Thursday, December 17, 2015

The miracle of the rescued Christmas 78: "Hallelujah Chorus"--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1908.

When I placed the needle on Arthur Pryor's 12" 78 of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, the tonearm did a bunny hop over the starting grooves.  Examining the disc closely, I spotted a pronounced lip warp.  Another side for the dead disc pile. (Muted trumpet, descending in "wah wah" half steps.)

Luckily, I thought to Google for a solution to the problem, and I found it at Youtube, where I witnessed a badly warped big band 78 being flattened with a blow dryer and some gentle pressure.  A blow dryer!  I was thinking glass plates and an oven (the conventional remedy).  Something I've never tried, because someone told me the possible fumes/heat combination could be bad news.

So I plugged in Bev's blow dryer and held it over the warped area until it was nice and hot.  Then I placed a small stack of 12' 78s and some books atop the area (light pressure wouldn't do for a thick 1908 12" Victor 78), and I left it overnight.  (The Youtube video had noted that 78s retain heat for some time.)

Next morning, not expecting much in the way of results, I unearthed the disc, took it to the Media Room, and played it.  The needle tracked flawlessly.  No warp!!

I'll have to re-find that video and link to it (Youtube link).  Meanwhile, here's Arthur Pryor's Band, from 1908.  I think you'll agree it was worth the extra trouble:

Hallelujah Chorus--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1908.



Ernie said...

I'd be scared silly to try that, but if it works...

John said...

It really is a Christmas miracle! The sound is amazing. thank you for this treat. And I have a record or two that I might need to try this on.


Lee Hartsfeld said...

Ernie--Well, the disc was beyond hope, so I figured I had nothing to lose. And I already knew that 78s can survive a great deal of heat, so long as they're properly stored. (Many of mine survived several years in our attic.) The main thing was having a solid surface under the disc.

Luckily, the warp was small enough that I could pile stuff on it without the 78 going "snap!"

John--Glad you enjoyed. Yes, the sound is incredible, isn't it? I wasn't expecting that level of detail (and punch) from a 1908 Victor, but I'm not complaining!

Anonymous said...

Lee, I loved this ressurected record so much, I wanted to download it from box but somehow couldn't could you send me a download link that would be a miracle and a blessing. Merry Christmas from a year ago, or is it 1908 again, Thanks to you and your wondrous recordings and the work you put into the sound is a sight to beheard.
Byron, Dec 26th, 2016

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Hi, Byron!

Actually, I reposted it this year as part of a zip file. Here's the link:

Sorry about Box--I reached my DL bandwidth limit for the month, so nothing can be downloaded until Jan. 1. At the moment, all of my Christmas 2016 music is at Zippyshare.

Thanks for the nice words! And hope you had a great Christmas.