Harry Fox - "Alexander's Band is Back in Dixieland" (1919)
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Uploaded on Aug 31, 2010
Alexanders Band is Back in Dixieland
Words: Jack Yellen
Music - Albert Gumble
Sung by Harry Fox
Recorded July 19, 1919
Mr. Harry Fox (1882 - 1959) was and actor, singer and comedian in the vaudeville circuit as well as the Broadway Stage. Harry took the stage name of "Fox" in respect for his grandfather. Harry had a good sense of humor, a nice smile and was considered a pleasing chap.
Harry was on the road by the age of 15 and took up many different jobs, such as playing baseball, or acting and singing in vaudeville houses. Harry got his big break in 1904 in the play in San Francisco called "Mr. Frisky of Frisco." He was a success. By 1910/11 his style of comedy was that of Eddie Foy. During this time he was partnering with Lillian and Flora Millership (aka Millership sisters) and had put together a song and dance act called "Artistic Nonsense" with the Dolly Sisters dancing and Harry doing the comedy. Eventually, this success would lead him to New York and Broadway. It was here in New York where he would meet his first wife, Yansci Dolly of the famous Dolly Sisters.
By 1913 Harry and Yansci were being billed at the Orpheum in an act called "Smart Fooling" and were deemed as the best entertainers on the vaudeville circuit. Harry married Yansci Dolly, in April of 1914, however it is said she only married Harry to further her career. During the same year in May, while the Dolly Sisters were performing atop the New York theatre Jardin de Danse, Harry was to get an even greater break while performing with his brevity of "6 American Beauties" downstairs. It was here that Fox is credited with inventing the ballroom dance called the fox-trot. This has also been reported to have taken place in a 1913 Ziegfeld play.
Arthur Duryea would later refine the Fox-trot to more of a glide than the laborious trot. Harry and Dolly invariably split up and went their separate ways. Harry would go on to perform many popular songs and supposedly even wrote some popular music of the time as well. Foley States: "Fox certainly didn't write the songs in the movie "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," which the Harry Fox character sings, it was written by Joseph McCarthy and Harry Carroll (adapted from a Chopin melody) The real Harry Fox did sing the song, with the Dolly Sisters, in the 1918 Broadway musical for which it was written, "Oh, Look." Harry isn't in the film and actually sued the producers for representing him as a "lowly songwriter": he felt it was part of Rosie's "conspiracy to injure him," his suit was unsuccessful.
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