The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries from January 2011

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (7)

January 11th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Another of Edwards’ signature songs was a brief ditty called “One O’Clock.”  According to Ralph Bartholomew’s Souvenir Book of Greenwich Village (1920), it became somewhat of a tradition: And here is Edwards’ embellished manuscript of his composition: And, for good measure, here’s a clip of Carmen Borgia and me performing it at a Ukulele Cabaret.  […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (6)

January 10th, 2011 · No Comments

Clement Wood contributed two booklets about Greenwich Village to the long-running series of Little Blue Books published by Haldeman-Julius.  The first, Bohemian Life in N.Y.’s Greenwich Village (1926), describes several of the area’s personalities, mostly in rather peevish style.  He’s none too keen on Edwards, but, as he admits, it may be his own fault. […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (5)

January 9th, 2011 · 4 Comments

Edwards not only played cigar box ukes; he made and sold them.  His first efforts, I believe, were created for a production number in a revue.  They were brightly painted (the Edwards color sense was always loud); and, judging from contemporary accounts, sounded pretty good. I’ve often wondered if any of those instruments survive.  So […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (4)

January 8th, 2011 · 1 Comment

In 1922, Edwards appeared in the revue “A Fantastic Fricassee.”  Alexander Woollcott, then drama critic for the New York Times, singled him out as one of the highlights: “An enchanting little marionette show and some diverting lyrics by one Robert Edwards, said to be the Greenwich Village cut-up — those two items constitute the oases […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (3)

January 7th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Edwards shows up as a character in this rackety 1933 novel by that other (and considerably darker) Village personality, Maxwell Bodenheim.  Despite the fictional name Bodenheim bestows on our troubadour, this may be an accurate description of Edwards at work.  The lyrics, at any rate, are lifted from genuine Edwards songs. (Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (2)

January 6th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Much to my surprise, I found this charcoal sketch at the flea market last weekend.  The artist, Edward C. Caswell, frequently sketched Village subjects.  Edwards is seen here as a sidewalk sketch artist at an outdoor art show.  A note accompanied it: “This was drawn in Macdougal Alley and Macdougal St.  Bobby had just told […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ephemera · Ukulele

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (1)

January 5th, 2011 · 9 Comments

I’ve long been interested in the career of Bobby Edwards, who played and made ukuleles in Greenwich Village in the ‘teens and ‘twenties, and established himself as one of the Village’s most conspicuous and colorful personalities. I haven’t been able to dig up much biographical information.  I know that he was born in Buffalo in […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele