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Three Novelty Songs

Novelty songs have a shorter shelf life than most popular music. Here are three easily forgotten examples from the Knott’s record collection, all dating from the 1920s.

In 1923, Paul Whiteman was just becoming known as “the king of jazz” and jazz itself was still considered novelty music. Most of the novelty in this song is in the title. “If I Can't Get the Sweetie I Want (I Pity the Sweetie I Get.)” is a dance number with various instrumental interjections and noises punctuating the tune. Hear for yourself:'t+Get+the+Sweet+-+Paul+Whiteman+and+His+Orchestra.flac


The Six Jumping Jacks was one of almost two dozen pseudonyms Harry Reser used for his bands. This was a common way for performers to be under contract to several different labels at the same time. Give a listen to “There's a Trick in Pickin’ a Chick-Chick-Chicken”. The topical humor is supplemented by animal sounds. That’s what the public expected from jazz in 1927.


Finally, Chester Gaylord makes an attempt at humor with cornpone grammar In “Her Have Went” from 1925.

Gaylord started in radio and became a prolific recording artist in the 1920s and 1930s. Blessedly, the rising popularity of swing music ended his recording career.  He returned to radio, announcing and playing the piano.


Paul Whiteman (1923)

B: “If I Can't Get the Sweetie I Want”

The Six Jumping Jacks (1927)

A: “There's a Trick in Pickin’ a Chick-Chick-Chicken”

Chester Gaylord (1925)

“Her Have Went”