A horror story of improper 78 packing and a photograph documenting the carnage has been making the rounds on the phonograph group boards this week. It seems that, even with the buyer having described safe packing techniques, it all went wrong. Maybe it was the seller trying to cram 60 discs into one priority mail box. Our theory is that the seller didn’t like being told what to do and stomped them before tossing the shards in the box. One observer remarked that the seller probably dropped the box repeatedly until the crunching noises ended. A quick search of the groups will tell you that this situation is far more common than it should be, though most of the destruction is limited to a few records at a time. We’ve certainly had a few nightmares too—as well as a few really oddly packed records that made their way to us unbroken purely by miracle . One recalls an Arthur Collins Berliner, taped between 2 pieces of particle board and mailed to us inside a pizza box.
Contrast this to our good fortune this week. Blossom Seeley’s Columbia 114-D, with “Lazy” and “Don’t Mind the Rain,” is a disc that our friend Mark Berresford has in excellent shape and has already transferred for our use on the Blossom CD we mentioned a few weeks back. Still, when another copy of the disc came up for auction, we thought we’d like to have our own copy, even if it’s not as good as Mark’s. Well, we were wrong about the quality and right about getting it.
Behold the perfect record. A stunning E+ or maybe NM, which is a designation we just about *never* use, this disc looks like it’s never been played (until last night). Expertly packed by a pro who knows what he’s doing and takes pride in it, this is what you can still get out there. Like a fine wine or an aged cheese, it’s good to get something like this one at a time and savor it.
With all due respect to Mark, this one may be better than his, so we’ll transfer it and see which one gets used on the CD.
On a side note, the Archeophone Outtakes blog is now seven months old, and one bit of housekeeping we have neglected is replying to your responses. We’ll now be going through the questions you’ve written and will supply some answers. So if you’ve commented on a blog post, check back in a couple of days to see if we’ve responded.
If you haven’t had a chance to read and listen to the challenge we posted on “The Big Sleuth,” now’s a good time. It’s difficult listening, but some of you detectives will enjoy trying to figure it out. We’re close to unveiling the answer. Hint: it’s going to be part of our Waxing the Gospel set. Second hint: commenters Kegan (on Facebook) and Ramona (on the blog) have gotten warm with their guesses.