Wanna Buy a Record? - JazzWax

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July 25, 2011


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Bruno Leicht

Holy crap! Billy May got slapped! -- Great gem indeed, Marc.

Well, well ... -- "Time and tide wait for no man."

John P. Cooper

At the A&R meeting in the film, I think the man on the left may be Dave Dexter.

Win Hinkle

That's not Irving Berlin, is it, pushing the "Ivory Rag" is it?

Win Hinkle

Also, I've discovered my twin, Billy May.

Stan Frostein

hanks for this great clip -- I must've watched it a dozen times already and it still brings a laugh.

"Well, well ... -- "Time and tide wait for no man.""

I think you've found the Jazzwax non-sequitur Award winner for the year.


Two more interesting films about how records are made, both from RCA, but in different eras:

1. The Sound and The Story:
This details an RCA LP, from the recording session in Boston (this was an early stereo session, by the way, but the film concentrates on the mono LP as this was 1956 and stereo was the bastion of very elite customers with 2-track reel decks) to LP manufacturing at RCA's famous Indianapolis IN plant (where Mercury Living Presence records were also manufactured from 1951 into 1962).

2. Command Performance
This film is from the later stages of the 78 era and shows an RCA Victor electronic-to-wax recording session in Camden NJ and then the disk manufacturing, at the same facility. You can assume that Victor and Bluebird jazz and swing records of the era were made in a similar fashion.

John P. Cooper

I never knew that Capitol Records had a recording studio (as in the film) on Melrose. I used to go in there when my friend worked at KHJ. It looked much the same in the lobby. It always struck me that the place was oddly configured for an office building and studios; pretty cramped.

Jim Meadows

I'm also wondering who plays "Dave", the song-plugger who played "Ivory Rag" for the Capitol A&R men. They mention Joe "Fingers" Carr as a possible artist. Over at Wikipedia, I learn that Carr, aka Lou Busch, did indeed record "Ivory Rag" for Capitol, but that it was his own composition. Could "Dave" be Carr/Busch? Going by the photo and 1910 birthdate listed in Wikipedia, I don't think so. He also looks a little heavyset to be Irving Berlin, unless Berlin put on weight in the ten years since he had appeared in "This Is The Army" (the only image of him I have to go by).

For myself, I appreciated the brief cameo by Capitol recording artist Yogi Yorgenson near the start of the film.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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