Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

In the Beginning: My 78 RPM Collection


IN THE BEGINNING: MY 78 RPM COLLECTION
An essay with music

Another Bobsluckycat post presented by Mellow's Log Cabin

Most of the people out there reading this besides being followers of Mellow's Log Cabin and interested in music are probably record collectors or now in the digital age "music collectors" of one sort or another. I am and have been a record collector since 1948 when I was eight years old, and I'm now seventy-four. I have been at one time or another a novice, an avid collector, a fanatic, a buyer or a seller and now probably just an "emeritus" old timer.

In 2011, I felt I had gathered most of my original 78's Collection to issue a very limited edition 2 CD set of them in mp3 from newer sources of the original material, mostly from Europe and the followings songs resulted. So here is the story.

In early 1948, a family friend, Joe Yost, was moving to Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., and he gave me a solid steel "portable" Vogue phonograph and several records, basically because he couldn't fit them in his car. Those few records were the start of my record collection. A few months later, our family moved to an apartment over a juke-box and pinball machine vendor by the name of Roland Raney. I started hanging around his shop and soon he was giving me "take-offs" from the juke-boxes, well worn on one side or another for the most part. Over the next two years I collected from him a few hundred records. To skip a few years for a moment, after moving into a much larger home in 1952 and the 78 RPM discontinuation of manufacture in 1957, I sold all of my 78's (BIG mistake) to a record dealer and received a $50.00 check which bounced. I spent every year since then trying to get the songs from that original collection back in my possession, which can be and was frustrating at times. I really liked them then and still do. Many are still not available for a variety of reasons, but thanks to the digital age, a lot of them are and they never sounded better.

All of the listings released before 1948 were part of the original batch from Joe Yost, except for two new Ernest Tubb records that my Aunt Gladys gave me, since she had no phonograph. Most of the rest came from the juke-box take offs and later on, a few I bought with my own money.

This started out to be a single CD collection but it grew to two on it's own. These are the original recordings as I had them on 78's. The sound quality is mostly excellent and re-mastered in MP3 audio. Each of the songs listed have been extensively researched as to recording dates, record labels and numbers, and in many cases both sides of a recording is listed, mainly because I liked both sides then and still do now.

One interesting fact that I discovered was that some juke-box records had two different "hits" and were not part of the general catalog. Note the King records by Lonnie Johnson and Homer & Jethro for example.

I could have put a lot of other songs on this collection from the same time frame, but these are the authentic records that I had and liked and I find are still as fresh as way back when. It is an eclectic mix to say the least. However, it's where I started from in my travels through recorded musical history. I currently have from 40,000 to 50,000 songs in some form or another in my collection, and I am, if I can say this with modesty, somewhat of an expert on American music. Age has a way of doing that to a person. My hope that in listening to these songs you also appreciate them and get an idea of where my musical roots are. Enjoy. - Bob O'Brien (aka Bobsluckycat)

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE RECORDINGS AND MY COMMENTS

This is divided into two parts; POPULAR MUSIC and COUNTRY MUSIC in general terms.

• Cuts 2-3-4 were already "standards" by the 40's. I like their old time feel and they are classic cuts.
• Cuts 1 and 5 to 15 were pop hits by top artists of the day. They are still fresh.
• Cut 7 is the complete unedited recording of the song from the vaults of Capitol Records, never released.
• Cuts 9 & 10 was a two-sided hit which was classic in every way. My father was also a Frankie Carle devotee and he loved this record and a large part of my collection has a ton of Frankie Carle in it.
• Cut 13 was such a poorly pressed copy that for years, I though the vocalist was female as listed only as R. Nance, only much later did I found out it was a man, Ray Nance.
• Cuts 16 and 17 were unique piano recordings which topped the charts well into 1949 and actually put little Bullet Records on the map and in financial clover for many years to come. Another two recordings my father loved and played every Saturday for years. He played my records while house cleaning.
• Cut 18, cut 23, cut 24 and cut 25 were jukebox hits that blared out over the whole town or so it seems.
• Cuts 19 and 20 was the first R&B recording I ever owned, such as it is. It is so simple and straightforward and unadorned it's as fresh now as then. I had heard The Ink Spots, The Mills Brothers, and a few others previous to this but never owned any R&B (race records) before this. Now, and I'm guessing here, a full 20 - 25% of all my collected recordings would fall into this general category.
• Cuts 21 & 22 are two Frankie Yankovic recordings which were big hit records. Polka and ethnic recordings were popular after World War II and he was the King. He was famous out of Cleveland OH, but well known locally as he was born just up the road a few miles away in or near Davis West Virginia.
• Cuts 26 through 33 were in the original batch of records from Joe Yost.
• Cuts 34 through cuts 42 were from the Roland Raney take-off 78's.
• Cuts 43 and 44 was a two sided pop/country hit which I can't remember for sure, but I think I bought it myself as well as cuts 45 and 46.
• Cuts 47 through 51 are important here as they are the last 78 RPM records I ever bought. Besides being top hits for Ray Price and Hank Snow and now are "true" Country classics and "Steelin' Home" was a great instrumental and got a ton of air play besides. For Christmas of 1954, My father gave me a brand new 3 speed record player and some 45 RPM records and himself a 10" LP recording of familiar polkas. The 78 era for me had ended, but I must admit I still played these old 78's every so often. Now I am enjoying them again and you can too.

5 comments:

Duke Box said...

Mellow that is a lovely story. Thanks for posting

Anonymous said...

Hay thank you for all your stories and great music. Take care, br, JD

Timmy said...

I sincerly thank you for all this!

tamworthted said...

Thanks Mellow, I was only interested in the country side of your 78's. What a great, wonderful job you've done on them. I've got a box full myself and tried once to rip them but couldn't do it successfully, still too noisy. Don't have a turntable for 78's anymore but most of my old music is available on Bear Family etc now so the old 78's just sit in the garage. Proberly end up in the tip when I peg it as none of my kin are into country.

Mellow said...

@tamworthted: you better sell them to some serious collectors instead of throwing them away!

By the way: Please note these were not my 78s, this is neither my story nor my text. Bob O'Brien is the one deserving the recognition.