Friday, 30 December 2011

The Lost Jukebox

I fancy myself a take it or leave it kind of guy. But I have hung on to a lot of records and now cds.
And I mean a lot of records.
And a lot of cds.
And a lot of cassettes (incidentally. I made these shelves from one of the kids' old beds).
And a lot of people (well, my wife and my dad) ask me why do I have so many and why can't I make do with fewer. I probably hang on to more than I need through a mixture of inertia and diffidence but the answer to why I buy so many in the first place lies in the world of The Lost Jukebox.
This is a series of over 200 cds compiled by an American called Jeffrey Glenn from pop singles from the 60s and 70s, mostly, from the US and UK, generally speaking, that failed to make a significant impression on the charts, more or less. So far,so ordinary. What sets this apart is the sheer quality of the music on offer. None of it is from any recognisable genre or sub-culture of those years, it is all mainstream popular music issued by major record labels recorded by proper musicians accompanied, often, by an orchestra. It should be the squarest compilation ever.
But Glenn has made brilliant choices in what he includes on each cd. They are not thrown together to show what a large collection he has. Many of the cds are themed around girls names or the summer or the Beatles. Each cd is pleasingly sequenced and the material chosen is of a consistently high and innovative standard.
I have spent much of the past year listening to these cds and most of the music on this blog is taken from them. I have previously heard only a very small fraction of the music on these discs. And I have heard a lot of music before.
The big black wodge in this photo are the Lost Jukebox cds piled together.
I have been listening to popular music for almost 40 years and here is a huge range of material none of which I had heard before. And some of it is sensational.
That is why I keep acquiring music. To hear something I have not heard before and that will make me feel different or change my view or just bring me pleasure.
I have started trying to find copies of those 45s on the Lost Jukebox that I have particularly enjoyed, some of which are on this blog. I want to have the record as cds do not count.
Glenn's achievement is significant, I think. He is more than a compiler and this is more than a comilation. But even if that were all it was, it is still a significant technical accomplishment. Think of how many 45s you might have. Now imagine compiling only those that conform to the 60s and 70s timeframe and have not been included on any compilation before and organising them in a pleasing sequence. Now imagine doing that 230 times. And then he had to actually put the music onto the cds.
I think it is a significant art project which stands against those who might claim that some genres of popular music have more, deeper significance than others. Glenn does not attempt to weed out the hip from the square, the groovy from the bandwagon jumpers exploiting that week's teen craze. He provides no context and makes no attempt to isolate quality from the tawdry. Everything here is judged solely on musical merit, which sounds obvious but so many people judge pop music on non-musical grounds. Glenn sends us back to judge on the basis of our ears alone (literally in my case, as my eyes will not allow me to read the track listing on printed versions of the cd covers).
I think that the timeframe is also significant. I doubt that I would wish to listen to 200 cds of mainstream popular music from the 80s and 90s.

18 comments:

  1. having just recently discovered the Lost Jukebox collection, I too was amazed to think of the work behind these compilations.. especially once i found that there were over 200 discs! I have found the tracklists for 170 of them but was only able to find 137 available for download (as torrents) where are all of the missing discs?

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    1. I do not know, I am afraid. I have nos 1 - 130 and 176 - 180 but no others. I do know that there are a number of best of compilations and suspect these mnay be the 200 numbers. Happy hunting.

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  2. I already had 001-115 from downloads made a few years ago, then I lost the series as the original source (on a Tripod hosted site)just did not have the files any more.

    I've found a site offering 001-110 but would love to get any of the series above 115, if only to hear more of the music I've never heard before

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  3. I now have 001-137 plus 177-180. Still looking for any others.

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    1. Gordon , my collection of this Lost Jukebox serie also excists of the same volumes as you have.
      I already been searching for months to find the missing numbers in this serie but i got no results.
      Untill now I'm still looking for those missing links.

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  4. Just wondering if there's been any further sightings of the volumes above no. 137?

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  5. Yeah, I'm looking for volumes 131-176, and 181-240.

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  6. I have several in the 180's and a few in the 140's myself. They do exist but are not easily found. Always willing to share. PM me if I can help

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  7. There are 225 volumes, i have a complete list, and need 448 songs, currently, always looking for help to get the rest, of course!
    smiller265@cfl.rr.com

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  8. I have LJ volumes 1-210 complete w/artwork, volumes 211-225, but missing 15 tracks total, 11 LJ Xmas vol's + 12 LJ Best Of' vol's. If interested you can contact me at johnny_rainbowman@yahoo.com

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  9. Have a peek at http://loadsamusicsarchives.blogspot.co.uk/

    A lot more volumes have turned up there ;-)

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  10. LoadsAMusics collection is great, but generally a collection of stuff initially posted on Soulseek, and later popcat's cdrs & Johnny Rainbow assemblies of the upper 3 crs no one admits to owning. That said, any Lost Jukebox repository is a very good thing :)

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  11. You can find some links posted under tilte
    Lost Jukebox Collection 121-137
    at
    http://www.lairsofthedragon.com/
    It's a forum but you don't need sign in to have access to the post.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Having posted those hopefully useful links, I would like to comment my point of view. Probably it's a really interesting collection of some long forgotten oldies which never reached general audience. It's even possible that I might find some brilliant production which never was discovered. It will take some time to download and listen even these few albums.
      Now, were they REALLY jukebox 45s? Respectfully, I doubt it. Jukeboxes were about BUSINESS: people feeding MONEY to listen some hits while drinking or eating. Jukeboxes were not to promote music: indies, garage bands, unknown groups. A Jukebox was filled with TOP 40 productions. So, without resting merits to this great compilation, LOST JUKEBOX is just a name to call it: I bet most of them never were in a jukebox.

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    3. They were released as 45s so they could have been played in a jukebox. Jukeboxes at the time would have been stocked by the jukebox owner so it was up to them what songs would be available. Eventually the songs left on the jukebox would be the popular ones.

      But the songs almost certainly would have seen radio play if only for a few weeks. A song can't become a top 40 song until it's had some exposure. Nowadays all the oldies stations only play top 40 so it's misleading. But radio in the past played a lot of songs not heard today. Songs that were popular enough kept getting airplay, but less popular songs were forgotten and buried.

      This collection is about those songs which failed to reach the top 100 but most likely still had some exposure. It's the sort of song you might have heard on the radio at the time (if you were alive then) and may have even remembered but have never heard again.

      And I believe the title of Lost Jukebox refers to each CD as a jukebox of songs. Whether they were actually in a jukebox one has no way of knowing.

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  12. Currently, it's possible to get volumes 1-210 from Avxhome and a Nitroflare account. The free Nitroflare download is extremely slow and takes about 3 hours per CD. For 220 CDs that's about 660 hours or about a month of straight 24/7 downloading.

    From what I've gathered, there's 225 volumes. There's also another 11 or 12 Christmas CDs and about 12 compilations including a 6 CD set. There are no volumes 226-240, but there are approximately 240 CDs. Every now and then they show up somewhere but are hard to collect. Many of the later ones (211+) may be incomplete.

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