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Just wanted to share part of a recent email that I sent off to Roger 
Beardsley of Historic Masters with my list serve buddies.  Anyone have their 
own opinions?

I think I might have mentioned this before.  I may be coming at Historic 
Masters from a slightly deviant point of view.  Although I love the subject 
matter (singers and music, both popular and classical in nature, of the 
"golden" era) I'm really just becoming familiar with many of the artists, 
repertoire and background.  Needless to say I've found the HM accompanying 
notes to be invaluable at leading to an appreciation of what's actually 
recorded on the discs and thank you all so much for them.  What really draws 
me to HM pressings is the fact that they ARE derived from the ORIGINAL 
MATRICES or as true to accurate copies as possible.  This is a treasure for 
the technically minded individual who is interested in early recording 
techniques and practices.  Each side is a case study in itself.  It would be 
fascinating to get more information on the various processes of preparing 
the "shells" from the discovery stage to pressing of the vinyl.  These have 
been alluded to in the past but not delved into with a great deal of detail.

F'r instance....I've noticed that several of the sides in the Tamagno ten 
inch set are from parts that seem to have been ?polished to death?  The 
surfaces are smoother (shiny) but the stylus never seems to really seat 
itself and this results in dullness, fuzziness and distortion that doesn't 
seem to be present on the rougher looking sides.  I'd imagine this is the 
result of earlier attempts at "sprucing up" the metals by the parent 
companies for more recent reissue.  This same characteristic is true of many 
(I hesitate to say "ALL" but it might be a more accurate statement) of the 
RCA Heritage series of 1940 or 50 era repressings in red vinyl.  There is 
also one of the ten inch Tamagno sides that shows evidence of filling in of 
the runout.  These and other anomalies really do spark some interesting 
questions.

Several weeks ago on either the ARSC or 78-L list serve there was 
speculation on the processes of cutting the eccentric lead out grooves on 
post 1922/1923 Victors and the like.

All this to say that, with me, it's not only what's in the 
groove........it's the GROOVE ITSELF.  Therefore, I find that Historic 
Masters is not only providing a service to the music listening population 
but also an affordable window into the past for the historian of the 
recording industry and the practices employed in preserving all of the great 
music and voices of the past.  For that we should also be grateful.

Best!

Martin