The Playlist • Balinese Gamelan Gems (Late 1920s)

From a historic and very well-traveled group of location recordings that were issued in Germany in 1931 as part of Erich M. Von Hornbostel’s “Musik des Orient” set on Odeon, resurfaced in England in 1934 as “Music of the Orient” (Parlophone), then made their way to American Decca’s under-appreciated Odeon-Parlophone series in 1939.

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GAMELAN ANKLUNG — Berong Pengetjet

Bali: 1928
Decca Odeon-Parlophone Series 20125 (mx. JAB 581)

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GAMELAN DJOGED — Tjetjing Kereman

Bali: 1928
Decca Odeon-Parlophone Series 20126 (mx. JAB 596)

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GAMELAN GONG — Lagu Kebiar

Bali: Before 1931
Decca Odeon-Parlophone Series 20127 (mx. 28180)

The Playlist • Memphis Minnie on Vinylite (1936–1937)

In the 1960s and early 1970s, while CBS was literally bulldozing Columbia’s recorded legacy into the scrap heap, some insiders at the Bridgeport plant began secretly pulling new vinyl pressings from important and threatened stampers. It was a preservation project, albeit an illegal one, not a money-making scheme. The pressings were quietly handed out to company employees and interested outsiders, free of charge. A surprisingly large number of these clandestine pressings seem to have been made, and over the years many have found their way into private collections. They’re not true “test pressings,” as some dealers would like you to believe, but they are magnificent specimens that often play better than even pristine shellac originals. Here are four of our favorites.

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MSP_memphis-minnie_12

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MEMPHIS MINNIE: Ice Man (Come On Up)

Chicago: February 18, 1936
Mx. C 1263 – 1  (commercially issued on Vocalion 03222)
From a c. 1960s blank-labeled vinyl pressing of the original stamper. The accompanists are uncredited in the ARC files.

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MEMPHIS MINNIE: Hoodoo Lady

Chicago: February 18, 1936
Mx. C 1264 – 1  (commercially issued on Vocalion 03222)
From a c. 1960s blank-labeled vinyl pressing of the original stamper. The accompanists are uncredited in the ARC files.

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MEMPHIS MINNIE: It’s Hard to Be Mistreated

Chicago: November 12, 1936
Mx. C 1671 – 1 (commercially issued on Vocalion 03474)

From a c. 1960s blank-labeled vinyl pressing of the original stamper. The accompanists are uncredited in the ARC files.

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MEMPHIS MINNIE: You Can’t Rule Me

Chicago: June 9, 1937
Mx. C 1927 – 1 (commercially issued on Vocalion 03697)

From a c. 1960s blank-labeled vinyl pressing of the original stamper. The accompanists are uncredited in the ARC files.

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MSP_losers

 

The Playlist • Sonny Terry and Friends (1942 – 1944)

MSP_asch-terry-mcghee

Moses Asch, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee

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BROWNIE McGHEE & SONNY TERRY: Red Cross Store

Washington, DC: May 11, 1942
Library of Congress transcription 6503-A-3 (recorded by Alan Lomax)

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SONNY TERRY, “ALEK,” WOODY GUTHRIE, CISCO HOUSTON: Glory

New York: April 1944
Asch 432-2A  (mx. 689), from the 78-rpm album Folksay

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SONNY TERRY (with uncredited guitarist): Lonesome Train

New York: 1944
Asch 550-3A (mx. 1210), from the 78-rpm album Blues

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