By Margaret Ashburner
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is fortunate to have a collection of early audio recordings that capture the popular music that Canadians were listening to in the early 20th century. This collection of newly digitized recordings is a broad sampling of popular songs recorded in the 78-rpm format.
- Ev’ry Road is the Right Road; Harry Macdonough, tenor with orchestra; AMICUS 31390889
- Down in the Old Cherry Orchard; Haydn Quartet (including Harry Macdonough) with orchestra; AMICUS 31385621
- Where the River Shannon Flows; Jean-Baptiste Dubois, cello with piano accompaniment; AMICUS 31385839
- Boat Song; Paul Dufault, tenor with orchestra; AMICUS 31400005
- That Tumble-Down Shack in Athlone; Love Will Find a Way; Willie Eckstein’s Strand Trio; AMICUS 31385908
- Up in the Air Over There; Alan Turner, baritone with orchestra; AMICUS 31385799
- Old Time Waltz Medley: Memories ; Sleep Baby Sleep; George Wade and his Cornhuskers; AMICUS 44198461
- As Long as He Loves Me; Albert William Plunkett, tenor with orchestra; AMICUS 31385935
- If I Can’t Sing About My Mammy (I don’t Want to Sing at All); Albert William Plunkett, tenor with orchestra; AMICUS 31385948
- Peg o’ My Heart, Charles W. Harrison with orchestra; AMICUS 44651472
Plunkett is best known for his work as a soldier-entertainer with The Dumbells group. The Dumbells was run by Albert’s older brother Captain Mert Plunkett. The group started in 1917 and was active until 1932.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, as John Scantlebury Macdonald, the singer changed his name to Harry Macdonough in hopes that it would help his singing career. This popular ballad singer was a prolific recording artist and was involved in solo, duet and quartet recordings, many of which are among LAC’s collection.
Margaret Ashburner is the Special Collections Librarian of retrospective music at Library and Archives Canada.