About Andrew Hansbrough

Senior Library Information Specialist with the Marr Sound Archives.

Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Concept of Black Power


Martin Luther King, Jr. appeared on Insight, a WDAF news program hosted by Walt Bodine (left) and Bill Griffith (right), shortly after he penned his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in 1963. Photo Courtesy: The Walt Bodine Collection at LaBudde Special Collections. Photographer unknown.


Walt Bodine paid tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. on WHB Radio’s Night Beat, shortly after the civil rights leader’s tragic death in 1968. The following clip illustrates King’s interpretation of the concept of Black Power.
[audio: http://info.umkc.edu/specialcollections/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/MLKWB.mp3|titles=Audio appears courtesy of the Walt Bodine Collection at Marr Sound Archives.|artists=Martin Luther King Jr. on the concept of Black Power]

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections Seeks New Members


Why should you join The Association for Recorded Sound Collections? Subscribe to the ARSC recorded sound discussion list and get your questions answered or check out the ARSC YouTube page for more insights into the organization’s benefits.

While brushing up on editing skills and best practice for video preservation, I had the opportunity to complete a video project for The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) in conjunction with their 2015 membership recruitment drive.

The videos, now on the ARSC Youtube page, feature ARSC members delivering personal testimonials, encouraging interested parties to join up with the organization. Being an ARSC member myself, I was able to utilize my connections to gain professional experience and enhance my resume.

Joining a professional organization, such as ARSC, can be critical for graduate students and professionals alike. Here is a glimpse into their mission:

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings – in all genres of music and speech, in all formats, and from all periods.

Founded in 1966, ARSC is unique in bringing together private individuals and institutional professionals. Archivists, librarians, and curators representing many of the world’s leading audiovisual repositories participate in ARSC alongside collectors, dealers, researchers, historians, discographers, musicians, engineers, producers, reviewers, and broadcasters.

Supplementary education for audio-visual specialists and students is key to professional development as well as networking with individuals in one’s field of choice. For instance, The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) may be a good fit for film and video specialists whereas The Society of American Archivists (SAA) would benefit archivists of all kinds.

ARSC, however, is geared toward audiophiles, record collectors, and individuals who work with audio materials. ARSC members receive the ARSC Journal and Newsletter, discounted registration fees for the annual conference, as well as access to past conference recordings via the homepage.Topics from the 2014 conference ranged from southern folk music, to new open source preservation tools, to metadata, metadata, metadata.

Here’s a pitch from LaBudde Special Collections’ Metadata Librarian and Chair of the ARSC Membership Recruitment Task Force, Sandy Rodriguez:


Sound Archives Expand Services to Video Preservation

alaadeenSeveral months ago, the Marr Sound Archives purchased a shiny new Mac Pro with intentions of preserving the numerous video tapes held in some of our most noteworthy collections. With the assistance of Adobe Production Suite, a Black Magic Studio Pro, and a Panasonic AG-DS850p Video Cassette Recorder, we plan to digitize our degrading VHS and S-VHS collections. Upcoming video preservation and digitization projects include video footage from the Ahmad Alaadeen, Jay McShann, and Ruth Rhoden collections, among others.

Before we proceed, however, there are a number of factors to consider in the realm of video digitization standards as we document our procedures. Some colorfully hypothetical questions arise as a result.

“Frame rates, aspect ratios, bit depth, metadata… Video capture is so much more complicated than audio. Where do I start?”
“What’s the difference between a multimedia container and a codec? I thought they were the same thing!”
“How much digital storage should I procure for my digital video collection? Will it fit on this flash drive?”
“What makes my files lossless? Of course they are! I can see them right here on my desktop!”
“What makes something born-digital? If I was born in the 1960s, does that make me pre-digital?

Of course, the majority of these ridiculous questions may be answered with some simple independent research or even a shallow Google search. Doing so would reveal that best practice for video preservation depends on the quality of the source and the digital needs of the archive.

Marr Sound Archives has begin preserving VHS and SVHS cassettes from the Ahmad Alaadeen Collection.

Marr Sound Archives has begun preserving VHS and SVHS cassettes from the Ahmad Alaadeen Collection.

For example, the uncompressed, non-proprietary audio file format, Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) has become the standard for audio preservation. Video formats, on the other hand, provide evidence of standardizations that are constantly in flux. For instance, while many digital repositories may stick with a Quicktime file format (MOV) for its consumer accessibility in video, others may utilize the Material eXchange Format (MXF) for high definition film preservation. Depending on cost, storage availability, and the quality of analog source tapes, repositories must decide what best fits their needs.

