, developer of early color tv
technology, is lesser known for a cooler invention, the Highway Hifi
– the first recorded-music player for an automobile. The under-dash system played records
provided by Columbia Records which played at 16 ⅔ rpm even when the vehicle was in motion. It was first released with Chrysler models in 1956 but lackluster promotion of the option by both Columbia and Chrysler led to the option being discontinued
before the 60s. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn
on Oct 12, 2009 -
Imagine you're living in China, trying to work your way out of the family date farming business (which garners approximately $450 annually). You do all the right things. You apply for (and receive) Communist Party membership
. You study literally to the point of collapse, and despite coming from coal-town origins, you score high on your gao kao
("high test," more-or-less the only thing that matters in getting into a Chinese university). Your already-poor family goes deep
into debt to send you to college, and you even manage to come out with a degree. Classic rise-up-by-your-own-bootstraps tale, right? However, finally, when you go to apply for a job—your state-sanctioned educational, occupational, and political records are inexplicably, awfully gone
. What has happened to that plain manila folder (!) that serves as your only legitimate, official history in Chinese society? Probably stolen and sold so a party official's child can get everything you worked so hard for
. And then, of course
, your family is detained by party officials when your parents demand to know where the hell your life went. Of course. [more inside]
posted by Keter
on Jul 27, 2009 -
"The whole dream is that everybody has a world record in them
," said Dan Rollman, president and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based Universal Record Database
. Since the site went live last fall, more than 1,000 feats have been documented - ranging from the most binder clips on a face (now up to 34
) to the longest toenail (seven-eighths of an inch
) to the most whoopee cushions sat on without smiling or laughing (presently up to 18
), and a few records involving mustaches (1
). Beyond the basics of setting records, the URDB is based on three principles
: 1. Honesty and accuracy are pretty much everything, 2. Don't hurt yourself. Don't hurt others. Don't hurt the planet, and 3. Waste sucks. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Jun 20, 2009 -
A Day in the Life of Abbey Road;
(sorry for the prosaic lead-in link - at least I didn't use the word "iconic!") Enjoy watching Beatles' fans and locals negotiate London's famous Abbey Road crosswalk. I miss album covers; I'm of the generation of high school kids who spent a zillion hours flipping through them in record stores. The best of them - like Abbey Road - could be high-impact and sometimes accompanied their records like a kind of graphic mini-novel. What were some of your favorites and why?
posted by Dex Quire
on Mar 10, 2009 -
The Folkways Collection
is a downloadable, 24-part podcast series that "explores the remarkable collection of music, spoken word, and sound recordings that make up Folkways Records (now at the Smithsonian as Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)."
posted by Miko
on Feb 16, 2009 -
Desperate Man Blues
Edward Gillen's documentary about Joe Bussard, renowned collector of 25,000+ blues, folk and gospel 78rpm records from the 20s and 30s. It's about the hunt and the hunter, as much as what he found. One week only on Pitchfork TV [more inside]
posted by msalt
on Jan 31, 2009 -
The New Creation
was born in 1970 when Chris Towers, an unknown guitarist from Vancouver, decided to form a Christian rock group with his mother Lorna as lead singer and their neighbor Janet Tiessen on drums. Scared by reports of the hippie excesses of the Manson/Altamont era, Lorna Towers wrote doom-laden, apocalyptic lyrics for the New Creation's aptly titled album, Troubled
. The band was unpolished, yet somehow captured a unique lo-fi sound comparable to a hybrid of the Velvet Underground and the Shaggs
. The group might be totally forgotten today, if an aging hippie record dealer named Ty Scammel
hadn't rescued a copy from a $1 bargain bin, leading to the album's rediscovery
by collectors of Christian rock and outsider music
. [more inside]
posted by jonp72
on Jan 16, 2009 -
Legendary record man and music producer Jerry Wexler
died on August 15, at the age of 91. His keen insight, and his deep love and appreciation for the artists he worked with resulted in an extraordinary enriching of American music. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Aug 17, 2008 -
This is a collection of the National Archives stored in the Digital Vaults
. You can browse through hundreds of photographs, documents, and film clips and discover the connection between some of the National Archives' most treasured records. With the Pathways
tool you can see the unique and surprising connections between events and people and test your knowledge of history. As you travel through the site and collect documents, images and films, you can then merge the objects to create your own
poster or movie from your collection.
posted by netbros
on Jul 17, 2008 -
Death were a proto-punk trio of black Jehovah's Witnesses
based out of Detroit back in 1974. They were almost signed to Columbia, but bailed on the label when Columbia wanted them to change their name. Instead, they self-released a 7" which is now quite a collector's item
, influenced as it was by, “Iggy and Stooges, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and The Who”
But the story doesn't end there. Recently, Bobby Hackney, whose father played in Death along with two of his uncles, learned of the band and, lo and behold, his dad found the master tapes for their unreleased full-length in his attic. Is a new chapter in punk rock history
about to be written?
posted by stinkycheese
on Jun 11, 2008 -
Today is Record Store Day!What is it about music? It is Love and Passion channeled through a medium that cuts across and through actual definition straight to your soul whether you love Blues, Reggae, Country, Punk Rock, or Quawwali music, your favorite artists take you places you could otherwise never go - and that place is often a place of love and inspiration.
