Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Transcription Mystery Disc # 193

This is a Wilcox-Gay 8-inch paper-core  transcription disc. It's fire-engine red which makes it hard to miss, but it also makes it hard to miss the odd dark stains under the acetate coating that I take to be some kind of oxidation. There is no audio problems to correlate to the odds spots that appear on each side. I equate it to foxing, a common occurrence with age in all paper-products coming from iron impurities in the paper.  High humidity is assumed to be a factor, which in acetates can also explain spider cracking as that could be caused by any expansion of the paper core. Bummer.

One side is a woman singing at low volume with heavy vibrato. It's entirely unremarkable since I can identify neither song nor singer. She has no accompaniment so I assume it's a home recording demo. But the other side gets weird. Most of the audio is poor, high noise, low volume levels. I hear whistles, numerous voices and strange voice then a man with a British accent breaks in... "I'm talking form KJK, Canada Broadcasting Company..." more voices break in. Laughter, noise, more laughter. Then the voice returns. "Can you hear me, Can you hear me. They say there's a troopship just leaving Bombay, bound for old Blighty's shore, heavily laden with time expired men, bound for the land they adore. There's many an servicemen just finishing his time, there's many a twerp signing on, you can get no promotion this side of the ocean, so by god my lads, bless 'em all..."  Then more noise and more strange commentary...

Bless 'em All - George Formby

The line about Bombay is a mangled quote from a song recorded by George Formby Jr. called "Bless 'em All." It came out in 1940. But more importantly Formby was a comic who served in the Royal Naval Airforce. The song was a popular protest song by British airmen in the 1920s. Many of his songs were considered too bawdy for broadcasting by the BBC. The disc is clearly post 1940 because it has a paper core, but I'd guess it was in the hands of British servicemen, not Americans.