Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra

The Green Brothers Novelty Band was a recording ensemble active from 1918 to 1939. The group was led by brothers Joe Green (1892–1939) and George Hamilton Green (1893–1970), xylophone artists along with younger brother Lew Green (1909–1992), on banjo, from Omaha, Nebraska.

In the beginning of the Green Brothers Novelty Band's career, George and Joe Green played xylophones, accompanied by brass instruments including trumpet, trombone, and tuba. The music they recorded consisted primarily of dance music, such as the Foxtrot and One-Step, and to a lesser extent, Waltzes. Occasionally, a vocalist was used to sing for a single chorus. After about 10 years of this instrumentation, the Green brothers added saxophone and banjo to the group. The banjo was played by Lew Green, the younger brother of George Hamilton Green and Joe Green. This ensemble recorded hundreds of sides for virtually all the 78rpm record companies during the acoustic recording period, including Victor, Columbia, Edison, Okeh, Emerson, Vocalion, Pathe, and others.

In 1925, electrical recording replaced the acoustical method, resulting in greater volume, range, and fidelity from 78rpm records. By the 1930s, popular music for listening and dancing had changed dramatically from the 1920s. The Green brothers adapted to both the finer recorded tonal qualities, as well as newer musical tastes. Violins replaced the trumpets, Joe Green switched from the xylophone to the marimba, upright bass replaced the tuba, and saxophones were featured more prominently. These instrumentation changes created a mellower sound to the group, whose name was changed to Green Brothers Novelty Orchestra, or Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra. The Green Brothers Orchestra's music at that time featured more waltzes and popular songs, replacing the old Foxtrots and One-Steps.

During the late 1920s, in addition to making phonograph records, the Green brothers began performing live radio programs. Such radio shows typically were sponsored by a commercial company, and named for that company or its products. The Shinola shoe polish company sponsored many Green brothers 1920's broadcasts, leading to the use of the group name Shinola Merrymakers. When Walt Disney needed a soundtrack for the Mickey Mouse short "Steamboat Willie" in 1928, he sold the Moon roadster he had owned since 1926 and paid the Green brothers to play the music. In order to keep the music in sync with the pictures, a bouncing-ball method was used.

In the 1930s, in addition to making phonograph records, the Green brothers began recording pre-recorded programs for use by radio stations. These discs, referred to as Electrical Transcriptions, were pressed on 12-inch or 16-inch vinyl discs played at 33rpm, and containing two to four tracks per side. The early death of the group's co-leader Joe Green in 1939 affected the viability of this musical organization. Not only was Joe a lead musician in the group, but he also served as the organization's business manager and booking agent. Subsequently, in 1940 George Hamilton Green retired from music, and the group's impressive 22-year tenure came to an end. Following George's retirement from the music business, he relocated to Woodstock, New York, and worked as a cartoonist from his home. His cartoons were featured in the Saturday Evening Post and Colliers. George Hamilton Green died in 1970.

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1920 - 1939

Roles Represented in DAHR: Musical group

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 80 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-26323 10-in. 4/28/1922 Kicky-koo, kicky-koo (You for me, me for you) Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with guitars (Hawaiian) Musical group  
Victor B-26324 10-in. 4/28/1922 Moon river Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor B-31445 10-in. 11/25/1924 Down Hawaii way Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor B-31446 10-in. 11/25/1924 When it's love-time in Hawaii Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor B-32029 10-in. 2/27/1925 My Honolulu dream girl Hilo Hawaiian Orchestra [i.e., Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra] Jazz/dance band (Hawaiian) Musical group  
Victor B-32030 10-in. 2/27/1925 In the heart of Hawaii Hilo Hawaiian Orchestra [i.e., Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra] Jazz/dance band (Hawaiian) Musical group  
Victor BVE-33869 10-in. 11/13/1925 Sweet blue bird (Take my love a message) Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with whistling Musical group  
Victor BVE-33870 10-in. 11/13/1925 Honeymoon waltz Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-34185 10-in. 12/30/1925 La chapinia Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-34186 10-in. 12/30/1925 O Katharina! Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-35349 10-in. 4/27/1926 Titina Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-57993 10-in. 1/15/1930 The wedding of the winds Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-57994 10-in. 1/15/1930 A bunch of roses Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-62740 10-in. 6/23/1930 Somewhere in old Wyoming Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-62741 10-in. 6/23/1930 Lo-lo Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-63104 10-in. 7/2/1930 Admiration Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-63105 10-in. 7/2/1930 Maori Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Columbia W140446 10-in. 3/18/1925 Love song Xylo-Rimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Columbia W140461 10-in. 3/24/1925 Just a little kiss from you Xylo-Rimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Columbia W140562 10-in. 4/29/1925 Carolina sweetheart Xylo-Rimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Columbia W140563 10-in. 4/29/1925 Dark Hawaiian eyes Xylo-Rimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Columbia W140780 10-in. 7/22/1925 Sometime Xylo-Rimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Columbia W140781 10-in. 7/22/1925 Pearl of Hawaii Xylo-Rimba Orchestra Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Columbia 141090 10-in. 10/2/1925 Wondering Franklyn Baur ; Marimba Dance Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Columbia 141091 10-in. 10/2/1925 Lullaby Lane Franklyn Baur ; Marimba Dance Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
(Results 1-25 of 80 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra," accessed May 27, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/113291.

Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/113291.

"Green Brothers Marimba Orchestra." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 27 May 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/113291

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