Sunday, June 05, 2005

Foxtrots and Fandangos

I've been listening to old 78s recently. I inherited a stack of them several years ago but didn't have anything to play them on until my friend, Billy, gave me a portable record player with a 78 setting. If the faithful reproduction of sound is the only criteria by which you judge them then they sound terrible, but if you judge them more broadly I think they're quite lovely. They pop and hiss as the record spins ("like rain" as my friend, Jason, says). The sound is small and far away, as if you're hearing the sound from across many years. Every three minutes or so the record must be flipped or changed, certainly inconvenient, put a pleasant way to spend an occasional quiet hour.

And the music is so nice. Much of it is from the Twenties. Some is from the Thirties and Forties. Some is opera, but most is popular dance music from the era: Foxtrots, Waltzes, etc. (I love how the label always says what type of dance it is so people will know what to do). Some feature vocals. Much of it is instrumental. It's easy and melodious in a way that most music made today isn't.

I won't be throwing away my CDs, but for certain moments the 78s are just the thing. Thanks, Billy.


  1. Beneath a carpet of dust atop a bookshelf in the bedroom, I've got a portable turntable that will play 78s and a small luggage case full of naked shellacs. Many are too warped to play. Most of the songs have been reissued on CD. I must get rid of these items without thinking about them!

  2. Sorry - GREAT drawing!

  3. Do what you must do. And, thanks.

  4. Anonymous12:36 PM

    For some reason, I adore this drawing--it is witty, simple and sassy, too. This is my first time here. Won't be my last.

  5. Glad you could visit.