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Some "tiddlywink" music for your enjoyment!

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Dismuke
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I recently acquired a copy of a 78 rpm record that Ayn Rand owned of one of her favorite songs: "Destiny Waltz" recorded by Edith Lorand and Her Orchestra in Germany in the early 1930s. A few years ago, the on-hold music at the Ayn Rand Institute featured some recordings from Ayn Rand's record collection and this recording of "Destiny Waltz" was one of them. I had been searching for this record for a while and finally was able to locate a copy and pick it up in a vintage record auction.

Ayn Rand mentioned "Destiny Waltz" in We The Living when she wrote the following:

"Destiny Waltz" was slow and soft; it stopped for a breathless second once in a while and swung into rhythm again, slowly, rocking a little, as if expecting soft, billowing satin skirts to murmur gently in answer, in a ballroom such as did not exist any longer."

The song has an interesting history. It was published in 1912 and composed by British composer Sydney Baynes. It was one of the songs that Wallace Hartley's White Star Orchestra performed on the fateful voyage of the Titanic.

This particular recording of "Destiny Waltz" was made in Germany in either late 1931 or early 1932 (I am still researching the exact recording date) by the Edith Lorand Orchestra. Lorand was a very famous Hungarian violinist who began to make a name for herself in Berlin in the early 1920s. By the early 1930s she had her own salon orchestra and was an international celebrity known throughout Europe and even in America. She had a lucrative recording contract and even appeared in a few films. Sadly, because she was Jewish, when the National Socialists came to power, her recording contracts and theatrical bookings were abruptly terminated due to the potential harassment that record companies and theatres would have faced for hiring Jewish performers. Lorand was force to flee to her native Hungary - and when that country's government allied itself with Nazi Germany, she was forced to flee again in 1937 to the United States where she was unable to find the level of career success she had enjoyed in pre-Nazi Europe.

You can listen to the recording in a Real Audio stream by clicking here or you can download an mp3 copy of it by clicking here.

My particular copy is from a circa 1933 American pressing on the Columbia label. The original German release was on the Parlophone label. The recording on the flip side of "Destiny Waltz" was different on the American and the German releases. My assumption is that Ayn Rand's copy was the American release - so I will present here a copy of that issue's flip side as it would also be something from her collection. I have no idea what Ayn Rand thought of the song - but I think is very pretty. It is called "Poem" and was composed by 19th century Czech composer Zdenek Fibich. It is also performed by Edith Lorand and Her Orchestra. The Real Audio stream can be heard by clicking here and you can download an mp3 copy by clicking here.

- - - - - - - - -

There is also a really excellent brand new website published by the University of California at Santa Barbara devoted to vintage cylinder recordings at: http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/ The site features recordings of several songs that were favorites of Ayn Rand.

"Get Out And Get Under" This is a very fun recording from a 1914 Edison Blue Amberol cylinder: http://snipurl.com/klc8

"The Mill In The Forest" - This is a 1907 Edison cylinder of a Richard Eilenberg song that Ayn Rand enjoyed. A different version of the song used to be featured on the Ayn Rand Institute hold music. http://snipurl.com/klca

"Amina - Egyptian Serenade" Here is a 1909 recording of a Paul Lincke composition Ayn Rand enjoyed. http://snipurl.com/klcf

Cylinder records were considered old fashioned and out of date by the time Ayn Rand was in America and buying records. So it is highly unlikely that she would have been familiar with any of these old cylinder performances. But they are of songs that she enjoyed and they are performed in a style typical of the era.

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Yes, thanks so much!

I don't know how many other people would have this connection, but it reminds me of the music I used to hear on the Carousel when I would go for a ride as a small child. I used to love that ride, it made me feel like a grand lady out for a jaunt in the park. :dough:

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Yes, thanks so much!

I don't know how many other people would have this connection, but it reminds me of the music I used to hear on the Carousel when I would go for a ride as a small child. I used to love that ride, it made me feel like a grand lady out for a jaunt in the park. :)

Yes, that sense of grandeur you felt was the effect that the music of that era had and was intended to have. I personally am very fond of the music - across a variety of genres - from the latter decades of the 1800s through the 1930s. It had a benevolence and expressiveness that is all but impossible to find in today's pop culture where that which is not outrightly nihilistic is, by comparison, bland, lifeless and sanitized in my view. Music from the pre 1940 decades is pretty much all that I listen to.

