Monday, May 22, 2006


Bob & Marek & Ted and the Debutantes

After a wunnerful-wunnerful week of going through reel tapes, I noticed it has been a day or 7 since I touched this blog. Like the sands through the hourglass... these are the discs of the Shanty.

The weather has actually been good for transferring stuff, especially from reel to mp3: warm, humid, just a little breeze to make the studio bearable. It also works pretty well for 78 transfers too, for some reason, the discs are a little less noisy, and I don't get the static discharges that one gets in low-humidity climes.

But that doesn't mean that the transfers are easy, no sir-ee... the first one will be a bit of a pain to listen through, and I almost didn't post it, but it is some good trad-style jazz by one of the premier players of the post-WW2 era, Pee Wee Hunt. This pair is on the FM label, out of Los Angeles, and they look like they were pressed on ARA machines (the matrix numbers look very much like ARA pressings), which means that the ARA 'standard' shellac mix was not used, this stuff is WORSE. I don't know what got into these grooves, but it was nasty-nasty! The A-side, After You've Gone, is almost unlistenable, for which I apologize, but the B-side, On The Sunny Side of the Street fared somewhat better. Still noisy, but at least you can get an idea of what was being laid down that day.

While we're on poopy shellac quality, let's play us an early Decca from 1935... Mike Reilley & Eddie Farley and the Reilley-Farley Onyx Club Boys, in a little bot of pseudo-trad jazz called The Music Goes Round And Round. Reilley & Farley get the composition credits on this one, perhaps this is the original recording? Again, poor shellac quality (typical early Decca), but a worthy recording. The B-side, Looking For Love, is a VERY nice instrumental romp, especially considering that the shellac didn't get played to death.

Shifting gears, we'll play a little Marek Weber. Or at least I think we will, because the recording engineer, in his infinite wisdom, on a VERY nice recording of waltz medleys, decided to roll off the top at somewhere around 8000 Hz I think. Apaprently the studio was connected to the recording machine by two paper cups and a string? Shame on you, Columbia Records, for cloning Thomas A. Edison's ears onto some poor recordist.... in any case, here's In Old Vienna: Waltz Medley and In Old Vienna: Franz Lehar Waltz Medley. Dance cards please.....

All RIGHTY then... let's spice things up a bit with a gen-yew-wyne OKeh Oater... Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys! I think these were recorded in Houston, TX (matrix number starting with "H"), but they could have been done in Los Angeles... but they were cut on a July day in 1941, and Bob was definately feeling his oats on these. Tommy Duncan takes the vocal reins on Please Don't Leave Me, and then Leon McAuliffe rips it up on My Life's Been A Pleasure... well Bob certainly was doing SOMETHING pleasurable with his signature "Awww-HAAAWWW!!" calls during the song... all in all, a VERY good Wills pair here.

We'll close with what might be called the Clanker(s) of the Week.

I like Hawaiian music. Really I do. And I thought that this would be a good pair of Hawaiian sides. Really I did. But then, after playing them and encoding them, I remembered why I don't like Ted Fio Rito. Aside from the very Lawrence Welk schmaltz, aside from the inane and obnoxious wood-block playing, aside from the uninspired vocals from The Debutantes, Ted takes two GREAT Hawaiian Johnny Noble songs, and turns them into POOP! In A Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii... the girls could be singing about the Corn Festival in Salina, Kansas, for all I know. And what they do to King Kamehameha... I ought to post the Sol Hoopi version, done on Brunswick a few years earlier. MUCH more noble Noble song. Ted, you ought to have been thrown off the boat, sirrah. No wonder Spike Jones made an early target of you. These were recorded in April of 1938.... but they shouldn't have been. Cringe-o-meter? Off the scale.

I still have a bunch of marching music here, I think I'll post those for Memorial Day. Have a great week, and see you next time!

Welcome back to the Shellac Brad !
GGGGGreat Music.
Byron, via Lee's MY(P)WHAE.
Hi Brad,
If you want to try your luck at Lady Domi's blindfold test...
There's music to hear along with each review, by the way. Just click on the 'Disques de chevet' category, then on the pianist in each post... and enjoy !
Have a nice day,
Lady D.
Hi Brad,
Just found your blog post because I just transferred my mother's copy of Franz Lehar Waltz Medley. Yours sounds great. My disc is quite a lot more dirty.

You're totally right about the recording, I noticed the distortion right away.

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