Correction: Christmas 1946

December 15, 2009

I just found out that “Winter Wonderland” on my Christmas 1946 disc is from Perry Como’s “Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music.” Windows Media Player automagically found it for me when I was sampling my MP3 conversion. Now I feel like I’m being watched somehow.

Christmas 1946

December 15, 2009

Edited 12/15, 9:30am: I realized after posting this that there was a long period of silence at the beginning of the audio file. I’ve removed that and reloaded the file.

Today we move ahead a year to the disc my grandpa made for Christmas 1946. Here we have lots of Bing and what I think is Glenn Miller and his orchestra doing Jingle Bells—not sure about that, though. It’s a fun arrangement.

The songs on this disc include Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, O Come All Ye Faithful, and White Christmas. I’m pretty sure that everything but Jingle Bells is Bing Crosby (but again, I’m not positive). Winter Wonderland is by Perry Como,  O Come All Ye Faithful is by Frank Sinatra and Silent Night is by Bing Crosby (thanks to readers Ed and Ray for getting me all the correct attributions). This recording is very noisy, despite having been run through my noise reduction program. I think it must have gotten a lot of play over the years.

Thanks again for all the encouraging messages and comments. I always welcome any suggestions or information that you might be able to pass along!

Here’s the link to the download page for those using screen readers: Christmas 1946

Christmas 1945

December 12, 2009

I can’t even tell you how excited I am to put this recording up. You see, I didn’t think it was possible. This record is cracked. Not just scratched or delaminating, but cracked all the way through from rim to label. In fact, I think the label is the only thing holding it together.

I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I had nothing to lose, except maybe my stylus. I put the record on the turntable and had to press it down to snap it together. But… it worked! I am amazed at how well this recording turned out.This is also my first recording using the noise reduction program. It did a really good job. Unfortunately it doesn’t take out clicks/pops, so those are still audible.

This is a record my grandpa made for his own use, for Christmas 1945. It includes “All Around the Christmas Tree,” by Warnow and Todd; an instrumental medley of “Skip to my Lou,” “Polly Wolly Doodle,” “Baby Bumblebee,” and “Jingle Bells” (performer unknown); “White Christmas,” by Bing Crosby (from the White Christmas album); and the hippest, coolest big band arrangement of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” that I’ve ever heard. I wish I knew who it was by!

Here is a link to the page with the audio file: Christmas 1945. Those of you using screen readers should have better success with downloading if you go there. For everyone else, here you go:

Making excuses

December 11, 2009

Well, I’m realizing I was being a bit overly ambitious when I said I’d try to post new audio every day. Recording and editing is taking longer than I thought it would. Life also gets in the way: Christmas, kids, yadda yadda. So I’m readjusting my expectations. I’m still planning to put up new audio several times a week—my goal is going to be around three files posted per week.

I just got a new noise reduction plug-in and am in the process of figuring it out: Voxengo Redunoise. It seems like it’s going to make a big difference in the audio quality of my posts, so I think I’m going to wait a few days and see if I can get it figured out. If it seems like it’s going to take me longer than that I’ll go ahead and put another file or two up, but I’d like to wait and try to improve the sound of what I’m doing.

Speaking of Christmas, I’m going to try to get some Christmas music up soon. I don’t think I have any complete shows of holiday music, but my grandpa made some recordings for his own use that have some good stuff on them. Some you’ve heard before (White Christmas, anyone?) but some you might not have (how about a version of Jingle Bells done with each chorus in a different language?).

I know some readers have had issues with Bandcamp, the site that’s hosting my audio files. They have informed me that they’re working on getting the Flash programming removed from their download flow and hope to have that resolved in the next couple of weeks. I want to wait and see how that goes before giving up on them. I like the fact that they provide both streaming and downloads in such a variety of formats, and it keeps things simple for me. I’m also still working on getting a podcast going. Just keep watching (and listening to) this space!

Sorry it’s been a few days since my last post. Life got a little crazy over the weekend. But I’m back with another audio file for you!

Today’s recording is a CBS show of Joan Brooks songs, which apparently was broadcast several times each week. The end of this recording is very bad. The lacquer on the disc has cracked, so the last few seconds skipped terribly. If anyone knows a way to “fix” this kind of cracking enough that it can be recorded, please contact me. I have quite a few records in this condition.

