Sunday, September 16, 2018

Adventures in Sounds!

Before getting to today's triple feature, I received this nice note from Ken, regarding the second tape featuring Bob Hopp, which I shared a short time ago. The note contains a link to a Youtube video which, given its nature, will probably not be up for very long: 

I downloaded this just after you posted it but just got around to listening to it, hence the late comment. Fascinating. He gave his address as 830 High street, and on the earlier tape he mentions he lives in Aurora IL. Putting two and two together, I found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk_ay2nPsDY

I also received the following about the tape with the banjo music and the older woman talking, from frequent correspondent Timmy: 

The old gal dictating to her tape for whoever, sounds like she got a Cajun accent. And I would think SHE is the banjist, as well. She mentions 1969 a couple times, so there's the date of recording.

Thanks to both of you, and to everyone who offers up comments!

~~

For today, three different types of Adventures in Sound. I'm naming them such because the first of them is literally labeled "Adventure in Sound", on the tape box. The tape came in set of boxes of tapes, many of which had some relation to the phone company. While there were several there which had no apparent connection (recordings of a community house-type production of a play, high quality recordings of live TV from the '50's), they all have notes on them in the same handwriting. I've featured several of them here and at WFMU. 

Here is the sheet of paper which comes in the "Adventure in Sound" box, and it gives you a good road map to the many short bits of sound - some only in one channel, others in both - which are going to come at your rapid-fire. The sheet indicates 15 different bits in just over six and a half minutes. 


And here is the tape. Clearly, this has something to do with the continual changes and improvement in the way sound is transmitted, but I wonder for what purpose. If you have an idea, please offer your thoughts!

Download: "Adventure in Sound"
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The next adventure is from a sound stage. From another batch of tapes that I've dived into here several times - the group of tapes that feature raw tapes and promotional items from various TV productions of the late '50's through the mid '60's, here is yet another twelve or so minutes of raw takes, from a production of something apparently called "Greenwich Village", according to the tape box.

It sounds to me like these people are REALLY not getting a lot done. The number of shouts of "CUT" while people are still talking, and the occasional curse make it sound like a rough day. Or maybe I just don't know how life on a sound stage works. These takes average about three seconds each! Maybe they were just fixing specific shots.

Download: Raw Takes from "Greenwich Village"
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And finally, a place where people once went to have a few adventures. Here's a commercial for the Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey, the same classic park that Chuck Barris wrote a song about and Freddie Cannon sang that song about.

The whole thing isn't technically here. What I have here is an entire, very entertaining jingle for the park, with spoken details afterwards, which are cut off by whoever was recording the bland "beautiful music" programming that day on WOR-FM. This was the only thing worth salvaging in that entire 30 minute tape, and it's sort of wonderful, if more than a little moronic, too.

Download: Palisades Amusicement Park Ad
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Thursday, August 30, 2018

An Unusual Audio Letter, Some Ads, and Seven Minutes of Wasted Time

Okay, so I promised another post right away (I probably won't get the three in five days that I was hoping for, but I hope a triple dose of interesting reels will help you get over that).

First up, here's an audio letter, with a few differences than most. In particular, it starts with, and then is interrupted by, some banjo music. In between the folky numbers, a feisty sounding older woman has a few things to say, and then, after more music, she settles down and addresses herself to Ginkee (sp?) and Jessie. I found this woman fairly interesting, and wish there was more to this tape.

Download: Audio Letter to Ginkee and Jessie (with Banjo Music)
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Next up, a full reel of eleven ads for Crystal Light, I'm guessing from the late '80's or early '90's. I've no doubt the listener was meant to identify with these voice actors, but I kept hoping someone would punch them. And that brief jingle - ugh.

Download: Eleven Crystal Light Ads
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Finally, here's a guy with seven minutes too many on his hands.

Download: A Guy with Seven Minutes to Kill
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Monday, August 27, 2018

Something Special from the Very Start of American Beatlemania

I know I haven't posted in nearly a month, and so I'm going to try to get three in before the end of the month, with the best going first - right now!:

So I recently acquired a small collection of reels containing someone's obsessive capturing or Top 40 radio through the early to mid '60's. The real gold to be found in these sorts of reels today is in finding those where the listener left the recorder on and captured all the DJ banter, commercials, phone calls, bits, etc. So I was disappointed to find out that this person made a point (as so many did) of editing out EVERYTHING that wasn't the records being played. There are barely any split seconds of DJ chatter, let along anything more. That's particularly sad because several of these tapes contain broadcasts from the mighty WINS, 1010 on your dial, in New York City.