As for carousels - I agree. I think the old carousel organs and the band organs of that era were incredibly grand and lots of fun. If you ever visit New York City, make sure that you take some time out to ride the vintage carousel in Central Park. It is VERY inexpensive - I think admission for adults is something like a dollar or two. The specific music that it plays depends on whatever the operator "programs" it to play. The last time I was there, unfortunately, it was programmed to play children's music - such as "Row Row Your Boat" and the like - whereas I was hoping it would be playing turn of the century light classics, operetta and ragtime recordings. Then, suddenly, out of the blue, the thing started playing a song from an old Victor Herbert operetta - which is much better than "Row Row Your Boat" and really made my day. I always ride the thing several times and hang around it just to listen to the music.

If you enjoy the sort of music heard on the links I put up in my previous postings, I feature quite a lot of it on the "Hit of the Week" section on my website at http://dismuke.org/how The main update each week features popular jazz and dance band recordings from the 1920s through the very early 1940s. But in each week's "extra" section, I feature recordings from 1900 - 1940 encompassing a wide variety of genres, including ragtime and songs from old operettas and light classics as well as ethnic recordings.

Also, if you enjoy ragtime - a really delightful musical genre that existed from the 1890s through the late 1910s and from which a number of Ayn Rand's "tiddlywink" songs come, there is an outstanding Internet radio station that plays nothing but ragtime music 24 hours a day. It is called "Elite Syncopations Radio" and its website is at: http://www.ragtimeradio.org/ The station plays a mix of vintage recordings as well as lots of modern recordings using vintage scores. It is a very fun station to listen to. And it is programmed by a couple of students at the College of William and Mary - and I think it always nice to see others who were born many decades after the music who have a passion for keeping it alive.

Edited by Dismuke
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Speaking of the band organs found on carousels, one of these tunes "Get Out and Get Under", is one that I first heard played on a band organ (and I have the recording; it is commercially available). I don't know if "Destiny Waltz" or any of Ayn Rand's other favorites were ever arranged on a music roll for a band organ.

There are many carousels in the country that still are accompanied by band organs playing their wonderful music. And recordings of this music are available too. Often called "the world's happiest music", band organ music has always been my favorite.

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And recordings of this music are available too. Often called "the world's happiest music", band organ music has always been my favorite.

Here is something that you might enjoy, Jay - it is a recording a friend sent me a while back of an antique street organ playing a medley of selections from operettas by Franz Lehar, who, incidentally, was one of the composers that Ayn Rand enjoyed. http://dismuke.net/ooforum/Draaiorgel.mp3 I don't have a lot of information about the recording - but my strong guess, based on the name of the mp3 file, is that the machine was from the Netherlands where such organs were once quite common.

For the uninitiated, some might be kind of wondering what the big deal is with vintage street organs and band organs - and it is understandable for a generation for whom recorded music is commonplace, sometimes to the point of distraction. But 100 years ago, such things were very much a novelty. Recorded sound did not become a commercial success until the 1890s and remained largely an amusement of the well off until the 1920s. Until the advent of electrical recording in 1925, the fidelity of recorded sound was very primitive. Instruments such as player pianos and band organs were far superior in terms of producing a quality, life-like audio experience than were record players. Plus, when one watches all of the moving parts and the gizmos as they are playing, the instruments are still very mesmerizing. In an age when "artificial" music was rare, the experience must have been breathtaking. And the sound of those old machines produced by an mp3 file and a computer sound system is no substitute for hearing them played "live."

For those who enjoyed the tunes in the mp3 file and are not familiar with Franz Lehar's music, I highly recommend anything he composed - all of it is excellent and very beautiful. His most famous work was the 1905 operetta The Merry Widow and that is a great place to begin - and is the easiest of his operettas to find here in the USA.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Here is something that you might enjoy, Jay... my strong guess, based on the name of the mp3 file, is that the machine was from the Netherlands where such organs were once quite common.

Thanks - yes, it does sound like a Dutch street organ.

