That’s right … “Those Three Boys” are finally enshrined for all time. I just sent the monograph on my favorite Vaudeville team to the Library of Congress. While this is my fourth (self-published) printed book (the first being the Museum of Making Music’s harp guitar exhibit catalog), it is my first fully realized project – with ISBN and LOC numbers, the works!
It was time. I’ve been updating and rewriting the VP&W story over the last fifteen years now every time some new clue turns up. After the last bundle of material (from another relative of one of the performers), I had to literally toss the whole thing out and just start over. Is it complete? About as much as humanly possible at this time – and at 120+ pages (over half of that appendices), I didn’t skimp on details or research. Of course, inevitably, the very day after I approved the print run, a new image turned up! It’s on its way to me now, and includes the best image yet of Joe Wilbur (Wilber #5, as you’ll discover).
But wait! There’s more. Before you go clicking the book cover at right to order this entertaining classic, I have to tell you about its last (9th) Appendix. It links readers to the VPW page on Harpguitars.net for a unique “Audio-Visual Appendix.” Lamenting the fact that after all this time we still can’t hear Vardon, Perry & Wilber to get a true sense of their talent, I drafted London’s Matt Redman, who you’ll remember from his unique videos during a visit to the Miner Museum a year ago. He gamely volunteered to produce a recorded performance “recreation,” and with two of his colleagues, finished the project – brilliantly – just as the book arrived. (This work was supported by The Harp Guitar Foundation, so if you find these efforts worthwhile, please consider a small donation).
It might be best to read the book first to get in the right frame of mind and curiosity – but for those who prefer music over print, the presentation is ready (click the record image below). Matt & friends did two songs – one as the VP&W trio and one as the final V&P duo. You can listen to the audio WAV file “records” (imagining the group in your mind’s eye if you like) and you can then watch Matt’s videos on “The Making Of” each recording.
Our hope is that this combination of a generously-illustrated, scholarly-yet-entertaining book with representative audio recordings and supporting video documentaries will prove to be a long overdue celebration that will bring this musical period and forgotten stars back to life.
– Gregg Miner and Matt Redman
Hi Gregg, I just finished reading “The Curious Career of Varden, Perry, and Wilber(s)?” What a great book! I think it’s fantastic how you’ve given this music a “second life” and I hope more people will rediscover this music! Your treatment of the subject matter nimble, expertly crafted, and entertaining – just like I imagine a performance by VPW would have been! Thanks for doing this!
From Laura Scheyer (great-niece of the first Wilber No. 2):
“I absolutely loved the recreated recordings of those 2 VP&W songs. What a treat to actually hear some music. The Harp Guitar really does have such a lovely sound. The lyrics made me smile. By comparison to today, what an innocent time. Where has such beautiful music gone? I only wish that my mother could have heard these recordings. As she and I sat and talked about Miles, she said more than once she had wished she had seen him perform or heard their music.
Again, all the best to you and for the valuable work that you do. Do Keep it up.
What an unbelievable gift! Congratulations! Impossible not to smile listening to the recreations!