Gilt-Edged Four

“Meadow Lark” (1927)

“Meadow Lark.” Words by Hal Keidel, music by Ted Fiorito (1926). Recorded by Elsie Carlisle, accompanied by The Gilt-Edged Four, on February 4, 1927. Columbia 4275.

Personnel: Al Starita-as / Ray Starita-ts / Sid Bright-p-cel / Len Fillis-g / Rudy Starita-x

Meadow Lark – Elsie Carlisle w. The Gilt-Edged Four

Video by David Weavings (YouTube)

“Meadow Lark” takes its name from an ingenious solution two young lovers find for a problem presented to them. Their habit of “spooning” (cuddling amorously) in a public park meets with opposition from the authorities and is forbidden. They arrange to continue meeting in the park, but after close of day, and to identify one another with a whistle approximating the call of a meadow lark — which is how this “whistling song” gets its title. Part of the fun the two young lovers are having derives from an odd pleasure some people seem to experience when they risk being caught:

A policeman just went by
Pounding his beat;
Each little kiss we steal
Is ten times as sweet!

Elsie Carlisle imbues this catchy song with sweet, ebullient fun. I am particularly fond of the way that she emphasizes “With each hug we’re oh so snug, / Like a little bug in a little old rug!” This version of “Meadow Lark” fully realizes the potential of what was already an international hit, and the accompaniment provided by The Gilt-Edged Four could not be a better match to Elsie’s perkiness: they give the impression of unstoppable, upbeat energy throughout.

“Meadow Lark” was recorded in America in 1926 by Adrian Schubert and His Salon Orchestra (with vocalist Irving Kaufman), the Isham Jones Orchestra (with vocals by Frank Munn), Bill Wirges and His Orchestra (as Phil Hughes and His High Hatters, with vocalist Tom Stacks), the Jack Albin Orchestra, Cole McElroy’s Spanish Ballroom Orchestra (with vocals by George Eichhorn), Wendell Hall, Jesse Crawford (on the organ)Duke Yellman and His Orchestra, George Olsen and His Music, Harry Reser’s Night Club Orchestra, Cliff Edwards (Ukelele Ike) and His Hot Combination, and Frances Sper. A version was broadcast by Sam ‘n’ Henry (Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, who would later create the characters Amos ‘n’ Andy).

In Britain in 1927 versions of “Meadow Lark” were recorded by Jack Hylton and His Orchestra (with vocals by Jack Hylton), The Piccadilly Revels Band (under the direction of Ray Starita, with vocals by his brother Al), the Edison Bell Dance Orchestra (with vocalist Tom Barratt), Bert and John Firman (as Eugene Brockman’s Dance Orchestra), and the Savoy Havana Band (in a “Blue Skies Selection”).

“I Can’t Get Over a Boy Like You” (1927)

“I Can’t Get Over a Boy Like You.” Words by Harry Ruskin, music by Martin Broones.  Composed for LeMaire’s Affairs (1926). Recorded by Elsie Carlisle with the Gilt-Edged Four on February 7, 1927. Columbia 4275.

Personnel: Al Starita-as / Ray Starita-t s/ Sid Bright-p-cel / Rudy Starita-d

I Can’t Get Over a Boy Like You – Elsie Carlisle

Video by David Weavings (YouTube)

This recording of Elsie Carlisle singing “I Can’t Get Over a Boy Like You” to the accompaniment of the Gilt-Edged Four is remarkable for two purely physical or material reasons. First, it is one of only four recordings that Elsie made that are meant to be played at 80 revolutions per minute, and of those only it and “Meadow Lark” were issued to the public. Columbia records were a holdout against the general tendency to standardize gramophone speeds at 78 rpm, and the company stuck to its proprietary speed of 80 rpm until late 1927. Second, these records were made using the special Columbia “New Process” of laminating cores of low-quality shellac with higher-quality compounds that reduce surface noise, and the resulting sound is impressively clear.

The Gilt-Edged Four was a Columbia studio band led by saxophonist Al Starita. This particular song features his playing and that of his brothers Ray and Rudy, with whose bands Elsie would go on to make noteworthy recordings in 1932-1933. The piano and celeste are played by Sid Bright, twin brother of bandleader Gerald Bright, better known as “Geraldo.”

The song “I Can’t Get Over a Girl Like You (Loving a Boy Like Me)” — for that is how the lyrics usually go, insofar as they are usually sung by men — originated in a revue named “LeMaire’s Affairs” (after producer Rufus LeMaire), which was quite popular when it was based in Chicago and starred Ted Lewis and Sophie Tucker. It apparently bombed after moving to Broadway when Sophie Tucker was replaced with Charlotte Greenwood. The song compares the ease with which one can “get over” all manner of ailments (e.g.”[m]easles, mumps, and whooping cough, / The flu, and housemaid’s knee…”) to the difficulty of “getting over” being the object of someone’s affections. Elsie injects upbeat, girlish fun into this catchy foxtrot and delivers its simple argument rather fetchingly.

“I Can’t Get Over a Girl Like You” was recorded in America in 1926 by Johnny Hamp’s Kentucky Serenaders (with vocals by Billy Murray), Abe Lyman and His Hotel Ambassador Orchestra, Ted Lewis and His Band, Aileen Stanley and Billy Murray, Adrian Schubert and His Salon Orchestra (with vocalist Arthur Hall), and the Arkansas Travelers (with Lem Cleg).

The song was recorded in Britain in late 1926 and early 1927 by Bert and John Firman’s Devonshire Restaurant Dance Band, Billy Mayerl and His “Vocalion” Orchestra (with vocals by Billy Mayerl), the Savoy Havana Band (with vocalists Rudy Bayfield Evans, Abe Bronson, and Reg Batten), the Edison Bell Dance Orchestra (with vocalist Tom Barratt), and Jack Payne and His Hotel Cecil Orchestra.


"The Idol of the Radio." British dance band singer of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.