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MMD > Archives > June 2013 > 2013.06.05 > 01Prev  Next

Passing of Ray Siou, Music Roll Retailer
By Matthew Caulfield

I have just learned of the death of Ray Siou, the great "roll mogul"
of Oakland, Calif.  Ray lived alone in a warehouse-like building at
1612 East 14th Street, with his cats, music machines, and a mountain
of music rolls of all kinds, which he contracted with Play-Rite Music
Rolls, Inc., of Turlock, Calif., to produce for him to retail in lots
of a dozen rolls or so at what now seem like ridiculously low prices.

Ray was a curmudgeon.  Here is a quotation from one of his lists of
Wurlitzer 165 rolls:

  "To the next generation of Organ Mogul: This last list took me five
  years to sell out of and this one may take longer, but no matter;
  nobody is going to make any more 165 rolls and sell them as cheap
  as I have over the years. ... One of the main reasons for making this
  list instead of buying second mortgages at 15% is to take care of the
  customers who are buying Don Stinson's new '165' organs instead of
  having a new baby that might end up on Death Row.  Also the smartest
  people in the world are the ones living on borrowed money and die
  owing a million dollars instead of leaving one. ... To the cheap old
  geezers, a word of advice: Spend your money on some new rolls; it's
  later than you think."

Ray used to attend post office auctions where he could pick up items
that had become lost in the mail and, when you received a shipment of
rolls from him, you almost always found some surprise "gifts" packed
into the empty spaces in the box.  My wife and I once visited Ray at his
home, and found him to be a very cordial host and not the curmudgeon
that he came across as in writing or over the phone.

The roll-collecting world is poorer now for the passing of Raymond Siou.

Matthew Caulfield

P.S.: I hope other MMDers will write a little about their experiences
with Ray.  I could say volumes more, but not now.

(Message sent Wed 5 Jun 2013, 18:05:22 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Music, Passing, Ray, Retailer, Roll, Siou

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