One tape in particular, at least, captured that moment in 1964 when The Beatles were becoming the hottest thing ever in pop music in the States. The broadcasts are full of Beatles music, including tracks from both of their British albums and multiple singles. Near the beginning of the tape is an airing of "Love Me Do" (available - briefly, on the first version of Vee-Jay's "Introducing the Beatles", but not a hit single until months later), with a surviving DJ comment (one of the few) that makes it clear that that song hadn't been aired much, if at all - the DJ makes mention of John Lennon's harmonica style, indicating that it's a brand new record to him. Other elements of the tape place it just before or just after the Beatles arrived in the US that February, although I could be off by a week or two.

My frustration with the tape turned to joy - and then back to frustration - halfway through the second side. Because I was suddenly in the midst of what had to have been a hastily constructed special on the Beatles, complete with reports from England, analysis of their music and their appeal, and lots of little factual errors of the type you'll get when you're trying to glom onto something that's been wildly popular for three weeks.

But then, after about 21 minutes (of what promised to be a 55 minute show) the tape runs out. The other tapes I've checked from this collection do not appear to have the rest of the show. But what's there is GOLD. I'm not sure this has survived anywhere else, at least not in this form, so this may be a rare treat. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Download: WINS 1010 - Beatles Special, Winter, 1964
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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Return of Bob Hopp - The Retired Mailman - And His Audio Diary (Plus: An Odd Demonstration)


Ten months ago, I presented a fairly fascinating and esoteric reel of tape, recorded by a retired mailman. I speculated at his name, based on what he said, but had no definitive answer to that, as there was nothing written on the tape or box.

Last weekend, though, while rearranging some of my thousands of un-listened to tapes, I came across one which had the name "Bob Hopp" on it, as well as some extraneous information (above). Sure enough, it contained another in what may be a series of audio diaries (I did not find any others yet).

In this case, the tape dates from December, 1975 through May, 1977, and the contents are more varied than the first, giving a better picture of this Aurora man's life.

As to those variations: For one thing, there are multiple moments, during the holiday sections of the tape, where he is joined by his grandchildren, and he seems to enjoy them mightily. There are also some religious thoughts, points of view on life, and, near the beginning, some music recorded off the radio (All in the first portion of the tape).

I think I would have liked to have met Bob Hopp.

Download: Bob Hopp - Bob Hopp's Audio Diary, 1975-1977
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And now, to something nearly undefinable. The following little snippet of tape - less than four minutes long - came housed on a large reel in a box full of tapes which (mostly) involved some branch(es) of the telephone company, way back when. I've shared parts of this collection before, including the training tape of handling difficult calls.

This tape is labeled "TASI Demonstration", and I'm guessing it has something to do with this definition of "TASI" You will hear two phone calls, twice each, first with both ends of the call, then one of the speakers, isolated. After those four items, there is a fifth call, which I'll let you experience without further comment.

THEN, for the last 45 seconds, there is an even odder little montage of sound, which I'll also let you experience without further comment.

Download: Unknown - TASI Demonstration
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Here are two images for this tape, one of the label on the tape, and the other of the list inside the container:



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

WDAF-AM, Kansas City, Very Early 1970 (And an Added Bonus)

Today I have a prime slab of MOR-leaning Top 40 radio, from right near the beginning of 1970. The station is WDAF-AM in Kansas City (now known as KCSP).

This is, admittedly, not the most scintillating tape of music radio that you're ever going to hear. The person recording it focused on the music, so there is not a ton of between song chatter/phone calls/jingles/ads/news and weather, etc. But there are moments of that stuff, which is the gold of such a tape, and enough of it that I decided to share the material. I hope you agree that it was worth it.

In addition, the tape captures an era in radio that is utterly gone, and which has been since at least the mid-'80's, an era where pop, rock, jazz, funk (although I suppose the jazzy tune, and the ten seconds of Sly and the Family Stone could be from another channel), country, show tunes and novelty records all existed within the same bandwidth.

The date of this recording is fairly well nailed down by the presence of what is described as a brand new hit, the thoroughly awful and indefensible "Welfare Cadillac" by Guy Drake. The juxtaposition of this song, at one point, with "Blowing in the Wind" is particularly jarring.

