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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 176-200 of 812 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3458 10-in. 6/11/1901 Vilkins and his Dinah Len Spencer Male vocal solo and vocal effects vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3459 10-in. 6/11/1901 The fable of the goat and the fox Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Recitation, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3460 10-in. 6/11/1901 Auction sale of household goods Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Descriptive scene speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3461 10-in. 6/11/1901 A trip to the circus Len Spencer Monologue, with imitations and band speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3462 10-in. 6/11/1901 Mother Goose and other rhymes Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Recitation, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3463 10-in. 6/11/1901 Scene at a dog fight Gilbert Girard ; Len Spencer Monologue, with vocal effects speaker  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]31071 12-in. 1901-1902 Sing hallelujah! Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]31072 12-in. 1901-1902 The kid from the Bowery Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]31073 12-in. 1901-1902 Hot times on the levee Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Victor B-1 10-in. 4/24/1903 Just kiss yourself goodbye Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor A-1 7-in. 4/24/1903 Just kiss yourself goodbye Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor A-2 7-in. 4/24/1903 Sing hallelujah! Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor B-2 10-in. 4/24/1903 Sing hallelujah! Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor B-206 10-in. 7/28/1903 An evening with the minstrels, no. 2 Minstrels [Victor Records group] Minstrels, with orchestra performer  
Victor C-206 12-in. 5/24/1905 An evening with the minstrels, no. 2 Victor Minstrel Company Minstrels, with orchestra performer  
Victor C-217 [Old series] 12-in. 2/9/1903 or 5/26/1903 The kid from the Bowery Len Spencer Monologue speaker, author  
Victor C-218 [Old series] 12-in. 2/9/1903 or 5/26/1903 Sing Hallelujah Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Victor C-221 [Old series] 12-in. 2/9/1903 or 5/26/1903 Hot times on the levee Len Spencer Male vocal solo vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Victor A-452 7-in. 9/24/1903 Hot times on the levee Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Victor B-452 10-in. 9/24/1903 Hot times on the levee Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Victor A-453 7-in. 9/24/1903 The banjo evangelist Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Monologue, with banjo speaker, composer  
Victor B-453 10-in. 9/24/1903 The banjo evangelist Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Monologue, with banjo speaker, composer  
Victor A-454 7-in. 9/24/1903 Hickory Bill Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Monologue, with banjo speaker  
Victor B-454 10-in. 9/24/1903 Hickory Bill Parke Hunter ; Len Spencer Monologue, with banjo speaker  
Victor A-455 7-in. 9/25/1903 Sing hallelujah! Len Spencer Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
(Results 176-200 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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