Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Extra! Extra! In Praise of Pack-Rats

We are overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation upon the discovery of three more boxes of Frances' Reedy's personal collection of records as well as another box of homemade reel-to-reels by the Reedys!  Yes, these materials are in addition to the comprehensive archives and discographies of the Reedy's commercial and home-made recordings and their personal collection of other artists' recordings

Timi spent the morning tenderly sorting through these boxes and wiping down records that have been in storage for so long.  In fact, she is still going through them and constantly exclaiming as she notes the significance of what we've found.  There are several extra copies of some of Frances and John's commercial recordings, plus there are some 45's recorded by John's brother Roger Reedy that we didn't know existed.  

Most of the 45's are recordings by other artists on a wide range of labels, some of which are on the existing discography, but there are also several new ones that are not on the list.  For example, there are Kentucky labels Janet (Manchester) and Pine Mountain and Ohio labels Chance (Cincinnati) and Echo (Middletown).  There are also a few 33's as well as a large stack of original 78 recordings by folks like the Carter Family and Bill Monroe.  We can only guess what treasures reside on the reel-to-reel tapes...

Eventually, we plan to add the vinyl recordings to the discography of the Reedy's personal collection, for which Dick Grant has already provided additional dates/corrections.  He has also expressed interest in helping document the recently discovered records, and we are ever grateful for his generosity with his time and his attentiveness to detail.  Meanwhile, we just couldn't wait to share the news of the treasure trove of music in our midst.

Throughout this project, Timi and I have been amazed by the deliberateness of Frances and John's documentation of not only their own musical careers but also those of their contemporaries.  I never thought I would hear Timi thank anyone for being a pack-rat, but I heard her say it more than once to her Mamaw today.  (And as a fellow pack-rat, I thank her for setting a precedent that validates my own collection of personal paperwork and memorabilia that might seem like random clutter upon first glance.)  

Timi misses her Mamaw with touching intensity, and this process continues to invoke the presence of Frances Reedy through our tangible engagement with what was most important to her.  I'm grateful to have known her later in her life, and I'm especially glad to be a part of a project that helps the legacy of her and her husband live on.

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