Don Muller has so many jukeboxes in his house, he doesn’t even know how many there are.
“I’ve never done this, walk around and count them,” Muller says, as he begins counting a row of jukeboxes tucked under a shelf of records.
He walks through the add-on garage, porch, living room and foyer. So far, he’s counted 62 jukeboxes, just in his own house — plus 40 in stock at his store, and plenty more in storage elsewhere.
“I’ve been telling people we have over a hundred,” Muller says. “Now, I know it’s even way more than that.”
Most of these jukeboxes are part of his company, Jukeboxes Unlimited, which he’s owned since 1971. He guts many of them to salvage their parts for assisting with repairs. Others, he fixes up to sell, while still others — the nicer looking ones, especially those that light up — he rents for parties and dances.
And some, Muller simply falls in love with and keeps for himself, like his 1948 Seeburg M100A. It sits in the corner of his living room at home.
“This machine is 100 percent original, every single aspect of it: the original cartridge, the original needle and original old 78 rpm records,” he says before playing Frankie Lymon’s “Goody Goody.” READ MORE
Peter Dilg motored his 13-foot skiff up to a one-room house sitting on stilts in the middle of Hempstead Bay, on Long Island’s South Shore, then carried an old record player onto its deck.
A salt-marsh shack reachable only by boat, the place was kept by Mr. Dilg’s parents as a getaway. He spent childhood summers out there, listening to the family’s windup gramophone, as vital an item as the barbecue or the fresh water supply.
That the shack has no electricity was never a problem for Mr. Dilg, who listens to music almost exclusively on pre-electric phonographs and gramophones like the one he cranked up on the deck on Monday: a Victor “Talking Machine” model. CLICK FOR THE REST.
by PETRA MAYER at NPR
NPR reviews, interviews and more
If you’ve ever enjoyed the ghostly weird-old-America wail of Robert Johnson, the deep blues of Charley Patton or Skip James’ guitar wizardry, you can thank the 78 collecting community — those dedicated (okay, obsessive) folks who hunt down the rare old shellac records that hold so much of our musical past.
78s — named for the speed at which they revolve — are the distant ancestors of today’s digitally downloaded singles. They passed out of use in the late 1940s, but still turn up occasionally at rural flea markets and in dusty cartons under forgotten beds. And for the passionate collector, there’s always the thrill of possibility: a grimy old record at the flea market could be the only existing copy of that particular song.
Music writer Amanda Petrusich documents the 78 collecting scene — and how she got drawn into it — in a new book, Do Not Sell at Any Price. In an email interview, she tells me she has a lot in common with the collectors she profiles. READ MORE
NESPRS President Spike Hyssong broadcasts each week from Maine on WRFR 93.3 FM in Rockland, and 99.3 FM in Camden. If you’re not within earshot, you can hear him online as well. Listen to the stream or download the show and listen to it anytime you want. Spike advises as his storage limit runs out, the early shows will be taken down to allow newer ones to appear. So don’t delay, download today.
John Tefteller recently paid an all-time high price for one 78rpm record. Jason Newman at Fuze.tv asked him why. Here’s what he told him:
It’s fitting that when I first try to reach John Tefteller, he was negotiating a rare record deal and asked to call me back. I called Tefteller, an Oregon-based record dealer whose collection numbers more than 400,000 45s, 78s and LPs, after hearing of his astounding purchase of bluesman Tommy Johnson’s “Alcohol and Jake Blues” for $37,100. It’s the most anyone has ever spent on a 78 rpm record and one of the highest prices paid for any record.
Tefteller, who makes his living buying and selling recordsand dealing blues memorabilia, has been collecting records for more than 40 years, but even he couldn’t believe his luck upon discovering a near-perfect copy of “Alcohol and Jake Blues.” The record is considered a Holy Grail among blues record collectors and stands as a vital historical document of the genre.
According to the auction website, they thought it would go for between $7,000 and $10,000. Instead it seems to have fetched far less.
BIDDEFORD, Maine (AP) – A 120-year-old wax-covered cylinder containing the earliest known recording of a black vocal group in the U.S. has been sold at an auction in Maine.
The recording discovered in a private collection in Portland is one of only two copies known to exist and sold for $1,100 on Saturday. The other is in the Library of Congress.
The 1893 recording of “Mama’s Black Baby Boy” by the Unique Quartet was made before vinyl records. Instead, the music is etched on a wax-covered cylinder using technology invented by Thomas Edison.
A second Unique Quartet song, “Who Broke the Lock (on the Henhouse Door)?” sold for $1,900 at the auction. It was recorded in 1896. Read More…