I picked something that I think is really fun for my first post at the new site. This is a locally-produced show from WJR.  The basic premise is to have a group of women come in and try to answer a few questions quiz-show style, but mostly the point seems to be to make the ladies look silly. They do quite a good job of it.

There are some things in this recording that I find really interesting. Every woman who is chosen gives her complete name and address on the air. Actually, not her complete name; most of them identify themselves as Mrs. (husband’s complete name). Some gave their first names in the course of the conversation, but most don’t until asked for it. The only lady who gave her first name voluntarily wasn’t married; this was confirmed by the host. This group of women are from the PTA at Hubert School, which was in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit and  closed in 2005.  Another really interesting note in the recording is one woman mentioned that she and her family moved to Highland Park to get out of the city. She talks about how hard it is to see her old friends from Brightmoor since she’s moved way out in the country. Anyone from Detroit should find this amusing. If you’d like to know more about Hubert School you can visit www.hubertschool.org, but be aware that there is audio on every page with no button to turn it off. You might want to mute your speakers while perusing the site.

The prize given at the end of the show is awesome. I wish I had one. You’ll have to listen all the way through to find out what it is.

Here’s the direct link to the audio file at my bandcamp page.

I know I haven’t really been around long enough to reinvent myself, but I wasn’t happy with Tumblr from the start. I’ve been using WordPress for so many years that I just couldn’t get used to something different.

Please resubscribe to the RSS feed here. You can click the link in the address bar or the gray RSS icon to the right of the search box. The podcast feeds have not changed, so if you’re already subscribed you don’t need to do anything.

I couldn’t figure out a way to get your comments on the old site transferred over here, which I’m a little sad about. But I’ll go back through them and make sure that I’ve edited anything really important directly into the relevant post.

Now that the migration is done I can get back to the records. I transferred quite a few last weekend after I got the turntable fixed. I should be able to get some quick editing done tomorrow and have a new audio file up by the end of the day.

Confession time

January 9, 2010

I haven’t posted much in the last few weeks, and it wasn’t only because of the holidays. I’ve said that the music I post here would be the playlist on my Grandpa’s iPod; well, I also have what would have been the “iPod” itself: a 1946 Presto 64-A studio transcription turntable. It’s the only thing I have for playing the records.

About a month ago, it stopped working. I was devastated. We thought maybe the motor for the 33.3 drive had burned out and removed the whole motor/transmission assembly. I found a reasonably local guy who thought he could help me, so I took the whole thing up to him. He was able to tell with a quick look that the motor seemed to be fine, and informed me that it was probably the capacitor. That was a relief.

It took quite a lot of searching, but we finally found a capacitor that was close enough to the original specs (no one makes any exactly like what’s in there now). My sweet husband sat down to take out the old one and solder the new one in and discovered that the connection to the old capacitor was broken. A quick solder job and a test connection with the turntable proved that that had been the problem all along. Hooray!

But. When we took the motor assembly out, we found that the motor mounts had completely fallen apart. Everything in this turntable is set up to isolate vibration; there is no direct connection between the motor and the cabinet or the motor and the turntable. The mounts have a rubber isolator set in a metal case. 63 years of oil dripping on the rubber had made two of the four mounts completely disintegrate.

Again, a lot of research was needed to find replacements. There is no “close enough” on these; they have to be exactly the right dimension (especially height) or the whole turntable won’t go together. We finally found a tiny marking on one of the original mounts that gave the name of the manufacturer: Lord Mfg, Erie PA. It turns out that Lord Mfg. is still in business and now supplies the aerospace and other high-tech industries. A customer service representative was extremely helpful on the phone, and found a current part that matches the old one exactly!

The replacement mounts arrived yesterday. We’re installing them this afternoon, then I should be back in business. I’m planning to do a lot of recording in the next couple of days, so by the end of the week I should be able to get back in the swing of editing and posting.

On a side note, I know some people have been having problems with this site. I’m not sure what the issue is, but I’m working on a new site that will be hosted elsewhere. For now, make sure that any bookmarks here point to www.grandpasipod.com (not the tumblr address). That will both continue to bring you here while this site is active and will take you to the new site once I make the change. I’ll keep you posted as I get closer to making that change. My audio files will still be hosted at grandpasipod.bandcamp.com, and the podcast will also stay the same.

Here are pictures of what we went through over the last month.

Grungy and dead. Time to pull it out.

