By the time everyone gets to read this post the eBay article below will have been sold.  Still, I think it’s worth noticing.  When I was first visiting New York City on my own — intermittently and as part of a high-school independent study group, I found a shop still selling 78 rpm records in midtown.  Was it the Merit Music Shop?  It isn’t clear in my memory, and I thought the owner might have been a Mr. Meltzer.  Details gratefully appreciated from any New Yorkers! 

Mr. Meltzer wasn’t all that welcoming, although he wasn’t any worse than superficially gruff.  I bought a number of Commodore 78s for three dollars apiece, and a Disc three-record Pee Wee Russell set that I wish I had today (although I have the music on CD).  But I had read, somewhere, of the fabled Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Set on Victor — circa 1936 — and I asked him about it on my first visit to the shop.  “That?” he said derisively.  “That was gone thirty years ago!” and thus the conversation came to an abrupt halt and I went into the shelves to look for marvels (which were to be found).

Thus, while idling through eBay this evening, it was a remarkable shock to come across this same set — advertised as never played (why? under what circumstances?).

Feast your eyes.  All the music is no doubt available in a hundred issues, but this is rather touching — with the names of the SWING players there for the unaware buyer.

I love the Deco typeface!

When 78 record “albums” came with separate explanatory brochures.

Heartfelt — even if inaccurate — no doubt.

The seller wants (or wanted) $45.00, which seems far less extreme than other prices.  I will forego the pleasure of buying something as an adult that was beyond my reach in childhood, but I find the sight of this album moving.  I am happy to have seen it, even now.



4 responses to “FEELING BIXISH?

  1. If it was in the mid-forties, just east of Seventh Avenue, on the North side of the street, it was Jack Meltzer’s Merit Music shop — where you and I spent a lot of our youth, as I recall. It’s true that sometimes Jack was a bit of a grouch, but he knew his stuff and his prices were reasonable. Wish I could take my adult knowledge and go back there now!

  2. Congratulations on your great discovery on Ebay!!

  3. susan meltzer slotnick

    Hi, I am Jack Meltzer’s daughter– my father owned Merit Music Shop– all hi s78’s are destroyed, no one wanted them– I still have a number of his records–it was nice to see his name on the Internet.

  4. Dear Susan,
    To my teenaged self, your father seemed brusque — but now I see that perhaps as his response to having one meandering customer in the store! It is a pleasure to hear from you, and know that I am not the only one who remembers your father and his store. And I now think that someone, like him, who makes beauty accessible to others, is never forgotten — the 78s themselves may crumbled, but the music and the people who spread it are immortal. Cheers, Michael

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