Thursday, November 13, 2014

Singing for Thanksgiving Dinner - Combination Salad Rag (1916)

Yet another mysterious composer on our first course menu. Julius L. Bafunno composed Combination Salad Fox Trot in 1916 and it's a nice enough tune. I did a little digging and found a copyright for a 1917 tune entitled Desert Moon with words and music by J. S. Bafunno, the rights of which go to Julius L. Bafunno of Chicago. I found mention of Julius playing piano for the annual banquet of the Chicago Coal Merchants Association in the May 26, 1917 issue of The Black Diamond, a coal trade paper (right). He accompanied a chorus singing Romance Land, a tune I couldn't run down in a brief online search.

After that, the trail goes cold. There are no more copyright entries for Bafunno (L or S) and no more mentions in the periodicals that have been scanned to Google's ever-growing library of old documents. Maybe Mr. Bafunno was a one-hit-wonder of his era, though I can't say Combination Salad or Desert Moon exactly seem to be hits. I guess the point is we'll never know.

The cover of the rag is very entry level. Nice, but nothing I'd hang on my wall. The simplicity is kind of sad, though. I can't help but travel back through time to put myself in his shoes. Imagine the first time he walked down the block to the local music shop and saw his name on the cover of a copy of sheet music. Imagine how excited he must have been, how he must have been thinking, "this is it, I've finally made it, soon the world will be beating a path to my door..." Then 1917 came and his next composition. Then...nothing...

Well, I don't want to cast a shadow over the festivities. After all we're here to eat combination salad, not mourn it. Therefore, I offer you an admittedly MIDI version of the tune by Julius L. Bafunno. Raise your glass and offer a toast to all the dreams we've had this year, may the best of them come true and may they live at least as long as this tune has.

No comments: