Archive for January, 2012

I’m on a big push right now to get the rest of my grandpa’s records digitized as quickly as possible. I know I’ve said this before. This time, though, I actually have a deadline looming. Later this year my family and I will be moving out of the country and we can’t take the record player or records with us. Even if I thought they could survive the journey (which I don’t), shipping costs would be astronomical. As much as I love the player and the records themselves, what’s special to me is the content and the glimpse it gives me not only of my grandpa, but of life in a different era. Once I have that content preserved, I can handle parting with the physical media and player.

To see exactly what this “stuff” is, click on the “About” menu at the top of the page. For the gear, select “The iPod” and for the records “The Playlist.” The only part of the turntable setup that is currently functioning is the 78rpm motor. The 33rpm motor worked until about a year ago, when I think it burned out. It will start but immediately starts to lose speed and eventually stops, all while making a loud humming noise. The Altec A323B amp lights up (or did the last time we messed with it) but it’s not connected to anything.  The records are in a custom case made of 3/4″ plywood lined with foam, on large heavy-duty casters. For a picture of it, see my very first post.

But now I need your help. What do I do with this stuff? My first thought is to try to sell it (especially the equipment) but for a lot of it, shipping is impossible. The smaller components from the record player are the only things that I could possibly package and send. I’d also be willing to consider donating (particularly the records) to a museum, archive, or some other place that would appreciate and share what I have. If you know of any person or organization that might be interested in either my gear or my records–or if you are interested–please contact me either via comment or by email.

I think it will take me at least another month or two to finish digitizing everything, so I’m guessing I’ll be ready to part with it sometime after the beginning of April. We will probably be moving in mid-May. We will leave central Florida by car, stop in St. Louis en route to Detroit to visit family and friends, then fly out of Detroit to Thailand, our final destination.

While digitizing will take priority over posting for the next couple of months, I am going to try to keep getting material up. And even after we move I’ll be able to keep posting, so please don’t go away–there are lots of great programs to come.

I know absolutely nothing about this recording. It’s a record that my grandpa made for himself, with just a handwritten label. As you may have guessed, it’s the stories of Jack and the Beanstalk and Rumpelstiltskin.

The stories are great fun. If anyone out there has any idea who the storyteller is, I’d love to know!

Updating my Bandcamp page

January 8, 2012

I’ve been doing some organizing over at my bandcamp page, where all my audio files are hosted.  I realized not long ago that it was already becoming pretty difficult to see what was there, so I’m in the process of organizing all my tracks into albums. Hopefully this will make it easier to browse around and find some interesting programs. So far I’m grouping together “like” programs–House of Squibb, American Melody Hour, Tony Martin, etc.–and grouping the remainder by year and whether it’s music or spoken.

I’ve also started adding album and track art to the programs. This past summer I spent some time at my parents’ house and was able to scan a portion of the huge collection of  work-related photographs that my grandpa had. I’m using those for the album art (unless I can quickly find an image online that better suits the album, like the Tony Martin picture). My plan is to add some notes to the album explaining what the picture is. I haven’t done this yet, but I will. I’ll still use pictures of the record labels for track artwork.

I hope you enjoy a little glimpse into my grandpa’s life through those pictures! For now, I’ll leave you with this one which is a new favorite of mine.

Keith Kinney at work

Keith Kinney at work, late 1940s?

Tony Martin, 1946

January 8, 2012

My grandpa apparently went on a Tony Martin kick for a while:  he has 14 sides of The Tony Martin Show from June-October of 1946. Instead of having so many separate Tony Martin posts, I decided to do something a little different and made them into an album. The album includes 12 out of the 14 recordings; two were in such poor condition that I couldn’t play them.

From what I’ve gathered, Tony Martin had a 30-minute Saturday evening show sponsored by Bourjois, a maker of women’s cosmetics. The programs include some fun advertisements for things like Evening in Paris face powder. Albert Sacks and his orchestra accompany Tony and Georgia Gibbs (“the little girl with the big voice”), while James Wallington is the announcer. I have a couple of complete shows and one which I think is complete but I’m not certain of the date of one of the discs. All the rest are either part one or part two of a two-part program.

Rather than detail all the songs here, I’ve included them on the bandcamp site. If you want to see those details, click on the album title in the player below (instead of the play or download buttons) and you’ll be taken to my bandcamp page. There you can click on the individual tracks to see the song listings. Enjoy!