Sunday, July 12, 2009

78 RPM

Collectors of 78 R.P.M. Discs Have Those Hard-to-Find Blues - NYTimes.com: 78s have a small but special place in my musical memory. My grandfather had thousands of 78s in his music room and the living room of the house on Central Ave. Those thin, hissing, and popping recordings of blues, Texas swing, old timey Country & Western, and Big Band music seemed like the musical equivalent of dinosaur fossils to me back in the mid-1970s. How many people more than a couple years younger than me have ever heard or even seen a 78, I wonder?

One thing that sticks with me is how bawdy much of the popular music/novelty songs of the 1930s and 1940s were. I guess that could've been more my grandfather's sampling of the era than the era itself, but I got the definite impression as a kid that we were living a more censored and repressed, less rollicking era than our forefather's did. Of course, it's just as easy to see it from the other perspective and think that popular music has been getting progressively more lewd. The truth in this case is probably closer to things not really having changed all that much; maybe it's only the slang and vocal mannerisms that have changed with the whims of fashion.

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