Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Making of ........ the IAJRC-tapes

Last summer the final 2cd album of The Complete Hit of the Week Recordings was released by Archeophone records - the crowning glory of twenty years of collecting and research, which resulted in a series of discographies dedicated to the paper hits of the 1930s: the Durium - Hit of the Week records. In some previous blogs ( have a look at menu at the right) I wrote about the birth and the makng of ..... the discographies and now I love to introduce you to The Making Of ..... The Complete Hit of the Weeks  recordings: the IAJRC-tapes.
Cassette tape HIT OF THE WEEK RECORDS 1143 - K4 5/31 - 10/31 (IAJRC CS102-3 )Hans Koert collection)
Since I found my first original Hit of the Week record I was anxious to hear more of it and collected ca. 350 original Durium records so-far - most in excellent conditions. I collected an almost complete series of the Hit of the Week records, but what to do with such an unique collection?
Part of the tracklist ( Hans Koert archive) 
Some other collectors, who were also fascinated by the subject, enjoyed to visit my place to look up those rare cardboard records and have it in their hands and to listen to it ........... Even some collectors of the US, while visiting Europe, joined my place. But ....... 350 brown cardboard records are not a very cuddly collection like, let's say, a collection of original salt shakers or piggy banks. You won't show these things in a museum or an exhibition, as 350 card board Durium records all look the same at first sight ........ and you can't listen them all at one visit. so, ......... what to do with such a collection? One of my dreams was a discography, with scans of all Hit of the week labels and so I did.
I started the online Hit of the Week- Durium discographies and posted scans from the labels. Making such a discography is a hell-of-a-job, so I didn’t finish it up to now. You can find the complete Hit of the Week recordings online, and part of the European durium series and the US Durium advertisement and custom records.
John B. Gray about the start of the IAJRC-project. (letter: 23rd of August, 1996) ( Hans Koert archive)
Record collectors are rather strange people .......... as soon as they can insert that rare original first issue of that certain artist into teir collection, they never touch the record again and it is hidden in the collection for ever. The radio programs of Jean-Christophe Averty made me anxious to do such a broadcast myself - sharing some of my Hit of the Week records and thanks to some radio producers, like Jan Turkenburg with his program Vreemde Geluiden, Splogman's world and the 52 Weeks project and in the US  Tony Oetjes who had an internet show in those days, (wovradio.com) some of the records in my collection were broadcasted. But I dreamed about presenting all Hit of the weeks .... like Jean-Christophe Averty did ...............
Fragment of John. B. Gray's letter (23rd of August, 1996) ( Hans Koert archive)
When I had finished the discographies, I received an e-mail somewhere late 1990s, from an US record collector Doug Benson, who also had a large collection of card board records and wondered if all Hit of the week records had been archived in a kind of sound-data-base. Did someone ever recorded all 200 Hit of the Week records in chronological order? I could reply to Doug: Yes, they did, .. The IAJRC ( = International Associations of Jazz Record Collectors ) had asked John B. Gray, from Santa Ana (Ca) in 1990 to archive  all Hit of the Week records he could find on reel-to-reel tapes and so he did. Members of the association could borrow the tapes, transferred to cassettes ....... It had been a hell of a job, as some records were very rare, like that mysteriousMysterious Mose, but, just before the deadline, he found a copy of this very very rare record.
A fragment of some techinical information about the transfers ( John B. Gray message to the IAJRC) (Hans Koert collection)
Several collectors got a copy of the five tape cassettes-set and I got mine from John R.T. Davies, as I told you before. Doug, who is also a sound engineer, listened to the cassettes and told me that the sound was not good - he could do better. In the meantime, late 1990s, I had got internet and a database with the addresses ca. 100 Hit of the Week- Durium collectors world wide ........ Doug asked me if I would participate in making a set with the Complete Hit of the Week Recordings to release on cds ...... Archeophone records, a record company that shares rare unheard music from the early 1900s, wanted to release such a set and so ..... the idea become reality - a dream came true.
The mysterious: Mysterious Mose by Bobby Dixon's Broadcasters (Hit of the Week 1061) ( photo Hans Koert archive)
This contribution will be published in Dutch at the Keep Swinging blog.
Hans Koert
author of the Hit of the week-Durium discographies