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:
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!