Okay, it’s out; now what?

All cleaned up

Out with the old, in with the new.

All back together, clean and with new mounts!

View from above.

Here’s another episode of “To Your Good Health from the House of Squibb.”  As always, we have the Squibb Orchestra and Chorus of Stars directed by Lyn Murray. Today’s special guest soloist is Audrey Marsh. The program is all music by Vincent Youmans including “Flying Down to Rio,” “More than you Know,” “Orchids in the Moonlight” and “Through the Years.” There is also a nice ad for Squibb Tooth Powder that makes reference to a visit to a warship, and a great public service announcement about not paying more than the government’s posted maximum price for items that were price-restricted during the war.

Direct link to the download page at Bandcamp.

More about the Landt Trio

January 2, 2010

The wonders of the internet! After I posted today’s recording I was able to get in touch with Skip Landt, whose father was part of the Landt Trio. I asked him to share any memories or stories about his father and the group. Here’s what he had to say after hearing this recording for the first time ever.

Most of the talking and joking on this broadcast is my dad, Dan Landt.  Hearing the program for the first time since it went off the air (in 1948!) was a thrill.  But I was amazed at how informal and unrehearsed the “filler”between songs sounded.  What you are hearing was my dad’s “radio voice,” not the way he spoke at home. As other  broadcasts become available, I’ll be curious to hear if they all had  that “put on” quality or if he was sometimes more relaxed.

The trio got started when my dad returned to Scranton, Pa, after serving in WW1 and later doing various jobs; most immediately, selling inflatable “bubble boats” in Florida. In 1927 he was 31; his youngest brother, Jack, was 16, with Karl (the golden voice) in between. Jack and Karl were on the local radio station singing brother duets, sponsored by a battery company (the full story is at landttrio.netfirms.com). Over their mother’s objections, they went to New York City to get into vaudeville, not realizing that it was dying, but instead became pioneers of early radio. They had a number of programs, first (I think) on NBC, then CBS. These included “The 8:15” (in those days an “early morning” program), and “Take it Easy Time,” along with many others including “A Violet for You” and backup singing on the Bob Hawk Show. But their longest running was Sing Along with the Landt Trio, the first “sing along” program on the air—long before Mitch Miller.  It was also, in an extended format, one of the first shows to have game segments.  In “Dig for silver” they’d have a fishbowl of coins — if an audience member got the right answer, she’d get to dig in and keep whatever she came up with. They had other ”name that tune” games with bigger prizes.  What I recall best, visiting such shows with a studio audience, was the way they would get applause. Not only was there a big “APPLAUSE” sign held up for all to see, but a staff member also would hold up a large stuffed animal — which went to the person applauding loudest!

Life has a strange circularity through the generations. As a teenager it never struck me that my enjoyment of folk music “hootnannies” with audience singing was directly related to the audience participation on Sing Along with the Landt Trio.  And I couldn’t have imagined that now, all these years later, after retiring from my career as a college administrator I would teach at a music school (the Old Town School of  Folk Music in Chicago), organizing “jams” which feature group sing-alongs. Or — though there’s nothing more logical — I couldn’t have imagined that I would develop a class in singing/playing ”the old songs,” those from first half of the 20th century and before: just the kind of songs featured on Sing Along with the Landt Trio.  I invite all readers of this blog who live in or visit Chicago to email me or just to stop by the Old Town School, 4544 N. Lincoln,  If you come by at 10 am on Thursdays, you’ll be my guests in Room B-1. We’ll sing “the old songs” like “You are My Sunshine” and, yes, “When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin Along” with a great backup band. Thanks, Lisa, for bringing back such wonderful memories!  skiplandt@sbcglobal.net

And that’s why I’m doing this blog: so people can reconnect (or connect for the first time) with the music and memories contained in these recordings. Thanks, Skip.

Happy New Year!

I’m back with a fun program to start the new year: Sing Along with Karl, Jack and Dan, who were also known as The Landt Trio. This website gives the history of the group along with a catalog of known recordings. There aren’t many.

This program is dated March 27, 1944 for broadcast on WJR on March 28 at 1:00am. Songs include “I Want to be Happy,” “So Little Time,” “Someone Else is Taking my place,” “When the Red Red Robin goes Bob-bob-bobbin’ along” and “Ikki Tikki Tambo” (or something close to that, it’s a little hard to catch exactly what they’re saying). The whole program is a lot of fun; my kids enjoyed listening as I recorded and edited it.

