Wednesday, June 20, 2007

78 Transfer Progress Report

The new stylus has made an enormous difference in the quality of the recordings I’ve been able to get from these old 78 rpm records.
They don’t require nearly as much digital manipulation as they did with my LP stylus.

Awhile back Laurel wrote to ask if I had a copy of Bill Monroe’s ”The Old Fiddler”. Now I thought I had a good collection of Bill Monroe, but I wasn’t familiar with that song. I contacted a few friends and not one had a copy. I did an online search and found little information. I finally found some good information in Tom Ewing's "The Bill Monroe Reader" (2000, University of Illinois Press). According to Ewing, the song was written and first released by Hugh Ashley. Monroe had just left Columbia and signed with Decca. His first Decca release ("New Mule Skinner Blues" / "My Little Georgia Rose") was a flop. Looking for a more pop-styled hit, Paul Cohen of Decca convinced Monroe to record Ashley's "The Old Fiddler" the following month (April 8, 1950), with Hank Williams' "Alabama Waltz" on the B side. This record was an instant flop also. Monroe thought he could write a better tune about an old fiddler. Monroe went home and wrote a song about his uncle, Pendleton Vandiver, who was a well known (and by then, old) fiddler. The following month Monroe recorded "Uncle Pen", and Decca finally had the hit they were looking for.

Here are a few of the gems in the first batch of 78s from Walt’s cousin in the mountains, including Bill Monroe’s ”The Old Fiddler”.

Bill Monroe - The Old Fiddler.mp3

Hank Snow - I'm Moving On.mp3

Don Whitney - Red Hot Boogie.mp3

Little Jimmy Dickens - Walk, Chicken Walk.mp3

8 Comments:

Blogger Ted Barron said...

Hi, I just found your blog. Great stuff. I also have a 78 blog. I'm marveling at the fidelity of your mp3's. I can see you have a better turntable than mine from the photograph,but am wondering if your records are pristine or if you are filtering out the noise using some outboard gear. They sound fantastic.

Cheers,
Ted

June 21, 2007 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Dewi Fraunhofer said...

Agree with the above. The Bill Monroe sounds really good. That must be one very good record deck.It plays 78s as well? What model is it ? I'd love one myself.

Also, what cleaning fluids are you using.

Sorry for all the questions but the sound IS that good.

June 21, 2007 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Thanks again, Ed, for the education. Don Whitney's "Red Hot Boogie" is "Move It On Over" with different words. I had no idea. And, the others are correct. Your transfer process has amazing fidelity. This is ear candy.

June 21, 2007 6:17 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Ted & Dewi, Thanks for the nice comments. It has taken a lot of experimenting over the years to acheive the quality of recording that I wanted. Funny that you should mention that the Bill Monroe sounded especially good. I chose to post that song for the friend of mine that loaned me that 78. The record was so worn and full of surface noise, that I almost gave up on it!

I'll post the specifics of my equipment and software for those interested.

June 21, 2007 8:49 PM  
Blogger kjk said...

the quality really IS excellent, ed. please do share how you do it.

June 21, 2007 9:46 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Dan & Ken, Thanks, the comments and encouragement you guys give keeps this old Bus on the Road.

Dan, good observation. I have been toying with the idea of posting a bunch of songs that all share the same tune. It's an on going project that I'll get around to posting one day.

June 22, 2007 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Rockin'n'rollin' said...

Great Rock-A-Billy Roots.

Thks, Ed

June 22, 2007 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Laurel from Chicago said...

A public thanks for 'The Old Fiddler,' Don! It sounds great!

June 27, 2007 10:36 AM  

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