Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Franz List

[posted by Callimachus]

The National Recording Preservation Board at the Library of Congress has announced its additions for 2006. The collection was established to "maintain and preserve sound recordings and collections of sound recordings that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant, and for other purposes" (a nebulous phrase that I'm sure inspires some of our friends here to start scanning Congressional Record fine print for any mention of installing Dick Cheney's cryogenically preserved head as Emperor of Neo-America).

Here's what made the list this time, with a few comments from me:

  • “Uncle Josh and the Insurance Agent.” Cal Stewart. (1904) Damn, I had almost come to believe everyone else but me and Dr. Demento had forgotten about Cal Stewart. When I was 14 or so, I used to comb thrift shops for scratchy old 78s of his hayseed comic act. As the LofC rightly notes, "Stewart’s influence can be heard in the comedy of Will Rogers, in Fred Allen’s character, Titus Moody, and in Garrison Keillor’s stories about Lake Wobegon."

  • “Il mio tesoro.” John McCormack; orchestra conducted by Walter Rogers. (1916) Another nostalgic note for me. This superb Irish tenor is not everyone's cup of tea, but my grandfather loved him and I inherited a stack of his records -- again, 78s -- from my grandfather when he died.

  • National Defense Test. (Sept. 12, 1924)

  • “Black Bottom Stomp.” Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers. (1926)

  • “Wildwood Flower.” The Carter Family. (1928)

  • “Pony Blues.” Charley Patton. (1929)

  • “You’re the Top.” Cole Porter. (1934)

  • “The Osage Bank Robbery,” episode of “The Lone Ranger.” (December 17, 1937)

  • Address to Congress. Franklin D. Roosevelt. (Dec. 8, 1941)

  • Native Brazilian Music. Recorded under the supervision of Leopold Stokowski. (1942)

  • “Peace in the Valley.” Red Foley and the Sunshine Boys. (1951) I didn't realize until I did some research tonight that Thomas A. Dorsey, who wrote this lovely tune and other gospel classics, was the same "Georgia Tom" I know from some vaguely suggestive blues recordings.

  • Chopin Polonaise, op. 40, no. 1 (“Polonaise militaire”). Artur Rubinstein. (1952)

  • “Blue Suede Shoes.” Carl Perkins. (1955) Thank the music gods Carl Perkins is getting some respect.

  • Interviews with William ‘Billy’ Bell, recorded by Edward D. Ives. Representing the Edward D. Ives Collection held at the Maine Folklife Center, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, and the Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind. (1956)

  • “Howl.” Allen Ginsberg. (1959) "Hurl." Callimachus (2007)

  • “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart.” Bob Newhart. (1960)

  • “Be My Baby.” The Ronettes. (1963)

  • “We Shall Overcome.” Pete Seeger. (1963)

  • “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Rolling Stones (1965) But I Can Get a Lot of Cash By Cynically Singing a Simplistic Diatribe Against Materialism for 40 Years Straight.

  • “A Change is Gonna Come.” Sam Cooke. (1965) Beautiful song

  • Velvet Underground and Nico. Velvet Underground. (1967) Overrated. Whose idea was this? Makes me think of this story:

    Adam Zaretsky once spent 48 hours playing Engelbert Humperdincks's "Greatest Hits" to a dish of E.coli bacteria to determine whether vibrations or sounds influenced bacterial growth. Watching the bacteria's antibiotic production increase, Zaretsky decided that perhaps even cells were annoyed by constant subjection to "loud, really awful lounge music."

  • The Eighty-Six Years of Eubie Blake. Eubie Blake. (1969)

  • Burnin’. The Wailers. (1973) Not bad, but I think Marley was much stronger on his own.

  • Live in Japan. Sarah Vaughan. (1973)

  • Graceland. Paul Simon. (1986) Worst choice on the list. Big American fading folk star who's out of fresh ideas vampirizes the world music catalogue to stave off career death for another decade. Bonus points off for including Linda Ronstadt.

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