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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 1914 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1896 - 1925

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

Recordings (Results 26-50 of 812 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Berliner 0118 7-in. Before June 1899 My dear old Dutch Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0120 7-in. 4/28/1899 No coon can come too black for me Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0121 7-in. 4/29/1899 No coons allowed Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0142 7-in. 4/28/1899 You don’t stop the world from going around Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0143 7-in. Before June 1899 He’s up against the real thing now Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0144 7-in. 4/29/1899 Mr. Johnson, don’t get gay Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0145 7-in. Before June 1899 You’ve been a good old wagon Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0305 7-in. 6/30/1899 Throw out the life line Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0306 7-in. 6/30/1899 Hold the fort Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0309 7-in. 7/7/1899 Only just a little yaller coon Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0310 7-in. 7/7/1899 The little Alabama coon Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0311 7-in. 7/7/1899 Who dat said chicken Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0353 7-in. 7/14/1899 Honey O Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0355 7-in. 6/30/1899 Johnny get your gun Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Berliner 0410 7-in. 8/4/1899 Scenes at a prize fight Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Berliner 0435 7-in. 8/4/1899 Auction sale, midway plaisance Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Berliner 0441 7-in. 8/4/1899 Mother goose rhymes Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Berliner 0442 7-in. 8/3/1899 Jack and the bean stalk Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Berliner 0788 7-in. 8/4/1899 Circus side show shouter Len Spencer Comic monologue speaker  
Berliner 0789 7-in. 8/4/1899 Quack medicine man Len Spencer Comic monologue speaker  
Berliner 0790 7-in. 8/4/1899 Prize package man Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]816 7-in. 5/17/1901 The colored major Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]816 10-in. 10/25/1902 The colored major Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]817 7-in. 5/17/1901 Coon, coon, coon Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]817 10-in. 5/17/1901 Coon, coon, coon Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal  
(Results 26-50 of 812 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Spencer, Len," accessed October 24, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106197.

Spencer, Len. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 24, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106197.

"Spencer, Len." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 24 October 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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