The Whispering Pianist


Information concerning commercial recordings on Gennett, Pathe, Ajax, Starr Gennett, Perfect, Apex, Columbia and Bluebird records has been compiled from various sources including the issued records, Brian Rust’s discographies, Woody Backensto in Record Research regarding Red Nichols’ presence and Russ Conner regarding Benny Goodman’s presence. Information on the Allied Transcriptions, audition recordings for King and RCA Victor, and private home recordings come from the recordings. All of the recordings are available at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, Georgia. The commercial recordings are the original 78rpm issues. All recordings have been transferred to compact disk.


1924, May 2

Richmond, IN: In 1961, Art believed he made 10 sides for Gennett, but Gennett's books show 10 takes of four songs, his own compositions.

                                                                11848-B      Deacon Told Me I Was Good    not issued (3 takes)

                                                                11849-B      Mean Blues                                not issued (3 takes)

                                                                11850-A      You May Be Lonesome              not issued (2 takes)

                                                                11851-A      Hesitation Blues                        not issued (2 takes)

No other artists recorded that day at Gennett. No evidence has been found of those recordings. It is likely he was  thinking of this session of ten takes.


1924, Oct.                              

 New York: In a letter dated May 24, 1957, to Jim Walsh for a Hobbies       Magazine article, Art  wrote:  "When I went into New York with recording on my mind, after making about 50 radio stations around the country as a traveling radio artist, I sent a telegram to each recording manager of the various New York companies, telling them I was on WJZ for one week at noon and at 9 o'clock at night, and as I had a radio following throughout the country they should be interested in my record sales, if I made records. The only companies that responded to the telegrams were Pathe, then Okeh, then Columbia - so I made records."

1924, Oct.                              

 New York: Art was contacted by Herman Rose of Pathe Records and made   two records for Pathe, one of his own compositions and one being plugged for Ted Browne Music, issued on Pathe, Perfect, Apex, Ajax, and Starr Gennett. Art believed he had made 4 recordings for Pathe.

                                                                105600-A-B The Deacon Told Me I Was Good

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham)

                                                                                Pathe 032096

                                                                                Perfect 12175

                                                                                Apex 680

                                                                                Starr Gennett 680.

                                                                                (Apex and Starr Gennett released under name "Fred Thomas")

                                                                105602-B How Do You Do

                                (Fleming - Harrison - deVoll)

                                                                                Pathe 032087

                                                                                Pathe 10799

                                                                                Perfect 12166

                                                                                Apex 679

                                                                                Starr Gennett 679;                                                                               

                                                                                (Ajax 17084. Apex and Starr Gennett released under name "Fred Thomas")

1924, Oct.                              

 New York: Art was contacted by Arthur Berg of Okeh Records. No recordings are known to have been made for Okeh, though Art believed he made 6 recordings for Okeh.

1924, Oct. 22                         

 New York:  Art was contacted by Frank Walker of Columbia Records, signed a contract as an Exclusive Artist and made two records for Columbia. Art credited Frank Walker for his advice during his career with Columbia.                                                    

                                                                140113-1 Way Out West In Kansas  (2 takes) (acoustic)

                                                                                (Carson Robison)                                                                                

                                                                                Col 238-D

                                                                140114-3 How Do You Do  (3 takes) (acoustic)

                                    (Fleming-Harrison-de Voll 

                                                                                Col 238-D

Two days later, Columbia experimented with electrical recording on  masters 140117 and 140118 by Paul Specht and His Hotel Alamac Orchestra. These electrical recordings were rejected with no comment. Columbia's next electrical recording session was of Art Gillham on February   25, 1925, which resulted in the first recorded issued Western Electric recordings. Columbia had been forced into receivership in October, 1923. In December 1923 Columbia promoted its "New Process" record method which greatly reduced the surface noise and made Columbia the superior record product. The new records had a "Flag" label and a new series numbering  with the "D" (Domestic) series replacing the previous Blue label "A"  series.


1924, Nov 6                           New York: made two recordings for Columbia:

                                                                140123-1-2-3 The Deacon Told Me I Was Good  (acoustic)

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham)

                                                                                not issued (resumed on January 20, 1925)

                                                                140125-1-2-3 You May Be Lonesome  (acoustic)

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham)

                                                                                not issued (resumed on January 20, 1925)

1924, Dec                               The first known release of an Art Gillham record: Pathe 032087 How Do You Do.