The best source I know of for band organ music is a company called "Carrousel Music" (note the two r's in their name): http://www.carouselstores.com/cgi-bin/caro...music/index.cgi. (I'm having trouble putting this link in my post, but their web site can easily be found by simply doing a Google search for "Carrousel Music".) They have tapes and CD's of quite a few different band organs and other automatic musical instruments, and there are samples on the web site. My favorites are the recordings of the Wurlitzer 153 and 165 band organs: this is the "American sound", and is mostly songs written in the 1930's or before.

Besides band organs, there were other automatic instruments back then also, for instance, there were machines that played automatic versions of banjos or violins. They're fascinating to watch and listen to.

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Thanks - yes, it does sound like a Dutch street organ.

The best source I know of for band organ music is a company called "Carrousel Music" (note the two r's in their name): http://www.carouselstores.com/cgi-bin/caro...music/index.cgi.

Thanks so much for the link. I actually stumbled across that same website about a year or so ago when I was trying to research a song that was included on one of their tapes - but I had forgotten all about it. I will have to get one of their compilations of fox trots and check them out.

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Speaking of tiddlywink music, band organs and music from the very early 1900s..... this evening I posted on my website's weekly update a really nice recording of instrumental selections from my all time favorite operetta, A Waltz Dream by Oscar Straus. (I do not know what opinion, if any, Ayn Rand had of Oscar Straus in particular, but she was fond of other composers from the so-called "Sliver Age" (1905- 1930s) of Viennese operetta such as Franz Lehar and Emerich Kalman).

A Waltz Dream premiered in 1907 and was enormously popular in Germany and Austria-Hungary. Sadly, it has been mostly forgotten today in the United States. The songs from the operetta range from being peppy and cheerful to breathtakingly beautiful. It is exactly the kind of music that was well known to people from all levels of European and even American society at the time and I have no doubt that it was probably included in many carousels and street organs. This particular recording of highlights from the operetta is, I think, especially nice in that it is entirely instrumental - my primary interest in operetta music is for the music itself as opposed to the lyrics or the librettos. Unfortunately, the recording is not mine (I wish it were) but belongs to my guest contributor who has generously made it available for visitors to my website.

You can access the recording by going to http://dismuke.org/how and scrolling down to the "Extra" section (after January 11 you will need to find it under the "Previous Selections" for January 2006). Also, while you are there, check out the "Sunny Side Up" medley that is posted in the top section of the update. It comes from an extremely rare (and perhaps even the only surviving) broadcast transcription disc of a 1930 program sponsored by Philco. The music on the transcription, selections from the 1929 movie musical Sunny Side Up (which starred Janet Gaynor, who, incidentally, later became a friend and next door neighbor to Ayn Rand) is also quite wonderful and completely unlike anything that is produced today.

What is, to me, so remarkable about works such as A Waltz Dream and the music that was featured on that old Philco broadcast is that both are examples of the "pop culture" sort of music from their respective eras. Neither was considered at all "high brow." Quite the opposite - it was music which was written for and appealed to the widest common denominator in the culture. The level of the public taste back then was so incredibly exalted - especially when compared to the sanitized blandness and trashiness of recent decades.

There are a great many things about life in the modern age that I would never want to give up - the Internet, medical advances, air conditioning, to name a few. But when I listen to that music and experience certain other surviving relics from the pre- World War II decades - well, if the impossible were to happen and I suddenly had access to a time machine, I am not entirely certain that I wouldn't just take my chances and go back. All I can hope for, I guess, is that enough people rediscover the things about that era which were so grand and wonderful that it perhaps can exert a beneficial influence on the world of our future and that I live long enough to experience it and enjoy it.

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Thanks for posting these links! I'm glad you still update your website-- I found a link to your "Music With an Ayn Rand Connection" page a few years ago, and I love everything on it. Destiny Waltz is one of my favorites. It brings tears to my eyes almost every time.

I think most of the best recordings on your site are the Accoustical Era ones. They might be a little more crackly than the 20's and 30's recordings, but the songs and the performances on them are so irreplacable and amazing.

But I might never have heard the recordings you have on your website anywhere else, so thanks for posting them.

I wonder what the market would be like for a professionally re-mastered compilation album with some of Ayn Rand's favorite tunes... Do you think they would sell something like that at The Ayn Rand Bookstore?

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...The music on the transcription, selections from the 1929 movie musical Sunny Side Up (which starred Janet Gaynor, who, incidentally, later became a friend and next door neighbor to Ayn Rand) is also quite wonderful and completely unlike anything that is produced today.

