Tuesday, July 25, 2006


more from the stacks & a little political history

I am having SO much fun with this ELAC, I have the tonearm balanced and everything... it's not an SME but it'll do until I can get the Fons replaced (that one had individual speed control on all three speeds, plus the plynth was set up for the SME arm).

So, while we wait around for the Artie Shaw set, here are a few more 78s I had on the 'Pile of Doom' for you to listen to...

We'll start with a little bit of political history/propogandizing from right before World War One. The US had not been drawn into the War to End All Wars when these were recorded, but the writing was definately on the wall, and songs were cranked out to get the populace ready for the coming fight.

The Peerless Quartette recorded this song, You'll Be There, to get the boys all ready for going into the trenches against the Huns. The basic theme is this: when our allies in Europe are getting the bejabbers gassed out of them, you'll proudly be in the trenches, fighting for the Good Old U.S.A. Hmmm, kind of like what Fox News and CNN are spouting now, with the current state of affairs in Lebannon... hopefully cooler heads will prevail and the Israelis can find another source of fresh water for their country without dropping white phosphorous bombs into houses in the neighboring countryside. No, ladies, and gents, I'm not a Hezbollah apologist, but neither do I buy the current rhetoric coming out of Tel Aviv. And, if it gets Syria, Iran, and eventually the U.S. involved, things are going to stink mighty mighty bad.

Which leads me to my next selection, the reverse side of the record. Aaron Campbell and Henry Burr recorded this little ditty, Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds You, probably to get those who emigrated to the U.S. to either back up their newly adopted country or get the heck out. At the time, there was a MASSIVE German immigrant population in the U.S., and they were none to keen on going and fighting the forces of their homeland. As I recall, the Irish immigrants weren't very keen on the idea either, helping the British and all. So, one piece of flag-waving jingoism was placed before the peoples, and the Columbia Gramophone Co. did their part. They must have, because there were a massive amount of these sides pressed (as indicated in the last number of the matrix number, which you'll find in the ID3v2 tag).

I guess I need to say that I am VERY Patriotic, but I can't stand having a populace be manipulated by media to go off and fight and die for causes that mean little or nothing to a majority of the people in this here Constitutional Republic. I love my country, it is just that I am mad as hell about the governing thereof by a certain cabal of greedy corporate facists, while the rights, liberties, and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution are being trampled into the dirt by the very government that was sworn, individually and corporately, to uphold it.

America is not a democracy. It never was, and was never meant to be. Democracy is 10 wolves and 1 sheep deciding on the dinner menu. Do you want that? I sure as hell don't.

Soapbox mode off... but every so often, I'll post some reminders that manipulation of the populace by the media is NOT a new idea... it has been going on a lo-o-o-ong time.

Just wait until we get into a study of the race and minstrel records of the early 1900s. Makes me ashamed to be a Caucasian.

Soapbox mode REALLY off now.

Let's talk about love. A majority of these 78s deal with that, in several different musical genres... we'll start out with the almost-banal, yet somewhat swinging performance of Evelyn Knight (with the Jeff Alexander Chorus). Love's A Precious Thing... man comes, man puts stars in woman's eyes, man takes off and says "Keep on loving!"... o-o-o-o-ka-a-a-ay... even in Wonder Bread Land, teh girl has stars in her eyes I guess... but it's a nice tune, and after the third or fourth playing kind of grows on you. Recorded on Decca when their shellac was good, probably early 1950s.

On the back side of this is another, more introspective love song, If I Ever Love Again. This song, I think, takes place about 2 months after the guy in the previous song took off. I speak allegorically, of course. But it's a nice little love ballad, so what the hey. You may hear some thumps in this song, because the disc has a crack running through it, but, once again, CoolEdit did its' voodoo (that it do so well), and the track came out pretty darn good.

Going from Darn Good to Gol-durn Good, we go now to Gallatin, Tennessee, to the studios and pressing plant of Dot Records. This pair is by Big Jeff and his Radio Playboys, and is some hootin' good country swing. For those into labels (on the records) this release is on the original yellow and black Dot label, that is clearly marked "Gallatin, Tennessee" on the bottom. These releases usually had some very good western and 'hill-billy' music on them, and are somewhat sought after. This is definately pre-Pat Boone Dot Records. Step It Up And Go is a good swing-your-partner tune, with some nice pi-annah and fiddlin' in it, whereas the flip side, After We Are Through, is a howl-at-the-moon, done-broke-my-heart lament. Still good examples of early 50s country-billy, both of them.

Next up, we'll endure some of the poopy pre-war Decca shellac for a pair of love songs by none other than Ella Fitzgerald. These are crooned, more than swung, but she still had the sultry pipes! On This Love of Mine and Jim, she's right in with it as the combo grooves slow while she heats it up. A side note, This Love of Mine was co-written by one Frank Sinatra. Cool, huh.

Finally, we have one of my absolute favorite sides in shellac-land, Life Gits Tee-jus Don't It by Carson Robison. Released on MGM, this is just a great great song about the perils of procrastination and lack of motivation. This was posted on Lee's MY(P)WHAE blog a while back, and I gleefully downloaded it. Lo and behold, in this last batch of 78s I scored, here it was, and in PRISTINE shape to boot! Happiness abounds!

Wait, what's this on the flip side? Could it be? After so long? and on the back side of such a great tune as this? We have, ladies and gentlemen, our CLANKER OF THE WEEK! Wind In The Mountains. Hoo boy. Carson, you should have stuck to just one. Not only is the performance beyond lackluster, it sounds like someone put wet socks in the microphones of not only Carson, but the string band that backs him up. You can tell the sadness in the tune by how sad the musicians are that they had to record this. It must have been an effort... I give it a 7 on the Clank-O-Meter, partly for the performance, and partly for being paired with a great tune.

OK, we're done for tonight, I'll get started on the Artie Shaw here tomorrow so you can enjoy it during the weekend.

Don't forget to leave comments!

What wonderful music!!

Please I have a question for you.

what is the firt record ever made of

Shortnin' bread

cotton eyed joe?
Unfortunately I don't know that one... you may want to pose this question on the 78rpm mailing list (78-L), someone should have an answer for you....
thank you! What great database there is in 78rpm's site.
Thank you for the great culture that you give us.

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