Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Record Madness

Since my mother Sheila moved into assisted living last year, my sister Heather and I have been working on various projects to get the house ready for sale and to make as much money for our mother as possible.
One of my main jobs is to try to arrange, place in order and/or classify my late father Edward's record collection; this collection dates back to his first purchases from the 1940s (Frank Sinatra, Stan Kenton, tons of other vocalists and big bands), as well as some from earlier that he obtained through various methods (including some Fats Waller, Pete Johnson, tons of opera and show tunes and other jazz).
As I have worked on this, one main concern/problem that many of you readers who have worked with record collections in one way or another for years have also come across has been the actual identity of the records. That means not only making sure something is a first edition, but also the larger and more time-consuming concern of "is the record in the jacket/container the same one the jacket itself states?"
I have almost too many examples to mention, but here are a few: my father has two of the same Fats Waller compilation folding holders, each containing four 78s, but neither one contains any actual Fats Waller records. He does have a few Fats Waller records elsewhere in his collection, none from these jackets.
I also have right in my lap a dark blue record jacket with silver writing, containing a Capitol Records logo with the nation's Capitol Building and the words "Long Playing" underneath it, with the title "Music Out of the Moon: Music Unusual Featuring the Theremin;" apparently, the number is H2000. On the back, the notes state that "Harry Revel created the basic 'idea' and themes, while Leslie Baxter, arranger and conductor, has given them appropriately unique tone color..." The Theremin itself on this recording is played by Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman, and the song titles are "Lunar Rhapsody," "Moon Moods," "Lunette," "Celestial Nocturne," "Mist O' the Moon" and "Radar Blues." My research shows that this 33 1/3 RPM record, or at least jacket, is a 1950 reissue of the 1947 original release.
So, what is my concern/problem? The record inside this very cool and fascinating jacket is "Andre Kostelanetz and his Orchestra in Eight All-Time Hits," Columbia Masterworks ML2106. The songs are "One of Those Things," "If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You," "Frenesi" and "The Very Thought of You," b/w "I'll Follow My Secret Heart," "You and the Night and the Music," "Beautiful Love" and "Carousel Waltz."
On the other hand, I also have in my lap "The King Cole Trio," again on Capitol Records, a four-record, eight-song album (Album A-8) with a very nice red, yellow, grey, black and white cover released in 1944. Inside are the actual four records that are supposed to be here: "Sweet Lorraine" b/w "Embraceable You," "Prelude in C Sharp Minor" b/w "What Is This Thing Called Love?" "It's Only a Paper Moon" b/w "Easy Listenin' Blues" and "The Man I Love" b/w "Body and Soul."
I have to admit that it is a very enjoyable concern/problem to have to go through my father's records, and one no doubt I'll be writing about more as it continues.


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