Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Wonderful Audio Letter from Alaska, circa 1958

First, a big thank you - I am greatly indebted to Tony Hart, who filled in the blanks regarding some the items I posted last week. There is too much information to repeat here, but you can find it all here. Specifically, there is an explanation of why the commercials are most certainly from Canada and not France, as well as a mention of what the fragment of music is from, then there is an explanation and findings from a web digging expedition to find the source of "The Flabby American", and finally, a full translation of the French (Canadian) commercials. THANK YOU!!!!

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Today I have a lovely little audio letter, labeled "ROY'S TAPE" on the box, and featuring a young man reaching out to friends and family back home, from his Naval placement in Alaska. I will let the delights and idiosyncrasies of this tape reveal themselves to you, but I do want to add that I'm pretty sure that I own the tape he was responding to!!! That'd be a first, I think, and if I can find it, it'd be a wonderful bookend with this tape. Everything he mentions from "your tape" (i.e. the one he previously received) sounds familiar to me, so I just need to track it down. That said, and with no further ado, here is Roy, from Alaska, circa 1957 or 1958. 

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As an added bonus, here is a pompous little promo for KSYL, in Alexandria, LA. The station was founded in 1962, so presumably this promo is from not long after that, based on its contents. I wonder how they did with that "good music - no rock and roll" format as the decade wore on.

Download: KSYL Early 1960's Promo
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And finally - and I know this is very much overdue - sorry, teach' - here is Dan's final audio project, labeled just that way (plus his last name - available on the actual file name) on the tape box/ The first two minutes are achingly dull, but I'd have loved to hear more that sounded like the last minute or so:

Download: Dan - Final Audio Projects
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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Don't Hand Me That Jive!

Another trio of offerings today, dominated (in length, anyway) by the first of the three.

This 29 minute episode of an odd, well-written and -produced radio show, appears to have come out as part of a series called "The King's English", very likely from the 1950's, and I think it better if you discover its charms without me blabbing them all away. The episode is focused on the question that's been on everyone's lips, minds and souls for the last half-century, "Does 'Jive' Belong in the Dictionary".

ENJOY!!

Download: The King's English - Does "Jive" Belong in the Dictionary
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And now, a public service announcement, which appears to have been tied into the John F. Kennedy Administration. GET EXERCISING - LIKE THOSE DAMN ROOSKEES!!!

Download:  Unknown - The Flabby American
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And finally, if you're going to visiting 1950's France (or perhaps it was Quebec), near Christmastime, some time soon, you may very well hear these wonderful General Electric Ads. And if anyone who speaks fluent French would like to offer up a translation (no need to translate the words "General Electric"), I'd be much obliged.

(Please be sure to listen all the way to the end, as 17 seconds of an unrelated performance of some new lyrics to a well known song, survived on the closing feet of this tape.)

Download: Two French G.E. Commercials (Plus)
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Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Time? 1966. The Place? Arizona. The Event? Slide Show

My posts have been few and far between around here lately, so I'm going to continue to triple up on my offerings, this week with three completely unrelated items, and a minimum of commentary.

First up, another tape for those of you who have asked for more slide shows. In this case, it's a woman documenting a trip to Arizona in 1966, for 35 minutes. Makes you want to go back in time and visit the state yourself, doesn't it?

Download: Unknown - Arizona Travelogue Slide Show, 1966
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Then I have this oddity, which is admittedly fairly hard to listen to. It is a short tape, and badly recorded, featuring some sort of comedic dialogue. It involves someone portraying a shrill old woman named Muriel, and a man with a dumb-guy voice. Perhaps you can make out more of this than I can - I have the feeling if someone takes the time to decipher this, it might be worthwhile, although you should also know, in advance, that it's incomplete, stopping mid-sentence after just over 2 1/2 minutes. .

Download: Unknown - Comedic Dialogue
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Finally, I wanted to make sure you knew that there's still time to go to to RIVERFEST, '97!!!

Download: Riverfest, '97
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Personally, I cannot wait to see Uncle Knucklefunk.

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!

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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: