Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Two-Fer: Mystery 78s

A Wednesday, pre-Thanksgiving Two-fer. The first post for the evening had no shares, so I thought I'd add another tonight with a share. So, here are a few songs from The Cheerleaders and The Hollywood Choraliers.

I don't know anything about the artists or the recordings apart from what you can see from the record scans. These are 78rpm records, in snazzy seasonal red. Some very basic information is on the label.  Google searches yield nothing more on either The Cheerleaders or The Hollywood Choraliers, or the "Hollywood Records" label. So, if anyone knows anything about them, please leave a comment.

The records are old and pretty noisy. Probably not a choice for your annual Christmas comp, but I find recordings like these very interesting. I found a HUGE pile of 78s at a local record store last weekend (including Frank Sinatra's "White Christmas"), but the owner hadn't priced them yet. I'll be back....

I hope you find these interesting and historical as well, and that someone may have some information about the recordings or artists.


  1. Did you use a 78 rpm needle to record these tracks? Also, be sure to use enough weight (3 grams or more). I'll be back when I can get my file host to upload a file. Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. OK. I tried to improve the sound of Jingle Bells though the results are mixed. Please find it below. Maybe, you'll hear a slight improvement.

    Until recently, I didn't really know about the specific 78 rpm needle or the amount of weight to use. Maybe, you already know about this stuff. If so, that's great.

    I have an out-of-print Xmas 78 rpm that I've been trying to record recently. If I'm able to get it in fair shape, I'll pass it your way as a donation.

    To be continued.

  3. I did use a 78rpm stylus for these, but I don't have a way to adjust the weight on my turntable. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for working on the track! I look forward to hearing your other song.

  4. That's a tremendous improvement in the sound of "Jingle Bells" - thanks! If you care to pass on some pointers about removing the noise, I'd be very appreciative. I'm learning as I go... Feel free to improve and re-share the others, too. I'm all for collaborating for the best end result.

  5. Hi - a couple of suggestions: stick a penny on top of the cartridge. Declick using ClickRepair - inexpensive and very effective! Happy holidays.

  6. I can second Buster's recommendation for ClickRepair. It's free for three weeks, I think, so download it and try it for the rest of the season. After two weeks, I fell in love and went ahead and bought it. You will too.

  7. At this time, I am not inclined to re-edit the other mystery tracks. Sorry. My taste lies more on the secular side though a brief experiment with a vocal-only track was fun. (I'll keep an eye on your shares if anything else sparks my interest.)

    Certainly, ClickRepair could help with the mystery tunes though there are other good software options as well. (And, pennies do work though you may need more than one! Break out the tape and experiment. Attach one piece
    of tape with a single penny at the end of the cartridge, and add additional ones in a stack on top as necessary. This works for difficult 45 rpms as well. Of course, be sure to clean any record that you plan to record. Go ahead and debate away on the methods (or proper methods) to accomplish that process. Geez.

    I am no master of ripping 78 rpms. However, I would take care to note that a stereo recording of a monophonic record contains two tracks (The display in Audacity represents this well if you're looking for a free program to handle this issue.) Usually, one track (left or right) from a stereo recording of a mono song contains a bit more audio distress. Therefore, I choose the cleaner single track and dublicate it for the final stereo file. (This additional step reduces some distractions even beyond the sole application of a declicker-type software program. So, practice both for a cleaner outcome.)

    Also, to increase the volume of your final files, use a program such as Audacity to FIRST normalize, and then possibly, amplify your recordings SECOND. Ultimately, these are only suggestions.

    From reviewing files from various bloggers, I've seen that there is quite a vast variety of approaches to this process. And, you would likely get a different approach and answer depending on the knowledge and opinion of each ripper. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much sharing of this type of info for beginners.


    From a fair copy of a 1950 78 rpm, "Sleigh Ride" from George Cates with vocals by The Heartbeats awaits below. Of course, he was Lawrence Welk's arranger and producer. Per Billboard magazine in Google books, this
    recording was issued a year after the Boston Pops' version.

    If you wish to share it with your readership, feel free to feature as you see fit in a blog post. Otherwise, please take one for yourself as a thank you.

    Happy Thanksgiving, and good luck with the blog!