Our video collection, for example, consists mostly of NTSC source tapes recorded from television or personal camcorder. Standard definition, interlaced Quicktime files with 24 bit, 48 kHz WAV audio will suffice as perfectly acceptable digital preservation copies.

Last week, The Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) released a study comparing target formats for reformatting videotapes to digital files. In the study, FADGI’s Audio Visual Working Group considered what formats would produce an authentic and complete copy of the source, which formats maximized picture and sound reproduction, and which formats best supported research and access. They consider it a living document as new preservation technologies will continue to emerge.

Midwest Archives Conference: “Don’t Knock The Rock”

midwest-archives-300x134The Spring 2014 Midwest Archives Conference (MAC) was held at Westin Crown Center in Kansas City April 24th through the 26th. Several hundred archivists and MAC members crowded the hotel’s numerous conference rooms to witness presentations and debates on various archival standards ranging from use of metadata and social media to providing access to students, researchers, and educational institutions. Among the topics most relevant to sound archives was one of the final conference sessions entitled “Don’t Knock The Rock: Making Popular Music Collections a Part of Your Archives.”

Before introducing the panel of speakers, session moderator Scott Schwartz, Director of the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, proceeded to lay out the complications of archiving unique rock and roll collections and acquiring such objects from local music scenes and collectors.


The Northeast Ohio Popular Music Archives is stationed at the Library and Archives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. NEOPMA actively develops its collections relating to local and regional popular music acts such as The Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, and Devo (pictured above). They also hold notable collections relating to radio personality Alan Freed and labels such as Sire Records.

“It is true that many types of primary sources documenting such music scenes are ephemeral and frequently hidden,” Schwartz said. “Add to this conundrum, the fact that communities sustaining these music scenes can appear to be insular to outsiders because the musicians, the producers, the venue operators, and fans sometimes hoard their personal music artifacts and, at times, are reluctant to share them for a variety of reasons.”

Following these opening statements, five archivists from four different institutions reiterated this sentiment, identified roadblocks, and how they overcame them. Specific topics included identification of record vendors in local music scenes, the Dayton (OH) Funk Archives, the Northeast Ohio Popular Music Archives (NEOPMA), and the Louisville Underground Music Archive (LUMA).

The underlying message for this session was strong advocacy for and partnership with the local music communities that the archives will serve. Archives specializing in local rock music scenes must reach out to local record vendors, radio stations, collectors, and musicians in order to successfully document the historical narrative as assembled by the music community at large. This includes training potential donors to document their collections, with the intention of eventually gifting ephemera to local archives, as well as keeping up with the active musicians and venues to document music scenes currently in progress.


The Louisville Underground Music Archive (LUMA) documents the history and culture of the Louisville rock music scene from the 1970s to the present, with a focus on the 1980s and 1990s which brags such noteworthy acts as Will Oldham, Slint, and Rachel’s.

At the Marr Sound Archives, we encounter similar complications in our pursuit of rock and roll records and ephemera. When compact discs took the place of vinyl records as the medium by which music was bought and sold in the 1980s and 90s, the vinyl market dwindled into niche genres, markets, and labels and are, therefore, much harder to come by via our donations only collection policy.

Add to that, the fact that niche genres are still very much in the collector’s market and one would be hard-pressed to obtain a first pressing of an original Touch and Go Label Necros 7” without suffering the salivating, jealous sneers of collectors who would happily pay a pretty penny to adopt such a rare piece of history into their own stacks. If these items are not sitting in a record store bin at collectors’ prices, they are sitting on the shelves of the collectors themselves. This is not an outrageous fact, just a true one.

Many private collectors are already doing their part to document the 1980s and 1990s punk scenes in the Kansas City and Lawrence areas. Documentarian Brad Norman has been compiling fliers, live concert footage, and oral histories to preserve the legacy of Lawrence, KS punk and hardcore venue The Outhouse (1985-1997) for a feature-length documentary. Filmmaker Patrick Sumner has also compiled an impressive number of photos, fliers, and other ephemera from the Kansas, Missouri region with his Bent Edge KC Punk website.

In addition to that, Missouri Valley Special Collections and the State Historical Society of Missouri contain various fanzine and print collections covering subcultures and underground music scenes. While there is no single repository containing these priceless artifacts, resources are strewn throughout the Midwest and are available to researchers.

