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This mini information magazine on old records is issued monthly and covers many aspects of collecting 78rpm records
British Manufacture Throughout - an indication of patriotism, as befits the first world war. The profitable habit of pressing 78s in Germany or Prussia was an avenue no longer available, so Bulldog survived the 1914 watershed and continued making recordings, despite difficult conditions, through the war. Initially labels were etched like this world war song, which is by the great music hall star JW Rickaby. The Crystalate company bought up the comnpany's matrices, and issued some on their post war Imperial label
Lost Voices Recovered
Wild claims would fly about many moons ago of fabulous rarities recorded by the great composer Liszt, but the sad fact is that as the phonograph wasn't invented until 1877, such stories could only be a flight of fancy. But the amazing thing is that several great mediums have conducted seances and actually committed their proceedings to record.
It was on May 31st 1937 that a Mrs Benny Godman, sic, conducted a specially monitored seance in the HMV studios in Hayes Middlesex and in the EMI vaults are preserved acetates of this incredible session which was witnessed by studio engineers and three participants, all members of the Jack Hylton Band. But the outcome was so extraordinary that they were sworn to secrecy, and only one pressing was made of the evening's events, issued to Mrs G on the private HMV B label (yellow) series, and catalogued BO1 to BO6.The matrix numbers are hard to decipher, but appear to be OEA4790-1 to 6.
The first disc contains long silences and a few moans, but is frankly inordinately dull. The second contains Mrs Godman appealing to the spirit world and receiving little response until near the end of the side a howling gale seems to blow in the microphone. Then comes the excitement at the start of side 3, with an echoing voice calling through the ether, repeating several times, "Not Kiss Me Hardy." Whether this was Lord Nelson himself, who can say from this point in history? But an eminent voice expert, listening with me today, claims that it is! The voice goes on to claim that history has misreported him, he was actually calling Kiss Me Hamilton, and the new controversy is whether he was calling to Lady Emma, or her husband.
Disc 4 introduces a new voice who most oddly is singing, the words sound like "I'm Conk Conk Conk, William the Conk." Apparently in the other world King William of England (distant relation to Prince W) took a fancy to the music hall song about him. He goes on to relate his strategy for invading Britain in 1066, and it was only a naval miscalculation that led to the showdown being at Hastings, apparently he had set sail for a more westerly landing, in which case the defeat of Harold might well have been the Battle of Portslade, near where the power station is.
Side 5 is quite spooky with an ethereal voice hard to identify with extraordinary kissing noises, that makes you think Nelson might have materialised again. However our voice expert is 99% sure that this is Cleopatra making up to someone she calls "Ant." Most regrettably she is too busy lovemaking to talk to the medium and perhaps it was because of the noises on this disc that the recordings were deemed to need suppressing, at least until today.
Side 6 is far duller, with Mrs G coming out of her trance. There is no information if she ever recorded another seance, but one can only speculate what voices this incredible lady might have brought up, wouldn't you just love to hear Napoleon's slant on Elba, Charles the First's dying words on his scaffold, Alexander the Great conquering another city, or Noah talking to the animals in the Ark? Or maybe this could even solve the age old question of how the universe began...
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