Posts tagged: phonograph records

The trail of our vinyl

By , December 18, 2009 3:49 pm

                                                                                                                                                 Josh Kun__SS500_                                                                                                                                                                                      

I was listening to my local public radio station while I was driving to work the other day. Roger Bennett, co-author of And You Shall Know Us By the Trail of Our Vinyl, was talking with Marco Werman about his attempt to save decades of American Jewish music from obscurity.

We, at the JSA, are very proud of our participation in helping Roger and his co-auther, Josh Kun to find materials that eventually found its way into their wonderful book.

Even though he didn’t mention us by name, we knew who Roger was talking about when he mentioned visiting Boca Raton, Florida, “where old Jewish vinyl goes to die.” When JSA Director, Nathan Tinanoff listened to the interview he told me, “He got that wrong! The JSA isn’t where old Jewish vinyl goes to die.  It is where it goes to be reborn!”

The book is a wonderful compendium of stories, information, photos, and album covers from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.  

Josh Kun, Associate Professor of communication and journalism at USC Annenberg School for Communication and the author of Audiotopia: Music, Race, and   America, which won a 2006 American Book Award, co-authored the book with Roger Bennett who also co-authored Bar Mitzvah Disco

The authors write about how they “encountered the Judaica Sound Archives of Florida Atlantic University, where Nathan Tinanoff and his devoted staff generously opened their collection to us.”  And where they found “thousands of LPs, shelf after shelf filled with dsicarded cardboard and vinyl that we gushed over like scientists marveling at new speciments” (p.17).

Looking through the book is an education and a trip down memory lane. From Steisand to Bagels and Bongos by the Irving Fields Trio, from Molly Pecon to the Four Bursteins, from Neil Sedaka to Theodore Bikel, the names and images pop off the pages.

The following JSA featured performers are highlighted in the book: Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, Oysher-Michaels Family, Benny Bell , The 4 Bursteins, Gladys Gewirtz, Shimon & Ilana Gewirtz, Gadi Elon.

 A friend of mine who loves the book told me that when she goes on the JSA website it is like the “book comes to life” right on her computer. I can’t think of a nicer compliment.

JSA finds more hidden treasures in Cleveland

By , December 2, 2009 5:01 pm
Ben Roth-Aroni looking for treasures in a hidden closet

Ben Roth-Aroni looking for treasures in a hidden closet

After his visit to Cleveland in October 2009 to look at the additional recordings that Jack Saul’s family had discovered in the furniture store and in a “hidden closet” in the family’s home, Nathan Tinanoff, director of the JSA at FAU Libraries,  said, “I could see right away that this was going to be a big job.” Last week he returned with Ben Roth and Alethea Perez, two JSA employees who offered to help pack the rest of the phonograph recordings that were earmarked for Florida Atlantic University Libraries in Boca Raton, FL.

Although the JSA team had packed about 30,000 recordings in September 2009, there was still a lot to do. The JSA team made a plan of attack.

Day 1: Explore the “hidden closet” in the house and determine which recordings would be shipped to FAU Libraries. Complete the packing of recordings in the house which had been identified but not packed during the previous visit.

Day 2: Explore the previously undiscovered basement of the furniture store to identify recordings for shipment to FAU. Pack as many of the recordings as possible.

Day 3: Pack as many recordings as possible.

The team was excited by what they found. Recording treasures and vintage 78 rpm recordings had been tucked away into every nook and cranny. Jack Saul’s enormous collection which had become disorganized and cluttered throughout his home and place of business were in the process of becoming a valuable research tool for teachers, students and scholars.

Ben Roth in front of store with folded boxes

Ben Roth in front of store with folded boxes

FAU Libraries has already unpacked almost all of the recordings from the first shipment of 30,000 recordings. Although the vast majority of these recordings turned out to be duplicates, many of these were in far better condition than what the JSA already had. About 575 vintage 78-rpm recordings and 400 LPs have been added to the JSA database so far.
Alethea Perez packing recordings previously identified in the Saul's house.

Alethea Perez packing recordings previously identified in the Saul's house.

Alethea Perez packing phonograph records in store.

Alethea Perez packing phonograph records in store.

Ben Roth sealing boxes filled with recordings.

Ben Roth sealing boxes filled with recordings.

Nathan Tinanoff making boxes in furniture store.

Nathan Tinanoff making boxes in furniture store.

……

Alethea Perez & Nathan Tinanoff take a well-deserved work break as they pose in front of some of the boxes they packed.

