Dan Quinn, Part II: How do you whittle thousands of tracks down to 30?

In last week’s (inaugural) post about our upcoming Anthology CD of Dan W. Quinn, we included a link to the track list on our website. If you didn’t see it or didn’t have time to follow it, the tracks are here below with glosses on the selections and some rationale for inclusion.

Archeophone’s Anthology series is reserved for artists whose output was simply too great to be featured *complete* over the course of a few CDs. We’re talking about people who made thousands of records—and in the case of the 1890s stars, many titles have never been found. So each Anthology begins as early as possible in the artist’s career and goes as late as possible (emphasis on the acoustic era, of course), with hits and misses and representative tracks along the way. We want to hear all the different types of material the artist did, whether comic songs, ballads, sketch humor, or whatever. If it’s a solo star who also did duets, trios, and quartets, we need tracks representing these different kinds of activity. So far, we’ve done Anthology CDs of Billy Murray (covering 1903-1940), Henry Burr (1903-1928), and Irving Kaufman (1914-1974!).

With Dan W. Quinn, it’s a little tricky because he really didn’t do a great variety of material, and he rarely recorded duets or ensemble pieces. He did sing duets in the mid-1890s with Minnie Emmett (sadly, none have been found), more duets with Helen Trix in the 1900s, and was a member of the Spencer, Williams & Quinn Imperial Minstrels. (On most of these minstrel cylinders we’ve auditioned, it’s difficult to establish his presence.) The thing that makes Quinn especially unique is the number of different labels for which he made records. Some of them we bet you’ve never heard of.

Continue reading

Welcome to Archeophone Outtakes: Meet Dan W. Quinn

What’s old is new, and what’s new is old.

Welcome to the inaugural edition of “Archeophone Outtakes,” a new blog from Archeophone Records. For more than 15 years, we have striven to bring America’s earliest recorded history into the present, making the sounds of the late-19th and early-20th centuries fresh and compelling for a modern audience of discoverers. If you have followed us, then you know we put everything we can into our CDs—tons of music, beautiful illustrations, top-notch scholarship—and we hope you have learned a thing or two while you have enjoyed the weird and wonderful recordings from the past.

We hope you have also noticed that we have aimed to get better with each release: better sonic restoration, better photo restoration, better facts and figures in the notes. (Around here, it sounds a lot like press conferences given by Tony Romo, Tom Brady, or Andrew Luck, saying even after a great win, “We just have to get better!”) This blog is an attempt on our part to let you inside the process a little bit: to see what we’re working on, to hear the thoughts that go into the making of an Archeophone release, and to witness how we view the ancient world of acoustic-era recordings fitting into the larger landscape of American culture, past and present.

So, what’s a little bit old webwise—a blog—is new to Archeophone. But what’s old to us—these crazy ancient sounds—we’ll make new to you. And we’ve got a good one coming that is pretty much the reason Archeophone exists. Continue reading