Jospeh C. Smith's Orchestra - The Love Nest (1920)





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Published on Feb 13, 2010

For Valentines Day - A Few Songs about Love & Romance:

Joseph Cyrus Smith was born August 13, 1883 in Sag Harbor, New York. There seems to be doubt about his date of birth since the 1900 census cites October of 1881 as his birth date, and that he used the August 13th date in filling out his own birth certificate (with a signed affidavit) in 1921. Since Smith used August 13, 1883 on several documents after 1921. His father, George Smith, was an estate property salesman from Russia. His mother, Fanny (or Fannie) Davis, was from Austria. According to the 1900 census, when Smith would have been 16 years old, he was already employed as a musician in New York City.
Smith would eventually organize his own orchestra, and in 1914, began playing at the famous Plaza Hotel in New York City (according to a March 1923 Brunswick supplement). His orchestra would remain a regular feature at the Plaza for the next nine years.
His first recording session was for the Victor Talking Machine Company, on September 25, 1916. His first release, "Songs of the Night" was released in December of that year on a twelve-inch disc. His first records only had modest sales, but he would score major hits in 1918, most notably with
"Missouri Waltz","I'm Always Chasing Rainbows", "Smiles", and "Mary". Although other early jazz ensembles did not seem to have posed a threat to his popularity at first, it was the later band leaders like Paul Whiteman and Roy Bargy who would put Smith out of the spotlight. By 1921, their dance orchestras were adding more variety to their arrangements by using more instrumental soloists. In comparison with these new sounds, Smith's style usually had long, monotonous instrumental passages repeated, with a sound that seemed rather outdated for the time.
Although Smith tried to update his style slightly, his popularity as a recording artist had diminished when he made his last Victor recordings in 1922. After a brief, unsuccessful period with Brunswick Records, he left the Plaza Hotel in 1923 and moved to Montreal, Canada, where he directed his orchestra at the Mount Royal Hotel. He made his last known recordings in 1925 but was frequently heard on radio station CKAC in Montreal. Between 1925 and 1929, Smith alternated between Canada, Europe, California, and New York, playing at various concerts and ballrooms. Throughout the 1930s, he directed music at various New York City night clubs and restaurants, most notably the Restaurant Larue where his band was frequently advertised in the late 30s.
He retired in 1945 and moved to Florida, where he died March 22, 1965 at St. Francis Hospital in Miami Beach.

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