....

I knew I'd heard "Keep Your Sunny Side Up" on a band organ before, and sure enough, that song is listed in a catalog of Wurlitzer style 165 band organ rolls under the title "Sunnyside Up", written by De Sylva, Brown and Henderson, July 29, 1929 (song number 6 on roll 6655). (The catalog of these rolls is on line: http://wurlitzer-rolls.com/ - it has lists of songs on each roll, together with dates, so one can see what music was popular just when. There is also some Wurlitzer 165 music available for listening, on this site.) For all I know, this song might be arranged as well for other kinds of band organ rolls; I don't remember which organ I've heard it played on.

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Thanks for posting these links! I'm glad you still update your website-- I found a link to your "Music With an Ayn Rand Connection" page a few years ago, and I love everything on it. Destiny Waltz is one of my favorites. It brings tears to my eyes almost every time.

I am glad you enjoy it.

There is actually a great recording of "Destiny Waltz" made in recent years available on CD. The CD is called: Titanic: Music As Heard On The Fateful Voyage It contains "Destiny Waltz" and a bunch of other songs of various genres from the 1890s to the early 1910s which were played by the small salon orchestra on board the Titanic. What is nice about the CD is it is performed in a style more or less authentic to what the orchestra in the first and second class section of the ship most likely sounded like. Some of the songs on the CD also seek to reproduce the sort of "homegrown" music that third class passengers who often brought their own instruments with them might have played among themselves. Here is a link to the CD's page on Amazon.com which also features short audio clips http://snipurl.com/lef6 Beware - there are actually several "music from the Titanic" themed CDs that were issued in the wake of the movie of a few years back so make sure you are purchasing this one specifically. I have not heard all of the others - but I am always cautious about such things as there is often the likelihood of it being done in a cheesy, modern day "easy listening" sort of style.

I think most of the best recordings on your site are the Accoustical Era ones. They might be a little more crackly than the 20's and 30's recordings, but the songs and the performances on them are so irreplacable and amazing.

Well, part of the reason the recordings in the Acoustical section of the site sound more crackly is because, since that section was last updated, I have acquired significantly better playback equipment as well as a device which performs real-time audio restoration which I further process with audio restoration software. I have not yet gotten around to re-recording all of the audio files in the site's Acoustical section nor have I gotten around to re-recording the selections in the Ayn Rand section either. You can tell a HUGE difference in the quality between the files in those sections and the files in my Hit of the Week updates over the past couple of years - and most especially in the last several months since I upgraded my styli.

This afternoon, I finished up the audio restoration for the next couple Hit of the Week updates - and you will definitely want to check back for them as I think they are some of the best I have put up to date, not just in terms of the rarity of the material but in terms of quality as well. (URL is http://dismuke.org/how ) Both the January 12 and January 19 updates will feature some more of those extremely rare (possibly sole surviving copies) early '30s broadcast transcriptions - including a lost performance by the Boswell Sisters. The January 12 "Extra" will feature medley selections from two 1929 Broadway productions Follow Thru and Hold Everything. The recordings are not of the original cast - but they have a great "Roaring '20s" sound and are an excellent example of what one would have heard at a Jazz Age Broadway musical. The January 19 "Extra" will feature some more Edith Lorand recordings in a similar vein as the "Destiny Waltz"/"Poem" recordings.

One of the things I was thinking of as I was doing the work on the broadcast transcriptions - if something like that were to suddenly turn up for some stinking, drugged out hippie "musician" from the 1960s or 1970s of a similar level of fame, well, people would be reading about it on the Reuters newswire and the owner of the recording and of the venue where it was presented to the public would both be flooded with requests for interviews from music and trade publications. And the owner of such a recording sure as heck wouldn't choose some one-named nobody in flyover country who operates an Internet-only radio station out of the corner of his living room as the venue for presenting it to the world. But when something of quality turns up from a 1930s artist - a world famous vocal group which had talent - well, let's just say that the only phone calls I expect to receive from any media outlets are the telemarketers who incessantly peddle subscriptions to the third-rate local newspaper. The aesthetic depths to which our popular culture has sunk - especially with regard to music - really sickens me sometimes. On the other hand, the good news is the fact that, 15 years ago, it would have been impossible for someone who did not have a ton of money to bring such performances to the attention of a large, geographically diverse audience. Thanks to the Internet, it is now possible. So there is hope that enough people will eventually discover what was lost - and perhaps someday even improve on it.

