Matt's Blog

Weblog of New York City based Jewish Musician.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Sound Archive Find
The other day while cataloging LP's in the YIVO sound archives I came across this amazing find. Two acetate on aluminum radio transcription discs from 1960. 1960! and they where labeled as disc to disc transfers from NBC radio. One would think that by 1960 NBC would have switched to using tape for their transcription recordings. If you didn't listen to the Yiddish Radio Project , radio transcription recordings are made for FCC, and advertisers to prove what was recorded. Most radio transcriptions discs are 16'', but these were only 14''. They run at speeds from a slow as 9 rpm to as fast as 78 rpm. These ran at 33 1/3 rpm, and that meant that they could be played back on any turntable. One last detail of note, disc one had sides 1 and 3, and disc 2 sides 2 and 4. This meant that if you had two turntables you could play this program back in order to be able play the program back for airplay.

So what was this great find? It was a copy of the "Eternal Light" a program on NBC that was overseen by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS). This episode was from April of 1960 and told the story of how the YIVO archive in Vilna made its way to New York where it is to this day. It is really an amazing story. And after spending some time listening to it while I was cataloging I can say that their isn't much radio or TV that is like it today.

Even though it was a dramatic recreation of events, the level of detail that they went to isn't found much today. On radio you can listen to NPR, but for the visual details you have to turn to programs like Real Sports and On the Record on HBO. PBS is good, but for some reason the Newshour just doesn't do the say thing for me.

It is a shame that people don't spend the time to hear or tell the complete stories anymore. One could say it is great that we have all these media options, but as viewers we have to make sure that we as exposing ourself to great programming.

And on this last note, I am a huge fan of Baseball Tonight . But the change to most shows being a half hour this year doesn't do it for me. I miss the organ to much, and the old Going, Going, Gone was so much better to be able to use to keep track of who on your fantasy team was hitting the long ball. At lest the didn't mess at all with the web gems.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Lag B'omer
Tuesday was Lag B'omer, so I went out to Boro Park to see if I could find any interesting things happening. I was hoping to finds some live bands, but I wasn't able to. What I did find was a so Chabad children's rallies. One was in Boro Park, the other one was in Flatbush. Flatbush isn't as religious as Boro Park and is made up of more immigrants so there was a different tone at each one.

But even though I wasn't able to find exactly what I was looking for it was still a good way to spend an afternoon and learn where things are in a different neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Playing with Vinyl
This morning I was cataloging some of the recent Vinyl I have gotten in, along with some material that had been sitting around that need to be cataloged. I came across and interesting discovery. I had purchased a record and cookbook set last year on Ebay; Music & Food of Jewish Peoples. The cookbook is "The Art of Jewish Cooking" by Jennie Grossinger (yes, of the Grossinger hotel.) And it must have been a popular cookbook, it was on its 22nd printing.

But back to the record which was more interesting to me. The title was Jewish Wedding Dances - Horas - Shers - Waltzes, by the Joseph Korda Players. I had never heard of Joseph Korda, so I typed the record into the database and then cleaned and played it. From the moment the needle touched the Vinyl I knew that I already owned a copy of the album. But the other copy sure didn't say Joseph Korda on it. It was easy to tell, the clarinetist was Dave Tarras. The album was one of the albums that Dave made with Murry Leher but I couldn't remember which one. So I went to write an e-mail to someone about it. But while I was doing that I decided to look up the couple of albums that Dave and Murry did together and see if something clicked. Well it sure did, it lined up right on with "Freilach For Weddings, Bar Mitzvah and Other Celebrations - Vol.1" on the Request label (SRLP 10102 for those that are interested). They didn't even change the track order, or any names of the tunes.

You never know what you are going to stumble across when you aren't looking for it.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Wow what a Cubs Game
If you continue to read my blog on a regular basis you find out that I am a huge Chicago Cubs fan. And I my say, wow what a game. Finally won by a Corey Patterson homerun in the top of 17th with 2 outs. Nothing like seeing a pitchers dual that goes 17 innings. The Cubs pitchers struck out 24, including all three batters that Todd Wellemeyer saw for the save in his first major league appearance.
The cubs now hold a 2.5 game lead over Houston, and a four game lead over St. Louis who they are now headed to play in a four game set. This should be a fun one, and hopefully I will be able to watch at least one of the three games that I will be able to watch in NY. (That is if Fox has the cubs game, if they don't they I have to try to catch at least one of two.)

FCC Ownership Rule Changes
In a democracy it is important for our voices to be heard. While signing petitions might not help, it can't hurt. The FCC is voting the first week of June to change the ownership rules as to how many stations can be owned in one media market to a single entity. While it appears that the FCC vote is headed to change the rules, we still need to make our voices heard to our elected representatives in Congress.

Hopefully these rules won't be changed, and then we can go after some of the vertical media companies that are stifling the voice of artists have free speech. If you are going to pull my music off your airwaves, pull it because it doesn't fit your playlist anymore, not because of something that I say.



common cause

Future of Music

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

So where do Allergies go for a bite after a show? I wish I knew I would send my allergies there to get a bite to eat instead of being in my Hearts and Bones.

Ok, enough of that reference. I wanted to talk about another album that has been getting a lot of play time recently but that will have to wait until my head clear up a bit. So in the meantime check out the Hasidic Rebel . I happen to live in the same neighborhood by name, but not in the same zip code. But even in this neighborhood one zip code can cover a couple of different worlds.

And one last word of thought for the evening; something I said the other night, "Artists in America are treated like third class citizens in a single class society."

So, why did I decide to start a Blog:
a) Everyone else is doing it.
b) It felt like the thing to do. I don't have a steady job that comes with a built in financial rewards. I have the free time, and I appear to have things that I want to say. This week I have managed to create a huge controversy on a mailing list that I am apart of. So this can be another forum for the three people who are interested in hearing what I have to say.

I will try not to keep this focused on any one topic, but will try to talk about a little bit of everything. From my general interests I have a feeling that Jewish Culture will be the focus of this blog. This venue is as good as any other to talk about what I am listening to and thinking about.

Now is as good as any time to start. I have been listening to the new Klezmatics record, Rise Up! Sheyt Oyf! a lot these past couple of days. I have been listening to it since last summer, but now that it is finally out I don't feel as bad about listening to it. And having the linernotes is such a joy.

Speaking of linernotes, I have played around with the iTunes music store a bit, but haven't purchased anything yet. To me at this point it is the linernote thing. Your not going to look at them all the time, but you never know when you are going to want to look at them. I will admit that the artwork isn't a good as days of vinyl but at least for long text sections you don't have to hunt around for the insert inside the jacket that is always getting lost. I have more to say on iTunes, but it will have to wait.

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