B.A. Rolfe and his Lucky Strike Orchestra
Benjamin (Benny) Adolphus Rolfe was, at one time, best known for his coast-to-coast network radio program which aired weekly from 1928 through 1931. Called the Lucky Strike Dance Hour, it was like many early radio shows, named after its sponsor ? in this case, a brand of cigarettes. He described his conception of dance music during this period in terms that “it should throb and laugh with happiness; it should have the rhythm of a rubber ball, bouncing back, only to fall again, going on and on.” He remained fairly active in the radio field up through around 1942 doing shows for Ivory Soap and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. He hosted the NBC morning show in 1935, and led an all-girl orchestra in 1942.
B.A. Rolfe recorded for Edison throughout the late 1920s, the period during which he hosted the Lucky Strike Dance Hour. Ultimately, he had played 7,460 dance tunes during a total of 468 shows. The selections on this CD release are from that period and taken from the Edison collection of test pressing recordings, many of which were previously unreleased.
- No Parking – June 1, 1928
- Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man – February 10, 1928
- True Blue Lou – June 28, 1929
- You Took Advantage of Me** – June 26, 1928
- Pell Street Bells – June 19, 1928
- Where Were You, Where Was I – October 9, 1928
- You Tell me Your Dream* – October 23, 1928
- Gypsy / L.W. Gilbert – November 15, 1928
- Blue Night* – November 15, 1928
- Mia Bella Rosa* – January 11, 1929
- A Room with a View* – November 30, 1928
- Lover Come Back to Me* – March 26, 1929
- Toymakers Dream* – January 17, 1929
- My Angeline* – March 7, 1929
- If I Had You – February 21, 1929
- Fioretta– February 21, 1929
- Carolina Moon* – March 7, 1929
- Sorrows*** – (N-913A)
- Mean to Me – May 9, 1929
- Spanish Doll – May 23, 1929
* Vocal by Theo Alban
** Vocal by The Rollickers and Hall
*** Vocal by J. Donald Parker
â€ Vocal by unknown artist or artists
Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877 at his laboratory, located in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Although it was his favorite invention, he did not commercialize it until 10 years later. His patents contained many variations of the basic premise of sound recording, involving media such as cylinders, disc, and moving tape. Also, he envisioned both vertical (known as hill and dale) and lateral (side to side) groove modulation methods. Edison commercialized sound recording using the vertical modulation technique initially on cylinders, and then later on discs (Diamond Discs). In the early years, these recordings were made acoustically (without the aid of microphones or amplifiers). His competitors, like The Victor Talking Machine Company, used the lateral technique because lateral cut records were cheaper to produce compared with the hill and dale method. Since they were thinner, customers could store more records in a given space. Ultimately, the industry which Edison had created became dominated by records using the lateral cut technique, which he had invented by had not embraced for his commercial purposes.
By the mid 1920’s, Edison’s record business began to decline rapidly due to the lateral competition, and also the influence of a new means of home entertainment called Radio. Two of Edison’s sons, Charles and Theodore, finally convinced him to go head to head with the competition by entering into the lateral market. Edison’s lateral recordings were made electrically. Edison felt that the greater quality and increased bass response of the electrical recordings would help sales. This attempt to save the business failed, and Edison went out of the record business the day before the Stock Market crashed in 1929.
For almost two years prior to this, the Edison record company mastered over one thousand song titles, but only a very few were ever released. The recordings, which are included in the Diamond Cut Edison Lateral Cut series of CD, are examples of some of these previously unreleased recordings. Also included in the Diamond Cut CD catalog is an anthology of Diamond Disc recordings in addition to releases of material found on non-Edison labels from the early electrical time period.