The popular culture of the early 1900s was not without significant flaws of its own. But the contrast between it and that of our own time is amazing. If we can ever bring about a culture even better than that which existed 75-100+ years ago - well, all I can say is I sure envy the lucky people who will get to experience the art and entertainment which will develop as a result.

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I knew I'd heard "Keep Your Sunny Side Up" on a band organ before, and sure enough, that song is listed in a catalog of Wurlitzer style 165 band organ rolls under the title "Sunnyside Up", written by De Sylva, Brown and Henderson, July 29, 1929 (song number 6 on roll 6655). (The catalog of these rolls is on line: http://wurlitzer-rolls.com/ - it has lists of songs on each roll, together with dates, so one can see what music was popular just when. There is also some Wurlitzer 165 music available for listening, on this site.) For all I know, this song might be arranged as well for other kinds of band organ rolls; I don't remember which organ I've heard it played on.

I have always thought "Keep Your Sunny Side Up" was a really neat song ever since I was a kid and first heard it playing over the closing credits for a televised rerun of the 1973 film Paper Moon (a real fun movie, by the way, and one of the few films from that era set in the 1930s where the cast did not all have hippie inspired 1970s haircuts).

I have a VHS copy of the original 1929 film Sunny Side Up. I don't believe it has ever been commercially released on VHS or DVD - but one can often purchase video transfers of some of the old movies from the era which still survive from collectors on ebay. I am afraid the "plot" of the film is pretty lame - as was, unfortunately, often the case with the movie musicals of the era. I have yet to watch it all the way through - I just fast forward to the song and dance numbers, some of which are very much worth watching. Janet Gaynor presented the song in the film - and she gave an outstanding performance. Other songs from the movie which became popular hits were "If I Had A Talking Picture Of You" "I'm A Dreamer, Aren't We All?" and "Turn On The Heat" - all of which are very nice songs. The song from the film featured on that radio transcription on my website, "Sitting In The Movies Holding Hands" apparently was not issued commercially on record so it is possible that it is the only recording of the song made outside of the sound track. I don't remember the song at all from the last time I watched the film - so I will have to go back and look for it sometime.

As for the song "Keep Your Sunny Side Up" - the most famous version on record was by Johnny Hamp and His Kentucky Serenaders, which is also the version I heard when I was a kid during the credits in Paper Moon. Here is an mp3 of the Johnny Hamp version which also provides the lyrics for the main chorus:

Keep Your Sunny Side Up

Johnny Hamp And His Kentucky Serenaders

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I wonder what the market would be like for a professionally re-mastered compilation album with some of Ayn Rand's favorite tunes... Do you think they would sell something like that at The Ayn Rand Bookstore?

Judging by the number of visitors the Ayn Rand section on my website gets and by the amount of interest in Ayn Rand's tastes and life on the part of many of her fans, I think such a compilation would be successful - especially if it were sold through the Ayn Rand Bookstore. And I think there would even be a small market for it outside of Ayn Rand fans. She had great taste in music - and many of those songs have been even more forgotten and much more neglected on CD reissue than the 1920s pop and jazz recordings which I present.

It would actually be possible to make such a compilation from Ayn Rand's own records as a large number of the records from her collection still exist and are in storage at the Ayn Rand Institutes's archives. Dr. Berliner has done a lot of research on Ayn Rand's music and played a number of recordings from her collection at the Ayn Rand Centennial events in California last February. His talk was also delivered at the Centennial events in New York in April which I got to see.

My guess as to one possible reason why such a CD has yet to be issued is that the legal logistics can really be a pain. The legal status of vintage recordings is a huge gray area in the United States and recent legislation has only made matters worse. Our copyright laws are a real mess. In recent decades the terms of copyrights have been significantly extended with no renewal process whatsoever - and no provision has been made for instances of "abandoned" works for which no legal owner can be located. A great many vintage photographs and even films are simply not being restored and made available to the public because no owner can be located and, if one does go ahead and expend money on the restoration/publication and someone suddenly appears on the scene claiming to be the owner, one can, at the very least, lose all of one's investment in the project.

