly-line of the period, Murray’s first encounter with the song quite likely came when a company representative handed him the score and gave him a few days to prepare for the recording.
The song might have died on the spot, given such treatment, but Sophie Tucker made it her own. She brought audiences to their feet (and folks of the sort who carped about “white coon shouters” to near-apoplexy), and it would serve as her signature tune for the rest of her career. Here are two of Tucker’s many recorded versions — the original, and a mid-1920s reworking with the Ted Lewis band that incidentally marks one of the earliest fruits of the Columbia-Okeh merger. Lewis was exclusive to Columbia, Tucker to Okeh; the fact that Columbia got the release was perhaps a not-so-subtle reminder of who was boss in the new relationship.
And finally, a full jazz treatment by The Missourians, the sensationally hot band that Cab Calloway had recently taken over. Within a few months he would begin adjusting personnel and reducing them to glorified accompanists, but here we have them in their final, untampered-with glory.
BILLY MURRAY & AMERICAN QUARTET: Some of These Days
Camden NJ: December 27, 1910 (Released March 1911)
Victor 16834 (mx. B 9740 – 3)
Personnel not listed in the Victor files. The American Quartet at this time normally included Murray (lead tenor), John Bieling (tenor), Steve Porter (baritone), and William F. Hooley (bass).
SOPHIE TUCKER: Some of These Days
New York: February or March 1911 (Released May 25, 1911)
Edison Amberol 691 (four-minute cylinder)
The Edison studio cash books list Tucker four-minute sessions on February 17 and 24, and March 2, but do not indicate the titles recorded at each.
TED LEWIS & HIS BAND with SOPHIE TUCKER: Some of These Days
Chicago: November 23, 1926
Columbia 826-D (mx. W 142955 – 2)
CAB CALLOWAY & HIS ORCHESTRA (Cab Calloway, vocal):
Some of These Days
New York: December 23, 1930
Brunswick 6020 (mx. E 35880 – A)