Tiffany Transcriptions website updated

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The Tiffany Transcriptions, discs recorded in 1946 and 1947 for radio use, contain some of the best material ever recorded by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Tom Diamant, whose Kaleidoscope Records made that material available to the general public on a series of LPs in the 1980s, has a website devoted to the Tiffany Transcriptions. The site has been recently reorganized, with improved navigation and new content, using WordPress blog software to provide the site's infrastructure.

The discography allows you to see the complete list of recordings or to browse pages for individual sessions, where you'll find the list of session personnel, the session's location, and related documents like the musician's union contract and the studio contract. A new page tells the story of the never-released Tiffany Transcriptions Vol. 10 and a planned CD of Bob Wills fiddle tunes from the transcriptions.

Another interesting new feature: scans of the 52 labels for the discs issued to radio stations. The labels provide the name, time, licensing organization (ASCAP or BMI), and vocalist (or main instrumentalist) for each song.

Just skimming the labels and the discography, I see a bunch of songs I'd love to hear that aren't yet available to the public -- Tiffany versions of "Don't Be Ashamed of Your Age," "Goodnight Little Sweetheart," "No Disappointment in Heaven," "Wang Wang Blues," and "Yearning," several waltzes, pop tunes like "Love Letters in the Sand" and "Don't Fence Me In."

Now that it's possible to release music without the expense of producing physical media, I wonder what hoops one would have to jump through to release, through, say, Amazon or iTunes, a series of albums with the Tiffany material that didn't make it into one of the Kaleidoscope releases. As a start, I imagine you'd need to obtain the masters or the best available copies of the songs and get the appropriate licenses to use the recordings and the compositions. I'd love to know more about the process; maybe even try to make it happen myself.

MORE: Johnny Cuviello, who provided the beat for most of the Tiffany Transcriptions sessions, is the subject of a 2008 article in the Journal of Texas Music History. The article explains how this Fresno-born son of Italian immigrants became known as the Texas Drummer Boy.

On pages 7 and 8 of the story, there's a photo of the Texas Playboys doing their Tuesday night KGO radio show from the stage of the Oakland Auditorium Theater. The band is uplit, a very neat effect. On stage: Tommy Duncan and the McKinney Sisters, Johnny Cuviello on drums flanked by Billy Jack Wills and Luke Wills, both playing bass fiddles, Louis Tierney, Bob Wills, and Joe Holley on fiddle, Alex Brashear with his muted trumpet, MC Cactus Jack (Cliff Johnson), Millard Kelso at the piano, and Junior Barnard on standard guitar next to his monogrammed amplifier. (Announcer Jack Webb is not on stage.)

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 12, 2011 11:20 PM.

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