Al Jolson

This vintage collection of songs originally recorded by Al Jolson on 78 rpm discs between 1911 and 1919 was digitized and compiled by The Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University Libraries. These albums are not available for sale or reproduction.

It is a miracle of life that even from difficult and humble beginnings magnificent things can grow. Who would think that a Jewish child born to a cantor and his wife in anti-Semitic Tsarist Russia could become an entertainment icon whose fame would continue to flourish  more than 50 years after his death?

At the age of 4 young Asa Yoelson’s father became a rabbi and left the old country to find a better life. Four years later the Rabbi became head of a Washington D.C. synagogue and the family joined him. Unfortunately Asa’s mother died shortly after arriving in the USA  in 1895.

Young Asa soon became known as Al and his older brother Hirsh became Harry. The two boys were obsessed with show business and within four years they were singing in a circus. By 1901 they were getting bookings in burlesque and vaudeville.

In 1904 Al, now known as Al Jolson, was called upon to fill-in for a performer in a blackface vaudeville comedy show.  Blackface, an important performance tradition in the American theater beginning around 1830 can now be seen as racist and offensive. But to young Al Jolson it was a blessing. Hidden behind the make-up, he found that he could give a freer, more energetic performance.  When this chance opportunity was well-received by the audience and critics, he soon decided to continue using blackface. The spontaneity and freedom he felt when in blackface elevated his performance and his fame.

His 1911 rendition of George M. Cohan’s Haunting Melody in the show “Vera Violetta made him a Broadway star. Other Broadway musicals followed. In 1913 he stunned the audience when he fell to one knee during the final chorus of “You Made Me Love You.” This pleading pose became a signature move that was associated with Jolson until the end of his career. Other early hits included Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody (1918) and George Gershwins’s Swanee (1918).

These recordings were produced prior to 1923 and are in the public domain.


Total: 167

A Bis'l Taam (A Little Flavor)
A Broken Doll
A Chasin Of Shabbis [The Cantor]
Across the Breakfast Table Looking at You
Al Jolson (1911-15) Vol. 1
Al Jolson (1916-17) Vol. 2
Al Jolson (1918-19) Vol. 3
Al Jolson (1918-19) Vol. 4
Al Jolson (1918-19) Vol. 5
Al Jolson - Brunswick Rarities 1926-1930
Al Jolson - The Early Years
Al Jolson The Jazz Singer
Al Jolson with Oscar Levant at the Piano
Alexander's Ragtime Band
All Alone
All My Love
All My Love
Angel Child
April Showers
April Showers
April Showers
Arcady
Asleep in the Deep - Parody
At Peace with the World
Avalon
Avalon
Avalon
Avalon
Back In Your Own Back Yard
Back to the Carolina You Love
By the Light of the Silvery Moon
By the Light of the Silvery Moon
California, Here I Come
Carolina in the Morning
Chloe
Coal-Black Mammy
Coo - Coo
Ding-a-ring A Ring
Don't Write Me Letters
Down Among the Sheltering Palms
Down Where the Swanee River Flows
Ev'ry Little While
Feeling the Way I Do
Follow the Swallow
Funeral Blues (Eat Custard and You'll Never Break ...
Give Me My Mammy
Golden Gate
Golden Gate
Hatikvoh
I Gave Her That
I Gave Her That
I Love You
I Only Have Eyes For You
I Only Have Eyes For You
I Only Have Eyes For You
I Only Have Eyes For You
I Wish I Had A Girl
I Wish I Had My Old Gal Back Again
I Wonder Why She Kept on Saying "Si-Si-Si-Si-Senor...
I'll Say She Does
I'll Stand Beneath Your Window Tonight and Wistle
I'm All Bound 'Round With The Mason Dixon Line
I'm Crying Just For You
I'm Goin South
I'm Goin' South
I'm Goin' South
I'm Goin' South
I'm Saving Up the Means to Get to New Orleans
I'm Sitting on Top of the World
I've Got My Captain Working for Me Now
If I Only Had a Match
If I Only Had A Match
In Sweet September
Israel
Jewish Rhapsodies for Those in Love
Jolie
Jolson Sings!
Keep Smiling at Trouble
Kol Nidre
Kol Nidre
Kol Nidrei
Let Me Sing and I'm Happy
Let's Go West Again
Let's Go West Again
Little Pal
Living in America
Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away)
Lost (A Wonderful Girl)
Lucia Sextette Burlesque
Ma Blushin' Rosie
Mammy
Mandalay
Mazel Tov! More Music of the Jewish People
Mazel Tov! More Music of the Jewish People
Miami
Morning Will Come
Mother of Mine, I Still Have You
Mother of Mine, I Still Have You
Mr. Radio Man
My Mammy
My Mammy
My Yellow Jacket Girl
N Everything
Now He's Got a Beautiful Girl
O-H-I-O (O-My! - O!)
Oh Susannah
Ol' Man River
On the Road to Calais
Oogie Oogie Wa Wa
Pray for Sunshine (But Always Be Prepared for Rain...
Pretty Baby
Pullman Porters' Parade
Remember Mother's Day
Remember Mother's Day
Rock-a-bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody
Shalom - Music of the Jewish People
Some Beautiful Morning (I'll Find You in My Arms)
Some Beautiful Morning (I'll Find You in My Arms)
Some Enchanted Evening
Someone Else May Be There While I'm Gone
Sonny Boy
Sonny Boy
Stella
Swanee
Tell Me
Tell That to the Marines
That Big Blond Mamma
That Haunting Melody
That Little German Band
That Wonderful Kid from Madrid
The Best of Jolson
The Cantor
The Cantor
The Cantor
The Cantor, "Tribute to Al Jolson"
The Greatest of Al Jolson
The Immortal Al Jolson
The Jolson Story - Among My Souvenirs
The Jolson Story - Memories
The Jolson Story - Rainbow 'round My Shoulder
The Jolson Story - You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet!
The Jolson Story, Rock-a-bye Your Baby
The Jolson Story, You Made Me Love You
The Legendary Al Jolson
The Old Piano Roll Blues
The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else
The Songs of Al Jolson
There's a Lump of Sugar Down in Dixie
Tillie Titwillow
Toot, Toot, Tootsie! (Goo' Bye)
Toot, Toot, Tootsie! (Goo'Bye)
Trouble's a Bubble
Twelve O'clock at Night
Used to You
Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
Waiting For The Robert E. Lee
Wanita
Wedding Bells (Will You Ever Ring for Me)
Who Cares?
Who Played Poker with Pocahontas (When John Smith ...
Yaaka, Hoola, Hickey, Doola
Yoo - Hoo
Yoo-Hoo
You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet
You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To Do It)
You've Simply Got Me Cuckoo