After the Dawn by Sydney Simpson and His Wentworth Cafe Orchestra
'After the Dawn' was one of Jack O’Hagan’s most popular early compositions. Its popular success saw a spate of recordings – by O’Hagan himself and, in one of the earliest recordings produced by the Columbia Gramophone Company, by Sydney Simpson and His Wentworth Cafe Orchestra.
Further recordings were made by Billy Desmond, Foster Richardson, James Sasson and Keith Donaldson. Pianists Laurel and Edith Pardey also recorded a four-hand version on piano roll for Mastertouch, where they were two of the most prominent in-house pianists.
The success of the song also saw it win ‘most popular song’ on radio 3LO’s £100 perfect program competition, having been included in 2,240 of 10,000 programs submitted by listeners in June 1926.
As reported in the Daily Telegraph on 23 October 1926:
The Columbia Company has just released the first record not only pressed, but actually recorded at the Homebush factory near Sydney, and consisting of two items played by Sydney Simpson and his Wentworth Cafe Orchestra: the popular ‘After the Dawn’ waltz by Jack F O’Hagan, and a fox-trot 'Freshie', both with a vocal chorus (Col. 0514). It is claimed that the product is entirely Australian, for 'After the Dawn' has been composed, performed, recorded and pressed by Australians. This waltz with a captivating swing, which explains its increasing popularity, has been quite satisfactorily recorded, its only weak spot being the nasal quality of the singer’s voice, who sings the vocal refrain. However as long as the record serves its principal purpose, dancing, mediocre vocal quality matters but little.
Additional credits: Harry Larson – trombone, Sam Babicci – reeds, Harry White – piano, Percy Baker – banjo, Sammy Cope – drums.
Cover image: 'After the Dawn' sheet music. NFSA title: 1488438.