That was a nice note about Ray Siou from Matthew Caulfield. All good
wishes for Ray to be as comfortable as circumstances can possibly allow.
We all owe a great debt of gratitude to those who have recut old rolls
and arranged new ones. In the early 1960s, for example, there were no
recuts of "O" rolls, and a good one would sell for, say, $50, and might
even have some tears or problems. (Rule 101: the better-sounding a roll,
the more it was played, and the lower its condition would be).
Then came Ed Freyer, who recut "A", "G", and "4X" rolls. In the
meantime Larry Givens and John Gourley recut Ampico and 88-note player
rolls, then came the wonderful Play-Rite enterprise -- and this is just
a short list to which can be added modern computer technology, the
active profession of making new books for fairground and dance organs,
making new music box discs, and MIDI and related technology. Today,
in 2008, music is not a problem. We can all be thankful.
Also, time was when most collectors thought that most of the "good"
arrangements were to be found on "O" rolls, hardly any on "H" rolls,
some on "G" rolls, not many on Wurlitzer Automatic Player Piano [APP]
rolls, lots on early Mandolin PianOrchestra rolls, who knows what on
Wurlitzer Paganini rolls, and so on. Today, it is theoretically
possible to take an elegantly arranged Hupfeld Helios or Pan roll,
or a Gustav Bruder roll for Weber, or an "O" roll, and translate it
for a Seeburg H or a Wurlitzer LX. Not much of this has been done,
but it will.
I have a little Wurlitzer Style 135 pipe organ with its original roll
mechanism for early Wurlitzer organ rolls -- really great arrangements
a la Mandolin PianOrchestra / Philipps -- but the library is now
vastly augmented by Tim Westman's transcriptions of Link, Weber,
Welte, and other rolls, some Art Reblitz arrangements (Mary Poppins
is unforgettable) made for other instruments, and more.
Deserving of credit and recognition are many others. Harvey and Marion
Roehl and their Vestal Press created publications that inspired many of
us, beginning with "Player Piano Treasury", not to overlook the earlier
"Player Piano Scrapbook". Paul Eakins in Sikeston, Missouri; the
Sanders family museum in Deansboro, New York; Disneyland; Knott's Berry
Farm, Osborne Klavestad (Shakopee, Minnesota), Virginia City, Nevada;
the Frontier in Las Vegas (Doby Doc collection), Cliff House, Valente's
Nickelodeon Tavern and Svoboda's Tavern in Chicago and Chicago Heights;
Ruth Bornand in Pelham, New York; and others demonstrated instruments,
made or allowed recordings to be made and did more than their share --
mostly in an era when such devices were known to very few.
The Musical Box Society, started in 1949 as, it seems, a rather
clannish enterprise, has broadened widely to accept more than just
"music boxes." I still recall when in the late 1960s an officer of the
Society asked me if I'd like to run for office as a trustee. Another
officer (now deceased) heard about this and called to say that in no
uncertain terms could a dealer in musical things, especially pianos
(and he mentioned photoplayers as being particularly objectionable), be
an officer. I reminded him that dealer Rugh Bornand (a fine friend of
mine, by the way) was a dealer and had served as president of the MBS.
"She was a dealer in music boxes, not pianos," was his answer. I never
tried again! Of course, AMICA has done its share for the hobby, too.
All of this has been great fun. And, back to Ray Siou -- Ray, if you
are reading this, all the best to you and thanks for what you have done.