With sound recordings in the USA the situation is even worse because there was no federal copyright for sound recordings prior to 1973. What exists is a contradictory patchwork of state anti-piracy laws and what I am told are recent attempts on the part of the recording industry and their lapdogs in Washington to deny public domain status to ANY sound recording dating back to the late 1800s - despite the fact that the hippie types in charge of the musical output of the big record labels have zero interest in actually doing anything commercially with the vast majority of pre-World War II recordings. There is a reason why most CD labels which specialize in reissuing pre-World War II recordings are based in Canada, England or Europe. And to make matters worse, those same record companies are starting to panic as acts such as Elvis and others which are still commercially viable begin to pass the 50 year threshold in Europe after which sound recordings enter the public domain and they are starting to exert pressure on European politicians.

I am all for copyright laws and intellectual property - but a great deal of our cultural heritage is in danger of not being rediscovered and perhaps even lost completely because much of it has effectively been abandoned and there is no clear cut legal way make use of it commercially. That was one of the advantages of requiring all copyright owners to renew their claims after so many years. The vast majority of first time copyrights were never renewed and thus entered the public domain. Those who wished continued copyright protection merely had to file some paperwork after 28 years. Losing our cultural heritage is a pretty big deal considering how, culturally, what once was is often much advanced and civilized that than which currently is. Before we can go foward, in many cases, we must first discover what we have lost.

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I have not heard all of the others - but I am always cautious about such things as there is often the likelihood of it being done in a cheesy, modern day "easy listening" sort of style.

Lol, yes, hearing that kind of thing almost makes me wish that era of music would remain lost, to spare it from being played badly in elevators and over phones while "on hold" ..Thanks for the recommendation of a good recording though.

So there is hope that enough people will eventually discover what was lost - and perhaps someday even improve on it.

Well, I am a musician. And I've certainly discorvered, in part, what was lost. I hope to be one of the individuals who is the first to improve on it. And if I succeed, it will have been in part thanks to you, your site, your passion for good music and rare recordings, and your benevolent generosity in sharing it with a sometimes (apparently) indifferent world.

The popular culture of the early 1900s was not without significant flaws of its own. But the contrast between it and that of our own time is amazing. If we can ever bring about a culture even better than that which existed 75-100+ years ago - well, all I can say is I sure envy the lucky people who will get to experience the art and entertainment which will develop as a result.

:lol:

Well, I don't know your age or health, Dismuke, but here's to the hope you and I will be envying ourselves! And if the ARI get's it's way.. just maybe...

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  • 3 weeks later...
Well, I am a musician. And I've certainly discorvered, in part, what was lost. I hope to be one of the individuals who is the first to improve on it. And if I succeed, it will have been in part thanks to you, your site, your passion for good music and rare recordings, and your benevolent generosity in sharing it with a sometimes (apparently) indifferent world.

Gee - I am very glad you enjoy it and find it to be of value. :o

What kind of musical instrument do you play?

:worry:

Well, I don't know your age or health, Dismuke, but here's to the hope you and I will be envying ourselves! And if the ARI get's it's way.. just maybe...

I am still young enough to be able to hope to be around for many decades to come. So maybe there is a chance of my living to see such a day. I have certainly seen many remarkable and unthinkable changes for the better in my lifetime so far. 10 years ago, I never even thought it would be remotely possible that I would be running a "radio station" out of my house which would have listeners in all parts of the world and that I would get to become acquainted with so many people who share my passion and interest in the sort of music I like. It is amazing and wonderful how many listeners I hear from who are in their teens and twenties - they are the ones who will carry it into the future. In the very long run as far as our culture is concerned, I think the best has yet to come - and since technology has the effect of "speeding up history" it might happen sooner than we might expect.

BTW - I see that you, too, are a Texan. I was actually in your hometown a few weekends ago for a get together with some of my record collecting friends from various other parts of the state. We toured lots of neat 1800s and early 1900s buildings in downtown and in Galveston and I happily came back to Fort Worth with a nice crate of really neat 78 rpm records - a few of which I will be featuring on my February 2 Hit Of The Week Update. I am glad everything there wasn't blown away a few months ago.

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Gee - I am very glad you enjoy it and find it to be of value. :lol:

What kind of musical instrument do you play?

