Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Transcription Mystery Disc # 29
Duralite recording blanks were made by Musicraft, a independent record label which was active in the 1930s and 1940s. They went bankrupt in 1949 and their catalog was bought by Discovery records. They didn't really have a niche, they pressed classical, jazz, calypso, folk, and vocal pop songs and a number of ethnic sides. (I have several.) Some of their catalog was very edgy. They infamously pressed "Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine" by Harry the Hipster. More here.
On the side the also marketed 8-inch, metal-core transcription blanks under the name Duralite. I know these were in circulation in the late 40s at the earliest because there are two speeds marked on the label 78, and 33. But I also found a few ads confirming they were being sold as early as 1939. This one of course is unmarked, that's just how it usually goes.
One side is a few girls singing together, the sound quality is poor, and I cant seem to clean it up. On the other side is a man singing a bit monotone. He sings a Navy drinking song called "Bell Bottom Trousers" then a bit of "Chattanooga Choo-Choo." Then he follows that singing a version of "It had to be you" with a woman who's sense of key is a bit better. In harmony he sings a bit better. But as he warbles on it becomes clear that he's completely drunk, and so is she. This is the 1940s equivalent of drunk dialing.
I was able to clean up the bed noise on the drunk duo pretty well and is posted above. The songs dont help date the disc much. The sea shanty is as old as sailing probably. That last one, "It Had To Be You" still has a pretty well circulated Sinatra version, but actually dates back to 1924. But, Cattanooga Choo-choo only goes back to 1941. So that's our time window, 1941 to 1949. It was a Billboard #1 hit in December of that year and was featured in the film Sun Valley Serenade. I favor a recording date around that year.