Famous selections by some of the world’s greatest artists, or so this Camden, NJ-based monster of a label would have you believe (Victor Talking Machine Company… yeah, they knew their shit). If you’re in the market for a brief history on available Victrola needles circa: the 1930s, the right column in the photo above is your best friend. There are several tone-options to choose from, so choose wisely, and choose often.
The word “orthophonic” is so outdated, spellcheck feels it is misspelled (damn you, spellcheck!). The first of its kind featuring records recorded using the new “electronically recorded” sound was first shunned by major labels, then, like an unearthed memory, embraced and regarded as a monumental leap forward in consumer-based, reproduced sound. Making waves as early as 1925… nicely done, Western Electric.
We’ve all seen this iconic logo by the Victor Talking Machine Company, but did you know, rumor has it, or lore, really, that the original painting that inspired this historic logo (a direct lift, really) by English painter Francis Barraud has a bit of a heartwarming backstory. Sure, a questionable yet awe-inspiring story will certainly help you sell records, so take it with a grain of sentimental salt. Apparently, Francis’ brother Mark had passed away, and Francis inherited his brother’s dog Nipper, a terrier, along with a a cylinder phonograph (Edison, anyone?) and some cylinders with poor, deceased Mark’s voice on them. When little Nipper, as the story goes, would listen to his departed master’s voice projecting through the vibrant horn, he / she would peer at it with inspirational interest, spawning Francis to paint the iconic piece in 1899… but this time (suck it, Edison!) with a disc machine instead of the original cylinder apparatus, and the rest, as they say, and is clearly known, is history. Check out the painting and rogue history on Wikipedia. The photo above was taken, by me, from a recently acquired 78 sleeve, printed some 80-90 years ago. The more you kinda know?
Sleeves advertising vintage record players (or in this case, classic Victrolas), are some of my favorites to discover. They’re not always in heavy supply, the sleeves, so when they rear their beautiful and fragile heads, it’s a bit of a pleasant surprise. That credenza looks pretty badass, in my humble opinion (again, the space issue), but to be honest, accurately reproduced sound has never looked so damn sexy.
Founded in 1901 (only 113 years ago… no joke), The Victor Talking Machine Company manufactured 78s at an astounding rate, and became one of the leading producers of recorded, audio material. Basing itself in Camden, New Jersey (I know, right?!), “His Master’s Voice” (the historic and legendary logo with Nipper, the dog) has become as synonymous with record listening as its been with the history of record recording.
She may have died in 1929, but Victor Records still exists today under the umbrella of those Sony kids. Passion for the yesteryears need not be forgotten.
Cracked grooves break my heart… especially Oscar nominated cuts from the 1940s. The 1940 film, Second Chorus, featured both this shellac track, Love of My Life, as well as a clarinet-yielding Artie Shaw, masterfully (I assume) portraying himself up on the big, flickering dream-screen. Never saw it, but with a score and on-screen performance provided by Mr. Shaw himself, this little entertainment blip just spun onto my radar.
Chalk this oversight up to adrenaline, heat, or simple fatigue, all of which were raging through my withered carcass at the initial moment of this record’s discovery. Unplayable, but never-the-less pretty to look at, I’m thumbing my creative button to figure out what the hell to do with this glaring example of deplorable sadness. She’ll rest, having had her last 78rpm go around until I can figure out a decent and respectable way to upcycle her.
Dead records are never easy to stomach.