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12" 1950s 33 rpm Jazz LP Pop

Easter special

How many pop songs about Easter do you know? It’s is a curious thing. There is lots of lovely church music for Easter, just as there is for Christmas. But popular music? Every man and his dog has released a Christmas album – there are so many in the op-shops of Australia that they effect […]

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1950s 45 rpm 7" EP Jazz LP

Jamming with le dieu

Sidney Bechet was among the very first improvising soloists in jazz. He was a Creole, born in New Orleans in 1897, and so a contemporary of friend and rival Louis Armstrong. Bechet started out on the clarinet, but while touring Europe in 1919 he discovered the soprano saxophone, and made it his own. He pretty […]

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10" 1950s 33 rpm Classical LP

A bratwurst wearing lederhosen

The Germans, it is said, have a word for everything. What we call a “Long Playing record”, for example, is a Langspielplatte. It is popular to scoff at the Germans for their long, compound words. According to the Guinness Book of Records the longest German word in common use is Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften, “legal indemnity insurance companies”. […]

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12" 1950s 33 rpm LP R&B Rock

Twang!

Duane Eddy was one of the first rock ’n roll guitar heroes. He used the bass strings of his Grestch guitar (the one on the right on the album sleeve picture below) to play a melody line. This was recorded through an echo chamber to create a distinctive, almost grungy rock sound. Eddy is best […]

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1950s 45 rpm 7" Pop

A young Catholic wife’s lament

To say that “Padre” is a sentimental song like saying that Donald Trump may prove an unfortunate choice as American president. It is a 1950s pop weepie, sung here by the actor Erin O’Brien, but also a hit for Toni Arden and later performed by many another, including Marty Robbins and Elvis Presley. The song […]

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12" 1950s 33 rpm Choral Singing LP

Christmas on the lost island of Acetate

There is no more mysterious place on Planet Vinyl than the lost island of Acetate. The good people of Wikipedia explain why: Unlike ordinary vinyl records, which are quickly formed from lumps of plastic by a mass-production molding process, a so-called acetate disc is created by using a recording lathe to cut an audio-signal-modulated groove […]

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12" 1950s 33 rpm Jazz LP

His piano talks

It was a battered old op-shop LP which introduced me to George Shearing, the blind working class lad from London who became a star jazz pianist. In my post about that record, You’re Hearing George Shearing (1952), I wrote: It is a cliché, but I can think of no better way to say it: his […]

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12" 1950s 1960s LP

Long candle?

Someone in France has just paid me five Australian dollars for a Jerry Lee Lewis compilation LP issued 51 years ago. What makes it more impressive is that the postage was another $22.00. It doesn’t seem as much in euros, maybe. But it does show a love for the music of this feral cat of […]

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10" 1950s 33 rpm Gospel LP

Why should the Devil have all the good tunes?

“Why should the Devil have all the good tunes?” asked Charles Wesley, the great religious reformer and hymn writer. Like anything to do with religion, arguments about what music, if any, should be played church can be furious. There have probably been wars fought over it. Which is why this record is symbolic of a […]

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12" 1950s Jazz LP

A Sergeant Pepper’s before there was one

The technology for stereo sound was invented in the 1930s. No one used it much. It was partly that the equipment, both to record and play back stereo, was expensive. But mostly, no one saw much point in stereo music. The first stereo LPs came out in the mid-1950s, and they were all of sound […]