BBC Documentary on Fred Gaisberg (and music therein)

There are a few more days left where you can listen to an hour-long BBC Radio 4 documentary on arguably the most important man in the history of recorded sound, Fred Gaisberg. Titled “The First A and R Man,” it’s a nice listen, featuring interviews with people I truly admire and look up to in the world of historical preservation and recorded sound history, such as archivists at EMI, and Will Prentice at the British Library.

There is a segment in the show which talks about Gaisberg’s (and the recording industry’s) first trip to eastern and southern Asia. And, at 35:20 in the program, you can hear an excerpt from my personal recording of the Malay artist Qasim, singing “Lagu Nuri Terbang Malam,” which I originally posted on Excavated Shellac on May 5, 2007, and dates from those first sessions.

My original post can be read here. To listen to it today, you can visit Excavated Shellac’s Qasim page on the WFMU site, right here.

That said, it would have been nice to receive either a verbal or written shout-out from the producer of the program for providing a snippet of rare sound (surely EMI did not make a special, new transfer of this obscurity for them), or Paul Gambaccini, but that’s show-biz! To BBC Radio 4 I say: you’re welcome!

BBC Radio 4: The First A and R Man

5 thoughts on “BBC Documentary on Fred Gaisberg (and music therein)

  1. Just showing my age, probably, but I still think of Paul Gambaccini as a pop DJ. He does a decent job here, though. Interesting that in a programme bringing together people from institutions with three of the greatest sound recording collections in the world (the BBC, the BL and EMI), they should have used one of your transfers. Has to be a compliment! But it would have been nice for you to get some credit.

  2. Thanks, Ray. Oh, it’s definitely a compliment, for sure! I’m (partly) being flip. But it’s probably far too cost-prohibitive for BBC Radio to actually get new transfers made for the program, so I’m betting all of the material you heard was culled from other places (perhaps that CD of Gaisberg recordings in Japan, for instance, or Will Prentice’s “Before the Revolution” disc). In some ways it’s not surprising that my little Malay record made an appearance, as I don’t believe any of the recordings in Malaysia or Rangoon have ever been reissued in any form. Very few of the other first Asian recordings have appeared, either. But yeah, might have been nice if they had dropped me a courtesy line.

  3. It’s a link, not a download, FYI…but maybe you realized this?

    Works fine in Firefox on my end – might want to download the latest Real Player.

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