Collecting pre war Jazz, Blues, Hillbilly and Jug band shellac is rewarding, sometimes heartbreaking and can be dangerous water to tread. Many would forgo dinner out with the family for a new disc. Snow tires on the car, not when there is a rare Paramount up for auction that you can’t live without. You sometimes loose sleep thinking about records that may wind you up in divorce court. You often hear about collectors breaking out in a cold sweat at auctions final seconds of an eBay listing. But there is something so rewarding about obtaining another piece for your collection.
You are preserving history and are the caretaker of a record that a family did in fact take pride pride in owning some 80 years before you. It was their form of entertainment and took a lot hard work and savings especially if it was a rural themed recording during the depression to own. It’s amazing how many survived. Sometimes the records are quite lived in. If your ears can wade through the hiss of an old record, you are treated with witty lyrics, punchy rhythms and entertaining performance. If you are a lucky picker and find a great disc ” in the wild” , barns old homes for instance, it becomes even more of a personal treasure and victory.
I have tried to go cold turkey for financial reasons but I recently purchased a refurbished late 1940 s record player designed for 78s only. Now my home is filled with the sounds of the 1920 s & 30 s more than ever. I work two jobs and have for 25 years. I have reasoned with myself and have come to the conclusion, that the joy of sitting and listening to these recordings far out way a new lawn mower or trip to the Caribbean. Speaking of ” listening” , it’s something that many have forgotten how to do.
At my home, I close the day with lighting my favorite candles, pour a two finger glass of top shelf bourbon, dim the lights and wait until the tubes in my player are warm. I’ll slip out maybe Pete Wheatstraw on Bluebird doing ” Ice & Snow Blues” on this particular evening and I’m transformed right back in time where I want to be for those precious 3:00 minutes.
It’s an experience, a way of life in the listening realm that I am so fortunate to love.
More on the collecting later.