From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Music that Might Have Been Lost

Unique recordings preserved


A Manhattan record label and a Minnesota distributor/publisher of spoken word audio, including books and radio programs, are among the companies that have expressed interest in a rare collection of Jewish liturgical recordings made in the 1950s, much to the relief of Lionel Ziprin, who has been trying to get the recordings out in the world for some 50 years. The records were part of a set of 15 LPs that Ziprin's grandfather, Rabbi Nuftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia, recorded in a Lower East Side yeshiva over a period of two years with renowned ethnomusicologist Harry Smith.

I don't want to get too elated,' 81-year-old Ziprin said of his interest in the recordings. 'I'm too weak for that.'"

Quoted from "A Beatnik Finds Treasure In His Grandfather's Beats" by Jon Kalish, published in Forward Newspaper Online, January 27, 2006.
It is amazing how well sound can be preserved on records (much better than on tape!) Here is a somewhat related true story.

Bob Wills, the King of Western Swing, during the mid-1940's did a radio show for the Tiffany Music Company. Bob and his band recorded over 370 songs on a set of records. The plan was that radio stations would be provided with the discs and a script for each week. The station's disc jockey would follow the script, reading his part and playing certain songs.

Unfortunately, the Tiffany Music Company dissolved before the radio show really got going, and the partner who had the most money invested took the masters, transcriptions, documents, and everything else related to the Tiffany Music Company and kept them in his basement for 35 years. (He didn't throw them away -- he realized their historic significance.)

After the gentleman passed away, his heirs released the music and it is considered to be a remarkable archive of Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys at their best.

Flickr image by Lady DragonflyCC

1 comment:

Rob said...

It's great that we managed to preserve these things but the sad thing is thinking about all that's been lost. Perhaps I'm a bit odd in the head, but it makes me sad that there are things we'll just never get to hear. Voices are so ephemeral and many have simply been lost forever. *sigh*

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