Tag Archives: 78 RPM records

“SHELLAC IN THE VINEYARDS,” or A NOTE FROM TONY BALDWIN, April 22, 2021

What’s the connection between this:

and this?

Why, Tony Baldwin, of course. Clever of you to have discerned it.

I knew Tony Baldwin first as a superb pianist — in the Nineties, with Tom Baker’s Swing Street Orchestra, and on a Stomp Off CD, OZARK BLUES, which also featured Ian Date, Bob Henderson, and Len Barnard (and he’s recorded again in this century) — then as a lucid writer-annotator on some of the now-rare Masters of Jazz CDs . . . but he is always creating something new.

Here’s his email that arrived today:

Bonjour Michael,
This may be of no particular interest to folks who’ve heard every Bix, Bubber, Benny and Blind Blake in existence. However, it might be wacky enough to amuse you.
 
I live in what used to be the general store of a village in Languedoc wine country, except there’s no more Brie or baguette on the shelves — at least, none for sale. All wall space is taken up with…78rpm records, much to the chagrin of local shoppers. And the discs aren’t for sale either. 
However — and here’s the really bizarre part — since Covid began a year ago, I’ve been helping out some buddies of mine on KMUN, a community station in coastal Oregon, by spinning two hours of fairly eclectic 78s (though 75% jazz) from the shack once a week via the web. Heck, the time difference is only 9 hours, so why not?
It airs Thursdays at 11pm-1am PST (i.e. 2am-4am in NYC), at https://radio.securenetsystems.net/v5/index.cfm?stationCallSign=KMUN

If you don’t happen to be an insomniac, recent shows are archived at https://coastradio.org/archives/ . Then you scroll down to my name.
Ok, I’m surrounded by vineyards, but on air I’m usually fairly sober. 
Best wishes, 
Tony Baldwin
P.S. The shoppers are safe, as the general store had already relocated to a new place 200 yards down the road.

Who could resist? And just to add a four-bar tag, here’s Tony’s biography as it’s offered to us at the KMUN site:

British musician, collector and sound engineer Tony Baldwin is based in provincial France, where for more than a decade he’s been playing jazz gigs and restoring vintage shellac recordings. At age 9, Tony stumbled across an old family phonograph, together with a stack of 78rpm records that he and his brothers found were great for target practice in the yard. Eventually, he tried playing one of them and was fascinated by the weird stuff that he heard, as it was nothing like the Stones or the Beatles. He’s been fascinated ever since.

Something else to bring pleasure, I think.

May your happiness increase!

MAKING THE MUNDANE BEAUTIFUL, or LONG SLEEVES (Part One)

I am slowly getting back into 78-record collecting, thanks to Matthew “Fat Cat” Rivera, and I emphasize “slowly”: no bidding wars, and many of the records I’ve purchased would be considered “common” by more well-established collectors, although I will — immodestly — begin with a picture of a record I treasure, bought a few years ago.

However, this post isn’t primarily about the recorded obsession.  It is about the beauty of the ordinary: the paper sleeves once personalized by record stores.  I saw an eBay site devoted to jazz records from Denmark, and was thrilled by the more ornate labels of the records themselves and the beautifully creative sleeves.  There will be only three minutes of music on this post, but you can follow my lead to YouTube, where many of these recordings are waiting for your tender, approving touch.  Today my subject is advertising art at its most sweetly distinctive.

The eBay seller I have borrowed these images from is https://www.ebay.com/usr/seuk880, and the 78s are still for sale, as I write this in the last week of April 2020.  The seller has a large and varied collection, but here are a few that caught my eye — and might catch yours as well.

Tommy Ladnier, in high style:

Billie, originally on Commodore:

Louis, for my friend Katherine:

Hawkins, solo, a two-sided meditation:

This (below) is my absolute favorite of the whole series, and it it were not $10 for the Morton disc and $18 for the shipping, it would be on its way to me now.  Please, someone, buy this so I don’t have to?

