More delightful memories and stories from Dan Morgenstern. I’d asked him, “What was it like to buy records in the Forties?” — a scene that few people reading this post have experienced.
First-hand narrative: there’s nothing to compare with it.
Here’s another part of the story of Big Joe Clauberg, as excerpted from Amanda Petrusich’s excellent book, DO NOT SELL AT ANY PRICE.
I took my title for this post from Dan’s recollections of his first phonograph, a wind-up acoustic one, but it has larger meaning for me.
There is still something wondrous about going in to a shop that happens to have a pile of records — an antique store or something else — getting one’s hands dirty, going through a pile of mail-order classical records, red-label Columbias of Dorothy Shay, incomplete sets, and the like — to find a 1938 Brunswick Ellington, Teddy Wilson, or Red Norvo.
Later, the pleasure of going in to an actual record store and looking through the bins — name your dozen favorite artists — and finding something that you didn’t know existed — in my case, recordings of the Eddie Condon Floor Show on Queen-Disc. More recently, the same experience with compact discs at now vanished chain record stores.
All gone. The alternative? Stream forty hours of your cherished jive through one of the services that doesn’t pay the musicians. Oh, there are happy exceptions: the Blessed Mosaic Records. But nothing replaces finding treasure on your own.
And, in case the thought hasn’t yet occurred to you, Dan Morgenstern is one of those treasures.
Here’s one of the sides from Dan’s birthday present:
May your happiness increase!