Music

Czech Republic National Museum is Searching for Early Czech Sound Recordings in the US

Do you have Czech ancestors or other relatives or even friends or neighbors who speak Czech? Next, does their descendants have very old recordings of Czech (or often called “Bohemian”) recorded music? The older the recordings, the better. If so, Filip Šír from the National Museum in Prague would like to speak with them. Šír has been searching for the lost recordings and the stories of the people behind them.

Few people in the Czech Republic know that a significant chapter in the history of early Czech sound recordings was written by Czech immigrants in the United States.

Filip Šír said:

“Between the years 1900 and 1929, there wasn’t any Czech record label company. In 1929 and 1930, Esta and Ultraphone were established as Czechoslovakian record label companies. However, this is almost 30 years after the first recordings in the United States.

The Internet Archive has Uploaded 450,000 songs Collected Before Myspace’s Massive Data Loss

I have written before learning about the music your ancestors enjoyed. (See https://blog.eogn.com/?s=music for a list of some of my previous articles about music.) Myspace used to be a good source for both old-time and modern music but last month, it became widely known that MySpace has lost much of the user data uploaded to it before 2016, including potentially million of music tracks from between 2003 to 2015. It is estimated that up to 53 million songs from 14 million artists were deleted.

Luckily, there is a free alternative.

Boston Public Library’s 78rpm Records Come to the Internet

This won’t help you discover your ancestors but will help you learn about the music they enjoyed. 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.

Art Tatum

I am sitting here listening to It Had to be You by Jazz legend Art Tatum. The fidelity is what you would expect from a 78 rpm record made in 1944. That is, it is definitely low fidelity. However, it is obvious that Art Tatum was a keyboard maestro.

You can learn more about this new Boston Oublic Library’s additions to Archive.org’s collection of old music at http://bit.ly/2V5xVsm while the collection itself may be found at: https://archive.org/details/78rpm_bostonpubliclibrary.

 

3,000 hours of Oral Irish History Available Online

An Ireland-based oral history organization, Irish Life and Lore, invites educators, students and those with an interest in Irish history and folklore to browse its rich archive of audio material and books.

Founded in 1990 by Tralee-based oral historians Maurice and Jane O’Keeffe for the purpose of preserving oral history across Ireland, Irish Life and Lore has compiled, cataloged and archived over 3,000 hours of audio material, arranged into Oral History Collections.

Each themed collection captures a version of the past, which represents the views and sentiments of Irish communities and explores aspects of historical experience that are rarely recorded. Many important topics are covered in the collections, including the Irish revolutionary period, the arts, sport, literature, emigration, local history, folklore, family history and much more.

The online oral history archive may be found at: https://www.irishlifeandlore.com. All individual recordings are available for purchase by download for €6.99 ($7.90 US) or on CD for €15 ($17 US).

The Internet Archive 78 RPM Records Archive is now Online

Want to listen to the music of your parents or grandparents? You can now do so, thanks to the Internet Archive. The Great 78 Project is a new project by the Internet Archive to preserve 78 rpm records that has released about 26,000 records as of today. One new digitized 78 rpm record is being added to the online collection every 10 minutes. More than 200,000 records are expected to be available online when the project is completed. In fact, you can even add your collection of 78 RPM records as well.

Disclaimer: Your taste in music will dictate the usefulness of this collection for you.

You can play the music online or else download any of the records to your computer and save them for later use. Downloads are available in a number of file formats including MP3 and M3U. Images of most of the records are also available.

“Shame and Scandal in the Family”

shame-scandal-in-the-familyYesterday’s article about “All in the Family”: Australian Woman Finds Out her Fiancé is Actually her Half Brother (which now has claims it is a fraudulent story) reminds me of a reggae song I first heard some years ago while I was in the Caribbean. I suspect all genealogists can sympathize with this young man’s problem!

“Shame and Scandal in the Family” is a song written by calypso singer Sir Lancelot. It was later recorded by folksingers Odetta and Burl Ives and later still by Trini Lopez and by Trinidadian calypsonian Lord Melody. In 1964, The Kingston Trio included a live performance of the song. Other versions have been recorded in several different languages by still other artists. The lyrics varied slightly in the various versions.

In Lord Melody’s 1960s version the story follows a young Trinidadian man in search of a wife. In each of the verses, the young man asks his father for permission to marry a different woman, only to be told he can not marry the girl as “The girl is your sister, but your mamma don’t know”. However, the tables are turned during the last verse, where the young man’s mother tells him that “Your daddy ain’t your daddy, but your daddy don’t know”, clearing the path for him to marry any of the girls.

Here are the lyrics in Lord Melody’s 1960s version:

I’m My Own Grandpa

Some of the readers’ comments following my recent article of Is There Any Such Thing as a Half-Cousin? at http://goo.gl/j4y3q1 described some complex relationships. The comments include stories of “double first cousins,” children who are simultaneously siblings as well as cousins, and more. All of this reminds me of a popular song from the 1940s called I’m My Own Grandpa.

The song was written by Dwight Latham and Moe Jaffe, performed by Lonzo and Oscar in 1947, about a man who, through an unlikely (but legal) combination of marriages, becomes stepfather to his own stepmother. The song pays no attention to the prefix “step-” however. As a result, the singer becomes his own grandfather.

Where to Buy 8-Track Tapes

If you would like to purchase an 8-track tape for nostalgia purposes or perhaps to insert into the tape player of your restored 1965 Ford Mustang, the 8-Track Shack may be your preferred source. The company apparently has a huge inventory. Prices vary widely.

The 8-Track Shack catalog may be found at http://www.8-track-shack.com. The company also sells cassette tapes, records, compact disks, old video games, vintage radios and record players, and more.

Another source of vintage items is eBay at http://www.ebay.com.

One Day, Kid, Your Car Will Have a Built-In Phonograph

Click on the image above to view a full-sized version of this circa 1927 photograph from the Shorpy Historical Photo Archive.