Digitally remastered from original 78s by Richard Nevins.
Liner Note Author: Pat Conte.
Of all the recent excavation projects inspired by our voracious musical culture, none is more fascinating than Pat Conte's SECRET MUSEUM series for Yazoo. Till now, a Western listener's familiarity with ethnic music from the distant past has depended on unsexy field recordings of relatively recent vintage, produced in a spirit of near-scientific inquiry by anthropologically minded musicologists. When the commercial record business really began to expand in the late '20s however, just about every national style of music was sought out and captured for a growing marketplace. This was true "world music," dressed in its Sunday best perhaps as performed by ambitious locals, but still more vital than the academic, folklorist approach that followed.
Just as Harry Smith compiled early commercial blues and country records for his monumentally influential ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC, so Conte has gathered even rarer 78s from all over the globe. Thanks to excellent remastering, we can hear vividly how an ensemble sounded in India or Japan more than a half-century ago or a klezmer orchestra right before the Nazis destroyed that bit of local culture. It's like owning your own time machine.
Musician (3/96, p.94) - "...collect[s] field recordings from around the globe waxed at a time when the twentieth century had barely begun to intrude on indigenous musics..."