Whoever made these recordings was quite taken with Guy Drake's spoken word record - I never understand the multiple recordings of a song, when I come across it, but in the course of recording just over an hour's worth of songs off of this station (and maybe a bit from others), he or she taped "Welfare Cadillac" four times within this hour of tape. Even leaving out the hideousness of this particular track, one would think that once one has taped something, one doesn't need another copy. Other songs, including a truly ridiculous novelty record about a chicken, are also taped multiple times.

Download: Various Artists - WDAF-AM, Kansas City, Very Early 1970
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And here, for those with a voyeuristic bent, is a short phone call from a very excited young college woman, to her parents - specifically, her mom. She seemingly has no interest in telling her dad her big news.

Download: Unknown - Art Contest Phone Call
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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Life Under Castro, A Leadership Slide Show, and An Odd Tape

First, thanks to the good folks at Blogger, the problem with pop-up ads has, I'm told, been addressed. Please let me know if that's the case, or, especially, if that's NOT the case. 

I have another triple feature today, leading off with the tape whose box looks like this:


A large purchase of tapes many years ago contained several reels of Howard K. Smith interviews, most of them raw tapes meant to be edited down later. This is from that collection, and interview with a former resident of Cuba, Ernesto Aguiar (the name on the box is likely a misspelling), talking about life under Castro's regime on January 30, 1963 (the date is elsewhere on the box. I'll let the tape speak for itself:

Download: Howard K. Smith and Ernesto Aguiar: Life Under Castro
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 ~~

Next up, here's a slide show for your mind - picture the images that were being shown to schoolchildren while the following tape - undated, but labeled "Leading and Following" - was being heard:

Download: Unknown - Leading and Following
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~~

Finally, here is a tape, heard in its entirety, which simply baffles me. I'd welcome comments from anyone who thinks he or she knows what it might have been made for. The 13 minute tape starts with some slow, atmospheric music on a flute-type instrument, for the first 6 1/2 minutes, but the meat of the weirdness comes in the 6 1/2 minutes that make up the second half. None of the things record are odd in and of themselves, but their placement together seems random, and may have been so. But then again, maybe not.

Download: Weird Compendium of Music, Talking and Sounds
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Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Supremely Irritating Jack Eigen

First and foremost, Happy Father's Day to all of you fathers out there, and to the fathers of everyone reading this!

It occurred to me a short time ago that I've neglected to post any of the tapes I have of Jack Eigen. This is a real oversight, because I know there are multiple people who visit this site who are particularly interested in radio recordings, and because I have a LOT of Jack Eigen.

The main reason it didn't occur to me is that I actually sold the reels on which these recordings were housed, several years ago. But before I did so, I made copies of all of them. And there were a lot of them.

Jack Eigen was an enormously popular late night radio talk show host on Chicago station WCFL for 20 years, 1951 to 1971. I'm actually not sure I understand why - I find him abrasive and, as indicated, supremely irritating. This is not based - as it would undoubtedly be today - on a political point of view or deliberate crassness. No, I just find his personality aggressively unappealing. When I first got these tapes, more than 20 years ago, I remember asking my mom about him, and she said that they would listen to him "all the time", and adding that his annoying qualities were one reason that people listened. It was a feature, not a bug.

You can read a few bits about Jack Eigen here and here.

Regardless, these tapes are fascinating in that they present a world of show business, talk show style and radio presentation which all ceased to exist a long time ago.

This is a LONG tape, containing excerpts from several of Eigen's broadcasts - I have not re-listened to this whole tape, this time around, or even 1/10th of it. I'm guessing that buried within are references that will tell you when it is from. Like most of the tapes I can share from the Eigen collection, this is well over three hours long. I've labeled this one "volume one", simply because it's the first one I prepared for posting here - I have no idea what order they truly belong in.

I'm going to guess that there are those of you who want to hear more of this, and if so, by all means, ask - let me know. I have upwards of 25 of these tapes, or if you prefer, somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 hours plus of Jack Eigen. Some of them are interspersed with latter day episodes of the Arthur Godfrey show (of the same vintage) and also episodes of "Theatre Five", which was an afternoon half-hour radio drama in the mid '60's, but most of them are pure Eigen - and yes, that means I have 75 plus hours of this stuff....

Download: Jack Eigen - The Jack Eigen Show, Volume One
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