Alethea Perez & Nathan Tinanoff take a well-deserved work break as they pose in front of some of the boxes they packed.

“This second shipment of recordings from Cleveland will be almost twice as large as the first. We did a great job of packing recordings. Our backs hurt. Our fingers are bleeding. But are hearts are happy,” said Tinanoff.

JSA Highlights: Cantor Moshe Koussevitzky

By , November 10, 2009 4:39 pm

Moshe koussevitzkyThe name of Cantor Moshe Koussevitzky can be placed alongside Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, Cantor Gerson Sirota, and Cantor Zawel Kwartin — the most honored names from the Golden Age of Cantorial music. The JSA’s online selection of recordings by Cantor Moshe Koussevitzky contains 13 albums from the JSA’s Collectors Guild and Famous record label collections, a total of 100 separate song tracks.

Moshe Koussevitzky was born into a family of cantors and so his vocal gifts were not overlooked, even at an early age. Born in 1899 in Belarus, he was a teeneager when WW I began. The Koussevitzky family relocated to Russia where his cantorial studies continued. By 1925 he could be heard in the Great Synagogue of Vilna, Poland. And in 1928 Koussevitzky was awarded the position vacated by the renowned great Cantor Gerson Sirota at the Tlomacki Synagogue of Warsaw.

According to Benedict Stambler, founder of Collectors Guild records, it was in Warsaw that Koussevitzky’s “voice reached its full power and brilliance.” His popularity spread as he performed throughout Europe and Palestine in the 1930s.

Trapped in Poland during WWII Koussevitzky was rescued by members of the Polish underground and brought to Russia. There he was reunited with his family soon afterward. After the German retreat he became the principal tenor in the Tiflis National Opera Company in Georgia. The four Koussevitzky brothers were all exceptional cantors. Moshe, David, Jacob and Simcha reunited in London in 1946 to give a stirring farewell appearance at the Royal Albert Hall before an audience of thousands.

The JSA’s online collection of Koussevitzky recordings encompasses the full career of this great cantor, from his early recordings to his later works. Of special interest is his recording of Sheyiboneh Beys Hamikdosh which allows the cantor’s full range of talents to be heard.

Unique Judaica recordings found among thousands

By , October 21, 2009 1:36 pm

Golden-SlumbersHave you ever opened a surprise box not knowing what you might find? That is what has been going on at the JSA since the truckload of recordings from Jack Saul’s collection arrived on September 11, 2009. So you might be wondering, “Did you find anything interesting or unusual?” Of course we did!

JSA volunteers and staff have been busy for the past three weeks unpacking recordings, sorting them, and entering information into the JSA database. After three weeks this is what has been accomplished.

(1)  Total progress: About 20 % of the Jack Saul donation of recordings to the JSA has been processed so far.

(2)  Processing of 78rpm recordings: 926 recordings were completely processed.  This means they have been unpacked and checked against the database. Of these, 213 recordings were found to be new to the collection. Information about each of these recordings has been entered into the JSA database.

(3)  Processing of albums: 2096 recordings (LPs, CDs, and tapes) were completely processed (unpacked and checked against the database). Of these, 366 recordings were found to be new to the collection. Information about each of these recordings has been entered into the JSA database.

(4)  Unusual or interesting items of note:

Raisin-&-Almonds

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Click here to play a non-downloading snippet from this album.

Golden Slumbers is a book of lullabies from around the world published in 1956 by Book-Records. This “Soundbook” contains 16 lullabies, 8 on each side of a 10 inch LP phonograph record , including the beautiful Yiddish song Rojinkes mit Mandlen. The book describes the history of lullabies and provides sheet music and lyrics as well as a High Fidelity sound recordings of all the songs. The book’s editor, Sidney Reisberg writes, “Although “Raisins and Almonds” was originally composed for an opera, it appears to be based on some older folk-tunes.  In any event, it has since become absorbed into the folk tradition and idiom.”

Sophie-Tucker

The JSA has many recordings by the amazing Sophie Tucker.  But this one is special indeed! This Decca album, recorded in 1945, contains three 78 rpm recordings (six songs) and was personally autographed by Sophie Tucker in November 1948 at the Latin Quarter in New York City.

Tucker-autograph

 

 

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: In accordance with US Copyright Laws these recordings are NOT featured on the JSA website (www.fau.edu/jsa). For further information about these or other recordings in the Jack Saul Collection, please contact the Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University Libraries (561-297-0080).

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Click here to play a non-downloading snippet from this album.

