Tuesday, March 20, 2007


from time to time, i get audio archiving work. i have a bunch of old audio machines - antique tape recorders, wire recorders, etc...and folks may want to transfer something from these old media to a more modern/CDR format.

it's always interesting what i get to hear. for example, my current project is transferring a series of radio lectures on the blues by Walter Lehrman from '55 & '56. these were broadcast on KPFA in Berkeley, CA, and when considered in their original time-frame (pre-Civil Rights movement/Eisenhower era), they must have caused quite a stir.

and one time a wire spool showed up from a family in Texas. the program was all office letter dictation (their late father sold oil industry equipment like drill bits, etc.) which ordinarily might make the eyes glaze over...except for the following bittersweetness: the father had filled up the 1/2 hour spool when he was forcefulconfidenthealthy, then rewound it to the beginning and added about 10 minutes of dictation in a frail, obviously aged and shaky voice.

then there is the issue of 'sticky-shed syndrome'. audio tape is made of three parts - an oxide powder that holds the magnetically-encoded sound, a paper/mylar/acetate backing and a binder/glue that sticks the two together. in some brands of tape, the binder breaks down over the years and starts leeching thru the oxide, which causes the tape to drag on a tape machine's mechanical components at best, or turns a reel into an unusable solid glued-together round brick at worst. there is a 'cure' sortakinda...bake the tape in a convection oven for 8 hours at 135 degrees (which re-binds the oxide). you only get a limited number of plays with this, but that's usually enough to transfer the audio to a more stable medium.

this condition varies from manufacturer to manufacture, with the biggest offender being Ampex tape from the '80's. their Grandmaster 456 became the standard during that era...consequently, lots of recordings are lostgoneforever. this has effected me personally - when King Biscuit Hour wanted to release a live radio broadcast of a Waitresses show, the multi-track master tapes were in such bad shape that all they could use was a two-track back-up recording made off the air by the radio station. hundreds of other bands have found themselves in a similar predicament...so many that lawsuits forced Ampex to change its name to avoid litigation. tape made by 3M, however, doesn't seem to have this problem, which was the 'house tape' at Columbia Records...one reason why we have so much Dylan available for release.

and finally, there's the possibility of improperly-stored tapes being covered in a toxic mold. latex gloves and respirators highly recommended:

"The following [long - 63 p.] paper may be of interest:

"Research on Methods to Remove Mold from Cellulose Acetate Audiotape"
by Jim Thurn (Kilgarlin Center, U. Texas Austin)


- Walter Cybulski
Preservation & Collection Mgmt.
National Library of Medicine"
NP: Ken Field's Revolutionary Snake Ensemble/"Year of the Snake". met Ken at the Under The Skin dance performance - this is his New Orleans improvisedsecondline project. good stuff!

PEEVE DE JOUR: Pennsylvania has come up with a new, potentially deadly road hazard: huge chunks of ice&snow flying off the roofs of trucks.

JOIE DE JOUR: Spring!!!

and this on eBay -


NYCers...come see Half Cleveland this coming weekend:

After what has felt like an unreasonably long hiatus, HALF CLEVELAND (Harvey Gold, Chris Butler, Debbie Smith, and Bob Ethington), is turning the ignition key and doing a couple gigs in the NY area this month!!!

Friday March 23rd at
THE MURRAY STREET GRILL at 10PM (with The Shirts starting at 8:30P!!)
6 Murray Street, NYC, NY

Saturday 3/24 at
361 Metropolitan Avenue (at Havemeyer St.)
Williamsberg, Brooklyn

-Crescent Moon 7:30-8:30
-Sounds of Greg D 9:30-10:30
-Kapow!! 10:30-11:30
-TK Webb 11:30- whenever


ALSO : Updates and a report and pics on the interesting gig played by HALF PIG ...or perhaps it was CHI-CLEVELAND... in Florida a few weeks ago, can be seen at www.tinhuey.com in the 'Latest News' section.


To The Downstage Performance Space at The Murray Street Grill 212-566-8200
Two Blocks South of Chambers Street,
Three Blocks North of the World Trade Center Site.
A,C,E,Trains to Chambers Street,2 and 3 to Park Place, 4,5, and 6 trains to Brooklyn Bridge and RR and W to City Hall stops

To The Luna Lounge


And as always, remember to tip your Waitresses...xo
cb...where are you?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating stuff, cb! And couldn't agree with you more regarding the flying sheets of death-ice coming at me at 65mph. More than once I've had to do some nifty stunt driving to avoid these highway avalanches. Check this story out



9:50 AM  
Blogger CBeezwax said...

yeah...bigtimescaryomigodthisisit. NJ has a law that you must clear your car of this stuff, but enforcement is impossible, i guess.

and thanks for the link!


9:53 AM  
Blogger Harvey Gold said...


Brown font is hell on my CRT. My sight is yellowing enough as it is. And if you tell me it's NOT, in fact brown, but some variaty of plum, well.. I rest my case.Help!

1:26 PM  
Blogger CBeezwax said...

okay...lightened it up a bit. hope that helps.


4:47 PM  
Blogger mr blur said...

hope that helps

Yep, thanks.

6:00 PM  

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