Guitar, bass, drums, synthesizers, drum machines, vocals, effects units, amplifiers, and harmonica. And a little Ukulele, but I'm not very good at that yet.

I am still young enough to be able to hope to be around for many decades to come. So maybe there is a chance of my living to see such a day. I have certainly seen many remarkable and unthinkable changes for the better in my lifetime so far. 10 years ago, I never even thought it would be remotely possible that I would be running a "radio station" out of my house which would have listeners in all parts of the world and that I would get to become acquainted with so many people who share my passion and interest in the sort of music I like. It is amazing and wonderful how many listeners I hear from who are in their teens and twenties - they are the ones who will carry it into the future. In the very long run as far as our culture is concerned, I think the best has yet to come - and since technology has the effect of "speeding up history" it might happen sooner than we might expect.
Well, it's kind of a dumb movie, but have you seen the film "Ghost World"? It's mostly one of those coming of age teen/young adult films. But in particular it's about a girl who just finished high school and who meets a middle aged vintage record collector (Steve Buscemi). The girl's friends all think he's a dork, but she decides she doesn't care, because she likes the music too, and she likes him. Not a horrible plot, and the jokes are really silly and maybe sophomoric, but there are some parts that I think are pretty funny satire and sometimes accurate. Anyway, a lot of young kids might have gotten into 20th century music through that. I know I heard some stuff on there I hadn't heard before that I later looked into. I'm not recommending that you see it, but, just in case you happen to see it on, that's what it is.

BTW - I see that you, too, are a Texan. I was actually in your hometown a few weekends ago for a get together with some of my record collecting friends from various other parts of the state. We toured lots of neat 1800s and early 1900s buildings in downtown and in Galveston and I happily came back to Fort Worth with a nice crate of really neat 78 rpm records - a few of which I will be featuring on my February 2 Hit Of The Week Update. I am glad everything there wasn't blown away a few months ago.

Aw, that sounds like fun. I glad it wasn't blown away, too. Although the troublesome evacuation I went through was then for nothing-- almost a kind of disappointment in that! Couldn't it at least have decimated a school or a church by my house or something? :)

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Well, it's kind of a dumb movie, but have you seen the film "Ghost World"? It's mostly one of those coming of age teen/young adult films. But in particular it's about a girl who just finished high school and who meets a middle aged vintage record collector (Steve Buscemi). The girl's friends all think he's a dork, but she decides she doesn't care, because she likes the music too, and she likes him. Not a horrible plot, and the jokes are really silly and maybe sophomoric, but there are some parts that I think are pretty funny satire and sometimes accurate. Anyway, a lot of young kids might have gotten into 20th century music through that. I know I heard some stuff on there I hadn't heard before that I later looked into. I'm not recommending that you see it, but, just in case you happen to see it on, that's what it is.

It is odd that you happen to bring that particular movie up. I spent the last day of that weekend that I went to Houston in Austin at the home of a record collecting friend who accompanied me on the trip. He absolutely insisted that I watch Ghost World before I left town. Since his overall aesthetic tastes are very similar to my own and he is a big fan of Ayn Rand, I figured the movie would be something I, too, would enjoy and was more than happy to watch it. I was very surprised - as, I think, was my friend - at just how much I disliked the movie. I would have to rate it as one of my least favorite movies I have ever seen.

I chose not to be offended by the movie's suggestion that, not just the Seymour character but ALL record collectors are a bunch of pathetic failures. Seymour, as a result of his love for his music and records, happens to be the only character in the movie who has a "soul" - a person of substance who has values he is passionate about. Everyone else is presented as being either shallow or freakish. The movie does present the fact that Seymour has values along with the isolation and loneliness he must endure as a result of being trapped in a hostile culture in a sympathetic manner. I will give the movie credit for that. I will also give it credit for doing a very good job of accuracy and research of the hobby of record collecting. It is not unusual for Hollywood to make VERY stupid historical errors whenever 78 rpm records or vintage music make an appearance in a film - errors which could have been easily corrected if someone had just spent a little time on the Internet or had bothered to contact a knowledgeable collector.

One of many problems with the movie is that it basically presents the notion that the world is filled with superficial and shallow people - and those who do not conform to such a world are doomed to become isolated outcasts. The movie does not present this message as any sort of caution. It does not advocate turning oneself into a sheep in order to become less miserable. It merely agrees with the notion that non-conventional people are doomed.

