by Bill Forman
Here at IndyBlog, we've always strived to keep you up to date on the latest recording technologies, from the wax cylinder release of Now That’s What I Call Steampunk! Volume 1 back in April, to the new cassette-only releases currently being issued by the Kill/Hurt Records & Tapes label.
Now comes word that Tom Waits, whose true-love-travels-on-a-gravel-road voice often sounds like it should be coming out of an old gramophone, is releasing a 78 rpm single next month with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Better still, there will be a limited edition "Deluxe Donation" package that comes with a handsome 78 rpm record player. (As vinyl diehards well know, most turntables from the last half century only play 33 and 45 rpm discs.)
The Mardi Gras-themed release will benefit Preservation Hall's junior brass band. To get an idea how important student brass bands are to New Orleans youth, read Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans, the extraordinary and rightly acclaimed book by Colorado writer Dan Baum. (You can find our Indy interview with Baum here.)
Scroll down for additional details from Waits' own website. But first, here's a sweet video about the Preservation Hall project, followed by a Tom Waits original, "Innocent When You Dream," which appeared in two different versions on his 1990 Frank's Wild Years album. This one, appropriately enough, is the "78" version:
On November 19th, Preservation Hall Recordings will release 504 limited edition hand-numbered 78 rpm vinyl records featuring two tracks by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band with very special guest Tom Waits. Proceeds from the sale of this very special project will benefit the Preservation Hall Junior Jazz & Heritage Brass Band.
Mr. Waits traveled to New Orleans in 2009 to record two songs with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for the critically acclaimed project Preservation: An album to benefit Preservation Hall and the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program, “Tootie Ma Was A Big Fine Thing” , and “Corrine Died On The Battlefield”. Originally recorded by Danny Barker in 1947, these two selections are the earliest known recorded examples of Mardi Gras Indian chants.
The two tracks will now be packaged in a special limited edition 78 rpm format record, each signed and numbered by Preservation Hall Creative Director Ben Jaffe. The first one hundred records will be accompanied by a custom-made Preservation Hall 78rpm record player as part of a Deluxe Donation package. The remaining four hundred and four will be available as a standalone record for the Basic Donation package.
This special limited edition recording will be made available in two different tiers, based on the level of donation: Deluxe Donation Tier: $200 — Limited Edition 78rpm record featuring Tom Waits & The Preservation Hall Jazz Band AND a custom-made Preservation Hall 78 record players — and Basic Donation Tier: $50 — Limited Edition 78rpm record featuring Tom Waits & The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Both packages will be available for in-person purchase at Preservation Hall in New Orleans on November 19, 2010 at 10:00am Central and available for purchase online November 20th here.