Monday, July 21, 2008

Transcription mystery

This is what I like to find in the middle of a stack of 78s. It's a transcription disc with the call letters WLIB-AM. the year and date are clearly marked April 22nd 1950. That's the year after the New York Post sold it to the New Broadcasting Company under Morris Novik. The transcription blank has an address in the same city as the station. It's also in playable condition. Nice.

The contents were a tad more mysterious than the label let on. If you listen you'll hear a very young boy sing "Chattanooga Shoeshine Boy." The tune was written by Harry Stone and Jack Stapp in 1950. The reason we know this is that Stapp was from WSM-AM in Nashville and his history is pretty well recorded. But point being, this boy sang on this recording probably within a couple months of Red Foley recording it, and probably only weeks after the printing of the sheet music. It charted on the Hit Parade that year at #1 for 9 weeks. It's appearance in the film "Indiana territory" probably helped.

But despite the call letters I can find no connection to 1190 WLIB-AM. At the end of the recording a man says "...Everything is jumping, we're all jumping but Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday or Friday things are always jumping at the Wally Jackson studio..." The recording ends there and the mystery begins.

There was no Wally Jackson at WLIB. There was Hal Jackson, possibly a relation. More interesting is a single online reference to the studio. "Very few of his followers know the fact that Charlie started in music as a violinist. He learned to play the violin in an academy called Wally Jackson Studio in New York, where he grew up." So the studio existed and was in the correct city. But at the time the station had relocated to harlem, and had retooled itself for a black audience. This recording would have have aired at that time. Anyone have my missing puzzle piece?

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