Each month our panel of experts picks a different National Jukebox selection to highlight.
This month’s selection:
"Love Me," performed by Gertrude Saunders, recorded September 6, 1923.
The selections currently in the Library of Congress’s National Jukebox go up to spring of 1925 – shortly before Victor began systematically recording black and country artists. Prior to that, there was a smattering of African American and country-style performers on Victor.
The black chanteuse Gertrude Saunders was significant in that she was the original soubrette in the landmark black musical “Shuffle Along” in 1921. Saunders’ vocal stylings included a bizarre and flamboyant imitation of an operatic soprano, the effects of which were unintentionally funny.
Flushed with success, she left “Shuffle Along” and was replaced by the legendary Florence Mills. Saunders never quite recaptured the fame and excitement of her “Shuffle Along” days, although she did retain the vocal histrionics as heard on this 1923 recording.