. . . . . . . . Dinosaur Discs Magazine November 2020 No.148
This mini information magazine on old records is issued monthly and covers many aspects of collecting 78rpm records
All Change for Llanfairfechan
Wilkie Bard's fine music hall song, which he recorded on Zonophone, Beka, and Jumbo. Reissued also on Coliseum, Scala and Ariel.
All change for Llanfairfechan
Llanrwst, Llandaff for Brecon
Llandilo and Llandudno
This language is so strange
All change for Llangamorgan
It strains my vocal organ
Llangammarch and Llangadock (Llangadog) ....
And Llan, what else you like- all change!
I toured Wales recently, photographing some of the surviving railway stations still used by Transport for Wales, that feature in the song. Several not included in my montage include Llanwrst, Llangammarch, and of course Llandudno. However the two names in the line I have omitted, are hard to identify.

Extra Articles

The Story of Sound Recording
There have been various histories written about the fascinating development of the phonograph and gramophone industry. In this article I will review the ones I consider the best, in the hope that it will send you scurrying off to scour secondhand bookshops!
Most are out of print but possibly you will be able to find a new copy of 'The Guiness Book of Recorded Sound', which covers the ground from the angle of "first singing record ever" and "first ever stereo record".

THE FABULOUS PHONOGRAPH by Roland Gelatt is, in my view, the best introduction. A first edition published by Cassell is dated 1956, though a revised edition issued in time for the centenary of the phonograph in 1977 gives the date of 1955. The revised edition does correct some errors and updates the history, but in either case, you will have a clearly presented chronological story of the development of the sound recording industry. It's told with a certain romantic touch, this especially evident in the section on Gianni Bettini: "Today, Bettini cylinders are even rarer than Gutenberg Bibles or Shakespeare quartos.... But we must not romanticize unduly the legacy that has been lost. Some writers, employing imagination instead of prosaic research, have ascribed a dazzling galaxy of recording artists to Bettini's enterprise: Richard Wagner, Jenny Lind ... Adelina Patti and Queen Victoria... the first two were chronologically unable to oblige Bettini, having died before his recording career." Research was the keynote of Gellatt's work, but he writes in a highly readable style that makes you almost feel you are sharing in the inventive process. The only drawback is Gelatt's rather highbrow taste - he tends to concentrate on classical music..
MUSIC ON RECORD by recording pioneer FW Gaisberg was published by Robert Hale in 1946. In many ways, this is THE book, containing the memories of the man who really made the gramophone, certainly he made the business that became HMV! He knew nearly everyone in the business and it's a fascinating tale of how he meets up with Emile Berliner, inventer of the gramophone, and helps him build up a library of whistling songs and recitations in late nineteenth century Washington. His move to Britain in 1898 saw him bring the primitive gramophone here. But perhaps most celebrated is his story of how with his brother Will, he first recorded the great Caruso in 1902.
A VOICE IN TIME by Jerrold Northrop Moore (Hamish Hamilton 1976) is in some ways a second edition of Gaisberg's book. The subtitle is indeed "The Gramophone of Fred Gaisberg" but it includes the completion of Fred's life story - appropriately he died aged 78! There are some useful comments on some incidents which Fred was hazy about (such as Fred's fascinating chapter on the Russian industry), but this book would not be my first choice.
FROM TIN FOIL TO STEREO by Oliver Read and Walter L Welch (Sams and Merrill 2nd ed 1976) is the longest of these books. It is also the most erudite, and perhaps rather hard going. It certainly deals in great detail with Edison's invention, to which all others are but pale imitations. It's well illustrated with plenty to interest the collector of machines. The chapter on Bettini provides a fascinating contrast with Gelatt's book. Whereas he was factual yet enjoyable, these writers whilst covering the same ground, do so much more laboriously. Nevertheless as an indispensible reference work, this is THE book.
JOE BATTEN'S BOOK - The Story of SOUND RECORDING (Rockliff 1956) is the most frustrating of these books. Apart from the poor binding, it's a great pity that this pioneer British gramophonist relied so much on his sketchy memory. Because in many ways, this is the most interesting of the books. Joe started like Gaisberg accompanying the artists making early cylinder recordings ad infinitum. If only he could have told us more about those early days! But the snippets are such fun. As for example on page 49, where he describes the unbreakable records of the Neophone Company. One would be dropped (deliberately!) from a fourth floor window. "A boy then dashed down the stairs and retrieved the record..This was then played, and as it emitted its normal noises this was clear evidence that it was none the worse for its rough treatment. But although customers did not buy records to drop on the heads of unsuspecting pedestrians, yet all might have gone well had not the records, when displayed in shop windows, curled up in the sun and assumed pathetic surrealistic shapes." Such anecdotes make this book very endearing, but beware of the appendices - as they contain, sadly, a lot of incorrect data. And like others before him, Batten devotes an awful lot of pages to his classical enterprises, such as his attempt to record The Dream of Gerontius for Velvet Face.

FROM THE MAGAZINES - Gunn Report GR105 (1988).
Here's a look at the asking prices of old 78's- culled from this doyen of collectors' magazines.

Jazz was John Gunn's first love, and he had a good selection in this issue, without, naturally, selling off the cream of his own collection! The prices are the suggested starting bids, so we'll never know now what heights were reached. But there were ten V Discs on offer, unusually mostly in excellent condition, because the GI's had usually left their fags smouldering on them whilst they... anyway the prices of around 3 seem reasonable by today's standards. Nothing much over this price except for a rare (V+) Columbia of Maggie Jones with Henderson's Hot Six, at 8. American records, even reissues command as high prices as they do today, perhaps because without internet trading, these American discs were less easily available to British collectors. The Vocalion S series were highly prized, perhaps more so than today, and there's a 7 starting price for Stuff Smith on S28, which I don't think it would achieve today. At the other end of the scale, 30p for a Bud Freeman in E- condition on Parlophone was a good buy. Oh, you have to read the print- it has a hair crack!!
Dance Bands were more moderately priced, nothing much over 1.50 except for a few American labels. Al Bowlly, even more prized today perhaps, is around 1- 1.50 with a good selection with Roy Fox, Ray Noble and Lew Stone.
The Personality auction was a mixture of the great and the good, mostly priced under 1, except for a few choice items. Here's an Al Bowlly with the Honolulu Serenaders for 2. I did bid for a rare Arthur Aiston pre World War One record on Jumbo in V condition, but I failed to get at 70p the nicely titled Wollopy Doodle, sadly never to be seen again. Nor did I succeed in getting for 60p Mr Charles Penrose on the rarish ten inch Victory label.
The Instrumental auction had everyone from Teddy Brown to Winifred Atwell- now they would have made a great duet together! H Robinson Cleaver on the organ on Octacros at 60p looks a find, whilst you could also pick up a pre WW1 label the Arrow for 50p. A poor condition Nicole, with handwriting on the label (must be early!) was 1.
A selection of about thirty Bits and Pieces included a lot of Little Marvels at around 60p (all in poorish condition as usual), whilst there was the attractive Little Tots album of three discs by good old Arthur Hall and Arthur Fields for 2.50. Another Arthur, this time Arthur Pryor is on a seven inch G&T for 2, whilst at only 1.50 because of the poor condition, Hunting and Whelan (G&T1194) are offering one of those predictable telephone sketches.
About a dozen Pathe hill and dales contain the usual dreary names of Billy Whitlock, Harry Thornton etc, but buried amongst them at only 2 is Ernest Shand with one of his best songs In America. Now that is rare- but it's well worth hearing if you can get it. The Zonophone version is a little more easy to find.

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