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Len Spencer

Leonard Garfield Spencer (February 12, 1867 – December 15, 1914) was an early American recording artist. He began recording for the Columbia Phonograph Company, in 1889 or 1890. Between 1892 and 1897 he recorded extensively for the New Jersey Phonograph Company and its successor the United States Phonograph Company. He specialized in vaudeville sketches and comic songs, but also sang sentimental ballads popular at the time. He returned to Columbia in 1898 for an exclusive contract then began recording for Berliner Gramophone (disc) records in 1899 and continued with Victor and Columbia as discs became the dominant format in the early 1900s.

He began performing with banjoist Vess L. Ossman in 1901 and with Ada Jones in 1905. He is best remembered today for his vaudeville-style comic sketches, such as the "Arkansaw Traveler", combining clever turns of phrase, ironic elocutionary delivery, sound effects and music to create colorful dialogues featuring itinerant Southerners, auctioneers, circus barkers, and Irish, Jewish or Black Americans.

As the popularity of Len's style of humor waned in the latter part of the decade, he opened a booking agency called "Len Spencer's Lyceum" in New York. He died of a heart attack while working at the Lyceum on December 15, 1914.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1867 (Washington, D.C.), Died New York City

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1896 - 1925

Roles Represented in DAHR: speaker, author, baritone vocal, performer, composer, adapter

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 811 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Berliner 915 7-in. 5/4/1896 Nearer, my God, to Thee Artists vary Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 991 7-in. 4/17/1896 Ma onliest one Artists vary Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 01 7-in. 4/8/1899 The Lord‘s Prayer Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Berliner 02 7-in. 4/8/1899 Beatitudes Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Berliner 03 7-in. 4/15/1899 Let me see the old plantation Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 04 7-in. 4/15/1899 Whistling Rufus Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 05 7-in. 4/15/1899 Hello ma baby Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 06 7-in. 4/8/1899 My Ann Eliza Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 07 7-in. 4/15/1899 Kiss me honey do Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 08 7-in. 4/15/1899 How I love my Lou Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 09 7-in. 4/8/1899 The hottest coon in town Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 011 7-in. 4/8/1899 I don’t like no cheap man Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 012 7-in. Before June 1899 I don’t care if you nebber comes back Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 013 7-in. Before June 1899 What is dat coon's game Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 014 7-in. 4/15/1899 You'll get all that's coming to you Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 015 7-in. 4/15/1899 Darktown is out tonight Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 017 7-in. 4/15/1899 When you aint got no money Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 018 7-in. 4/8/1899 All I wants is ma chickens Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 097 7-in. 4/29/1899 Auction sale household goods Len Spencer Comic monologue speaker  
Berliner 098 7-in. 4/29/1899 Auction sale pawnbrokers goods Len Spencer Comic monologue speaker  
Berliner 099 7-in. 4/22/1899 My coal black lady Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0100 7-in. 4/29/1899 Martha Jane Green Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0102 7-in. 4/28/1899 I’am livin’ easy Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0105 7-in. Before June 1899 Ma onliest one Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0117 7-in. Before June 1899 The future Mrs. Hawkins Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
(Results 1-25 of 811 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Spencer, Len," accessed August 7, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106197.

Spencer, Len. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 7, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106197.

"Spencer, Len." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 7 August 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106197

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