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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 801-812 of 812 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 44779] 10-in. early 1906 The original Cohens Ada Jones ; Len Spencer Comic scene, with orchestra speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 44816] 10-in. early 1906 The banjo evangelist Vess L. Ossman ; Len Spencer Monologue, with banjo speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 44817] 10-in. early 1906 Barnyard serenade Dunn ; Len Spencer Comic monologue, with animal imitations speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 44818] 10-in. early 1906 Daybreak at Calamity Farm Dunn ; Len Spencer Monologue, with imitations speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 45188] 10-in. Jan.-July 1906 Chimmy and Maggie at the ball game Ada Jones ; Len Spencer Comic dialogue speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 45196] 10-in. Jan.-July 1906 Travel on Ada Jones ; Len Spencer Comic dialogue, with orchestra speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 45203] 10-in. Jan.-July 1906 Let me see you smile Ada Jones ; Len Spencer Comic dialogue and male-male vocal duet, with orchestra speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 45206] 10-in. Jan.-July 1906 I've said my last farewell Ada Jones ; Len Spencer Comic dialogue and female-male vocal duet, with orchestra speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 45207] 10-in. Jan.-July 1906 Coming home from Coney Island Len Spencer Comic dialogue, with orchestra speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 45209] 10-in. Jan.-July 1906 Flannagan's St. Patrick's Day Ada Jones ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with orchestra speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 45219] 10-in. Jan.-July 1906 The morning after Flannagan's night off Ada Jones ; Leeds Orchestra ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene, with orchestra speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 45343] 10-in. approximately mid-1906 I'm crazy 'bout a big brass band Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
(Results 801-812 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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