Broken Records (and how they got that way…)

Yes, they break if you sit on them, shoot ’em, step on them, run them over. Sometimes 78’s break if you look at ’em the wrong way. Here’s my collection of broken discs and how they got that way.
From the top photo we find Tampa Red- Mercy Mama b/w Drifting (RCA)— fell out of the sleeve and onto the floor—crack! Miss Lee Morse and Her Blue Grass Boys– Everybody Loves My Baby But My Baby Don’t Love No Body But Me b/w Better Shoot Straight With Your Mama (Perfect, colored shellac) held too tight by an idiot I let look through my country 78’s. Rev A. Nix & his Congregation- Black Diamond Express To Hell pt 1 b/w pt 2 (Vocalion) It was fine when I found it, when I got it home it developed a pressure crack– I think it committed suicide.
Blind Lemon Jefferson- Bad Luck Blues b/w Broke and Hungry (Paramount) An old girlfriend — Dr. Sarah Covington, author of The Trial Of Martyrdom: Persecution and Resistance In Sixteenth-Century England (University Of Notre Dame Press, 2003) found a whole pile of Pre-War 78’s up in Connecticut, mostly jazz but a few blues discs where in there. She was bringing two Blind Lemon 78’s back to New York City as a present for me and in Grand Central Station a big fat guy bumped into her, knocking the records out of her hands. Luckily the other disc– Blind Lemon’s Black Snake Moan (Okeh) survived the crash.
Furry Lewis- Mean Ole Bed Bug Blues b/w Why Don’t You Come Home Blues (Vocalion) This one lived under the sink at Bob Quine’s mom’s house for thirty years undisturbed. While bringing it back to New York (as a present for me) it got cracked. Quine couldn’t remember how it happened (he managed to get several dozen other 78’s to NYC for me, all in perfect condition. I called record dealer and collector John Tefteller to ask if there was anyway to fix it and he told me a copy had recently sold for almost four grand, adding “I’d have paid that for it”. And a great record too! Damn….
Third photo from top: Roy Milton- Milton’s Boogie b/w Groovy Blues (Specialty) I dropped it when I was drunk. Swallows- It Feels So Good b/w I’ll Be Waiting (King, DJ promo) I have no idea how this one got broken. Johnny Ace- Yes, Baby b/w Saving My Love For You (Duke) Cracked when flipping through the records, must’ve had a pressure crack in it I never saw.
Lightnin’ Hopkins- Prayin’ Ground Blues b/w Gotta Move Boogie (Sittin’ In With) Destroyed by the movers when I moved from the E. Village to Chelsea, the only record that got broken, and a good one too. Especially the instrumental b-side.
Bottom Photo (45’s): Kip Tyler & the Flips- She’s My Witch b/w Rumble Rock (Ebb) Destroyed when the fill in DJ following my show at WFMU threw his pile of records on top of mine in the record rack. I should have killed the prick. I did manage to replace it, but this copy, bought at the old Tower Records parking lot flea market in Hollywood cost $5, the replacement cost $40.
Kid Thomas- Wolf Pack b/w The Spell (Federal) See last week’s Kid Thomas posting for the story on this one. I’ve since found a 78 but I still need a replacement 45. Eddie Cochran– Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie b/w Pocket Full Of Hearts (Liberty) Another WFMU fuck up, basically the same story as the Kip Tyler record. Still haven’t found another copy (it’s not even rare, I just refuse to pay $30 for it).
Breaks your fucking heart, eh?

18 thoughts on “Broken Records (and how they got that way…)”

  1. “Maybe Bear Hite snuck into our houses, he was famous for breaking 78’s to make his own the discs in his own collection more valuable…”HEH! Fuggin’ collectors…Anyhoo, all of the above is why I stopped bothering w/78s long ago.And I quit buying vinyl about five years ago after I found a Cecil Payne LP for two bucks on Charlie Parker Records that was SEALED. I brought it home confident that it’d be 100% playable (provided it was printed on center). But — HELLO! — there was a BUMP in the vinyl that threw the tone arm up into the atmosphere. That was the final straw. I haven’t bought any vinyl since. I still own and play vinyl, but I’ll leave it to you hopeless masochists to keep on purchasing. Just don’t come crying to me.