1925, Jan. 20                          Chicago: made three recordings for Columbia

                                                                140123-5 The Deacon Told Me I Was Good  (acoustic)

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham) (2 takes) 

                                                                                Col 297-D (resumed from November 6, 1924)

                                                                140125-4-5-6 You May Be Lonesome  (acoustic)

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham) 

                                                                                 not issued (resumed from  Nov 6, 1924; resume on Feb 25,  1925 with first electrical recording)

                                                                140270-1 Carolina Blues  (acoustic)

                                                                140270-2 Carolina Blues  (acoustic)

                                                                                (Grant-Harrison) (a Ted Browne song)                                                                            

                                                                                Col 297-D

1925, Jan. 21                          Chicago: made two recordings for Columbia

                                                                140274-1-2  Second Hand Love  (acoustic)

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham)

                                                                                not issued (resumes on February 25, 1925 electrical)

                                                                140275-1-2 Doo Wacka Doo

                                                                                (Gaskill-Donaldson-Horther) (a Ted Browne song)

                                                                                not issued

1925, Feb                               First Columbia Art Gillham record released: Col 238-D.

1925, Feb. 25                        

 New York: made five electrical recordings for Columbia, including the  first issued recording made with the Western Electric system  instead of the recording horn. Beginning with this date Columbia made only electrical recordings of Art Gillham. Two days later, Columbia began making electrical recordings for all other artists.

                                                                140125-7 You May Be Lonesome (electric microphone) (2 takes)

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham) 

                                                                                Col 328-D (resumed from January 20, 1925 acoustic session)

                                                                140274-3 Second Hand Love (electric microphone) (2 takes)

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham)

                                                                                Col 343-D (resumed from January 21, 1925 acoustic session)

                                                                140390-2 Hesitation Blues (electric microphone) (2 takes)

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Scott Middleton - Art Gillham)

                                                                                Col 343-D

                                                                140391-1-2 Heart Broken Strain (electric microphone)

                                                                                (Baskette - Waldron) (a Ted Browne song)

                                                                                not issued

                                                                140394-2 I Had Someone Else Before I Had You  (electric microphone)

                                                                                (Stanley - Harris - Darcy)

                                                                                Col 328-D (Col 3748)

                                                                140395-1 How's You're Folks And My Folks  (electric microphone)

                                                                                (Cal de Voll - Dudley Mecum)

                                                                                Col 387-D  (Col 3855)

Columbia attempted to make electrical recordings on October 24, 1924 in  its New York studio with the Paul Specht And His Hotel Alamac Orchestra Three takes were made of Words and four takes were made of Oh Peter (You're  So Nice). None of the takes were issued, being rejected with no comment as to reason. Apparently a recording system other than Western Electric's was used and found unsatisfactory. The recordings on February 25, 1925  were the next electrical recordings made by Columbia and did use the Western  Electric system. Art's first recordings for  Columbia were on October 24, 1924, but they were acoustic recordings. On  February 25, 1925 acoustical recordings were made by  the Clover Gardens Orchestra with Billy Jones,  the only other recordings made that day.


1925, Feb. 26                         New York: made one  electrical recording for Columbia

                                                                140399-3 Can't Your Friend Get A Friend For Me

                                                                                (Lou Handman - Harry Ruby)

                                                                                Col 326-D

1925, Feb. 27                         New York: made one electrical recording for Columbia.

                                                                140404-3 Hot Tamale Molly


                                                                                Col 326-D

Beginning with this date, Columbia began using the Western Electric system for most of its recording sessions for other artists as well as Art Gillham.

1925, Mar                               Record released: Ajax 17034.

1925, Mar.                              

Columbia Records came under the control of Louis Sterling, president of the Columbia Graphophone Company Ltd of London. Columbia's use of  Western Electric's electrical recording process was a factor in Sterling  talking control of the American company.

1925, April                             Record released: Columbia 297-D.

1925, May                              Record released: Columbia 326-D, an electrical recording.

1925, June                              Columbia changed its label design from the Flag to the Black label with  gold lettering.

1925, June                              Record released: Columbia 328-D and 343-D, electrical recordings.

1925, June 26                        

 New York: made four recordings for Columbia, including one on which  he reportedly played guitar rather than piano: Page Mr. Handy.

