Voices Gone But Not Forgotten

Category: What on Earth!?

As you know, there was a lot of stuff left behind in the house by the previous owner.  Including a pretty large collection of vintage LP's and 78's that I have been wanting to listen to.  So, with my allowance money, I purchased a turntable that could "rip" vinyl to our computer.

Before I have time to dig through the collection already in the house, I need to address something very special.  There are three records in my possession.  Special records.   

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They are the recordings of this man, his family and his friends.

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This man is my grandfather.  Born in New York in 1903, James George Costello was a smooth-talking Irishman who became a cop and then a detective.  He worked in Hell's Kitchen and lived in Brooklyn, New York.  After retiring from the force, he owned a series of businesses...a doughnut shop, a paint store.  He co-owned three bars at three of the four corners of Madison Square Garden.  He knew politicians, members of the mob and was a completely colorful character.

Sometime in the 1940's, he gathered his friends together and threw a party at an inn at Walker Lake, Pennsylvania. Beverages were served.  And three records were made.  The effect of the beverages on the recordings becomes more apparent as you progress through the tracks.

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This was about the time that the Presto Recording Corporation had its instantaneous portable recording equipment involved in the recording of telephone conversations and other types of communication for law enforcement agencies.  Presto also never entered the home consumer market.  This leads me to wonder if my grandfather "borrowed" the equipment for his impromptu recording session from the New York City Police Department. 

Many Presto recordings were destroyed over the years as Presto paid for discs to be returned to them and used as scrap in the early 1950s.  But these particular discs, although badly scratched and worn, are still here.

I've made six recordings of the six sides of the discs.  And, as I sat in my office chair late last night mixing the audio, I was blown away as I heard my grandfather's voice for the first time since he died in 1982.

I'm not sure if you will be able to download this easily.  And I had to compress it to get it uploaded, so the sound quality has been compromised yet again.  But, for those who can hear it, here is Track No. 3 from the Lost Walker Lake Recordings.

The first song, Bridget O'Flynn, is sung by someone who I don't recognize.  (Perhaps my Great Uncle Harold?  Someone says "sing it again, Harry!")  But my grandfather starts everyone off for 'Til We Meet Again

Sounds like they're having fun, doesn't it?  I miss him. 


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Comments

That's very cool. A truly one-of-a-kind artifact from a time long gone.

Thanks for sharing that with us it really is wonderful to hear people enjoying entertaining themselves.

that was extraordinary. and touching. thank you for sharing it.

Hey, we DID hear your Grandpa and the others sing 'Til WE Meet Again', tho the volume was very low, but we got it. Thanks, Jeanne. We havn't cut a disc yet, but wait!
Grandpa Keith

How cool! So what is the process for ripping LPs into digital format? I've got a small LP collection myself... hmmmm.

 

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