  2. That’s how I feel about CD’s! For example the Velvet Underground Quine Tapes set, it’s five years old, I’ve played it maybe three times. A friend asked me to dub it for him and one CD already won’t play. It looks fine, no visable problem, it just stopped working. I have tons of CD’s that have just stopped working, even on the computer won’t read ’em. I think the it has something to do with the glue. My turntable will play almost anything short of a cracked record. BTW, if you have a mono cartridge (Grado makes two, one cheap, one expensive) it helps when playing mono discs. A stereo cartridge will read the pops and clicks as the other channel and amplify the noise, so I change to the mono cartridge for mono discs.I refuse to pay $20 for a cd (unless it’s something I just have to have and the music is only available on cd). Can I mention here how much I hate jewel cases. If it’s available on vinyl I’ll take it that way. I’d rather pay $50 for a rare 45 than $20 for a new cd. I know that sound moronic to most of you but the old discs still give me a thrill, the cd’s usually give me a headache.Of course, nowadays I keep my records at home where they belong…

  3. Broken 78’s…don’t get me started. I have a small collection of just those.Most of ’em purchased on ebay for a fraction of their value, only to arrive at my door in pieces, due to poor packing or Postal Service brutality.

  4. Gee, the Blind Lemon disc that hit the floor was really called “Bad Luck Blues” b/w “Broke and Hungry”? That’s one for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!I’m sorry. I shouldn’t laugh.

  5. A fall of about 3 inches cracked a handful of Slim Gaillard 78s on the Atomic label. I couldn’t bear to have them around anymore and tossed ’em.

  6. I’ve got a CD copy(among others)of NRBQ’s “Live At Yankee Stadium” that simply won’t play properly on any CD device. Never did, actually, and it gets sketchier by the hour. But I’ve got forty-year old vinyl that still plays perfectly despite being subjected to numerous moves, countless punk rock van tours, transcontinental air travel, and in some cases years of storage. And those scratches, pops and clicks on my first pressings of Exile, L.A.M.F. and Fun House? That’s the sound of my life being…lived. Toke!

  7. even worse…CD’s that skip even though you’ve only played them two times in six months and kept them in the cover in all that time

  8. hello Hound! 8 years ago I played records for an hour or so at a friends house party – the hostess thought she’d help me out by putting the 45’s back in my box – she dropped my Charles Scheffield It’s your Voodoo Workin'(M-!!) and knocked out a small bite size chunk that included the first 2 grooves. Figured I cop another for under $50…..but no-way no-how!! as it’s become a friggin’ northern soul must have… My buddy Don sends me a link whenever it’s on eBay to make me cringe as it bids up to $700+ – OUCH!! John P (T. Valentine’s friend in Chicago)

  9. and the only 45 I’ve done in by my drunken self was Pass Out the Hatchets – Eddie Bo…RIP BIM BAM BABY is killer (I only have it on LP) you have Everybody’s Twistin’? – of course!

  10. Pass The Hatchet by Roger & the Gypsies was actually a white group, all Eddie Bo does on the record is the spoken part– “pass the hatchet”. Still, great record.Yeah, the Sheffield Excello 45 is way overpriced these days, if you're gonna spend big bucks on one of his records if you can find Mad Dog on Hollywood that's his finest moment, I'll post it some day.

  11. got Mad Dog on cassette from Mike Smyth in ’86 – It’s great! Do you know Mike? He introduced me to Billy and Miriam at a record show in Chicago in 1983. British collector who’s been in Nashville for 20+ years. He was a mentor to both myself and Barney Koumis of No Hit Records, Stompin’ comps, etc (most of the Stompin material comes via Mike)

  12. I remember having to move about 200 or 300 of my 78s when renovating a room in my house, was very careful. But when I went to move them back a couple months later (small handfuls at a time, of course) I noticed one of them didn’t feel just right. So I pulled my 78 of “Blue Moon”/”Just Because” by Elvis out of the sleeve – and only half of it came out. NONE of the other records were broken.

  13. i have so many sad busted 78’s…i nail ’em to the wall in the record room…i did just sit on a copy of raisin’ hell by the satans surf lp, to my total horror…

Spit it out, partner...

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