Thursday, May 31, 2018

Three Different Types of Personal Recordings

I often label tapes that I'm sharing as "Home Recordings" - if that's what they are, or seem to be. But that covers a lot of ground. While I was looking for material to share today, I chose three tapes, and at that point, realized that they were all personal recordings of this type, but really had nothing else in common. 

The first is a tape I've labeled "Stargazing", which is from October of 1958. I know virtually nothing about astronomy, but perhaps people out there will find this interesting, or those inclined to ferret out the details from what is said (and what's on the tape box), can do so. And it seems at least possible to me, based on some of the things said here, that this is a tape made in conjunction with a school or a neighborhood, what with the woman in charge being so very much.... in charge. Just an interesting, sort of different, few minutes of tape. 


Oh, and here's that tape box. Two more tapes below. 

Next up, a very different home recording, featuring a curious little performance of a brief song. The introduction and explanation, in which the person speaking (then singing) indicates that she's written a new song - her first in a while - makes it sound like this is directed towards someone. But this short bit of tape comes in the middle of a solid 90 minute side of a reel, the rest of which is entirely filled up with the sorts of MOR and Jazz which were common in the 1950's, recorded off of records or the radio. It doesn't seem like something that she'd have sent to someone else, OR that she'd consider easy to find if she went back and looked for it.

Download: Unknown - When You're Dreamin'


And finally, one of the most common types of home recordings, the audio letter. Here's someone named Charles, sending Christmas greetings, in the form of an audio letter, interspersed with Christmas music, to a friend named Larry Ward:

Download: Charles - Audio Letter to Larry Ward

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Gaggle of Giggling Girls - The Sequel

When I started this project, nearly three years ago, it was on the occasion of the closing of WFMU's "Beware of the Blog", where I'd been posting, among other things, an item (or more) from my reel to reel tape collection once a month or so.

The very first thing I shared here was one I had been excited to post at WFMU, but never got the chance. I called it "A Gaggle of Giggling Twelve Year Olds". Between what I heard on the tape and (mostly) what others dug around and found out, we determined that the family lived on the far South Side of Chicago, in the Roseland area. I even had one person who not only determined the name of the family, but knew an extended family member, and got us in touch. However, further conversations (including what was potentially another batch of tapes) fizzled out quickly, with little more said.

Since then, I've found that my collection houses multiple further tapes from the same family, some identified largely by the presence of the same bird heard in the post linked above (as well as familiar voices), and a few which contain more recordings of the children in the family and, in this case, their friends.

And while I initially labeled the previous tape to having been from the 1950's, it's clear from this recording, which seems to be from a short while later (based on the similar ages of the girls to that first tape), that we're at least in the second half of 1961.

And this is another smorgasbord of fun. The clue to the year comes early, with some recreations of Bill Dana's character Jose Jimenez. There follows a litany of names and ages from the girls, including at least one home address in, yes, Roseland. Later, a rendition of Dick Biondi's "On Top of a Pizza", again places us in Chicago, and at least in 1961. And the same dad heard as on the first tape, takes part, from time to time, in the fun.

There are songs (a variation of "Tavern in the Town" and, at the end, the singing of "Tonight" directly over the Ferrente and Teicher version). There are MANY skits (a number of which, oddly enough, involve someone pretending to be a toddler wetting her pants), Donald Duck impressions, and several badly played piano solos by one of the participants (leading to multiple sketches pretending to be at a recital, or interviewing people afterwards). And there are, unfortunately, a few moments where the casual racial stereotypes common to the day and age crop up for a moment.

And, at one point (about 25:45), someone makes the odd threat, a phrase which I can find nowhere else in my memory (or on Google), saying, regarding some unnamed person, that she'd like to "Choke Him In the Heart".

This is another really fun, really special recording. I hope you enjoy it.

Download: Unknown - A Gaggle of Giggling Girls - The Sequel