Saturday, September 22, 2007
Sunday morning gospel--Last of the sacred shellac (for now)!
I'm very happy with this batch o' sacred shellac, even though four or five files from the batch had to be scrapped (as unsavable). Such an experience might have driven a lesser sound restorationist utterly mad, but I... I....
Sorry. I have no idea what just happened. Actually, I'm just now noticing that the same thing happened last time, though for different reasons. That is, I had to scrap some tracks, but it was because the headshell contacts weren't fully meeting. This time, it was all about record condition.
Just some fascinating behind-the-blog stuff there.
Anyway, we've got fifteen outstanding gospel selections to enjoy this morning, the earliest hailing from 1908, and the most recent a product of 1955. Two years before I was born. I guess that qualifies as recent.
The list includes no fewer than five tunes written by the great Charles H. Gabriel, including the fairly repetitious but very catchy I Need Jesus, a huge hit in its day--as was its flip side, the Homer-Rodeheaver-penned Good-night and Good-morning. The 1925 sound on these two is pretty impressive (engineering-wise), if your ears can ignore the post-1925 wear and tear. How I got a file out of the disc in question, I'll never know. Gazing at the record under my desk lamp, I found myself wondering what happened to the grooves. Specifically, how had my Stanton 78 stylus managed to find sound information in those well-worn ruts, much less extract it and transmit it to my preamp? I have to wonder if my cartridge had somehow captured the ghosts of previous playings.
Two of the Gabriels are replays of--and improvements on--recently-presented tracks: Homer's 1922 Raindbow recording of Brighten the Corner and William McEwan's 1912 or 1913 version of Will the Circle Be Unbroken, taken from a better (and earlier) pressing than the one I posted last week.
Some superb 19th-century gospel tunes--Life's Railway to Heaven, When the Mists Have Rolled Away, In the Sweet Bye and Bye, and Beautiful Valley of Eden--side by side with some relatively modern gems--Shake the Hand of a Stranger, Army of the Lord, and Oh, Gentle Shepherd. "Modern" meaning merely half a century old.
I'm guessing the deep, deep bass voice on the first of the "modern" titles is that of Thurl Ravenscroft--I can't be sure, but my ears say it's him. However, I'm certain that the wonderful background voices on Oh, Gentle Shepherd are those of the Anita Kerr Singers. The Internet gives me two copyright dates for this Cindy Walker song--1954 and 1957. The latter year isn't likely, since our recording dates from the former. Country singer George Morgan has an exceedingly smooth and pleasant voice.
The best of the bunch may be Metropolitan Opera soprano Marion Talley's 1928 version of The Old Rugged Cross. The thing's been playing in my head since I ripped it. It works amazingly well as a concert number. I reckon it's one of those tunes that would not only survive, but thrive in, any treatment.
To the gospel. (Click here for folder: Last of the Sacred Shellac--for a While.)
SHAKE THE HAND OF A STRANGER (Hamblen)--Prairie Choir, with the Darol Rice Orch., 1955. ARMY OF THE LORD (Hamblen)--Prairie Choir, with the Darol Rice Orch., 1955.
BEAUTIFUL VALLEY OF EDEN (Cushing-Sherwin)--Mr. and Mrs. William Wheeler, 1910.
SINCE JESUS CAME INTO MY HEART (McDaniel-Gabriel)--Homer Rodeheaver, 1915.
OH, GENTLE SHEPHERD (Cindy Walker)--George Morgan, Anita Kerr Singers, 1954.
THE OLD RUGGED CROSS (Bennard)--Marion Talley, soprano, 1928.
BRIGHTEN THE CORNER WHERE YOU ARE (Ogden-Gabriel)--Homer Rodeheaver, 1922.
LIFE'S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN (Snow-Tillman)--Charles Harrison-Clifford Cairns, 1922.
WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN (Habershon-Gabriel)--William McEwan, 1912 or 1913.
MEMORIES OF MOTHER (Harkness)--William McEwan, 1912 or 1913.
IN THE SWEET BYE AND BYE (Bennett-Webster)--Hayden Quartette, 1908.
THERE'S A RAINBOW ON THE CLOUD (Hewitt-Gabriel)--Homer Rodeheaver, 1923.
I NEED JESUS (Webster-Gabriel)--Homer Rodeheaver, 1925.
GOOD-NIGHT AND GOOD-MORNING (DeArmond-Rodeheaver)--Homer Rodeheaver, 1925.
WHEN THE MISTS HAVE ROLLED AWAY (Herbert-Sankey)--Trinity Choir, 1912.