- Marc Weinstein [more inside]
posted by carsonb
on Apr 19, 2008 -
20 Biggest Record Company Screw-Ups of All Time
from Blender Magazine. "They include MCA Records’ decision in 1989 to pass on a Seattle upstart band called Nirvana while also betting big on “Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz,” the debut album of a hair-metal band called Pretty Boy Floyd."
posted by plexi
on Mar 15, 2008 -
Before Alex Steinweiss invented the album cover in 1938, at the age of 23, all albums came in plain brown wrappers. Steinweiss's idea to create a package that had something visual on the outside to lure the consumer was a huge success.
A tribute show
for the 90-year-old Steinweiss will be held at the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica, California, until February 23, 2008. More about Steinweiss here
. First link via.
posted by amyms
on Feb 19, 2008 -
WFMU's The Hound
has been delighting record geeks for the past few decades with sets of some of the wildest, wooliest rockabilly, R&B, blues, gospel, garage rock, and punk that can be dug out of crates. His site offers full podcasts
, and individual mp3's under the show links
, and organized by artist
, and title
. Bo Diddley singing to Kruschev! Blues songs about the Kinsey report! The Cashmere's talking about the hop! Brownie McGee singing about baseball's integration!
Roughly 4 million variations on 'The Twist!' And that;s just the tip of this glorious iceberg. [more inside]
posted by jonmc
on Nov 18, 2007 -
You're the star today!
In 1976, ABC's Record and Tape Division came up with the Captain Zoom Personalized Birthday Record. A two-minute song with 8 instances of the birthday boy or girl's name was recorded and mastered for a paper-thin flexible 7" record. It was sent in an envelope along with the lyrics to the song, a mini-coloring book, and an order form. In 1978, the Record and Tape Division was disbanded. Robert Stiller, a sales consultant who was involved with the project at ABC, bought the rights to the project and began distributing the record with his own company. Captain Zoom left a lasting impact
on those who heard his little jingle.
And there's a wedding version too. How sweet.
posted by mkb
on Jul 28, 2007 -
...In 1924 New York Recording Laboratory decided to expand its reach into that market by purchasing the Black Swan label. Founded in 1920 or 1921 by black entrepreneur Harry H. Pace, the pioneering company recorded everything from ragtime to grand opera, as long as it was sung by African-Americans... Paramount's biggest star was Ma Rainey, a blues moaner who influenced the legendary singer Bessie Smith... Paramount did not neglect male blues singers, who tended to be folk artists in the sense that their music was made initially for the entertainment of isolated rural communities. These included the singers and guitarists Charlie Patton... Blind Lemon Jefferson...Compliments of the Season
--where, among many other things, one can find an online copy of David Evans's biography Charley Patton
in Parts 1
or look at a picture of Skip James in 1932
, not to mention a view of Paramount's promotion of Patton as the Masked Marvel
. And that is not, as they say, all...
posted by y2karl
on Dec 18, 2006 -
"In the monitor booth the sound technician listens to the rehearsal through a loudspeaker, and in cooperation with maestro Ellington, brings the music to its highest sound perfection before transmitting it through the electrical circuits to the recording machine!" Record Making With Duke Ellington (1937)
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Nov 27, 2006 -
'Pavarotti of the Plains'
In 1957, Don Walser
stopped recording country music and became a National Guardsman, just as rock 'n' roll took over the airwaves. He stayed with the Guard for 39 years, but around 1990, his performances at Henry's in Austin, Texas developed a following. By the end of the decade, he would sign to Sire Records
, open for Ministry and the Butthole Surfers, collaborate with Kronos Quartet
and be honored with a National Heritage Award
. Walser retired from his music career in 2001 because of ill health. He passed away
on Wednesday at age 72.
posted by NemesisVex
on Sep 21, 2006 -
are records etched into discarded x-ray film. State censorship and lack of resources were the mothers of invention in the USSR and Eastern Europe, and apparently millions of these records were made. Without this crucial conduit of illicit western music, perhaps there would have been no Plastic People of the Universe
and no Velvet (Underground) Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Mostly, though, these are just the coolest picture discs
posted by snofoam
on Sep 2, 2006 -
For nearly two years now, Ben T Steckler
has been reviewing, posting album covers, and making full albums available for download from his seemingly inexhaustible collection of out-of-print, spoken word, sound effect, educational & other kooky recorded ephemera. If you're a fan of album titles like How To Buy Meat
, What Smoking Has Done For Me
, or The Catholic Marriage Manual
, this site will provide you with endless hours of reading/downloading/listening pleasure.
posted by jonson
on Aug 17, 2006 -