Podcast cover: Centuries of Sound

Centuries of Sound

Centuries of Sound is a mixtape for every year, as part of a project to release mixtapes for every year of recorded sound. An impressive historical artifact, but also an enjoyable listen, too.

At Centuries of Sound I am making mixes for every year of recorded sound. The download here is only for the first half-hour of the mix. For the full 3-hour version either see below for the Mixcloud player, or come to patreon.com/centuriesofsound for the podcast version and a host of other bonus materials for just $5 per month. This show would not be possible without my supporters on there, so please consider signing up or sharing this with someone who may be interested.

Mixcloud player with full mix – or listen on the Mixcloud website.

 

1948 Part One – Something Big Out Of Something Little

It started with Bing Crosby wanting to improve his golf. Bing was a big golfer (in fact he would die on a golf course three decades later) but it was difficult to find the time for it when he was spending four days a week recording radio shows – and because of the time differences he’d often have to perform the whole show twice. Pre-recording had been suggested, but the quality of a half-hour disc side was not up to scratch. (LPs would also be introduced in 1948, but we’re not in 1948 yet) and the radio stations just would not accept it. So for 18 months, there was an impasse. But luckily there was a way out.

At the end of the second world war, Jack Mullin, a member of the US Signal Corps, had been tasked with finding out about German electronics. One day at the headquarters of Radio Frankfurt, he made a discovery. Magnetic recording had been around for nearly half a century at this point, but it always gave a distorted, inadequate sound. Not here. The AEG ‘Magnetophon’ was capable of recording and reproducing sounds to a fidelity completely unheard of before. You could even speed up or slow down tapes without any significant loss. Mullin took two of these machines back to the USA and spent the next couple of years trying to convince anyone that they were of use, until finally Murdo MacKenzie, an assistant to Crosby, was impressed enough to try them out. Within a few months, he was able to record shows in bulk, edit them at his leisure, and spend more of his time playing golf.

A studio musician often used by Crosby was one Les Paul, these days of course better known for his development of the electric guitar, but in the mid 40s more of a jobbing session guitarist. Paul had played a major role in Crosby’s 1945 number one “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” for example. Crosby showed the new tape-recording devices to Paul and encouraged him to build a studio, where he experimented with the first multitrack tape recordings. Until this point, of course, every record you hear is in essence a live recording. A minor quirk here perhaps is that the two apparently multitracked selections (“Lover” and “What Is This Thing Called Love?”) actually date from before he successfully constructed his multitrack studio, instead they were constructed by recording and altering the speed of acetate discs – on “Lover” for example, that’s eight different Les Pauls playing along at different speeds.

Les Paul wasn’t the only person experimenting with tape recording, of course. In France we also have Pierre Schaeffer, the father of Musique Concrète. Cutting up, rearranging and juxtaposing sounds was not a new idea (is there ever really a new idea?) as you will perhaps remember from the Dziga Vertov sound collages used in the 1925 mix. But Schaeffer’s experiments do mark the start of a movement, and one which will be important to these mixes from now on, starting from this one.

Listening to this mix, you will likely find it noticeably different from those before, and there’s a reason. In this half, inspired by Les Paul, Pierre Schaeffer and even Bing Crosby, as well as the new popular, advertising-supported media, we have a quick-moving cut-up style. This includes all of the year’s news. Next time we’ll be taking a break from all of that in any case.

 

Tracklist

0:00:00 Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Violette (Clip from The Red Shoes) (Clip from Edward R Murrow – I Can Hear It Now) (Clip from Unknown Radio show) 0:01:01 Les Paul – Lover (Clip from The Original Amateur Hour) (Clip from Howdy Doody) (Clip from NBC Cavalcade of 1948) (Clip from Howdy Doody) (Clip from The Life of Riley) (Clip from 1948 Year In Review) (Clip from 1948 Television Commercial)

January

(Clip from The Jack Benny Program) 0:04:44 Texas Ruby & Curley Fox – Come Here Soon (Clip from The Chicken of Tomorrow) (Clip from US propaganda film) 0:07:44 Charlie Parker’s All Stars – Constellation (Clip from 1948 A Year of Great Decision) (Clip from US propaganda film) 0:10:16 Raj Kapoor – Solah Baras Ki Bhayee Umariya (Clip from NBC Cavalcade of 1948) (Clip from 1948 Year In Review) (Clips from NBC News of The World) (Clip from 1948 Year In Review) (Clip from NBC News of The World) (Clip of Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Violette) (Clip from Atomic Energy Is Your Business) (Clip from NBC News of The World)