The Marr Sound Archives and LaBudde Special Collections have acquired an abundance of Kansas City musical history, although the last three decades of rock and roll music remains relatively scarce as archival materials. This does not mean we do not hold a vast supply of audio and paper items from the last 25 to 35 years of local and international rock and roll acts. Marr and LaBudde serve as repositories for the following collections containing rock and roll records, ephemera, and, oftentimes, personal items of the donors:

Black History Month: Zora Neale Hurston on American School of the Air


Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The American School of the Air was an educational radio program aired on CBS during the 1930s and 40s. The long-running show tackled American history, science, music and literature under the heading of daily subjects such as “Frontiers of Democracy,” “Science Frontiers,” “This Living World,” and “Gateways to Music” and broadcasts were often used as a supplement to classroom education across the nation.

On December 8, 1938 the umbrella title was “American Literature of the Twentieth Century” and the guest was author, anthropologist and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston. In this very rare episode of American School of the Air, Hurston tells African-American folk tales from her collection entitled Mules and Men. These may be the only audio recordings in existence of her reading these particular works.

Among the folktales heard here are “Why There Are Negroes and Other Races,” “How God Made Butterflies,” a series of animal tales as well as tales of exaggeration as heard below:

[audio:http://info.umkc.edu/specialcollections/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Zora-Neale-Hurston-tells-an-exaggera.mp3|titles=Zora Neale Hurston tells a tale of exaggeration.]

Perhaps best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston was active during the Harlem Renaissance alongside such contemporaries as Langston Hughes and James Baldwin. She received widespread criticism for her heavy use of dialect in her writing. Critics felt she was perpetuating a longstanding tradition of racially charged stereotypes of African-American men, women, and children in literature and popular culture.  She was also praised, however, for her use of idiomatic speech and her dedication to preserving and handing down the grand tradition of African-American folklore and oral history.

Hurston’s work as an anthropologist led her to back to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida, where she recorded oral histories and gathered ethnographic research on music and folklore dating back to the days of American slavery. She gives a brief history and explanation of “negro folktales” and their contribution to American culture at the begnning of the episode.

[audio:http://info.umkc.edu/specialcollections/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Zora-Neale-Hurston-explains-folk-tal.mp3|titles=Zora Neale Hurston provides a brief explanation of negro folk tales and their origins.]

The Marr Sound Archives holds approximately 162 episodes of The American School of the Air within the J. David Goldin collection, all of which are all searchable in the library catalog and RadioGoldindex and are available upon request.

Staff Picks: Buzzcocks – Love Bites

lovebitesWhat a rare treat it is to stumble across out-of-print punk rock and new wave LPs within the deep shelving of the Marr Sound Archives. Aside from an impressive library of releases from Sire Records and a short stack of SST recordings, the genre’s presence in our holdings is few and far between.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at work one morning to find a newly cataloged import copy of Buzzcock’s Love Bites which had, apparently, been stuffed away with thousands of other items from our massive backlog of uncataloged LPs. This particular copy is an import distributed by Jem Records under a special licensing agreement which allowed the label to sell the album in the USA. It’s like my very own private valentine from the universe!

Buzzcocks generated copious amounts of recorded material in 1978, including their first two studio albums, a handful of hit singles, and two sessions with illustrious BBC disc jockey John Peel. Love Bites, was released in September on the United Artists label to tremendous success in the UK. The album’s initial single “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” won NME Single of the Year and earned the band a lip-syncing gig on Top of the Pops:

If love bites then so does this record, as does frontman Pete Shelley who comes out baring his teeth. Sharp hooks and sugary melodies make this album a masterpiece of pop genius, capable of rotting your molars right out of your head upon first listen. Shelley’s lyrics range from melancholy, to downright bitter and the universal appeal of the album’s subject matter has allowed this album to stand up to the test of time as a “feel bad to feel good” classic.

Deep cuts of note: “Operator’s Manual”, “Nostalgia”, and “Nothing Left.”

Secret Stash: The Anne Winter Collection

Anne Winter was co-owner of Recycled Sounds record store for 18 years. She donated a wealth of local music history to the Marr Sound Archives shortly before her passing in 2009. Photo Courtesy The Kansas City Star.

Anne Winter was co-owner of Recycled Sounds record store for 18 years. She donated a wealth of local music history to the Marr Sound Archives shortly before her passing in 2009. Photo Courtesy The Kansas City Star.

The Marr Sound Archives received a number of local rock and roll releases from the late 1980s to the early 2000s from Anne Winter, shortly before her passing in 2009.