Cleveland revisited

By , October 16, 2009 12:44 pm
Jack Saul's furniture store

Jack Saul's furniture store

When Nat was informed by the Saul family that they discovered the family’s deserted furniture store was filled with recordings they previously knew nothing about, he was stunned. He had already gone to Cleveland to assess, pack and manage the delivery of the largest donation of recordings in the history of FAU Libraries.  And now there were just as many recordings, if not more, that needed to be looked at.

Dr. William Miller, Dean of FAU Libraries, told Nat to go back to Cleveland to assess the situation.  They needed to decide what to do next. Nat left for Cleveland on Friday, October 2, 2009. What he found was truly unbelievable.

Nat estimates that there are approximately another 50,000 recordings in the store and house that would be approriate to ship to FAU LIbraries. Nat will return in November with Ben Roth and Alethea Perez to pack up what was found in the store and also some of what was left in the house. There will be no shipment in November, though, due to the fact that weather conditions can be treacherous during the winter ice and snow season. But in the spring, Nat and the others will return to finish putting the records into boxes and to oversee the loading of the final truck shipment to FAU Libraries in Boca Raton, FL.

Stacks of 78 rpm records

Stacks of 78 rpm records

Always roomfor more?

Always room for more?

Stacks of LPs

Stacks of LPs

Nathan Tinanoff and Marlene Englander (Jack saul's daughter) examine records

Nathan Tinanoff and Marlene Englander (Jack Saul's daughter) examine records

Does this man look happy?

By , October 7, 2009 10:27 am
Reel-to-reel tapes fromthe Jack Saul Collection

Reel-to-reel tapes from the Jack Saul Collection

“It’s like my birthday and Channukah all rolled into one,”  says an excited Nathan Tinanoff as he begins upacking some of the 730 boxes of recordings that arrived at FAU Libraries from Cleveland on Sept. 11, 2009.

After one week, the JSA team had unpacked and fully processed over eight hundred 78rpm recordings. The information on each record label is carefully checked against the JSA database to ascertain if a copy of the recording is already in the JSA collection. Out of the 800 recordings, 69 are new to the collection and 47 are in better condition that what we previously had.

About 815 LPs have been processed. It has been determined that 132 of these are new to the collection. We have also unpacked another 120 LPs which are unopened and sealed in the original plastic wrappers.

Nat is a happy man. “What is really exciting is that this is just the tip of the iceberg!”

45 rpm records

45 rpm records

Unpacking LPs

Unpacking LPs

Although he admits that it is a little overwhelming Nathan Tinanoff could not hide his amazement when the Saul family found two floors of a warehouse packed with recordings floor to ceiling that they previously knew nothing about. “I think this might mean another tractor-trailer loaded with recordings,” Nat says.

Cleveland sound recordings get a new home at FAU Libraries

By , October 5, 2009 10:29 am

many hands BLOGThe excitement we were all feeling when the truck from Cleveland, filled with recordings from Jack Saul’s collection, pulled up to the Library’s loading dock was quickly replaced by focused activity. Everyone had a job to do and immediately jumped into action. Unloaders moved the boxes from the truck to pallets which were then moved with a handtruck through the Wimberly Library lobby into the elevator to the fifth floor where they were stacked for later unpacking. Other boxes were placed on carts and deposited in other areas of the library.

Of the 730 boxes in this shipment 255 are filled with recordings headed for the Judaica Sound Archives and the FAU Music Department’s Jazz Sound Collection. The remaining 475 boxes contain vintage 78 rpm recordings which will form a new FAU Library collection.

Transporting boxes through the Wimberly Library lobby

Transporting boxes through the Wimberly Library lobby

Removing boxes from elevator on Wimberly Library's 5th floor

Removing boxes from elevator on Wimberly Library's 5th floor

Judaica recordings jam-packed from floor to ceiling

By , September 24, 2009 4:16 pm
Jack Saul's Cleveland home

Jack Saul's Cleveland home

After Jack Saul died in May 2009, Nathan Tinanoff of the Judaica Sound Archives was called to the Sauls’ home in Cleveland. The Saul family wanted to donate the Judaica portion of Jack’s huge collection of sound recordings to the JSA. Although Nat had spoken with Jack Saul several times over the years and had been told by many people of his incredible collection of recordings, he was still unprepared for what he found. The small suburban bungalow was unremarkable.  But what was inside was remarkable indeed!

