Book Review of Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78rpm Records

Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78rpm Records
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There is much about the psyche of those that collect and preserve 78s (very few gals are interested) and actually wish to play them. The author put a lot of effort into her book, including visiting and breaking bread with aficionados. As readers turn to read another chapter, half a dozen items covered in that chapter are listed at the beginning. I am interested more in the recording firms, what they were known for, how scholars of 78s view them today, etc. but this is a more personal tale of Ms. Petrusich's travels through the genre. There was a fair amount of the book of interest to me.
She did put a lot of travel into this book and does like the music. I liked Chapters 3-4-5 best. Chapter 10 is about Harry E. Smith (Anthology of American Folk Music) and Chapter 9 tells of how collecting 78s began in the 1940s. Writing of her own respect for pre-war blues music, Ms. Petrusich says, "The most important component of any country blues song is still the performer's articulation of blues 'feeling,' that amorphous, intangible, gut-borne thing that animates all music and gives it life (16)."
John Heneghan, a longtime collector, says, "I'm still discovering things. You find some weird band name, you don't know what it is, and you take a chance on it, you put it on, and it's some incredible masterpiece." [Or maybe dreck, I would say.] Some of the first collectors were able to buy excess stock for almost nothing in the 1940s. Those interested in preserving the records use strategies to run across people who have stored these discs away. This reminds me of the 'free' book truck at the branch library that I both contribute to and find books for others--once in awhile books appear that were certainly kept in an attic for many years.
Apparently there is no mention of Dr. Demento who is so knowledgeable about 78s and had a four hour Los Angeles broadcast 1970-1990 and one or two hours in many other cities. For the 100th anniversary of the phonograph, he played a tune recorded in each year, ending with a Beatles record issued on 78s in India.
My small criticisms include that as I remember it, we enthusiastically embraced LPs in the late 1950s and the 78s began to fade very quickly during DDE's second administration, not in the 1960s as the author claims.
Also the storage problems of holding onto 78s are hardly mentioned. They are heavy and a hassle when a person moves.
My dad worked out of Portland, on the road for Decca before the war, for Capitol after the war, and then for Johnny Welch (jukeboxes) until recalled for the Korean War. Except for one printed album, he had accumulated many favorite records that were housed in generic albums with sleeves. They were stored with his father in law in Olympia when we had to relocate to Texas and brought home to Southern California a few albums at a time in the 1950s. He had mostly jazz and I enjoyed playing some of them once in awhile. After a couple more local moves, he allowed my brother to record them all on tape and sell them for nearly a hundred bucks to a collector, the housekeeper at Dr. MacBurnie's church, a good bit of money to a thirteen year old. They included a few test pressings with typewritten labels. Unfortunately, the purchaser only paid part of the money due.
Dad did mention that when calling on record stores, they were told to keep an eye out for old Decca catalogs (apparently they had lost some of their file copies) so they could identify what they might want to press again. He emphasized how small were the quantity pressed during 1931-1933 or so, when sales were so bad. He also mentioned an older couple with a small town music store that had 'a warehouse' full of cylinder phonographs.
Index.