About a month ago, my father-in-law, Phil, sent me a link to a news article announcing the on-line arrival of something called the “National Jukebox.” After reading the article, I immediately logged onto this new website.
My, oh my. It is amazing. Really, really amazing.
Let me try to give you a simple description.
The Library of Congress digitized, organized and categorized over 10,000 78 rpm “disc sides” from their collection. These records, originally released between 1900 and 1925 by the Victor Talking Machine Company, are now available for free and unlimited listening on their new site entitled: “National Jukebox.”
As the site says: “Imagine your computer as a new Gramophone purchased for family and friends to enjoy in your home parlor.”
Well, this new Gramophone comes with one heck of a record collection.
I’ve not spent a huge amount of time browsing the site, but I have already found a few gems.
From the home page, under: “Genres,” then: “Popular Music,” then: “Blues,” I found The Memphis Blues. This is a 1914 recording of a song by W.C. Handy (the Father of the Blues), featuring vocalist Morton Harvey.
(This recording pre-dates Crazy Blues by Mamie Smith by 6 years!)
Under: “Browse All Recordings,” then: “Composer,” then: “Foster, Stephen Collins,” I found a 1919 recording of my favorite Foster song: Hard Times, Come Again No More, fearturing vocalist Louise Homer.
Then, when I just searched “guitar” and then: “instrumental,” I found (among a list of 77 selections) a 1914 recording of a piece called The Rosary played on slide guitar by Pale K. Lua. Gorgeous music.
This site is well worth your time. It is a treasure chest of vintage recordings and priceless music that, thank-you-oh-thank-you, Library of Congress, can no longer be considered “lost.”
And, of course, you, my wise and well-informed readers do know: “Good music doesn’t get old.”
So: ready, set, go: www.loc.gov/jukebox/ .
You’ll be very glad you did.
P.S.: Make it a “favorite.” “Like it.” Tell your friends!