Paris at 78rpm
January 5, 2009
With the advent of Google Street View starting to move beyond the U.S. (creepiness in tow), we can now investigate some of the forgotten locations that long ago were once gramophone record shops, dealers, or labels. Unlike the street views in New York City, Google snapped fairly crisp images on their jaunt through Paris. Here are some present-day locations that once played an important part in the dissemination of folkloric music on 78s throughout Europe. Click on the images for full-sized photos and locations via Google.
Left: 26 Rue des Talliandieres, the former hardware shop and home of Le Soleil records, active from the late 1920s through the mid-1930s and owned by Martin Cayla. Le Soleil pressed hundreds of authentic recordings of French folk music from the Auvergne region, played on accordion, cabrette, banjo, and hurdy-gurdy.
Middle: 133 Boulevard Raspail, the former home of the Boîte Á Musique label, who pressed South American guitar music, African ethnographic recordings, and mainly lots of classical 78s.
Right: 30 Rue Beaujon, the home of Decca Records and Le Chant du Monde, among others. (This building might be new.) Decca was huge, of course – and instrumental in recording early West African music, as was Le Chant du Monde.
Left: 34 Rue des Rosiers, the former home of the gramophone shop of one Léon Speiser. Speiser was definitely active at least from ca. 1930-1940, and sold discs of early Algerian and Moroccan 78s. It is now rather fittingly a falafel shop!
Middle: 50 Avenue Montaigne, the former home of Philips. Philips was tireless in competing with the major labels by recording all across West and North Africa in the late-40s/early-50s, producing some amazing recordings.
Right: 48 Rue Pouchet, the humble (in comparison to Philips) former home of the tiny Africa Vox label. Africa Vox and it’s owner’s home were probably one in the same – they recorded and released a number of beautiful ethnographic recordings in rural parts of Western Africa.
Left: 251-253 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, the location where the French Pathé label and the French offices of Columbia Records used to reside.
Middle: 28 Rue Lesage, the former gramophone shop of H. Artinian, a one-time dealer in “Disques Armeniens, Grecs & Turcs.”
Right: 72 Cours de Vincennes, the former home of Charles Pathé’s first gramophone shop, opened ca. 1895, about a year before he opened the Pathé Frères company with his three brothers.