Here’s the direct link to the download page at my bandcamp site.

“To help you relax and renew the energy all of us need these days,” here’s a recording of To Your Good Health from the House of Squibb. Lyn Murray directs the Squibb Orchestra and Chorus of Stars, with Hubie Hendrie.

This program includes a medley from the Broadway revival of “The Merry Widow,” (“Girls Girls Girls,” “Veila” and “Maxim’s”), “Molly on the Shore,” and “Where e’er You Walk.”

Here’s the link to the download page for screen readers.

I’m planning to take a little break from Grandpa’s iPod for Christmas, but don’t go away—I’ll be back soon with more unique radio programs!

Contrary to what this broadcast is called, this isn’t a rehearsal. It’s a program that was produced in Detroit featuring Gus Haenschen and his orchestra. I found a great site that gave a history of Gus Haenschen (Tim’s Phonographs and Old Records), who also went by the name of Carl Fenton until 1927. Here’s the info that’s pertinent to this recording:

During the World War II years he conducted an all-string orchestra for a weekly show from Detroit sponsored by beer manufacturer Stroh’s. The show was broadcast in the Mid-West (Stroh’s was not sold in the Eastern states at the time). Singers included Margaret Daum and baritone Thomas L. Thomas.

That’s exactly what we have here, including Margaret Daum and Thomas L. Thomas. Unfortunately this show is not complete. My disc is marked #2 of 2, and I don’t seem to have #1. It also ends abruptly during an awesome commercial for Stroh’s Bohemian Beer. I do have quite a few other recordings of “Gus Haenschen’s Rehearsal” (15, I think), many of which are complete—and some of which I’m sure will have that great commercial in its entirety.

This program includes “I’m Making Believe,” “Tango of Roses” (in a rumba arrangement), and “White Christmas.” The first piece on the record is not credited during the program, but my grandpa’s index cards include a song called “Wang Wang Blues.” I’m guessing that’s what the first piece is.

One thing that makes me chuckle every time I hear this is the enthusiastic applause of the studio audience… which sounds like about three people.

If you’re using a screen reader, click here to go to my BandCamp site for a Flash-free download.

Howard Smith, 12-16-1944

December 18, 2009

Today’s recording isn’t Christmas-y, but it was originally recorded on December 16, 1944 for broadcast on WJR on December 17, 1944 at 3:15-3:30am. That seems a suitable time of day for this recording, since (in my opinion) it would make a great cure for insomnia. This just isn’t my favorite style of music.

This is a program of Howard Smith on piano. He was born October 9, 1910 and from what I could find about him seemed to be a popular studio musician at the time. He recorded with Adrian Rollini (Adrian Rollini 1934-1938), Red Norvo (Knockin’ on Wood), Tommy Dorsey (This is Tommy Dorsey), and Tommy Dorsey and the Clambake Seven (The Complete Tommy Dorsey Vols. V and VI ) (thanks to www.raysherman.net/BANDS2.html for all that info). He also played with the Freeman String Band in the early ’50s (thanks to www.dixieswing.com/vol16.pdf). That’s about all I could find about him.

This recording contains only three songs: Body and Soul, I Told Every Little Star, and When a Woman Loves a Man. They are solo piano, no other instruments. The actual program was a little longer, but I wasn’t able to play the entire disc due to cracking and delamination of the shellac around the edges of the disc. I think I must have only lost one song though, since my recording is around 13 minutes long and each disc side can only hold 15 minutes. There are a some bursts of noise throughout the recording each lasting a few seconds long. I did my best with noise reduction but they’re still there.

This definitely isn’t my favorite disc in the collection, but since today is the 66th anniversary of its airing I thought it was as good a time as any to post it.

Here’s the link to the download page for those using screen readers: 12-16-1944

Podcast now available!

December 16, 2009

I finally got it all figured out and have set up a podcast!  You can:

Subscribe with iTunes

or

Subscribe with RSS

or

Visit my podcast site at CyberEars.com

The podcast will include just the audio file and basic information—for all the juicy details you’ll still need to come here. Audio streaming will still be available here at the blog, courtesy of my bandcamp site. High-quality downloads will also still be available that way.

If there’s anything else I can do to make my material more accessible please let me know and I’ll do my best to accommodate. Thanks for your patience!