Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Recovering History

One of the best ways to explore the history of music is to find out who influenced a given artist and explore their work. In this way Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton would lead directly back to Robert Johnson. For this method do work one very important thing is necessary. The recordings must be available. Many older jazz or blues performances are extremely rare and only available on 78 RPM shellac discs. These discs are relatively delicate and can be easily damaged. Unfortunately until recent to these historically important performances could be lost forever. United States Library of Congress has been working on a solution. They've come up with a machine that optically reads the information on an analog disc, similar to the way that a computer scanner works. Check out the NPR story, as well as some some before and after samples. Click here for the full story.


Anonymous said...

I own the 2 disc set of these recordings and they are very interesting give us a brief glimpse into very complicated lives that Black people eundured at that time. Of course, some is self-inflicted, but we all wish the recordings could have been better. Still, a great listen.
Jim Tavegia

audioexplorer said...


The two disc set that came in the long box (where each CD had it's own case) has really, really aggressive noise reduction which sucked the life out of the recordings. Later they released the 2 CD set in a double CD case with less aggressive noise reduction. But the best sounding Robert Johnson is the remastered "King of the Delta Blues Singers" that also contains a recently discovered alternate take of "Traveling Riverside Blues."