Sunday, July 23, 2006



Well, not quite new, in fact, it's pretty damn old. But it will play 78s decently enough to do encodes without having to initially record them into the computer at 45rpm and use CoolEdit to adjust the speed... it is an old ELAC Miracord 50H that I bought years ago at a thrift store (naturally), stuck on a shelf in the shed, and forgot about. Until about a month ago, when I saw it in there and hauled it into the garage-studio... and forgot about. Well, now that I'm done with work for a while, I finally loaded up a cartridge to it, hooked up a phono preamp and hooked it into the Marantz as an auxillary device, cleaned it up a little, and BA-ZAMMO. New turntable. Yay-ness!

I'll start out with a couple of test-runs I did up on the ELAC, nothing very substantial, but still an indicator of how to get things rolling again....

Blue Barron was a band leader in the late 40s and early 50s. He leaned somewhat towards the post-swing 'sweet swing', which morphed into the wonderful world of early 50s popular music. This here side is an example of that sweet pop-ness, a little thing called Bubbles. This is from a MGM 78, with vocals by the Blue Notes. Not too bad, but, not exactly earth-shattering, is it.

Moving back in time, we have another example of cuteness by a group that was more known for a Western sound, but not really quite there. The Milt Herth Trio was not really known for foot-stomping country swing, although they did do a few numbers that were up there in the Yee-Hah Factor. This record is not one of them. Huckleberry Duck is a cutesy little dealie with organ (probably Hammond), piano and drums. The redeeming feature of this side is what might be taken for boogie-woogie house-rocking piano in the second half of the record. Interesting, no?

The B-side to this disc is a vocal effort by Milt, Worried Mind. Written by Jimmy Davis and Ted Daffan (of Ted Daffan's Texans), this just kind of sits there. The one thing I noticed is that Milt, for some unknown reason, sounds like the droning vocalist heard on some of the WW2 German propoganda-swing records done by the ubiquitos "Charlie & His Orchestra". Spooky, in a strange kind of way.

I was feeling brave and wanting to try an acoustic recording, and, lo and behold, I found another 9-inch Emerson disc from 1917, laying on the bench amongst the piles of LPs (which got moved into another pile so I would have room for the Miracord on the recording bench. Full-O-Snap, done by the Emerson Miliraty Band, actually came out pretty good for an acoustic record... I think I may have to redo the other Emersons with the new technique (recording in stereo and zero-ing out the gain on the left channel), because this thing came out GOOD.

OK, now to the meaty stuff.

I have a set of Bell (Hawaiian) 78s by George "Tautu" Archer & His Pagans, recorded in 1945. Now THIS is Original Tiki! I only have 3 of the 4 discs in the set, but I'll share all 6 sides with you. These are actually more Tahitian than Hawaiian, but they're still a gas.

Ama Ama
Hei Porohiti
Marcelle Vahini
Maruru A Vau
Reva Taua

I really should say more about George 'Tautu' Archer, except for... there's no liner notes on this album! All it says is that these were recorded in 1945 in studios in Honolulu, and that the album consists of Tahitian songs and chants. They sould almost Hawaiian, except for the language is different, and instead of occasional English inserts, some of the vocals are in French (Tahiti was part of French Polynesia).

OK, that's it for this round, I'll play with the new ELAC for a while and get you some more shellac stuff.

Very Tiki indeed...

Aloha from Holland,
We actually have all four records in this set. Unfortunately we do not have a turntable that will play 78s yet so it's nice to be able to hear what they should sound like.
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