There was a very significant line in that movie when Enid, the thoroughly cynical high school graduate who discovers that the middle aged man she played a cruel prank on does have the "soul" so absolutely lacking in the people around her, and says: "Maybe I just can't stand the thought of a world where a guy like you can't get a date." The movie agrees with Enid that something is indeed wrong with such a world - but then basically shruggs and says c'est la vie

Seymour and Enid are both victims of what Ayn Rand referred to as "cultural value deprivation." The movie does a good job at dramatizing that such a phenomenon exists - but it does absolutely nothing more than that. If offers zero resolution to the conflicts that the main characters have to face. The film really does not have much of an ending - it merely stops. What precious little Seymour already had going for him in life ends up being destroyed - largely due to events which occur outside of his control and without his knowledge. He ends up going from pathetic to really pathetic. The fate of Enid - well, that is deliberately ambiguous in an explicitly mystical sort of way and utterly irritating to anyone who actually likes movies to make sense.

The movie did have a few decent comedic moments and I enjoyed how it poked fun of modern art. The scene where Seymour is in a nightclub with deafening rock music and mindless, freakishly dressed moderns squirming around in what passes for "dancing" these days - well, the reaction he has to it is absolutely identical to what I feel in the rare occasions I find myself exposed to similar circumstances: pure physical revulsion. Overall, however, I found the movie and the sense of life that it projects to be profoundly and disturbingly malevolent.

Aw, that sounds like fun. I glad it wasn't blown away, too. Although the troublesome evacuation I went through was then for nothing-- almost a kind of disappointment in that! Couldn't it at least have decimated a school or a church by my house or something? :D

Gee - don't you know who is to blame for the fact that a nearby school or church was not decimated? It's all George Bush's fault. When that hurricane headed towards New Orleans, George Bush did jack diddly SQUAT to stop it because New Orleans is a Chocolate City where everyone votes for Democrats. But when a hurricane was heading towards Houston - well, do you think that he was going to allow it to hit a town where his Mom and Poppy live, a town which votes Republican and where his greedy selfish millionaire oil buddies all live? Houston was also the home town of Enron - the second letter of which is "N" as in Nazi. Enron was headed up by a man named Ken Lay - who, along with Tom DeLay, also from Houston, has a name similar to a brand of potato chip, Lay's, which is made by a company called Frito-Lay which is based in Texas. Do you think that this is a mere coincidence? If John Kerry had been president, he would have let the hurricane hit Houston out of fairness to New Orleans. George Bush, however, doesn't care about chocolate people. He doesn't care about thousands of dead Iraqis or the Arab freedom fighters who have been forced to hide in caves in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of American military might. All he cares about is the profits of Exxon and Frito-Lay, both of which are headquartered near Dallas, the city where Ted Kennedy's brother was gunned down by a sniper. But what does George Bush care about that? He is more concerned about snipers on the streets of Baghdad than on the streets of Dallas. It is time to speak up about all of the injustice and outrage. We need to protest. We need to see if we can get Cindy Sheehan to come to Houston where we can all protest and where Cindy can burn her BRA!

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The movie did have a few decent comedic moments and I enjoyed how it poked fun of modern art. The scene where Seymour is in a nightclub with deafening rock music and mindless, freakishly dressed moderns squirming around in what passes for "dancing" these days - well, the reaction he has to it is absolutely identical to what I feel in the rare occasions I find myself exposed to similar circumstances: pure physical revulsion. Overall, however, I found the movie and the sense of life that it projects to be profoundly and disturbingly malevolent.

Ha, yeah, that's almost exactly the same way I feel about it. The "Mirror, father, mirror" Dada scene and the "Blues Hammer" bar scene are my favorite gags, too. The implication that-- not only record collectors, but every concievable type of person is ultimately an isolated, clueless, misfit is useless, boring, and typical of these types of films. That's why I said, "I'm not recommending that you see it, but, just in case you happen to see it on, that's what it is." It's not a good film, but it does make just a couple of rare observations.

Gee - don't you know who is to blame for the fact that a nearby school or church was not decimated? It's all George Bush's fault.

Lol, oh, that's what I thought. : D That's funny-- my dad works at Frito-Lay, too. They sold a lot of chips that weekend.

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