The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries Tagged as 'Ukulele'

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (13)

January 17th, 2011 · 2 Comments

The Quill was one of the Village’s more successful little magazines.  It debuted on June 30, 1917, owned and edited by Arthur Moss.  Edwards was a regular contributor from the beginning; in 1921, he took it over, and ran it until 1926. There are a number of issues of The Quill archived on the internet.  […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (12)

January 16th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Since Edwards in his Village heyday was described as a former illustrator, I’ve been curious about that earlier career.  After a little rummaging, I think I found something.  A “Robert Edwards” illustrated a book by Marion Hill, Harmony House, in Boston in 1910.  Is it the same Edwards?  I don’t know, but I think so:  […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (11)

January 15th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Romany Marie (Marie Marchand), whose Gypsy-themed tavern was a popular hangout for decades, reminisced about Bobby Edwards in a long interview with Robert Schulman (for his book Romany Marie: The Queen of Greenwich Village, 2006). She quotes several Edwards songs, including this charming snippet: We are holy Christian martyrs We don’t shave or clean our […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (10)

January 14th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Edwards was featured a couple of times in Theatre Magazine in the ‘teens.  We see him here in the August 1919 issue, rehearsing for “Greenwich Village Nights” — which soon changed its name to “Greenwich Village Follies,” thereby enraging Flo Ziegfeld. The August 1917 issue carried an article called “The Renaissance of Greenwich Village,” by […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (9)

January 13th, 2011 · 1 Comment

This postcard, by Jesse Tarbox Beals, was sold in the Village to fans of “The Village Troubadour.”  I suppose that’s the “rustic shirting” Woollcott mentioned in the review I cited earlier.  And it serves as a suitable illustration for another description of Edwards at work — although, in this excerpt, we find him not playing […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (8)

January 12th, 2011 · 2 Comments

We had a look earlier at Bodenheim’s fictional portrayal of Edwards.  There’s a more flattering assessment in this putative memoir from 1954, published soon after Bodenheim’s murder.  Since the book was actually written by Samuel Roth and David George Kin, from Bodenheim’s unfinished notes, it’s hard to say who’s responsible for what follows. At any […]

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Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

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