Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Making of .... a Marathon Radio program

Last summer the final album of the Complete Hit of the Week Recordings, released by Archeophone Records has been published. Such a huge project would have been impossible without a decent Hit of the Week discography. In some previous blogs I presented you the birth and growth of such a discography in a series The making of ...............
Jean-Christophe Averty

When the 6th edition of the Hit of the Week Discography had been published I received a lot of commends from collectors all around the world. ......... I was surprised to get a telephone call from Paris one day in the summer of 1998 by a rather excited Jean-Christophe Averty, who told me, in a kind of broken English, that he had heard from the discography and that he wanted to have a copy of it ..... tout de suite. ( = as soon as possible). I'd send him a copy of the book and a week later he called me again and labelled the discography as a piece of art. Jean-Christophe Averty, he must be now in his 80s, wun his spurs at the France Broadcast during the last 60 years, producing jazz and French vintage records, as a jazz historian, as a host for dozens of TV and radio programs and as a 78rpm. record collector. ....... I wrote about him in a previous blog dedicated to the quest for information:
The making of .. the Quest.

Jean-Christophe Averty was a host at hundreds of TV and radio programs, like Jazz for The Happy Few. One of the projects he loved to present was a series of radio programs with all his Sefono, Dancing, DoReMi and MP's and other French Hit of the Week records in his collection ........ Mind that the Hit of the Week label was released with french label in France. Some weeks before he received the Hit of the Week discography he had started this project and had shared some of the earliest Hit of the weeks he had in his collection with the listeners of his program ......... One of his regular listeners must have pointed him to my discography. The Hit of the Week discography he had studied mentioned some early Hit of the weeks he didn't had in his collection, so he asked me, or shall I say ordered me, to send him cassette tapes of these first Hit of the Weeks, so he could start over a series of programs dedicated to his favorite record label. ........ I did and Jean-Christophe re-started the series presenting all Hit of the Week recordings in chronological order starting with the Hit of the Week 1019 ( "Tip-Toe Through The Tulips With Me" ), the promo record and 1020 (Through - Bert Lown's Hotel Biltmore Music), the first commercial release of Hit of the Week. Between March and April 1999 each week two Hit of the Week records were played ......... ( with a four week intermission during the month of August). As in Holland we couldn’t receive this France Culture on radio ( I don't think the internet offered radio programs in streaming audio in those days) I received the programs on cassette tape from Iwan Fresart, a Belgian collector from Waavre (near Brussels), who was a regular listener of the program.
Fragment of one of the cassette tapes as made by Iwan Fresart ( collection: Hans Koert)

It was a pity that in April 1999 he had to stop the program, as but few people listened to the program, which started at midnight .........
Jean-Christophe was allowed to host a similar program entitled Les Cinglés du Music-Hall, which was transmitted between October 1999 and May 2002 at two o’clock in the morning (!) in which he could play just one Hit of the Week, each week. In may 2002 he could play the final Hit of the Week record: Hummin' to Myself by Phil Spitalny's Music. In the studio Jean-Christophe invited for the program Jazz for the Happy Few one or two guests, to discuss the records. Jean Christophe, who is an authority on this kind of vintage music, informed the listeners about the origins of the songs and the musicians and gave the Hit of the week recordings its place between other recordings of the early 1930s.
One of the cassette. (Hans Koert collection)

His French was almost inarticulated, even for native French speakers, and before the started to play the cardboard record he read out loud all my information from the discography, to the letter, including all personnel, matrices, takes, label information, notes and names of composers and arrangers, all at double speed in his well known broken English.

I wonder how many people have heard this Marathon Radio project ........ but it nourished my dream to share all Hit of the Week Recordings in chronological order with the rest of the world .............

Deze blog werd ook in het Nederlands gepubliceerd als The Making of ... de radioprogramma's van Jean-Christophe Averty

Hans Koert
author of the Hit of the Week-Durium discographies and the online Hit of the Week Discography


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