Saturday, December 01, 2007

Seeburg (Not Seabird)


I talked to you about Muzak a bit earlier, spurred on by Lee's posting of a Muzak Christmas LP that I needed. Lee also posted a Seeburg Christmas record, something else I needed, even though I didn't know it existed prior to his posting it. What I did know existed was this series of Seeburg Background Music records, which I've had for years but never listened to. Why not, you ask? Well, in addition to my having more records than I could listen to in a lifetime, these records have a hole in the middle that is too big for a standard record player, and they spin at half the speed of a standard LP. That big hole you see in the scan above is 2" versus the 1.5" hole in the standard 45. And if that weren't enough, the music is supposed to be played back at 16-2/3 RPM, half the normal LP speed of 33-1/3. This frustrated me for years until I finally decided to do something about it this year. I had my machinist father make an adaptor for the spindle on my record player so it would fit, and I figured out how to slow the recording down once I got it into my PC. All that work, and it turns out I wasn't missing much. I only recorded one out of the 24 records in the series, and at that point I had had enough. Turns out that only one out of every five tracks is Christmas, and the versions are sub-par even for background music. Well, maybe it's just the poor fidelity of the record that's ruining it for me. I don't know. If you want to give it a listen, here're six tracks from The Seeburg Music Library-Matching Christmas Library (CH 10 A/B). I suppose it's amazing that these things have survived. They were supposed to be returned to Seeburg after the season, but somehow these never got sent back. I guess Seeburg didn't want these things saved for posterity.

6 comments:

Aaron Neathery said...

Call me insane, but I LOVE this stuff. Mild doesn't even begin to describe it. It's almost Zen! I'd love to hear some of the non-Christmas Seeburg "music" you have in your collection.

Anonymous said...

Given that 16 2/3 RPM records are a rarity to begin with, just posting this as an example of the format and the sound quality of them alone justifies it. But I gotta agree: The material itself is "eh!" at best.

Rob in Maine said...

When I was a kid in the 70's, our record player..sorry. HI-FI, was my Mom's from the 50's. It consisted of two big pieces about the size of 40 gal trash cans with hinged lids. One was the record player & speaker, the other was just a speaker. I think they were supposed to be across from each other in the room.

Anyhoo, I thought it odd that there were several speed selections, some that I didn't understand: 33, 45, 78 one being 16 & 2/3. I don't think my Mom ever had any speeds other than 33.

Stormy said...

Any chance of transferring any more of the Seeburg discs to MP3? There are a lot of us who truly enjoy this kind of music, and aside from this one post in this one blog, there is no more Seeburg Music Library music to be downloaded anywhere on the internet. I myself owned one of these discs in the 1970's but have no idea what became of it.

Dave said...

I bought one of those GE Show N Tell Viewer's for my Garndkids a couple Christmas' ago. It has a setting for 16 2/3 on it. I alwasy wondered what it was for. The only adaptor that came with the viewer was for 45s.

Dave

Katy said...

I have a box of these. They are from the Christmas series, I have a few albums missing, I think 5 are missing. I don't even own a record player, they are in the original packaging and box from seeburg. I have no idea how much to ask for these. anyone have any ideas?
Katy amitai@charter.net