Listen to 78s

Old Time Online

Back in the 1980s Jim Bollman had a large collection of 78 rmp recordings of Old Time Music. His roommate Jacki Spector decided to make a recording of each of the disks, as Jim was about to sell the collection at auction. Jacki (with a little help from her friends) recorded each disk onto a series of 23 cassette tapes, and let me make a copy of her tapes and logbook. Later Bob Jordan helped me chop up the MiniDisc version into 746 separate tracks, and reconstruct the tracks that had been split up in the process. I decided to put the tunes online to share with the old time music community.

The sound quality on these recordings is not great. Each tune started on a ‘well loved’ 78, then went through 2 generations of cassette tape, then MiniDisc, AIFF, and RealAudio or mp3. A few of the beginnings and endings got chopped off along the way. I didn’t try to remove any scratches or pops. I encourage everyone to buy the excellent reissues of 78s that are available today. People who make these reissues spend hours on each cut to bring back the best sound possible.

On February 8, 2002 the Internet Archive captured an early version of these 78s on, pictured here, complete with period appropriate html styling and realaudio sound. It even got some mentions on The Mudcat Cafe back then!

Here is that same collection of tunes, many years later, still available “for your listening pleasure”. There are around 700 tunes, by around 300 performers.

“Listen to 78s” on down through the years