CD 1, track 31
Polk Miller and His Old South Quartette recorded seven cylinders for Edison (three 2-minute, four 4-minute) in November 1909, including “What a Time”–the earliest recorded version of the 19th century spiritual. Miller was a successful Virginia businessman and former Confederate soldier who later toured with his banjo giving lectures about the Old South. Around 1899, he began employing African Americans for a quartet in his act. Celebrated by Mark Twain and Joel Chandler Harris, the integrated touring group often required police protection. The quartet members here include Randall Graves (lead tenor) and James L. Stamper (bass), but the identity of the other two singers is unknown.