February

(Clip from 1948 A Year of Great Decision) (Clip from The Life of Riley) 0:16:12 Woody Herman And His Orchestra – Sabre Dance (Clips from CBC – John Fisher on Post-War Europe) (Clips of Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Violette) 0:19:43 Muddy Waters – I Feel Like Going Home (Clip from 1948 Television Commercial) (Clip from Atomic Energy Is Your Business) (Clip from The Chicken of Tomorrow) 0:23:22 Willy Walden & Piet Muyselaar – Jantje Is Gaan Voetballen (Clip from 1948 A Year of Great Decision) (Clip from The Profit Motive) (Clip from Pepsodent TV Commercial) (Clip from BBC Archive)

March

(Clip from CBC – The Atom Bomb) (Clip of Banta Trance Speech) 0:25:06 Youkoui Bamileké – Ngwop (Clip from Inner Sanctum) (Clip from The Life of Riley) (Clip from 1948 Year In Review) (Clip from Fitch Bandwagon) 0:27:14 Mado Robin – Air De La Reine De La Nuit (Clip of Banta Trance Speech) (Clip from Atomic Energy Is Your Business) 0:28:59 Spike Jones & His City Slickers – Ill Barkio (Clip from The Phil Harris & Alice Faye Show) (Clip from The Chicken of Tomorrow) (Clip from US Propaganda Film) (Clip from The Chicken of Tomorrow) (Clip from 1948 A Year of Great Decision) (Clip of Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Violette)

April

(Clip from 1948 Year In Review) 0:32:30 Rose Murphy – Cecilia (Clip from The Profit Motive) (Clips from BBC Archive – Budget Day) 0:36:35 Red Ingle & The Natural Seven – Cigareetes, Whuskey, And Wild, Wild Women (Clip from Fitch Bandwagon) (Clip from The Jack Benny Programme) (Clip from US Propaganda Film) (Clip from 1948 Year In Review) 0:39:45 Astor Piazzolla – Villeguita (Clip from Nederlands In Zeven Lessen)

May

(Clip from 1948 Year In Review) (Clip from Dennis Day) (Clip from 1948 A Year of Great Decision) (Clip from The Life of Riley) (Clip from This Is Bing Crosby) 0:42:29 Peggy Lee – Why Don’t You Do Right? (Clips from NBC Dewey-Stassen Debate) 0:46:39 Sotiría Béllou & Vasílis Tsitsánis – Péfteis Se Láthi (Clips from NBC Clifton Utley commentary on Palestine) (Clip from newsreel – Haganah Troops Occupy Jaffa) (Clip from Edward M Murrow – I Can Hear It Now) 0:50:30 Dalila Rochdi – Haragli Guelbi, Pt. 1 (Clip from The Chicken of Tomorrow) (Clip of Peter Lorre on Spike Jones Show) (Clip from Inner Sanctum) (Clip from 1948 A Year of Great Decision) (Clip of Banta Trance Speech)

June

(Clip from BBC Archive) (Clip of guest appearance by Frank Sinatra) (Clip from Jack Benny Show) 0:54:13 Mukesh & Shamshad Begum – Raat Ko Jee Chamke Taare Aag (Clip from 1948 A Year of Great Decision) (Clip from 1948 Year In Review) (Clip from Cavalcade of 1948) (Clip of Harry S Truman describing the blockade of Berlin) 0:57:55 Elder A. Johnson – God Don’t Like It (Clip from 1948 Year In Review) 1:00:21 Willie Gumede & His Concertina Band – U Gumede (1948 TV Commercial) (Clip from The Profit Motive) (Clip from The Life of Riley)

July

(Clip from 1948 Year In Review) (Clips from BBC Archive) (Clip from 1948 Year In Review) 1:04:17 Arthur Smith – Guitar Boogie (Clips from Clement Atlee – The New Social Services and The Citizen) (Clips from National Health Service Story) 1:09:51 Les Paul – What Is This Thing Called Love? (Clips from Cavalcade of 1948) (Clip from Alastair Cooke Letter From America) (Clip from The Original Amateur Hour) 1:14:07 Roy Hogsed – Cocaine Blues (Clips from BBC – Last German POWs leave the UK) (Clip from This Is Bing Crosby) (Clip from BBC Archive) (Clip from Fitch Bandwagon)

August

(Clip from Strom Thurmond’s Swimming Pool Speech) (Clip from The Profit Motive) (Clip from Strom Thurmond’s Swimming Pool Speech) (Clip from Fitch Bandwagon) 1:18:32 Tex Williams – Drop Dead (Clips from Cavalcade of 1948) 1:20:07 Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Pathetique (Clip from What is Television?) (Clip from Inner Sanctum) 1:20:57 Ann Miller – Shakin’ The Blues Away (Clip from Cavalcade of 1948) (Clips from BBC Archive) (Clip from 1948 TV Commercial)