What Nat saw were stacks of records! Stacks of records in the living room. Stacks of records in the basement. Stacks of records on the stairs. Stacks of records on the dining room table. The house was literally jam-packed with phonograph recordings, tapes, and CDs.

JS-basement

Jack Saul's basement

JS-Living-Room

Jack Saul's living room

Jack Saul's staircase

Jack Saul's staircase

The first task that Nat faced was to locate the Judaica recordings. He was able to identify over 12,000 recordings that could be added to the archives. But there were other treasures that he discovered.  For example, he found tens of thousands of 78 rpm phonograph recordings that were in mint condition.  Even though they weren’t Judaica, he knew they were important.

When Nat returned to Florida he and Dr. William Miller (Dean of FAU Libraries) had a talk.  Dr. Miller agreed that the collection of 78 rpm recordings were just too rare and valuable to be left behind.  Dr. Miller decided to bring those records to FAU Libraries to start a new collection of vintage phonograph recordings at the Wimberly Library.

LP albums headed for JSA in Boca Raton, FL

LP albums headed for JSA in Boca Raton, FL

Uncovering a treasure trove of Judaica recordings

By , September 23, 2009 9:53 am

We were delighted when Jack Saul visited the Judaica Sound Archives in February 2009. He was accompanied by his wife, Hinda, his son Ken and daughter-in-law Julie. Jack was well-known to us because he had amassed what we believed to be the largest private collection of sound recordings in the USA, maybe in the world.

Nat shows Jack Saul old phono

Jack Saul and Nathan Tinanoff examine an old Victrola at the JSA in February 2009

Jack Saul and his family were impressed by what they saw at the JSA.  As he walked down the aisles of shelves holding tapes, CDs and LP phonograph albums Saul would stop from time to time to comment about a recording. He was very knowledgeable and seemed to know every one of his tens of thousands of recordings personally.

Jack Saul at the JSA in February 2009

Jack Saul visits JSA 2-6-09

According to Arlene Fine of the Cleveland Jewish News Jack Saul filled his modest home with over 150,000 phonograph records. Over 36,000 of these have been donated by his family to FAU Libraries. About 12,000 of the recordings will be added to the JSA’s collection.

After his untimely death on May 1, 2009 we learned that the Saul family wanted to donate all of the Judaic recordings in the collection to the JSA. So it was with a mixture of heavy heart and anxious anticipation that Nathan Tinanoff, Ben Roth and Bill King went off to Cleveland to supervise the selection and packing of the recordings that were headed to FAU Libraries.

(Bottom) Ben Roth; standing from left: Bill King, Hinda Saul, Nathan Tinanoff

(Bottom) Ben Roth; standing from left: Bill King, Hinda Saul, Nathan Tinanoff

Where has all the Jewish music gone?

By , September 4, 2009 2:25 pm

JSARS logoWhere has all the Jewish music gone?  Ever wondered what happened to all the Jewish music of days gone by?  Voices of the great cantors of the past.  Music from Yiddish theater. The Judaica Sound Archives may not have all the old Jewish music, but with tens of thousands of audio recordings it is well on its way.

The Judaica Sound Archives – Research Station (JSA-RS) was developed at FAU Libraries to provide a digital resource of recorded sound, containing tens of thousands of audio tracks from the archival collection of the JSA. The original source materials available through the JSA Research Station are 78 rpm recordings produced as early as 1901, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, cassette and 8-track tapes, and CDs.

Along with this wealth of audio recordings, JSA Research Stations allow access to discography and other pertinent information such as label and jacket scans which will greatly enhance a researcher’s ability to study this material. This includes the ability to search for and see listings of all recordings in the JSA archives, whether or not they have been digitized. Therefore, faculty and other researchers can conduct real-time, online research using the JSA-Research Station. Currently the JSA-Research Station accesses 19,000 songs from 2,000 different audio albums and 2,322 songs originally recorded on 78rpm. This library will be expanded throughout the coming year.

There are now 13 official JSA-Research Station sites in the USA, Canada, Israel and England. They are:

  • American Jewish University Library, Bel Air, CA
  • Florida Atlantic Univesrity, Wimberly Library, Boca Raton FL
  • Gratz College Library, Melrose Park, PA (near Philadelphia)
  • Hebrew Union College Library, \New York City, NY
  • Jewish Music Institute Library and School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, London, England
  • Jewish Public Library of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • National Library of Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
  • National Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA
  • Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, Chicago, IL
  • University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • University of Pennsylvania Library, Philadelphia, PA
  • University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • Washington University of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

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