Ella and Louis:

Glenn Miller:

Fats meets Freddy:

I don’t know the artist but could not resist the sleeve:

and here Aladdin points the way to swing:

I think ten of these beauties is enough for one post, but if there is interest, I have nineteen or twenty more sleeve-images to share with you.  And would.

I promised you three minutes of music, so that no one would go to bed feeling deprived.  Here’s REINCARNATION by Paul Mares and his Friars Society Orchestra : Paul Mares, trumpet; Santo Pecora, trombone; Omer Simeon, clarinet; Boyce Brown, alto saxophone; Jess Stacy, piano; Marvin Saxbe, guitar;  Pat Pattison, string bass; George Wettling, drums — January 1935, Chicago:

May your happiness increase!

THERE’S LIFE IN (AND BEYOND) THOSE GROOVES: THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF JAZZ RECORD COLLECTORS

I suspect that most people, asked to describe “a jazz record collector,” would create at best a gentle caricature.  It wouldn’t be too far from the general stereotype of someone who assorts, covets, arranges, and studies any kind of ancient artifact.  In the imagined cartoon, the man showing off his prize collection of mint Brunswick 78s by the Boswell Sisters is simply a cousin of the museum curator, happily dusty.

But stereotypes are meant to be exploded by reality, and many jazz record collectors have seen the daylight and know that there is life beyond the shelves, beyond their notebooks of sought-after discs.  One sign of life is the refreshing friskiness of the Journal of the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors.  I would have written this blogpost a few weeks ago but I kept on finding new things to read in the March 2012 Journal . . . so I apologize for my tardiness but it is another sign of life.

I was entranced immediately by the cover — a comic portrait of trombonist Miff Mole, taken in Chicago in the early Fifties (courtesy of the jazz scholar Derek Coller): boys and girls, don’t try this at home without adult supervision.

Inside I found Bert Whyatt’s discography of the rough-and-tumble West Coast pianist Burt Bales (including recordings with Bunk Johnson and Frank Goudie), a chapter in Don Manning’s novel SWING HIGH! — its subject being an insider’s look at life on the road with a big band in the Forties.  I read an extensive affectionate report by Perry Huntoon on Jazz Ascona, and made my way through many CD reviews.

And that’s not all.  In an initial offering of jazz research done by Dr. Ian Crosbie — who sent questionnaires to many musicians and got remarkably candid answers, we learn from the Paul Whiteman reedman Charles Strickfadden that (in his opinion) Bill Challis’ arrangements for the Whiteman band were “melodic, uncomplicated, non-swinging . . . No affect on trend.”

In another section of the Journal I read a fascinating long letter by the scholar and current IAJRC President Geoffrey Wheeler — its focus on Charlie Parker’s RELAXIN’ AT CAMARILLO.  To give this its proper context, the previous issue of the Journal (December 2011) had an intriguing study of Parker’s actual stay at  the mental hospital located in Camarillo — written by William A. Pryor.  Wheeler adds this, which surprised me: “During a stay at Bellevue Hospital in New York City in the early 1950s, Parker was interviewed by a resident psychiatrist regarding his use of drugs.  At one point, the psychiatrist asked Parker if he wanted to give up drugs.  Parker’s response was an emphatic ‘no’!  . . . . This was related to me by a personal friend who was later on the staff at Bellevue and was told this by the attending psychiatrist.”

There’s more.  The IAJRC will be holding its annual convention in New Orleans (Sept. 6-8, 2012) and in addition to scholarly presentations and the opportunity to buy records, chat with fellow jazz enthusiasts, and tour the city, there will be live music, video presentations by Tom Hustad, Ruby Braff expert and author of the new book BORN TO PLAY, film scholar Mark Cantor, and jazz researcher Sonny McGown (the last one having as its subject the eccentric clarinetist Irving Fazola).  The banjoist and singer Michael Boving (of the Scandinavian Rhythm Boys) will speak about Eva Taylor touring Scandinavia in the Seventies — with filmclips, photos, recordings never heard — and he will be joined by Clarence Williams’ grandson, Spencer.   

To join the IAJRC and get in on the fun, click here.  To learn more about the convention, click here.

May your happiness increase.