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Old records, spiffed up and streamed to your computer

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The music you're about to hear is sampled from period disks or cylinders, cleaned up, and streamed from the server to your computer. The disks were sampled using a modern belt-drive turntable adapted especially for playing 78RPM disks, fitted with a 60-micron stylus. The cylinders were tracked with a Stanton cartridge, adapted for vintage cylinder players by Bob Lomas at The Edison Shop. Without his help, I could not be doing this.

The resulting "WAV" sample was processed first with "ClickRepair", which is great shareware written by a mathematics professor in Australia, and then with "Diamond Cut Audio Restoration Tools"; clicks and pops were removed, the "tinny" sound of the acoustically-recorded source equalized a touch, and surface noise was reduced (I've found it a good practice to not remove all of the surface noise - it can take some music with it sometimes!).

A further technical note: this web page was started in the late 1990s, when MP3 was still in development, so the Real Player platform was the best choice at the time. Recently, though, the Real Player has fallen from favor, so I am now recommending the VLC Media Player which can be used on a multitude of computers including Apple and Linux systems.

You will derive maximum enjoyment from these recordings if you've got a modem connection running 33.6K or better. Click on the one you want to hear, and your VLC (or Real) Player will pop up and play it.


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"Just As Long as I'm With You"

by the Hollywood Dance Orchestra

This generic band name was used often by the Plaza Record Group to denote whichever orchestra they managed to coax into the studio on that day. In this case it was Billy James waving the baton for this session on June 23 of 1927. This recording was released on the Oriole, Jewel, and Banner labels - this is from a Banner pressing - and on each, a guy named "Ness" was given credit for authoring the tune. It could be Walter C. Ness, who also wrote "Nothing Breaks My Heart Anymore" the following year (and Billy James also recorded that song), but that is not definite. Email on this subject will be welcome. This side hadn't been played too much, so noise reduction was applied mostly to groove hiss which was a common issue with Plaza Records sides. The results are quite good.


"Campaign Chorous for Downey and Sinclair"

by Sheridan Downey, Jerry Wilford and the Epic Trio

Upton Sinclair, with his running mate Sheridan Downey, ran a campaign for the governorship of California on the EPIC - End Poverty In California - platform in 1934. A hard year to run any campaign, particularly for an outspoken socialist like Upton, and especially when their stated purpose was to run a grassroots campaign with no business involvement. They did not win, but this record - pressed on hard rubber under the "Titan" label - was made at the start of the campaign. Words and music are credited to Jerry Green and Bert Flynn who are not known for anything else as far as my research indicates. Sheridan Downey ran for lieutenant governor on this ticket and is the speaking voice you hear on this record (after the announcement by Jerry Wilford); he later became a US Senator on his own merit (see this Wikipedia article for further info). Upton Sinclair, already an accomplished author before the campaign, went on to recieve the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1943 (see his entry in Wikipedia to read further). The absence of his voice on this record is puzzling since it was his campaign. The personnel of the singing group is not known, though it sounds like two voices and the third person of the trio is playing the piano. Despite having been played a lot, it responded quite well to noise reduction and the results are very listenable.


"Keep Cool with Coolidge"

by the Real Four

Ill-rehearsed and a little nervous, with uninspired piano accompaniment, these four guys may never have sung together before or since, but on this side they sang about a man who would be elected President in a few months. This side was made for Gennett Records in June of 1924. The composer's last name, given as "East" on the label, does not match with other sheet music from the period that carried this song title, so this is a mystery to solve: intelligent input via email is welcome on this subject. The record had not been played very much so there was only crackle to remove and no real wear to speak of.


"Alpine Specialty"

by the Len Spencer Trio

The cylinder version of this can be found over at the UCSB cylinder archive, but this is the scarcer disc also recorded sometime between 1898 and 1902. Billy Golden, a Vaudeville veteran most often remembered for performances in blackface, is heard here as a yodeling tenor. Len Spencer sings the bass lines, and likely Steve Porter who sings the baritone part and announces the record at the beginning. The trio was named for Len since he was the manager for both Billy Golden and Steve Porter (see this page in Tim Gracyk's book for more information). The disc had been played a few times but was not heavily abused so the groove noise was light compared to most from this period. Enough noise reduction was used to tame the hiss and wear on the louder notes.


"Follow the Swallow"

by the Atlantic Dance Orchestra

Billy Rose and Mort Dixon (the same pair that gave us "I Found a Million Dollar Baby in a Five and Ten-cent Store") wrote this in 1924 with the help of Ray Henderson (who also wrote "That Old Gang of Mine" with Dixon and Rose). It was a big enough hit that every label recorded a version of it for release. Edison Labs called in Louis Katzman's aggregation to put it to wax on August 6 of 1924. It was released on both disc and cylinder. The arrangement is tastefully done, conservative without too many liberties taken, and while there's solo breaks throughout they all stick close to the melody line. As always the recording is supurb, and the surface of this record was undamaged with only rumble to remove.


Hear all these recordings by clicking the jukebox below

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If you are looking for a recording that used to be posted on this page,
I've moved it to my Archives.

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(Keep in mind, please, that I am currently limiting my offerings to those recordings on which the original copyrights have expired. Any recordings which have been commercially issued since then will be voluntarily removed when I learn of the re-issue. These files are streamed from the server, and are not intended to be downloaded or duplicated without permission. Also, the opinions and attitudes expressed or implied in these recordings are not necessarily those of the web master.)


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