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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 126-150 of 812 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1903 10-in. 1/16/1903 I take things easy Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1904 7-in. 1/16/1903 A yaller dog's love for a niggah Len Spencer Monologue speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1904 10-in. 1/16/1903 A yaller dog's love for a niggah Len Spencer Monologue speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1946 7-in. 2/6/1903 'The mocking bird' medley Spencer Trio Male vocal trio, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1946 10-in. 2/6/1903 'The mocking bird' medley Spencer Trio Male vocal trio, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1947 7-in. 2/6/1903 Alpine specialty Spencer Trio Male vocal trio vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1947 10-in. 2/6/1903 Alpine specialty Spencer Trio Male vocal trio vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1948 7-in. 2/6/1903 In front of the old cabin door Spencer Trio Male vocal trio vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1948 10-in. 2/6/1903 In front of the old cabin door Spencer Trio Male vocal trio vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1972 7-in. 2/14/1903 Reuben Haskins from Skowhegan Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1972 10-in. 2/14/1902 Reuben Haskins from Skowhegan Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1987 10-in. 2/14/1903 Old Bill, the street song seller Len Spencer Monologue speaker, author  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2035 7-in. 1901-1903 Len Spencer talks to junior customers Len Spencer Recitation speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2061 7-in. 3/6/1903 You've been a good old wagon, but you've done broke down Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2061 10-in. 3/6/1903 You've been a good old wagon, but you've done broke down Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2062 7-in. 3/6/1903 Those tantalizing eyes Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2062 10-in. 3/6/1903 Those tantalizing eyes Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2063 7-in. 3/6/1903 The kid from the Bowery Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2063 10-in. 3/6/1903 The kid from the Bowery Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2064 7-in. 3/6/1903 The circus side-show shouter Len Spencer Monologue, with reed organ speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2064 10-in. 3/6/1903 The circus side-show shouter Len Spencer Monologue, with reed organ speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2065 7-in. 3/6/1903 The patent medicine man Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2065 10-in. 3/6/1903 The patent medicine man Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2066 7-in. 3/6/1903 The prize fight Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2066 10-in. 3/6/1903 The prize fight Len Spencer Monologue speaker  
(Results 126-150 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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