The answer is predictably depressing.
Her collecting fever carries her on a pilgrimage to Grafton, Wis. The label released thousands of 78s until it shuttered in the early s, and only a handful of most have surfaced.
Diving for buried records might be the final frontier, considering the bounty of music available online. The Internet has unlocked the attic to a new generation searching for 78s not in dumpsters but in avenues such as eBay.
Petrusich follows this evolution and provides a fascinating counterpoint by profiling collectors searching other continents for equally exciting and otherwise lost recordings. Among them are next-generation curators equally interested in recontextualization and adding to the historical record.
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I missed the ecstasy of acquisition. They are initially suspicious of Ms. Petrusich and her motives, as they are of all outsiders and even their fellow collector-competitors, but her persistence pays off in the form of stories and observations that humanize the collectors and their pursuit. Petrusich, who has written on culture for The Atlantic, The New York Times, Pitchfork and Spin, effectively uses the prism of her personal experience to analyze the aesthetics of collecting, consuming and enjoying music.
Do Not Sell At Any Price The Wild Obsessive Hunt for the Worlds Rarest 78 rpm Records
She seems on less solid ground when she tries to explain the psychology of collecting. And sometimes Ms. An account of how she learned to use scuba gear so that she could dive into the murky Milwaukee River seeking ultrarare Paramount Records sides and master plates, discarded in the s from a nearby plant, could easily have been described in a couple of sentences rather than an entire chapter. The difference between the Petrusich and Paz approaches can be gauged by the way they portray the one collector who appears in both their books, Joe Bussard of Frederick, Md.
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