"The problem there is that some of these sides are
>audible to fanatics only, some of the Son House and Charlie (Charley) Patton Paramounts, also some
>of the super-rare hillbilly sides. It is what it is -- there are one or few copies around and none
>of them are in good shape. I didn't feel ripped off having the barely-audible tracks on the CDs,
>but I certainly don't think they are collectable for their audio. It's the rare-artifact thing. "
Quite some years ago, Document (IIRC) issued an LP "for collector's only" containing some
one copy known tracks of various blues singers. While taking a lot of work to decipher the sound
above the roar of background noise, some of those performances were of startling power. Better copies
of some have been found in the intervening years.
I get the same feeling listening to the Mapleson Cylinders - the set issued by the New York Public Library
many years ago was beautifully presented. But many of the tracks were also extremely hard to interpret. It
is still a delight to have them in an accessible format (time for them to be made available on ROM perhaps???).
Don't think I would actually want to own the original artifact.
Who knows what future technology will be able to recover from these. Maybe something quite listenable.
Proliferation IS preservation!
Best wishes, Thomas :-)