Saturday, March 11, 2006

Obsolete music in the news

There's a new piece in the Naples News about Dick Spottswood, the host of WAMU's Dick Spottswood Show. Subtitled the Obsolete Music Hour, Spottswood has been spinning discs since 1967. Though retired he continues to produce his show from Naples, Florida, and it airs on WAMU in Washington, DC and online at their website and at Bluegrass Country. I've met Mr. Spottswood a few times at folk festivals when he was still living in Washington, and he's a regular at ARSC conferences. Best of all, he's a librarian, as well as a radio host and closet ethnomusicologist. (Kip Lornell refers to him as a "reformed librarian." He's written or co-authored some of the field's most valuable discographies on country and ethnic music, including:

* Meade, Douglas S., with Dick Spottswood and Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music. Chapel Hill, NC: Southern Folklife Collection, University of North Carolina Press, c2002. 1002 pp. ISBN: 0807827231 (alk. paper). Includes foreword by Joseph C. Hickerson.

* Brooks, Tim. Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, c2004. 634 pp. ISBN: 0252028503. Includes appendix of Caribbean and South American recordings by Dick Spottswood.

* Spottswood, Richard K. Ethnic music on records: a discography of ethnic recordings produced in the United States, 1893 to 1942. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, c1990. 7 vol. ISBN: 0252017188 (set: alk. paper).

Here he is in his home in Naples:

You can hear his show on the air at WAMU-FM on Sunday afternoons from 1 to 3 pm (EST). (Yes, I am suggesting you listen by turning on your radio, if you're in the area; others can listen online). Also Bluegrass Country has some really cool premiums, including CDs of the blues and train songs; and a genre called "plum-pitiful songs." Great old stuff.

There's also an audio slideshow at the Naples site.

On another note, I've decided that I'll try to listen to baseball this year through the radio or by webcast (with the exception of the World Series) instead of watching on TV. There's something about listening to baseball and imagining what's going on, instead of being forced to watch the pictures. The teams I try to keep up with are the Nationals, the O's, and the Indians.


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