“CBS brings you Joan Brooks, the girl with the voice you won’t forget,” with Archie Bleyer and his orchestra. Includes “Look for the silver lining,” “I dream of you,” “Love, love, love,” “Don’t take your love from me,” “How much do I love you,” and “The blue room” (instrumental). One song has a nice dedication from a girl to her guy who is a staff sergeant in the war.

On a side note, I am working on getting a podcast going. I’m hoping that by the weekend I’ll be able to get it up and running. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who’s stopped by and who has contacted me with encouragement on this project. I really appreciate it!

This Life is Mine, 2-16-1944

December 4, 2009

Here’s some great wartime material. In this episode of the serial drama “This Life is Mine,” Eden felt sure she wanted to marry Bob Hastings. But she was engaged to Paul Warner, who is away in the war. A “Dear John” letter is written to Paul. Starring Betty Winkler in the role of Eden Channing.

Dated 2-16-1944, for broadcast on 2-17-44 at 3:00-3:15am.

Improvements are coming!

December 4, 2009

Welcome to everyone who’s finding this site! Just to let you know, I’m planning to change how I post the audio files so that you will be able to either stream or download, and download in either a compressed or lossless format. I’m planning to do that later today, and also put up a new file or two. But for right now, life calls…

Today’s upload is something of a mystery. My grandpa had a detailed index of the songs on his records, but these two records were not included. There are no labels on the discs, just grease pencil markings: #1 and #3 on the two sides of the first disc, and #2 on one side of the second disc. The other side of the second disc is blank (which looks pretty cool, btw—a totally smooth, shiny disc).

The recording is a live performance of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F. I did some digging around and learned that CBS radio began airing live performances by the New York Philharmonic in the 1920s and continues to do so to this day. The NY Phil has an incredible website, including programs for every concert they’ve done dating back to the 1880s. I was able to look up this piece and found that it had been performed and broadcast on January 6, 1946 and December 14, 1947. To my knowledge it was not broadcast on any other occasion.

I have no way of knowing which of these two broadcasts this recording was taken from. The 1946 performance was conducted by Artur Rodzinski with soloist Walter Hendl. The 1947 one was conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos with soloist Oscar Levant. My guess (and this is only a guess) would be that this is the 2nd one. Oscar Levant was apparently THE pianist for Gershwin music at the time, and was especially famous for his rendition of Rhapsody in Blue—which was my grandpa’s favorite piece of all time. But I’ll never know for sure.

Transferring this one to digital was a little more challenging than others I’ve done so far. This wasn’t the on-air broadcast disc but a copy that my grandpa made. He switched from the first disc to the second in mid-piece with very little overlap. But the 2nd disc was recorded at a slightly different speed than the first. Tim helped me with the editing to make this as smooth as possible, but there’s still an audible difference where the change happens.

Jeri Sullivan, 2-19-44

December 3, 2009

Audio

Here’s my first upload, and one of my first digital conversions. This is Jeri Sullivan with Paul Baron and his orchestra, presented by Columbia. The recording is dated 2-17-44, indicated for broadcast (on WJR) on 2-19-44. Songs include “In Our Little Dream House,” “Honey, ‘deed I do”, “Begin the Beguine,” “I’ll Be Around” and “Besame Mucho.”

From Grandpa’s iPod

And so it begins

December 3, 2009

I’ve had this collection of records in my possession for many years now. It’s been in three houses (four if you count the time it was stored in my in-laws’ garage) and moved across the country. But I’ve never been able to do much with them. I have the turntable that my grandpa assembled from studio-quality parts, but until about a year ago I couldn’t use it. After several attempts at repairs, my wonderful husband finally bypassed the non-functioning pre-amp, amp and EQ and plugged it into a cheap digital amp. It’s not original quality, but at least it works.

Now he’s got me set up with Cubase and I’ve started recording the albums to digital. My plan is to do all 261 discs or as many of those as are playable. It’s going to be a long, slow project, but I want to share it as I go along.

I’ll be doing basic editing to the files (like taking out skips) but I don’t have the ability or time to do serious editing. If anyone reading this blog would like to improve on my efforts, just contact me and I’ll be happy to share the original digital files.