The collection is a modest one, but the nostalgia factor is soaring as it shines a spotlight on the time period in which I was just getting into music as a teenager, when I used to browse the aisles of Anne’s record store, Recycled Sounds at 3941 Main Street in Kansas City, MO.

What stands out most, aside from a smoking batch of Forte Label 45s and some rare Man Or Astroman? EPs, are the records that were independently pressed and released either by locally centered record labels or by no label at all; otherwise known as the private press. We certainly wouldn’t have the DIY mentality of the private press as it exists today without the influence of independent record stores such as Recycled Sounds. So, in tribute to this very special relationship, I present to you some highlights from the Anne Winter collection:

– Kansas City art school punks Mudhead released their 7 inch record The Jumbo Sound of Mudhead in 1988, the very same year Recycled Sounds opened its doors. Their sound falls somewhere in between Rudimentary Peni and The Jesus Lizard, complete with growling vocals and groove-laden post-punk riffs. The cover art features work by vocalist Mott-ly (aka The Human Skeleton, aka Lee Tisdale) and one time member Archer Prewitt, later of the Coctails (also featuring Mudhead bassist Barry Phipps) and The Sea and Cake. Listen to “Eleutheromania” here:

– In 1989, Shrinking Violet Records put out a box set entitled A Limited Gourmet Box Set of the Unclean & Imperfect, which contained wax by Kill Whitey, The Sin City Disciples, Magic Nose, and Mudhead.  The first 50 copies (we have number 216/500) were made with glow in the dark ink and each disc contains a photocopied insert. The artwork and subject matter range from unclean to imperfect, as advertised. The box itself came with its fair share of wear and tear, likely due to the amount of local music history crammed into such a small container.

– Folk musician Danny Cooke released “What Goes Up Must Come Down” b/w “Inside Another Time” in 1991 on Nep Tune Records. His Brian Wilson meets Daniel Johnston songwriting and performance style is an acquired taste for some and outsider artist gold for the rest of us. After hours of casual research, I have found very little information on Nep Tune Records aside from two releases by Brent Wiebold, to whom Cooke gives special thanks on his record.

Honorable mentions from this collection include 7 inch records regional acts on independent labels: Split Lip Rayfield, Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys, Uncle Tupelo, Grither, Season to Risk, Cher (U.K.), The Sin City Disciples, Tenderloin, Cretin 66 and The Get Up Kids, among others.

A handful of LPs were also donated by Anne Winter. They are now cataloged and can be found in the MERLIN database. A spreadsheet listing all of her donated 45 RPM titles is available upon request, and, of course, donations of local and regional vinyl releases are always welcome at the archives.

Lonesome Gal: Virtual Seduction in the Golden Age of Radio

lonesomeheaderWe often take our modern technological communications for granted these days. One could be plugged into the virtual network 24/7 and never fully realize the capacity for human connection that these means afford us. Whereas the digital age has now completely saturated popular culture, the golden age of radio relied simply upon the power of the human voice to connect with its audience.


Lonesome Gal photo courtesy otrcat.com.

Take radio personality Jean King as one example of how to effectively reach listeners and consumers alike. She developed a cult following beginning in the late 1940s as Lonesome Gal, the virtual girlfriend to everyman. Listeners of WING in Dayton, Ohio would tune in for 15 minutes each week just to get some special attention from their Lonesome Gal. Every episode played out as if she were speaking directly to each individual in her audience, to whom she referred to as baby, sweetie, angel, dreamboat, and muffin, among other cute pet names.

Episodes often began with the introduction, “Sweetie, no matter what anybody says, I love you better than anybody in the whole world,” as the organ plays her theme song and she proceeds to coo endlessly about your charming mannerisms and depth of character.

[audio:http://info.umkc.edu/specialcollections/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Lonesome-Gal-Theme.mp3|titles=Lonesome Gal Opening Theme]

King’s vocal delivery has been described as warm, sexy, sultry, and, if I may add, mildly hypnotic and vaguely unsettling. In retrospect, her monologues may seem relatively tame, but under the traditional values and post-war mores of the time, King’s implicit sexuality was about as racy as it got. She earned a pack of rabid followers over her time on the air which led her to keep her identity a secret until 1953. For public appearances, she would even wear a mask to conceal her face, adding to the mystery that surrounded the Lonesome Gal character.