                                                                140725-2 Smile All The While  (3 takes)

                                                                                (Davis - Ager)

                                                                                Col 411-D  (Col 3748)

                                                                140726-1 Are You Sorry  (3 takes)

                                                                                (Davis - Ager)

                                                                                Col 458-D

                                                                140727-1 Angry  (3 takes)

                                                                                (Mecum - Cassard - Brunies - Brunies) (a Ted Browne song)

                                                                                Col 411-D

                                                                                Col 3855

                                                                140728-1-2-3 Page Mr. Handy (vocal, guitar)

                                                                                (Willard Robison)

                                                                                not issued (resumes on March 18, 1926)

1925, June 27                         New York: made three recordings for Columbia.

                                                                140731-3 So That's The Kind Of A Girl You Are  (4 takes)

                                                                                (Joe Burke)

                                                                                Col 442-D

                                                                140732-1 Cecilia (3 takes)

                                                                                (Dave Dreyer)

                                                                                Col 425-D

                                                                140733-3 Feelin' Kind O' Blue 

                                                                                (Wholman - Ruby - Cooper)

                                                                                Col 442-D

1925, June 29                         New York: made  three recordings for Columbia

                                                                140734-1-2-3 Words Of Love

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham)

                                                                                not issued

                                                                140735-3 Loving Just You

                                                                                (Olsen - Art Gillham)

                                                                                Col 458-D

                                                                140736-1 If You Leave Me I'll Never Cry  (4 takes)

                                                                                (Schmidt - Lloyd - Ferris)

                                                                                Col 425-D

1925, July                               Columbia Records Monthly Supplement - on cover.

1925, Aug                              Record released: Columbia 387-D.

1925, Sept.                             Record released: Columbia 411-D.

1925, Oct.                               Record released: Columbia 425-D (Cecilia).

1925, Oct. 19                          New York: made four recordings including one as vocalist with Lanin's  Red Heads (Red Nichols).

                                                                141156-2 Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue

                                                                141156-3 Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue

                                                                                (Louis - Young - Henderson)

                                                                                Col 483-D  (Lanin's Red Heads, Art Gillham, vocal)

                                                                141157-1-2-3 Let Me Call You Sweetheart

                                                                                (Leo Friedman)

                                                                                not issued

                                                                141158-1-2-3 Let Us Waltz As We Say Goodbye

                                                                                (Art L. Beiner)

                                                                                not issued

                                                                141159-1-2-3 Hello, Little Girl Of My Dreams

                                                                                (Lew Berk)

                                                                                not issued  (resumes on  March 17, 1926)

Art, in a letter dated May 24, 1957 to Jim Walsh for an article in Hobbies Magazine said: "Red Nichols' Band was Lanin's Red Heads on Five Foot  Two, Eyes of  Blue. He and I were good friends, and he asked Walker to have me do a vocal on his record. I did, and it did the sales no good. That was the only dance record for  which I sang the vocal."

1925, Oct. 20                          New York: made four recording for Columbia

                                                                141165-3 Mean Blues

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham)

                                                                                Col 550-D

                                                                141166-1-2-3 Just Waiting For You

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham)

                                                                                not issued (resumes March 19, 1926)

                                                                141167-1 Don't Let Me Stand In Your Way  (4 takes)

                                                                                (Billy Smythe - Art Gillham)

                                                                                Col 529-D

                                                                141168-1-2-3 Where Can I Find You

                                                                                (Mintz - Wilber)

                                                                                not issued

1925, Oct. 21                          New York: made three recording for Columbia

                                                                141172-2 She's My Gal (4 takes)

                                                                                (Chauncey C. Lee)

                                                                                Col 550-D

                                                                141173-1 You're More Than A Pal To Me  (3 takes)

                                                                                (Stevens - Costello)

                                                                                Col 505-D

                                                                141174-3 Bam Bam Bammy Shore

                                                                                (Ray Henderson)

                                                                                Col 529-D

1925, Oct. 24                          New York: made 3 recordings for Columbia, including a piano solo on  Memphis Blues.

                                                                141190-2 I'm Sitting On Top Of The World

                                                                141190-3 I'm Sitting On Top Of The World

                                                                                (Lewis - Young - Henderson)

                                                                                Col 505-D

                                                                141191-1-2-3 Little Southern Pal Of Mine 

                                                                                (Smythe - Gillham - Maddox)

                                                                                not issued

                                                                141192-1-2 Memphis Blues (piano solo)

                                                                                (W. C. Handy)

                                                                                not issued

1925, Nov                              Record released: Columbia 442-D.

1925, Dec                               Record released: Columbia 458-D.



                                                                TO:                      1926-1927    1928-1934     1946-1961