The Playlist: Five Harmaniacs, 1926–1927 (Streaming MP3)

THE PLAYLIST: FIVE HARMANIACS (1926 – 1927)

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Original recordings from the Mainspring Press Collection
Commercial use of these sound files is prohibited. Please report violations to: publisher@mainspringpress.com

 

Headed by Texas entertainer Claude Shugart, the Five Harmaniacs defy easy categorization. Originally the Four Harmaniacs, they started out singing cowboy ballads in a vaudeville act titled “Round-Up Tunes.”  But in 1926 they headed off in a new direction that caught the attention of the record companies.

Now calling billing themselves as  “A Genuine Musical Novelty,” they began featuring  jazz- and blues-inflected tunes in a style inspired by southern  jug and skiffle bands (Brunswick even released two of their titles in its race-record series). But they continued to wear their cowboy outfits on national tours, and reverted to their old “Round-Up Tunes” act while playing in some regions.

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HARMANIAC FIVE: Harmaniac Blues
Chicago (Marsh Laboratories): c. June 1926

Broadway 1034  (mx. 1079 / ctl. 371)

 

FIVE HARMANIACS: Coney Island Washboard
New York: September 17, 1926
Victor 20293  (mx. BVE 36327 – 2)

 

FIVE HARMANIACS (Walter Howard, speaking):What Makes My Baby Cry?
New York: February 8, 1927
RCA archive test pressing  (mx. BVE 37750 – 1, unissued on 78)

 

FIVE HARMANIACS (Walter Howard, speaking): What Makes My Baby Cry?  
New York: February 8, 1927
Victor 20507  (mx. BVE 37750 – 2)

 

FIVE HARMANIACS: It Takes a Good Woman (To Keep a Good Man at Home)
New York: February 8, 1927
RCA archive test pressing  (mx. BVE 37750 – 1, unissued on 78)

 

FIVE HARMANIACS: It Takes a Good Woman (To Keep a Good Man at Home)
New York: February 8, 1927
Victor 20507  (mx. BVE 37750 – 2)

 

FIVE HARMANIACS (uncredited vocalist): Sleepy Blues
New York: February 24, 1927
Brunswick 7002  (mx. E-4587 [E-22013])
The Brunswick recording sheet is headed “Test Masters — Special Race Recordings.” Rust’s Jazz Records shows the recording date as February 4, in error; February 24 is confirmed on the recording sheet.