Skip to comments.What A Day! by Ted Weems and his Orchestra, 1929
Posted on 06/04/2015 6:00:13 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan
Vocal by Parker Gibbs. Recorded June, 1929.
Digitally remastered, I presume? The sound quality is exceptionally good. Not a pop or a scratch on it.
Parker Gibbs wasn’t exactly Sinatra, was he?
That’s actually not uncommon for the era. Parker Gibbs was one of the horn-playing sidemen. But he’d also do vocal duties, when needed. A lot of these vocalists are not really very good, to put it mildly. But back then, the song and the lyrics (and hence, the selling of Tin Pan Alley sheet-music) were viewed as far more important than the quality of the singer. As long as the singer could reasonably sing in tune, of course.
People also used to just get together, friends and neighbors, and sing songs at home, with a piano. That was more of the mindset back then. Not huge “singing stars” that dominated in the music world. It was more of a social, accessible type of thing. Oh, there were some popular vocalists here and there, who made records, and whose popularity exploded further with radio, especially in the early-1930s.
The sound quality is likely great because it came from an electric Victor record, and they always sounded bright and sharp, with a good range. I think I even have a copy of this very record.
Just double-checked. The 78rpm original I have of this tune was not the Weems version, but a completely instrumental version on Columbia by the so-dubbed “Mason-Dixon Orchestra,” which was actually a pseudonym for a Frankie Trumbauer group. On the opposite side of the record is another instrumental, entitled “Alabammy Snow.” The Trumbauer sides are indeed pretty hot and jazzy.
Some YT posters do a good job of denoising. Others ruin the records with overprocessing. They think the goal is to get rid of every trace of noise, and they don’t even notice they have destroyed the music. I like the ones that don’t do any denoising, so I can do it myself.
Also, a 78 in good condition is nearly noiseless.
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I enjoyed that!
Happy Music for the Morning.
Yeah, but how many are in that good a condition? They are all 60-90 years old at this point.
If they weren't played much and stored in a cool place, they could be in excellent condition. Shellac is very durable.
The story is that a D.J. played the 1933 Victor, because of one of Petrillo’s recording bans, in 1947. Victor reissued their version, and as soon as possible, Decca had Weems do another. At least, that’s the way I heard it.
Actually I have some records from the 1920s that were apparently unsold dealer stock, which are in near-mint condition. But although I’m no expert in these matters, I know how a lot of the surface noise comes from the bottom of the records’ grooves, as heavy needles dug into the shellac. There are people who re-master recordings utilizing things like needles which were made not to end in a ‘point.’ That tip is cut off. Leaving a needle that conveniently picks up the music from the ‘sides’ of the grooves, and avoiding the noise from the roughed-up bottom part.
There were also some cheaper dime-store records (labels like Grey Gull, Romeo, and such), which frankly, NEVER sounded all that crisp and clear. Even a ‘mint’ copy of these will serve up a pretty fair amount of surface noise. There was also the weird case of the “Diva” record label, which annoyingly stuck with ‘acoustic’ recordings for a good three or four years after the advent of electric recordings. They have great surfaces and play extremely well... but they all have a maddeningly dated ‘boxy’ sound of much older records, making them particularly exasperating.
They are actually relatively plentiful. Not available for 25¢ in antique stores, as 78’s were 50 years ago. A 78 that has been kept dry and cool, and unplayed, ages very well. On modern equipment, they will last hundreds of times longer than if played on machines from the 20’s or 30’s.
On the topic of Weems, even though he had a top-notch band, I have a slight preference for the similar-vintage recordings of Jan Garber’s band, who was doing material in the same vein, but on the Columbia label, in the late-1920s. Garber’s band seemed to have a bit more intensity, a bit more of a jazz ‘bite,’ so to speak. A really good example is his version of “Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down.” It has a similar dated/hokey vocal akin to Gibbs, but instrumentally, it really pins you to the wall.
Diva, Harmony, VelveTone, etc.—all subsidiaries of Columbia, sold in different dime store chains.
In 1924-5, Columbia spent a big chunk of money on new recording equipment, just months or weeks before Victor decided to go with the Western Electric system. Columbia did the same, but they continued to make records for their dime-store labels on the “new” acoustic equipment. They had an economic incentive to do so: A royalty was owed to Western Electric on every electrical disc sold, so Columbia saved money on their dime-store records by sticking with the acoustic machinery. They started issuing electrical records in late 1929. There are a few discs with one acoustic side and one electrical side. Others built their own (crummy) electrical amplifiers and cutters.
Those acoustic budget records are lousy—greatly inferior to many acoustic recordings of the preceding 20-25 years.
They would have been bought primarily by people who were still using machines that didn’t reproduce the louder, clearer electrical recordings all that well, anyway.
The acoustic machines designed to play electrical records were sold from late 1925 to 1928. The largest Victor Orthophonic model, the Credenza, sold about 250,000 copies in those three years. In 1931, the whole business collapsed. Most people didn’t start hearing electrically-reproduced records at home until the second half of the ‘thirties, or even after WWII.
Never knew there were any discs with one side acoustic and one side electric. The few Velvet-Tones I have never played very well. But the Divas and Harmony records always did... but they were hampered by their boxy acoustic sound, which was indeed worse and less-satisfying than the earlier (early-1920s) acoustics of labels like Brunswick, Vocalion, and Victor, which sounded so much better. Also akin to Harmony, I have about three high-grade Puritone 78’s, which are also late acoustics. I think one is of Joe Candullo’s band. They play smoothly, but again, the music is boxy acoustic.
I do have a late Diva example, with the usual graphics but under a smaller-size label, which is electric. Probably a late one, from around 1930.
Record Ban Blues--Dinah Washington with Cootie Williams & His Orchestra (1948)
I hear ya. Those vintage tone arms were heavy!
Well, your thread compelled me to dig out some of my old neglected records. I found that later-era, small-label “Diva” item I had, and it’s a “Golden Gate Orchestra” (CA Ramblers, I assume) recording. Also found a late “Harmony” with a small-label, by Frank Auburn and his Orch., which is also electric. Seems of similar vintage to the one “Clarion” record I have, which is of Kate Smith. Found a VelvetTone with an original sleeve. Those just never played well for me. Have several Annette Hanshaw’s on VT and Diva. Always adored her.
I have a separate collection of about 200 records that I got from a neighbor to my grandparents. These records had belonged to her grandfather, and had been in the attic. The lady gave them to me, knowing I liked vintage music. Her grandfather was a budding musician (cornet?), and since this was slightly before access to radio (early-to-mid-20s) here in the TX/LA region, he’d buy records to learn the trends. Very jazz-heavy collection, with a couple of King Oliver “Gennett” records, and lots and lots of regional/territory items, especially the stuff from New Orleans, like Tony Parenti, Johnny DeDroit, Scranton Sirens, Johnny Bayersdorffer, and such. There was a “Black Swan” record sleeve, but no Black Swan record. Lots of odd items and odd labels. Like some small-size 7-inch 78’s on a “Marathon” label, done by the Nutmeg Record Corporation, with original sleeves. 7-inch Melodisc and Emerson. Altogether a wild mishmash of things. Johnny Dodds, Carmichael’s Collegians, Harry Reser stuff. Varied condition, some fine, some a bit rough.
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