Princeton Record Exchange Scrounge, Part 4: Ancient Shellac Edition

  1. Various, Excavated Shellac: Strings — Guitar, Oud, Tar, Violin and more from the 78 RPM Era (Dust to Digital, 2015)
  2. Various, Excavated Shellac: Reeds — Reed Performances from Tanzania, Kurdistan, Turkey, India, China and More From the 78 RPM Era (Dust to Digital, 2015)

I’m always fascinated by recordings done by performers who learned their craft with no idea they would ever do anything but play live, or even what “recording” was. Also, because over decades as a music section head, I would get first snail mail and then emails on a regular basis wondering where such recordings could be found. And aside from the Harry Smith projects, for a long time it was hard stuff to find — you could get folkloric material from the ’50s and ’60s, but not like this from the ’20s and ’30s. Finally, I trust Dust to Digital’s taste in world music. I mean, they are a fine operation.

After one listen I am captivated by the Strings and, well, instructed by Reeds. Instructed, that, namely, as I had known for a long time, “harmony” and “in tune” are quite varied concepts when people are blowing on some honker. Still, wonderful tracks on both. Heaps more related stuff here.

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