Milwaukee Record is proud to present Public Domain. The monthly video series features musicians adapting some of the world’s best-known songs in ways they’ve never been heard before. Watch the entire series here.
This installment marks our first non-Milwaukee participant, as well as the first time we shot a Public Domain video somewhere other than a Colectivo cafe. Queen Hilma made the drive down from Green Bay to perform a downright captivating rendition of “Come Josephine In My Flying Machine” on the Cactus Club stage. The song was written by composer Fred Fisher (who also wrote the famous “Chicago”) and Canadian lyricist Alfred Bryan in 1910 during the early days of aviation.
The whimsical number was first popularized in a 1910 recording by Blanche Ring. Ada Jones and Billy Murray also released a duet version in 1911. Since those two early efforts, “Come Josephine…” has been performed on Broadway and was featured on episodes of The Waltons and The Simpsons. Folks under 90 years of age probably know it best as the song Jack and Rose playfully sing together in Titanic. Queen Hilma’s cover isn’t nearly as joyous as any of those versions, but the lush and somber turn on the fanciful tune from flight’s infancy could very well be the best “Come Josephine In My Flying Machine” has ever sounded.
The video was shot, recorded, and edited by Cheston Van Huss of Effigy Media. Travis Whitty produced the opening sequence. Public Domain is sponsored by Colectivo Coffee Roasters, Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, and Transfer Pizzeria Café.