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: 171

1912: Waitin' on the Levee
A Bis'l Taam (A Little Flavor)
A Broken Doll
A Chasin Of Shabbis [The Cantor]
Across the Breakfast Table Looking at You; Let Me ...
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 - Volume III The Twenties - from Broadwa...
Al Jolson in Songs He Made Famous
Al Jolson The Jazz Singer
Al Jolson: Duets
Al Jolson: Let Me Sing And I'm Happy
Al Jolson: On Broadway
Al Jolson: The Best Of The Decca Years
Al Jolson: You Ain't Hear Nothin' Yet!
Alexander's Ragtime Band; The Spaniared that Bligh...
All Alone; I'm Gonna Tramp, Tramp, Tramp
All My Love; Keep Smiling At Trouble (Trouble's A ...
Angel Child; Angel Child - Fox-trot
April Showers; Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie M...
April Showers; Swanee
April Showers; Weep No More (My Mammy)
Arcady; Arcady
Art Deco Series - Al Jolson: You Ain't Heard Nothi...
Asleep in the Deep - Parody; A New Cure for Drinki...
At Peace with the World; Tonight's My Night with B...
Avalon; Anniversary Song
Avalon; Old Pal, Why Don't You Answer Me?
Back In Your Own Back Yard
Back to the Carolina You Love; Revival Day
Bebe; Stella
Bing Crosby with Judy Garland and Al Jolson
By the Light of the Silvery Moon; I Wish I Had A G...
California, Here I Come; Rock-a-bye Your Baby With...
Carolina in the Morning; Liza (All The Clouds'll R...
Chloe; Was There Ever a Pal Like You
Coal-Black Mammy; Lindy Lady
Coo - Coo; Stumbling
Danny Kaye: Entertainer Extraordinary
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
Everybody Snap Your Fingers With Me
Feeling the Way I Do
Follow the Swallow
Funeral Blues (Eat Custard and You'll Never Break ...
George Gershwin Memorial Concert
Give Me My Mammy
Golden Gate
Golden Gate
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 Want To Go To The Land Where The Sweet Daddies G...
I Wish I Had My Old Gal Back Again
I Wonder Why She Kept on Saying
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 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; Wait Till ...
If I Only Had A Match
In Sweet September
Kol Nidre
Kol Nidre
Kol Nidrei
Let Me Sing And I'm Happy: Al Jolson At Warner Bro...
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
Mazel Tov! More Music of the Jewish People
Mazel Tov! More Music of the Jewish People
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
Oh Susannah
Ol' Man River
On the Road to Calais
One More Song; Du Host A Liebes Punim
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
Rodgers & Hammerstein 50th Anniversary Collection
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
Souvenir Album
Tell Me
Tell That to the Marines
That Big Blond Mamma
That Haunting Melody
That Wonderful Kid from Madrid
The Best of Jolson
The Best of Jolson
The Cantor
The Cantor
The Cantor
The Cantor,
The Columbia Rehearsals Volume 1. (The Jolson Stor...
The Columbia Rehearsals Volume 2. (Jolson Sings Ag...
The Complete Jolson Vol 6
The Complete Jolson Vol 7
The Complete Jolson Vol. 1
The Complete Jolson Vol. 3
The Complete Jolson Vol. 4
The Complete Jolson Vol. 5
The Gershwin Collection: An Historical Treasury of...
The Jolson Story - Memories
The Jolson Story - You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet!
The Old Piano Roll Blues
The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else
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
Wedding Bells (Will You Ever Ring for Me); Just A ...
When Will The Sun Shine For Me
Who Cares?
Who Played Poker with Pocahontas (When John Smith ...
Yaaka, Hoola, Hickey, Doola
Yoo - Hoo
You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet
You Are Too Beautiful: Rock-A-Bye Your Baby witha ...
You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To Do It)
You've Simply Got Me Cuckoo