“There’ll Come a Time” - Arthur Pryor, 1897

Tuesday 27th July, 1897, and in New York, twenty-six-year-old Arthur Pryor is hard at work recording the song “There’ll Come A Time” on his trombone. Its only twenty years since Thomas Edison first recorded sound.

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Four months ago William McKinley became the 25th President of the United State, three months ago Oscar Wilde was released from Reading gaol, and last month Queen Victoria of Great Britain celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. There’s been a Gold Rush for ten days, up in the Klondike.

Arthur has been playing the trombone all his life - he was a child prodigy and played with his older brother Walt on cornet and younger brother Sam on drums. In the future he will have his own Ragtime band, become a Democrat politician, and live into the 1940s.

But all that’s way off. Because right now its 1897, Arthur is playing his trombone again, and outside the door is a hot, sticky, crowded July day in New York City. Listen carefully. Can you hear it?


Thank you to Roger Wilmut.

If you like this, try:

8 comments to “There’ll Come a Time” - Arthur Pryor, 1897

  • Jimmy A

    Marvellous. How do I get this as my ringtone??

  • Chris

    Retronauts, who can help Jimmy have Arthur’s trombone as his ringtone? The Retronaut would also like to use it…

  • Robert Daws

    Wonderful. A terrific player with a great tone, even after 113 years. Thanks Retronaut and God bless you Arthur!

  • Mike A.

    Dear Retronauts - I’ve converted Authur’s amazing recording into an MP3 file which can be downloaded here: http://www.docs.boxofblue.com/therell-come-a-time.zip.

    I’ve successfully added this as a ringtone to my phone as an MP3, but let me know if anyone needs a different format and I’ll see what I can do. Amazing recording!


    Mike the Retronaut!

  • Lady Crafthole

    There’s something so enigmatic about sound that you do not get from an image. When I was 17 I went with my family to Singapore. I had never been further than North France at that point, and have not been past Germany since, so that was a very important two weeks for me. I had a little dictaphone which I loved, and I took it with me and recorded the whole thing as an audio diary. They bring the place back to me SO much ore than any other momento.

    We also have a recording made on a reel-to-reel back in the fifties when my mum was a little girl, with her mum&dad & auntie sitting round a table talking about house prices amongst other things, unaware that they were being recorded. It is ghostly to listen to.

  • Chris

    Those sound fantastic, Lady Crafthole. I would especially love to hear the recording of your family discussing 1950s house prices…

  • Jimmy A

    Thanks for the ringtone tips!

    Those who enjoy this may also be fascinated to hear the voice of Pope Leo XIII (born a little over 200 years ago: 2nd March 1810) This is posted on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9Pv-UuGUDM.

    The recording also features as the “bonus track” on an album called “The Last Castrato” which showcases the work of Alessandro Moreschi. One imagines Mr. Moreschi propping up the bar at the Vatican Castrato Club and squeaking “Hmm, bit quiet tonight” to the barman.

  • Chris

    Jimmy, that is quite extraordinary. This demands a post in its own right…

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