John Bondurant left a couple of comments on the Buel Kazee and Wise County posts from a few months ago – and linked to Berea College’s wonderful collection digitalized field recordings from Kentucky and the greater Appalachia area. It’s a revelatory website and really well laid out – you can even search by county! Check it out here.
I received the new Dust To Digital Release, Victrola Favorites from Ms. Honey for Christmas, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since then. I think that Dust To Digital is a pretty hit and miss reissue group – but all their releases have a striking amount of detail and love poured into the song choices (though the art direction and build quality of another one of their new releases, Art of Recording, leaves a lot to be desired and has prevented me from reviewing it fairly thus far.) and this one might be their best work yet.
The set is loosely themed around a collection of 78s from around the world compiled by collectors Jeffery Taylor and Robert Mills and design to simulate a Victrola parlor or I guess more accurately – their Victrola parlor where they play long forgotten 78s they have found from all corners of the world and through many different means. The collection of sides is wonderfully sequenced and each song moves smoothly into the next despite being all different corners for the world. The names and records are mostly unfamiliar to me – which is a pleasant surprise – as this is not just a good collection of sides in the way Goodbye, Babylon or Tikont’s Flashback series are, but it’s a masterful and well documented collection of songs, unheard a much more challenging feat – and one that puts this collection on a short list for one of the best collections of songs that I’ve ever heard. The collection is two discs and held in the covers of a 144 page booklet with amazing detail shots of the 78 labels, sleeves and advertising that accompanied these sides. I can’t really say this strongly enough, but I highly recommend this release.