I was absolutely certain that today I'd be writing about the new Bittersweets record. "Wreck" pretty much grabbed my attention by the collar and said "You Will Buy Me! You Cannot Get Away From Hannay Prater's Voice!! You Will Obey!!!" Yeah, a trip to the record store seemed inevitable.
But "real" life has a knack for getting in the way. Basically, I worked so hard in the afternoon that I completely forgot about the danged store, packing up my computer and heading for home while the sun was still peeking over the tree tops. Three quarters of the way home, while standing next to my car at a gas station, it hits me. Duh!! Man, that's even more annoying than the lunch that TheWife™ had packed for me that I managed to leave in the fridge earlier in the day.
So last night, a writer friend tosses an amazing story my way. The story of the World's Greatest Music Collection. My goodness, 300,000 compact discs and 3 million records! Yeah, a "three" with a whole buncha zeros after it.
Paul Mawhinney, as he puts it, gave his life to music. If you watch the short documentary below, notice that he's not some sort of crazy packrat, but a man sincerely taken by music. I share his grief at the idea that folks are willing to let such a large part of musical history vanish into the mists. It's both exciting and depressing to know that there is so much music out there that's unavailable to the public. While talking about the sheer size of his collection, Mawhinney notes that the Library of Congress did a study of his archive and concluded that, for the years encompassing 1948 through, 1966, only 17 percent of the music is currently available on compact disc. Pretty amazing.
At the end of this video, Mawhinney is seen coming to tears while playing a record. Some might think that this bit of melodrama is unnecessary, but it does serve to show that there are people out there with unbounded passion for music. On some days, it seems like a small (and shrinking) club.
The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.