Abdul Abulbul Amir
The sons of the Prophet were brave men and bold
And quite unaccustomed to fear,
But the bravest by far in the ranks of the shah
Was Abdul Abulbul Amir.
Now the heroes were plenty and well known to fame
In the troops that were led by the Czar,
And the bravest of these was a man by the name
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
One day this bold Russian had shouldered his gun
And donned his most truculent sneer.
Downtown he did go where he trod on the toe
of Abdul Abulbul Amir.
"Young man," quote Abdul,"has life grown so dull
That you wish to end your career?
Vile infidel--know you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir."
Said Ivan, "My friend, your remarks in the end
Will avail you but little, I fear,
For you ne'er will survive to repeat them alive,
Mr. Abdul Abulbul Amir!"
[NEXT IS ABDUL'S REPLY]
"So take your last look at sunshine and brook
And send your regrets to the Czar,
For by this I imply you are going to die,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar."
Then this bold Mameluke drew his trusty skibouk,
With a cry of "Allah! Hak-bar!"
And with murderous intent he ferociously went
For Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
They fought all that night neath the pale yellow moon.
The din was heard from afar,
And huge multitudes came, so great was the fame
of Abdul and Ivan Skavar.
As Abdul's long knife was extracting the life,
In fact he was shouting, "Huzzah!"
He felt himself struck by that wily Calmuck,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
The Sultan drove by in his red-breasted fly,
Expecting the victor to cheer,
But he only drew nigh to hear the last sigh
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.
Dar Petrovitch, too, in his spectacle blue,
Rode up in his new-crested car.
He arrived just in time to exchange a last line
With Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
There's a tomb rises up where the Blue Danube rolls.
Engraved there in characters clear
Is "Stranger, when passing, oh pray for the soul
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir."
A Muscovite maiden her lone vigil keeps,
Neath the light of the cold northern star,
And the name that she murmurs in vain as she weeps
Is Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
Crumit was born on September 26, 1889, in Jackson, Ohio. He died on September 7, 1943.
He first worked on stage at the age of five as part of an amateur minstrel show. As a youth he also worked as a motion picture show entertainer in Ohio cities. He attended Culver Military Academy and graduated in 1912 from Ohio University of Athens, Ohio, with a degree in electrical engineering.
He was in the original cast of Tangerine, which opened its New York run at the Casino Theatre on August 9, 1921. With fellow composer Dave Zoob, he wrote "Sweet Lady" for that show (lyrics were by Howard Johnson), strumming and singing it to the show's leading lady, Julia Sanderson, who became his wife within six years. Crumit later noted that eleven years after it was first heard on Broadway, he and his wife had sung the song more than 16,000 times for stage and radio audiences.
Crumit began his recording career at age 30. "My Gal," on Columbia A2884, coupled with Al Jolson singing George Gershwin's first major success, "Swanee," was issued in May 1920. Crumit cut "My Gal" on December 10, 1919, and for the next four years Columbia released new Crumit titles almost every month.
In the spring of 1920 he made his first sides, anonymously, for Little Wonder. Sam Ash and Henry Burr were two tenors who made many Little Wonders in earlier years, but Ash stopped making records, and Burr became exclusive to Victor in late 1920. Crumit filled this void, many many Little Wonders from 1920 to 1923.
Jim Walsh states in the November 1953 issue of Hobbies, "Personally, I think Frank was unfortunate in that the microphonic method of recording had not been developed when he signed his Columbia contract. Some singers sounded better when recorded by the horn system than under the early electric process, but Crumit did not. He came into his own after the 'mike' succeeded the horn....The most successful recorders of that day were those with naturally strong, well-rounded voices, such as Caruso's, or those who expended large quantities of energy by 'hammering'--that is, singing vigorously into the horn. Frank's easy, relaxed, informal method of singing was not adapted to acoustic techniques. Too often it was made to sound rather nasal, flat and without enough 'body.'"
Crumit records were regularly issued by Columbia through February 1924 (his final session was on October 29, 1923), and they helped popularize "Whispering" (sung with William Davidson), "Margie," "Three O'Clock in the Morning," "Dapper Dan," "Stumbling," "I Gave You Up Just Before You Threw Me Down," and "Say It With a Ukulele." Columbia suffered grave financial difficulties in the early 1920s, which may have influenced the tenor's decision to sign in 1923 an exclusive Victor contract.