September

(Clip from BBC Archive) (Clip from The Original Amateur Hour) (Clip of Banta Trance Speech) 1:24:15 Dave Brubeck – How High The Moon (Clips from BBC Archive) 1:29:32 The Sauceman Brothers – Hallelujah We Shall Rise (Clip from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not) (Clip from What is a Television?) (Clip from Fitch Bandwagon) 1:31:04 Standard Radio Sound Effect – Canadian Geese (Clip from BBC Archive) (Clip from The Profit Motive) (Clip from 1948 Television Commercial) (Clip from WXQR Halloween Nightmare) (Clip from Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Pathetique) (Clip from 1948 Year In Review)

October

(Clip from 1948 Television Commercial) (Clip from Atomic Energy Is Your Business) (Clip from 1948 A Year of Great Decision) (Clip from 1948 Year In Review) 1:33:32 John Lee ‘Sonny Boy’ Williamson – Stop Breaking Down (Clip from The Jack Benny Program) (Clip from The Profit Motive) (Clip from Truman Address in St Louis) 1:36:22 Dick Wellstood – So in Love (Clip from WXQR Halloween Nightmare) (Clip from Inner Sanctum) (Clip from WXQR Halloween Nightmare) (Clip from Inner Sanctum) (Clip from WXQR Halloween Nightmare) (Clip from Atomic Energy Is Your Business) (Clip from Peter Lorre on Spike Jones Show) 1:40:41 Charles Mingus – Mingus Fingus (Clip from Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Pathetique)

November

(Clips from Cavalcade of 1948) (Clip from 1948 A Year of Decision) (Clip from Alasdair Cooke Letter From America) (Clip from Newsreel – Results of the 1948 US Presidential Election are Revealed) (Clip from Cavalcade of 1948) (Clip from Alasdair Cooke Letter From America) (Clip from Cavalcade of 1948) (Clip from NBC Election Night 1948) (Clip from Newsreel – Results of the 1948 US Presidential Election are Revealed) (Clip from Alasdair Cooke Letter From America) (Clips from NBC Election Night 1948) (Clip from Alasdair Cooke Letter From America) (Clip from US Propaganda Film) 1:49:46 Django Reinhardt Et Le Quintette Du Hot Club De France – Just For Fun (Clips from BBC Archive) 1:53:02 Chet Atkins – Dizzy Strings (Clip from 1948 Television Commercial) (Clip from Top Tunes of 1948) (Clip from 1948 Year In Review) 1:56:15 ????????? ?????????? , ??????? ??????? – ????????????? ??????? (Clip from BBC – Birth of Prince Charles) (Clip from 1948 Year In Review) (Clips from Cavalcade of 1948) 2:00:03 Lightnin’ Hopkins – Down Baby (Clip from Commercial for Mum Deodorant) (Clip from Commercial for Nestle Quik) (Clip from This Is Bing Crosby) 2:03:51 Red Ingle – Pearly Maude (Clip from Kraft Music Hall) (Clip from Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Pathetique)

December

(Clip from 1948 Television Commercial) 2:07:08 Julia Lee – Do You Want It? (Clip from Contact Lenses) (Clip from Fitch Bandwagon) (Clip from Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Pathetique) (Clip from Banta Trance Speech) 2:11:19 Shona – Shuga (Clips from BBC Archive) 2:14:23 Kasagi Shizuko – Sakura Boogie Woogie (Clip from Fitch Bandwagon) (Clip from Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show) 2:17:42 Shamshad Begum – Kaahe Koyal Shor Machaye (Clip from BBC Archive) (Clip from What Is Television?) (Clip from This Is Bing Crosby) (Clip from Bob Hope in Berlin) (Clip from Howdy Doody) (Clip from Bob Hope in Berlin) 2:20:45 Flatt & Scruggs – Farewell Blues (Clip from BBC Archive) (Clip from Bob Hope in Berlin) (Clip from This Is Bing Crosby)

Ending

(Clip of Pierre Schaeffer – Etude Violette) (Clip of Banta Trance Speech) 2:24:14 Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra – Oop-Pap-A-Da (Clip from The Original Amateur Hour) (Clip from The Chicken of Tomorrow) (Clip from Edward R Murrow – I Can Hear It Now) (Clip from WXQR Halloween Nightmare) 2:29:41 Spike Jones & His City Slickers – None But The Lonely Heart (A Soaperetta) (Clip from The Profit Motive) (Clip from Inner Sanctum) (Clip from Howdy Doody) (Clip from Fitch Bandwagon) (Clip from Kraft Music Hall) (Clip from NBC Utley Commentary on Palestine) (Clip from Interview with Carmen Miranda)


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