Categories
12" 1930s 33 rpm Exotica LP

Torching the organ

Back in the day, there were things called Cinema Organs. They were behemoths, monsters, with rows and rows of keys. They could make all manner of sounds besides a pipe note. You know the expression “all the bells and whistles”? That came from these organs: the biggest and most expensive models had extra pipes which, […]

Categories
1930s 45 rpm 7" Classical EP

The man with the monocle

There was a time before microphones. Think about what that meant for a singer. You had to stand on stage in front of an orchestra, and your unaided voice had to reach the far corner of the hall. It is an astonishing thing: to sing with pitch, control, feeling, as well as power and volume. […]

Categories
10" 1930s 78 rpm Pop

Our Glad

She was HUGE. Her first name all you needed. That was her, the famous singer, the Australian girl who had gone to England and become a star. It was the 1930s, when Australia was self-consciously claiming its place in the world. We loved an international champion. There was our great aviator, Charles Kingsford-Smith; our great […]

Categories
10" 1930s 78 rpm Jazz

Liquorice stick

On Sunday, my wife and I saw a jazz band, Sandra Tulty’s Swing Quartet. Australians all, and all stellar musicians: one of those jaw-dropping jazz ensembles, which sing, play multiple instruments, and take on solos without so much as raising a sweat. I was particularly impressed by the clarinettist, Michael McQuaid. He moved in and […]

Categories
12" 1930s Choral Singing Folk LP

Hear the real Maria

Sound of Music tragics, of whom there are many, will tell you that there is a scene early on in the film in which Maria, played by Julie Andrews, passes through an archway, and you see an old lady in the background. That, so I have heard, is the real Maria von Trapp. A fellow […]

Categories
10" 1930s 78 rpm Jazz

A man of appetite

A man of appetite, was Fats Waller. Like many a sensualist, he was the son of a preacher man, born in 1904 in New York State. Astonishingly gifted, he was playing piano and organ in churches by the age of ten, and worked as a professional cinema organist while in his teens. He moved into […]

Categories
12" 1930s 78 rpm Dance

Jealous rage in musical form

Arthur Fiedler was one of the great popularisers. He hated the notion that classical and orchestral music were seen as the preserve of a moneyed, snobbish elite. He wanted the music he loved made available to everyone, and as director the Boston Pops Orchestra, that is exactly what he did. He took charge of the […]

Categories
10" 1930s Jazz

Chopin does the tango

The world is so full of strange coincidence that I should stop being surprised. But still. The shuttle which lands on Planet Vinyl is programmed to be random but different. If yesterday we heard a 7-inch 45 rpm playing eighties synth-pop, the only certainty about today is that it will NOT be a synth-pop single […]

Categories
12" 1930s Classical

Bach Unplugged

I had vaguely heard of Albert Schweitzer, without knowing too much about him. A peace activist and humanitarian, a theologian, a man of good works. Built some sort of hospital in Africa? That, and a mental picture of a guy with a big white moustache was about it. He was all of those things – […]

Categories
10" 1930s 78 rpm Jazz Single

The Pizza Principle

This is the excerpt for your very first post.