[audio:http://info.umkc.edu/specialcollections/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Lonesome-Gal-Clip-1-of-2.mp3|titles=Lonesome Gal shows off her jealous side…]

These days, the lonely and alienated are more like demographics that need to be manipulated for profit rather than comforted and encouraged. While this was also true of Lonesome Gal, who seduced her predominantly male audience into purchasing beer and tobacco, King was able to tap the psyches of her devoted followers and provide the illusion that they were the center of the universe. When the program was picked up by over 50 other stations, she even went so far as to adapt her scripts to match the markets for which she performed, adding an intimate and unique level of involvement for her audience.

The Marr Sound Archives contains only two Lonesome Gal transcription discs in its holdings. One of them is composed entirely of holiday greetings and musings from your virtual girlfriend in Dayton, Ohio. Listen below as she assigns your chores for this weekend, just like a real girlfriend!

[audio:http://info.umkc.edu/specialcollections/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Lonesome-Gal-Clip-2-of-2.mp3|titles=Deck the halls with boughs of holly.|artists=Lonesome Gal]

lonesomediscFor more history and analysis, consult Mary Desjardins and Mark Williams’ essay entitled, “Are you lonesome tonight?”: Gendered Address in The Lonesome Gal and The Continental” from the book Communities of the Air: Radio Century, Radio Culture, available in the EBL (E-Book Library) Database, or find more sound clips in The Internet Archive.

Evolution and Extinction: Webster-Chicago 45 RPM Adapters

"The Webster"Throughout 2012 and 2013, one of Marr’s ongoing projects consisted of combing through our 45 RPM record collection and preparing them for long-term Roobot Storage. The procedure called for sleeve replacement, deletion of triplicate copies, some basic data entry, the exceedingly rewarding process of making and printing labels for storage boxes, as well as mass removal of 45 RPM adapters.

As an employee of a sound archive, I, of course, love to perform these menial chores and often feel empty inside when I am not completing such rewarding tasks. Our staff and student assistants would agree! However, if there was one thing that could send me into a full-on emotional tailspin, it would be the anxiety that comes with removing Webster-Chicago Corporation brand 45 adapters and their insidious presence from our 45 RPM holdings.

If I wasn’t shredding my fingers to pop these bad boys out, I might be warping the 45 or even snapping it in half. Once in a blue moon, I wake up to a cold sweat at 4 am, obsessing over “Websters” in my nightmares.  No joke.  More often than not, I would break down and run to my supervisor, Charlie Stout, who would remove them for me, seemingly without any detriment to his person or psyche. Go figure…

The Webster-Chicago Corporation, later known as Webcor, manufactured high quality amplification and phonograph equipment, tape recorders, intercom and public address systems as well as wire recorders commonly used for dictation, field recordings, and military applications.

Model-80 Wire Recorder

The Model-80 Wire Recorder was manufactured by the Webster-Chicago Corporation in 1948 and marketed for home use. Documentation for Webster-Chicago products can be found on their website

The company first unleashed its 45 RPM adapter on the buying public in 1950, right in the middle of the Columbia/RCA speed wars of the 1940s and 50s. Columbia introduced the 12” 33 RPM LP to consumers whereas RCA opted for their own patent: the 7” 45 RPM Record. Each format its own respective turntable that was, of course, incompatible with the other; hence, the advent of the 45 RPM adapter trend.

The Webster-Chicago adapters seem like holdovers from the machine era. They consisted of a tin disc with four teeth that allowed it to snap into the center hole of the 45 where it would stay put, possibly for decades. Soon thereafter, the market for 45 adapters was flooded by an increasingly disposable array of plastic adapters sold by individual record companies; the most iconic of which being the Recoton adapters, peddled, once again, by the RCA Corporation.

The major problem with the Webster is its tendency to warp records over time, greatly lowering their resale value. They were too costly to produce and often too heavy to be compatible with certain RCA turntables. Their plastic counterparts were less expensive to manufacture, often brightly colored, and were less than likely to wreak havoc on a 45’s playability.

While the Websters seem to have been built to outlast the apocalypse, it is ironic that they were once considered a permanent solution to a temporary and constantly evolving problem. The new wave of plastic adapters squashed the Webster adapter shortly after its initial patent and once most turntables were standardized to play all disc formats, the Webster-Chicago adapter no longer served its intended purpose.  Funny enough, the 1½ inch hole in the center of your favorite 45 RPM record no longer serves its original purpose either. The aesthetic and historical value, however, remain mostly intact.


For a more in-depth history of the 45 RPM Adapter, consult Chuck Miller’s Times Union Blog article from 2012, entitled 45 Adapters: Stick it in the Center Hole.