Sunday, February 15, 2015

the genius of Russell Hunting

if you ask an early record collector who they think was the most influential of the early recording artists, Russell Hunting will most likely not come up. As he is a rather hard one to find on early records, but his records are highly valued among record collectors. 

"With care, I can live to speak to your grand-children, when they are as old as you are"
-Russell Hunting, Pathe demonstration record, 1916

NOBODY  had thought of these records lasting over 100 years after their creation, he was the FIRST to imagine this. He was the wisest of the early recording artists, as his legal trouble in the 1890's was only an experiment to see how far he could get, I'm sure that he probably thought he would get into legal trouble for recording these naughty records. He must have known he wouldn't be in trouble for very long.
Hunting must have been formulating this idea of the records living 100 years starting in the late 1890's, when he made these "saucy" records, he knew that these brown cylinders were fragile, but they can last for centuries if taken care of. So he must have had some speculation that at least a handful of his saucy records would survive to this date, even after most of them were destroyed. 

"There is always Walter Miller."

Was what Hunting must have said when the detectives told him that ALL the saucy records would be destroyed. He either gave a few to Miller to lock up, or he stole some from a coin phonograph. 
(FYI: Walter Miller was the long-time manager of Edison's phonograph company)
Hunting wanted to make Pathe the best possible record company, which he did for a short time. 
Pathe's records are very unique in the way that they aren't played with a needle, they are slightly oversized(so they can be hard to store...) One thing that is always interesting about Pathe's is that they have reverb! That was something that record studios tried so hard to get in the 20's! So whatever Hunting did to get that, is was ahead of its time! 
Hunting was also the first to promote "Jass" on records, starting in 1916 with Fred Van Eps adding a saxophone to his group, so that experiment lead to full on jazz early the next year. 
Remember that Hunting was also the first to record Jim Europe's band after they returned from the trenches in 1918. 
Hunting was the best manager Pathe ever had, no doubt! 
Now do all of you see why Hunting was the most influential and progressive ming of recordings first three decades?

H hope you enjoyed this!

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