The Boston Public Library 78rpm Collection
April 2, 2019 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Internet Archive: "Following eighteen months of work, more than 50,000 78rpm record 'sides' from the Boston Public Library’s sound archives have now been digitized and made freely available online by the Internet Archive."
posted by mandolin conspiracy (33 comments total) 104 users marked this as a favorite
The Colonel's Tropical Bird by Dwight Fiske (monologue with piano.)
posted by larrybob at 10:11 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]

This is amazing. Now I just need to figure out what I want to listen to…
posted by Alensin at 10:12 AM on April 2

Listen to 36 versions of the Basin Street Blues!
posted by sammyo at 10:15 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]

Somebody just put a treasure chest on my computer. What a gift!
posted by charlesminus at 10:17 AM on April 2

Surface noise. You'd get it on the records you had had longest and played most, so that it was like smile lines on your sweetheart's face. Brings me back.
posted by ckridge at 10:17 AM on April 2 [6 favorites]

Noel Coward's advice on international relations, circa 1943: Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans.

Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians: Gobs of Love
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:19 AM on April 2 [5 favorites]

Selecting "Novelty" under "Topics and Subjects" is one huge rabbit hole of ridiculousness.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:32 AM on April 2 [5 favorites]

Rhymes performed by Waring's Pennsylvanians, written by Leslie Sarony has risqué limericks with the last line missing.
posted by larrybob at 10:35 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]

The Thing, The Thing, and The Thing.

We never do find out what the eponymous "Thing" is. My money is on an eldritch horror of some kind.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:47 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]

Searching for artists can lead to many more collections of 78s. I had no idea these existed, Thanks!
I Guess I'll Get the Papers And Go Home --- Mills Brothers
posted by pjenks at 11:10 AM on April 2

When they started this I found a bunch of Christmas songs / holiday songs and made a playlist for my partner and to play when her mother and the rest of the family was over. Her mother, early 70s, seemed really pleased. I have been donating to the Internet Archive monthly since, they do wonderful work and these are a treasure. I highly recommend spelunking through them for hidden gems.
posted by jzb at 11:20 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]

Brings back great memories... When I was a kid, my parents bought a house where someone had left behind an old Victrola with tons of old 78s. There was lots of Hawaiian music, plus boogie woogie, ragtime and jazz... fun stuff.
posted by rjd at 11:27 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]

A lot of these seem to have multiple versions each with different EQ
Does anyone know what the different numbers mean?
posted by Lanark at 11:49 AM on April 2

Lanark, they digitize from multiple styli at the same time and apply different EQ curves to each. The operator chooses the best-sounding one to their ears, and that is renamed to the main track. They leave the other versions around just in case you disagree.
posted by scruss at 12:10 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]

Also, The Hut-Sut Song. That will be all.
posted by scruss at 12:15 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]

Ah I see on the description to 'The Thing', the numbers refer to the stylus size.
posted by Lanark at 12:45 PM on April 2

Aw, I should start leaving `reviews' of the dance tunes with the BPM.
posted by clew at 1:07 PM on April 2

Newer vinyl records are all cut with the same EQ biasing the cutter (the RIAA EQ curve), so when you play them there's an easy and standard way to correct that bias back to a flat EQ. Back in 78 land no one had agreed on a standard EQ yet, although they are almost all cut with a bias, and it's not written on the disc, so it can be very hard to know what corrective EQ to apply to bring things back to a flat frequency response. Hence a number of possible corrections being available.
posted by deadwax at 1:08 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]

This might be where my username starts to look appropriate
posted by deadwax at 1:09 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]

Press the llama to use WinAmp!

posted by chavenet at 1:14 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]

Hmmm, what I wrote above is correct but the versions available seem to perhaps only refer to the different stylii, which will primarily change fidelity and noise. I wonder what they do about ambiguous EQ biases.
posted by deadwax at 1:19 PM on April 2

Glad to see that The Dinghy Song has been preserved.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:13 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]

(that last link is NSFW, btw)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:35 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]

Glad to see that The Dinghy Song has been preserved.

From the notes on that:

The recording on the other side of this disc: Tonight You Sleep in the Bathtub.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:36 PM on April 2

Do you like laughing songs? Here's a couple hours' worth. (previously)
posted by ardgedee at 4:40 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]

posted by mwhybark at 5:21 PM on April 2

streaming 24/7 in my mind
posted by mwhybark at 5:22 PM on April 2

OK, this ridiculous novelty song is pretty great, particularly if you assume someone was playing this in mixed company without first saying what the title is (which I assume is the intended joke).

(cw: includes one offhand use of the word "colored")
posted by tocts at 6:34 PM on April 2

This is part of a 150K+ item collection, including the epic efforts of George Blood L.P.
posted by BiggerJ at 6:35 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]

African Music Rhythm in the Jungle Vol. 1

Field recordings made by ethnomusicologist Laura Boulton from 1939. Not sure of the recording's location. The description just mentions expeditions to West Africa and lists the tribes involved: Malinke Tribe; Bambara Tribe; Taureg Tribe; Bakwiri Tribe; Kru Tribe; Bini Tribe.

At any rate, this is quite amazing.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 11:29 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]

What a great resource, thanks for posting.
posted by theora55 at 10:06 AM on April 3

[from the archive] we are having fun. to have it play and play and play-- try hitting the "play all" button on a search result, or collections page, or at the bottom of the details page. e.g. on
posted by brewsterkahle at 2:00 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]

African Music Rhythm in the Jungle

That first war song is mesmerizing. These are great examples of how rhythmically complicated music from some other cultures is (compared to "European" music).
posted by NorthernLite at 2:45 PM on April 10

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