A weekly web log in Dutch and English to share my passion for jazz, jazz-related music, record collecting and other music projects that surprise me. | Een wekelijkse weblog in het Engels en het Nederlands waarin ik mijn passie voor jazz, jazz-verwante muziek, platenverzamelen en verrassende projecten met anderen wil delen.
Your daily blogwriter, Hans, has to undergo another handsurgery today and will therefore be unable to post a message. Thus, he has left me the task to provide you with info and entertainment the next couple of days. I hope to be able to advice some good medicine for all kind of ailments with this contribution today.
The US History Encyclopedia has the following definition of a medicine show:
"Medicine Show, an early-nineteenth-century technique for selling patent medicines. To sell this bottled magic, the showman provided a free show at town squares, street corners, or wherever he could draw a crowd. Claiming special herbal knowledge, he claimed to be Indian or part Indian, or was accompanied by someone of complexion and garb professedly Indian. He employed black-face comedians. Songs and repartee jokes were his stock in trade, and he was an artist at "kidding" the crowd while he mixed in praise of the supernal drug."
To illustrate what it is all about, I'll leave the stage to Col. W.D. QuackHorn, who seems to know the secrets of what is good for you
The message by W.D. QuackHorn is of course to lure away your money for some harmless 'snake oil' or 'elixir' that will cure all kind of aliments. You'll be disappointed, if you believe in this, of course. Nevertheless, you may already have been healed watching and listening to the colonel, because the true message of a medicine show is entertainment. Entertainment has cured your various aliments just like that, at least for the time beeing! This is a simple truth that is taken advantage of in TV commercials and ordinary marketing, too, of course.
Before radio and TV medicine shows toured all over America and provided entertainment everywhere people needed a break from hard work and daily life. The professors would gather the crowds around their wagon, the show would include various acts, which most often were accompanied by music. The musical heritage of the medicine shows in early 20th century has recently been documented in a terrific two-cd set that is highly recommended, if you search good medicine for whatever ails you, no less! Click on headline to learn more about this great issue, including the opportunity to listen to soundclips from the cds.
I found a couple of video fragments featuring songs from the great era of medicine shows. The first is by Paul Geremia performing "I Got Mine"
The next has Roy Bookbinder recollecting Pink Anderson, a famous star of the medicine shows. Roy also sings one of Pink Anderson's songs