George J. Gaskin

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George J. Gaskin (1863–1920) was an early American recording artist. He was born in Belfast, Ireland, but migrated to the United States in his youth, and became one of the most popular singers the United States in the 1890s.[1]

Gaskin's earliest known recordings were done for the Edison North American Phonograph Company on June 2, 1891.[2] He may have been only the second vocalist to make commercial records for Edison (the first may have been African American whistler and singer George W. Johnson, recorded just one day earlier, on June 1).[3]

He was nicknamed the "Silver-voiced Irish tenor", and specialized in sentimental Irish ballads and the popular songs of tin pan alley. He recorded prolifically in the 1890s, for the United States Phonograph Company,[4] Columbia Phonograph Company,[5] and Berliner Gramophone.[6] Except for a single side for the American Pathé company in 1916, Gaskin's recording career ended in 1904 as the industry boomed and his talent for recording cylinders became less valuable.[1] He died in New York on December 14, 1920.

Some of his songs included "Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill" (1891), "Oh Promise Me" (1893), "After the Ball" (1893), "The Sidewalks of New York", (1895), "A Hot Time in the Old Town" (1896), "On the Banks of the Wabash" (1897), and "When You Were Sweet Sixteen" (1900).

Photo of George J. Gaskin from The Phonoscope magazine, Nov. 1896

Some of his recordings that are known to still exist are:

  • "Drill Ye Tarriers Drill" (1891)
  • "After the Ball" (1893)
  • "I Don't Want to Play in Your Yard" (1895)
  • "The Sidewalks of New York" (1895)
  • "All Coons Look Alike To Me" (1896)
  • "Scanlan's Swing Song" (1896)
  • "She May Have Seen Better Days" (1896)
  • "It Don't Seem Like the Same Old Smile" (1897)
  • "Sweet Rosie O'Grady" (1897)
  • "The Best in the House is None Too Good For Reilly" (1897)
  • "Yankee Doodle" (1897)
  • "America" (1898)
  • "My Old New Hampshire Home" (1898)
  • "She Was Bred In Old Kentucky" (1898)
  • "Uncle Sam, Why Are You Waiting?" (1898)
  • "Drill Ye Tarriers Drill" (1899)
  • "Old Folks At Home" (1899)
  • "What is Home Without Love" (1899)
  • "Mavourneen" (1890s)
  • "Just Say Goodbye Again" (1890s)
  • "Whisper Your Mother's Name" (1896–1900)
  • "Killarney" (1900)
  • "While the Band is Playing Dixie" (1901)
  • "When the Harvest Days Are Over" (1902)
  • "I'm Wearing My Heart Away for You" (1903)
  • "The Bassoon" (1903)
  • "If A Girl Like You Loved A Boy Like Me" (1905)
  • "Sally in Our Alley" (1905)


  1. ^ a b Gracyk, Tim (1997). The Encyclopedia of Popular American Recording Pioneers: 1895-1925. 
  2. ^ Wangemann, A. Theo. E. The First Book of Phonograph Records. Unpublished. 
  3. ^ - 01/00 Cylinder of the Month
  4. ^ Catalog of Standard New Jersey Records. Newark, N.J.: United States Phonograph Company. c. 1894. 
  5. ^ Gracyk, Tim (2000). Cylinder Lists: Columbia Brown Wax, Columbia XP, Columbia 20th Century, and Indestructible. 
  6. ^ "George J. Gaskin (vocalist : tenor vocal)". Discography of American Historical Recordings. 

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